Nick Rimando has, for over a decade, been a rock in Real Salt Lake’s goal. He owns nearly every record in the book and as he hangs up his boots for the last time, it only seemed fitting to take a look back at his career and reminisce about some of his best times.
#10 - Representing RSL on the international stage and winning the Gold Cup
In 2013 the USMNT was playing in the Gold Cup. Although typically Rimando was the backup to Tim Howard, he played this tournament. On July 28, 2013 Rimando started in goal for the final match versus Panama. He recorded a shutout and played an integral part of securing the USA’s Gold Cup title that year.
#9 - His 2010 campaign
After the incredible 2009 campaign, Nick Rimando and his backline didn’t slow down. Throughout the 2010 season Rimando allowed just 20 goals. Although at the time MLS had a 30 game season, this record has still never been beaten and to this day remains the fewest goals allowed by a team in a single season.
When RSL Soapbox asked Rimando about the 2010 team he said it was so successful because, “everybody fought for each other.” He specifically called out the talent of players like Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, and Jamison Olave. “The players weren't individual stars,” he said, “they fought for each other and believed in the team, believed in what we were doing in the locker room.
#8 - The ball to the face
This moment just encapsulates Nick Rimando as a competitor. A lot of fans will agree that this moment sticks out for them as far as incredible things Rimando has done. After saving the ball with his face Rimando continued to ensure the ball was away from danger before going to ground and seeking medical attention.
#7 - The 2013 MLS Save of the Year
In 2013 Rimando won the league award for best save for this incredible double save against the Colorado Rapids.
Arguably, this isn’t the only MLS goalkeeper award that Rimando deserved to win in 2013.
#6 - Saving Robbie Keane’s PK
Rimando made this save on Galaxy star Robbie Keane in the season opener of the 2014 season to preserve 3 points on the road for RSL. It really doesn’t get much better than denying Robbie Keane to win on the road.
#5 - His performance in the 2018 MLS Cup playoffs versus LAFC
This game was arguably the biggest RSL has had since 2013. It was a game in LA against the new kids in the league. Rimando ended up facing 20 shots and made six saves in this one. He stood on his head and despite letting in two goals, he kept Real Salt Lake in this one. He kept a level head after being hit by objects from the stands and helped Real Salt Lake sneak through the knockout round game.
#4 - Rimando 181
The list of records Rimando has broken is a pretty lengthy one. This one, though, is one of the bigger ones. On August 6, 2016 Rimando helped the team to a 3-1 win versus the Chicago Fire and earned career win 181, breaking the previous record held by Kevin Hartman. Since Rimando has added even more wins to this tally, further distancing himself from Hartman’s original record.
#3 - The broken nose
It was November 2, 2012 as Real Salt Lake headed to Seattle to play leg one of the Western Conference semifinals. This match was a deadlock between these teams. 67 minutes in though, Rimando collided with Christian Tiffert in the box and went down instantly. Grabbing his face, RSL fans could tell he was in a lot of pain.
Later fans would find out Rimando had broken his nose but regardless, he continued to play the rest of the game. Although RSL would ultimately end up losing the series, on that night in Seattle, Rimando earned the shutout. This is just how Rimando always was for Salt Lake. He would put his body on the line and play every possible minute he could.
#2 - 113 Shutouts
Another one of Rimando’s many accolades, shutout #113. Another record owned by Kevin Hartman that Rimando reclaimed as his own. On August 9, 2014 at home versus his former club DC United Rimando earned another shutout. This one was special. Off a 3-0 win with goals from Joao Plata and Chris Schuler, Rimando had finally done it. For a few games he’d been close but unable to keep the shutout. Finally though, at home in front of a nearly sold out Rio Tinto, Rimando got the shutout. RSL’s fans chanted his name for the last few minutes of the match and as the final whistle blew you could see the relief on Rimando’s face.
#1 - The 2009 MLS Cup run
In the 2009 MLS Cup playoffs RSL had to play two rounds of penalty kicks, one versus the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference Championships and one versus the LA Galaxy in the final.
In the game versus Chicago, Rimando had already done his job. He kept a shutout for 120 minutes. But regardless, this match was decided on penalty kicks. Rimando came up big in this one with multiple PK saves. He wasn’t done after this match though.
In the MLS Cup Final the game once again went all the way to penalty kicks. Rimando once again made saves but his dominant presence also forced errors from the one and only Landon Donovan, who’s PK didn’t even stay on frame.
Throughout the entirety of his career, Nick Rimando simply was great. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the history of MLS. Real Salt Lake fans may have taken that for granted over his time with Salt Lake, but his legacy is one that’s going to live for a long time. After a long 20 year career, Rimando will hang up his cleats once and for all. Perhaps now he will share his secret to saving penalty kicks.