SANDY, UT - Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando h as been named MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week One of the 2014 MLS season.
Rimando had a clutch performance in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 1-0 season opening win at LA Galaxy on Saturday. The RSL veteran made a total of nine saves, including one on a second half stoppage time penalty kick, to give the Claret-and-Cobalt all three points.
After putting in an outstanding performance throughout regulation, Rimando was put to the test again in the 93rd minute, when RSL DF Tony Beltran was controversially whistled for a foul in the box on LA Galaxy’s Rob Friend. LA Designated Player Robbie Keane stepped to the spot and took the kick, but he was no match for Rimando, who dove to his right to make the incredible stop.
“I appreciate all the kind words but let’s not forget all the hard work defensively the team put in to get a result against a very good LA side,” said Rimando. The veteran goalkeeper remarked further on the team’s performance in a post-game interview with Utah’s ABC 4.
The penalty kick save gave Rimando an all-time 32.8 percent (20-for-61) success rate on PK’s, the best such rate in league history. Saturday’s shutout was the 109th regular season clean sheet of Rimando’s career, putting him just three shutouts away from tying retired GK Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS record with 112 shutouts.
This is Rimando’s first MLS Player of the Week honor. The California native has notched three MLS Player of the Month awards, 23 MLS Save of the Week honors and won MLS Save of the Year in 2012 and 2013. This is the 22nd time in RSL history that a Claret-and-Cobalt player has been named Player of the Week, and the first since FW Alvaro Saborio won on July 29, 2013 for a hat trick performance in a 4-3 RSL loss at the New York Red Bulls.
The MLS Player of the Week award is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information and membership information can be found at www.soccerreporters.com.
RSL will return to action next Saturday, continuing its California road trip with a match against San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. The RSL-San Jose match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ABC 4 and ESPN 700. Real Salt Lake will open its home schedule on Saturday, March 22, when it will host the Galaxy at 2:00 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tickets to the March 22 home opener can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, over the phone at 801-727-2700 or online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets.