Nick Rimando, dubbed “Wall of the Wasatch”, has become a legend over his career, and he doesn’t show signs of slowing. Voted the best goalkeeper in Major League Soccer history, he sits at the top of the charts for most games played, most shutouts, and most wins in the MLS.
In 2017, his 10th season with Real Salt Lake, Rimando started the season with a lot of disappointment. He managed only 2 wins in the first 8 games before subbing off with a hamstring injury in April. The team finally stabilized itself and returned to a decent form in July and by the end of the regular season Real Salt Lake and Mike Petke had transformed the team into one of the best clubs in MLS despite missing the playoffs.
Under a new Petke era, RSL’s defense, mostly consisting of young and new faces, RSL look to leaders on the field and in the locker room like Nick Rimando. With 17 years in the league, 22 caps for the USMNT, and his presence as a pillar of the team in the Salt Lake community, RSL would be hard-pressed in finding a replacement to the value of his experience.
Goalkeepers under the mentorship of Rimando in the past have flourished. Tim Melia won Goalkeeper of the Year in 2017 and Jeff Attinella is becoming starting material in the league. But as it stands, our only GK on the roster is 23 year old Connor Sparrow. A player with 0 MLS minutes and only 18 USL starts. That's not a comforting thought.
Currently a free-agent, Rimando’s future remains up in the air. Talks are underway between RSL and his representatives to re-sign the veteran keeper. He has stated a desire to stay at the club and in Salt Lake City.
It's hard to imagine RSL without him between the posts. I honestly have a hard time feeling confident when he's not in the starting XI. When a backup GK comes in and drops a goal...Nick would've had it covered. When an amazing shot is destined for the back of the net...Nick's got it covered. He has spoiled us for a decade, and I feel sorry for whatever poor fool has to fill his shoes.
Wherever he ends up in 2018 Nick Rimando will always be a hero to our club and country. He has earned every accomplishment with class and did it all with style.