Nick Rimando

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Three things we learned from Seattle-Real Salt Lake

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The game in 200 words (or less): Nick Rimando stood on his head in an outstanding 7-save performance that will be the last of his incredible career, as a fine near post header from Gustav Svensson and a late marker from Nicolas Lodeiro sent Seattle Sounders to the Western Conference Final with a 2-0 win in Washington on Wednesday.

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Real Salt Lake had a strong first half, with attacking life sprung from Jefferson Savarino, but the hosts had more dangerous chances and took control of the match in the second 45 through relentless Jordan Morris and visionary midfielder Lodeiro. Svensson scored off a set piece and Lodeiro deservedly joined the scoring at the end of a Man of the Match performance before RSL’s Everton Luiz was shown a straight red for an awful two-footed tackle.


Three things we learned

1. Playoffs make unlikely heroes — It was going to take something special for Seattle to beat Rimando, and Gustav Svensson got the better of Kyle Beckerman to turn Lodeiro’s near post corner kick past the wrong-footed keeper. Brian Schmetzer’s teams have never lost a home playoff game, and that record stands thanks to Svensson’s noggin. It was the Swede’s 14th goal in 367 career matches.

2. Morris, Lodeiro lead determined Sounders — Morris, the MLS Comeback Player of the Year, has a first-class engine with a motor to match, and his on-field wisdom and improvement on both wings has made him a terror in MLS. Combine that with the vision of Lodeiro and there was a feeling of inevitability once the match reached halftime with zeroes on the scoreboard.

Lodeiro’s goal to make it 2-0, off a fine set-up from Raul Ruidiaz, was a sweet finish and a deserved marker. Look out, Los Angeles.

3. Rimando’s final game finds him in fine feather– The “Wall of the Wasatch” made a pair of very good saves in the first 15 minutes, the second causing him serious shoulder discomfort. He was needed again at halftime as Raul Ruidiaz raced onto an inch-perfect Lodeiro cross in the 43rd minute. After Nedum Onuoha blocked a shot with his face early in the second half, Rimando saved his teammate an own goal moments later. He made a flying 61st minute save to keep it 0-0, and made another terrific stop in the 86th minute to deny Victor Rodriguez with his seventh save of the night.

Twenty-two times capped by the USMNT, he played over 500 times for Major League Soccer teams and was very good on his final bow. He spoke to FS1 on the field after the game:

“I enjoyed everything. I enjoyed my 20 years and being here with family, it’s not the way we wanted to go. It’s a tough thing to swallow. It’s hard to put in words. I gave so much to the sport. To see it go, I’m just grateful you know, for everything it’s given me. It’s tough to lose like this. We’ll see what happens next.”

Man of the Match: Lodeiro — The 60-times capped Uruguay was lively from Moment No. 1 and will give Seattle hope against any remaining opponent.


After 20 years, GK Nick Rimando plans to step away from MLS

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The accolades and records that come with a 20-year career in Major League Soccer are nice, but what Nick Rimando holds most dear is the very fact that he made it as far as he did.

“I was that kid that had a lot of doubters. I was a kid that was the 5-10 goalkeeper that wasn’t supposed to be in Major League Soccer, but never gave up,” he said. “I was that kid, I didn’t give up. I fought for everything I have, I fought for every contract, I fought for my position on every team.”

Rimando announced at the start of the season that this would be his last in MLS. It is simply time for him to step away, heal his body and move on to the next phase, he said.

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But first he’s hoping for one more run in the playoffs.

The 40-year-old goalkeeper is playing out his final MLS season with Real Salt Lake, where he’s been since 2007. Currently fifth in the Western Conference standings, RSL plays its final regular-season match Sunday – a day the league calls Decision Day because it shapes the playoffs – against the Whitecaps.

Real Salt Lake clinched a spot in the postseason last weekend with a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo. Rimando made three saves in his final regular season match at Rio Tinto Stadium. Fans feted him with a special tifo in his honor.

“He’s a true warrior, a great professional, deserves everything he’s gotten,” interim head coach Freddy Juarez said. “It’s given the team an identity because of the style of play he has. It’s allowed Real Salt Lake, for the most part, to always be a possession-based team, because of Nick’s style of play. Everything he’s gotten, he deserves.”

Rimando’s MLS career started with the now-defunct Miami Fusion. He spent five seasons with D.C. United, winning an MLS Cup title with the team in 2004. He won another league championship with RSL in 2009.

Rimando holds league goalkeeper records with 513 appearances and more than 46,000 minutes played. He’s had 222 wins, 1,701 saves and 153 shutouts over the course of his career, also records.

“It’s very tough to be a player let alone a goalkeeper in this league. There’s only one spot per goalkeeper out of the 11. So I think the amount of games I’ve played, with the ability to stay healthy, stay consistent, go through numerous coaches and still be on the playing field, I think I like that mark the most,” he said.

Salt Lake has seen some upheaval this season. The team fired coach Mike Petke in August after he was suspended for three games and fined by MLS for offensive language and confrontational misconduct directed at officials following a Leagues Cup match. The team also suspended the coach and asked him to undergo anger management training before he was eventually let go.

RSL went 4-4-1 following Petke’s dismissal, securing its 10th playoff berth in the last 12 seasons. It is still possible that Rimando hasn’t seen the last of Rio Tinto this season.

“I think we have potential to do well in the playoffs,” he said. “My teammates know it’s my last year but I don’t want to play that extra bit for me. That’s why I’ve kind of held out with the interviews, I’ve kind of held out on making this last year about me. I wanted it to be about the team, I wanted it to be about our group and winning.”

Rimando is not the only high-profile player hanging up his cleats following this season. Fellow goalkeeper Tim Howard is also retiring after four years with the Colorado Rapids. DeMarcus Beasley, who has been with the Houston Dynamo since 2014, has also announced that this season will be his last.

Rimando doesn’t know what his next career move is. First, he’ll need surgery to address the toll the game has taken on his body. But he said it’s time for the next generation of goalkeepers to live their dreams.

“I played a long time, 20 years, and I was once that kid that wanted that opportunity, wanted that chance, and got it. At 40, I feel I’ve accomplished a lot of things in my career. I feel like I’ve experienced so many great things and I think this next generation deserves that as well,” he said.

Asked what he’s proudest of, Rimando’s thoughts immediately turn to his kids, Benny and Jett, who were fixtures at RSL matches and even flanked their father at his final regular-season pregame news conference and the postgame celebration of his career last weekend.

“I think my favorite part of MLS right now is watching my kids enjoy it,” he said. “Them looking at me the way they do after a game or before a game, when people come up to me during dinner, or whatnot, to see their faces, to see their smiles and see how proud they are of me, that’s got to be up there with my favorite part.”

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MLS, RSL legend Rimando announces 2019 will be final season

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Nick Rimando has done everything a goalkeeper could possibly do during his 19-year MLS career… except win the ever-elusive Goalkeeper of the Year award, of course.

[ MORE: 2019 Western Conference preview | Eastern Conference ]

Inarguably the greatest goalkeeper in league history — given the heights he reached at the position, both figuratively and literally; the way he revolutionized the position in MLS and made everyone rethink how a goalkeeper could look and play; and the longevity with which he did all of it — Rimando announced on Friday that the 2019 season, his 20th, will be his last. He will retire next winter at the age of 40.

Rimando, already the MLS record holder for career clean sheets, wins, saves, and appearances, is a two-time MLS Cup winner (2004, D.C. United; 2009, Real Salt Lake) and five-time All-Star (2011-2015). He was voted MLS Cup MVP in 2009. Two factors — his 5-foot-10 height, and the parallel careers of stalwarts Tim Howard and Brad Guzan — limited Rimando to just 22 caps for the U.S. men’s national team.

