RSL’S NICK RIMANDO NAMED MLS PLAYER OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH
Veteran Netminder Beats out Teammate Javier Morales to Become First Goalkeeper to Win the Award Three Times
SANDY, Utah (Sunday, April 3, 2011) – Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando has been voted the Major League Soccer (MLS) Player of the Month for March of the 2011 season. The veteran Rimando took 11 of the 25 first-place votes in the polling and tacked on five second-place votes, beating out for the top spot his RSL teammate, MF Javier Morales, the Argentine earning seven first-place nods and five additional second-place votes.
The voting emphasized the dominating nature of the Utah side in March, during which RSL went a perfect 4-0-0 in combined CONCACAF Champions League and MLS regular season action (11 GF/2 GA). With the award, Rimando becomes the first goalkeeper in MLS history to win the monthly honor three times, passing a short-list of two-time winners that includes Brad Friedel and Matt Pickens.
D.C. United’s Charlie Davies came in third in the month’s vote, and New York’s Rafa Marquez and New England’s Shalrie Joseph also received first-choice votes. Other players who were mentioned in voters’ second choices were Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo) and Uruguayan Diego Chaves (Chicago Fire).
Real Salt Lake won both of its MLS matches in March, holding on to win 1-0 in San Jose on MLS First Kick weekend before beating the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium last weekend. Rimando made eight saves in atrocious conditions – with most coming in the last 20 minutes – against the Earthquakes on Mar. 19 at Buck Shaw Stadium, undoubtedly making the difference between one point and three for the visitors. His back-to-back stops of Chris Wondolowski and Khari Stephenson during the Earthquakes’ late-game barrage earned Rimando the MLS Save of the Week honor in fan voting for the opening week of play.
Rimando added two important saves in the 4-1 drubbing of Los Angeles last weekend, the late-game allowance of a Juan Pablo Angel-David Beckham connection coming well after the game was in hand in front of a record crowd of 20,507 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The win was the 109th of his career, good for third place on the league’s career chart in the most important category of them all. Only Kevin Hartman (156) and Zach Thornton (131) rank in front of the 12-year veteran and 2010 MLS All-Star selection. Rimando is also third in career shutouts with 75, placing just one behind the second-place Thornton (Hartman leads with 93).
Rimando also played two CCL games in March, capturing a pair of huge wins that have RSL on the brink of more League history. The 31-year-old began the month with a steady performance on Mar. 1 against the Columbus Crew in a 4-1 win in Sandy that allowed the Claret-and-Cobalt to advance from its all-MLS Quarterfinal series by the same aggregate margin.
Rimando added another shutout to his achievements on Mar. 15 as his side beat Deportivo Saprissa 2-0 in the first leg of the Semifinals at Rio Tinto Stadium to deny the Costa Ricans a road goal. In the second leg this Tuesday, April 5, in San Jose, Costa Rica (8:00 p.m. MT kickoff, live on FOX Soccer and TeleFutura), Real Salt Lake has the chance to become the first MLS team since the LA Galaxy in 2000 to advance to the final of a regional competition, the winner of which qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup this December in Japan.
The MLS Player of the Month is selected upon the conclusion of each month 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 on the organization and its membership can be found at www.soccerreporters.com.
Career Real Salt Lake MLS Player of the Month Recipients
August 2006: Jeff Cunningham
July 2008: Nick Rimando
May 2010: Álvaro Saborío
June 2010: Nick Rimando
March 2011: Nick Rimando*
* - First goalkeeper in MLS history named Player of the Month three times.