[ MORE: Predicting the 2019 MLS season | Growth is still the name of the game ]

While the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award should be renamed in his honor, Rimando won the award despite setting the standard for MLS ‘keepers for nearly a decade.

Report: Rimando to return to RSL

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USMNT veteran and current MLS free agent Nick Rimando will reportedly return to Real Salt Lake for a 12th season with the club, according to a report by Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep.

The report states he received interest on the free agent market from both Los Angeles clubs, but the 38-year-old will return to the club he has made 350 appearances for.

Rimando came to Real Salt Lake from D.C. United in 2006, and has made at least 24 league appearances in every single season since. He has also made 22 playoff appearances for the club across eight playoff campaigns.

He last received a USMNT cap in January of 2017 in a friendly against Serbia, but was part of the 2018 World Cup qualification squad throughout 2017 backing up Tim Howard. Overall, Rimando has played 22 times for the US national team, with 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets.

The report also states that Kyle Beckerman will return to Rio Tinto Stadium, with the veteran also testing the free agent waters but deciding to re-sign. The pair will be two of just four players left on the roster from the 2009 MLS Cup winning team.

Rimando, Pontius among 40 MLS players eligible for free agency

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Ahead of Tuesday’s Free Agency period, Major League Soccer released a list of 40 eligible players on Sunday.

Veterans over the age of 28 and who have played at least eight seasons in MLS qualified for the list, as well as players out-of-contract and those who didn’t have their options picked up.

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MLS was busy earlier in the day on Sunday when several clubs announced blockbuster trades, including Kei Kamara’s move to Vancouver and expansion side Los Angeles FC’s addition of Walker Zimmerman.

A number of notable MLS veterans are included on the following list, such as Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Chris Pontius of the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls defender Sal Zizzo.

NOTE: The MLS Expansion Draft will also take place on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET as LA FC has the opportunity to select up to five players ahead of its inaugural MLS season in 2018.

Below is the full list of candidates for this offseason’s free agents.

Player Previous
Club
Status
Alexander, Eric HOU Out of Contract
Alston, Kevin ORL Out of Contract
Barrett, Chad RSL Option Decline
Beasley, DaMarcus HOU Out of Contract
Beitashour, Steven TOR Out of Contract
Boswell, Bobby ATL Out of Contract
Burling, Robert COL Out of Contract
Carroll, Brian PHI Retired
Clark, Ricardo HOU Option Decline
DeLaGarza, AJ HOU Option Decline
Deric, Tyler HOU Option Decline
Duka, Dilly NY Option Decline
Evans, Brad SEA Out of Contract
Francis, Shaun MTL Option Decline
Franklin, Sean DC Option Decline
Gordon, Alan COL Option Decline
Harrington, Michael CHI Option Decline
Harris, Atiba DAL Option Decline
Harvey, Jordan VAN Out of Contract
Hernandez, Jason TOR Out of Contract
Jacobson, Andrew VAN Out of Contract
Knighton, Brad NE Out of Contract
Kronberg, Eric MTL Out of Contract
Larentowicz, Jeffrey ATL Option Decline
Loyd, Zachary ATL Option Decline
Moor, Andrew TOR Out of Contract
Morales, Javier DAL Out of Contract
Neagle, Lamar SEA Out of Contract
Nyarko, Patrick DC Out of Contract
Pontius, Chris PHI Out of Contract
Reynish, Kyle ATL Out of Contract
Rimando, Nick RSL Out of Contract
Rogers, Robbie LA Retired
Rolfe, Chris DC Retired
Saunders, Joshua ORL Option Decline
Schuler, Chris RSL Option Decline
Seitz, Christopher DAL Out of Contract
Wingert, Chris RSL Out of Contract
Zemanski, Ben POR Out of Contract
Zizzo, Sal NY Option Decline