SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake have had an interesting year at the back. The club have suffered through multiple injuries and suspensions while trying to keep opponents off the score sheet. But there has been one constant for the team despite all the change: goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
The 13-year veteran is enjoying another stellar MLS season, his sixth with RSL. His 1.20 goals against average is good for fifth among 'keepers who have started at least 15 games. And while Rimando has started and played in 25 of the team's 27 games, he has done so with many different lineups in front of him.
"It's just part of the job," said Rimando. "We have such a deep back line and players are going to get hurt. Coming into the season I knew (Jamison) Olave wasn't going to stick around the whole time. He always gets some knocks. We have some players that can fill in.
"The coaches also always move players around in the back to get the guys breaks, too. But, I'm used to it. Of course, I always want things to be a little sharper, but that is just me being picky.
"No matter who is in front of me, I'm going to talk — that's my job," explained Rimando. "I can see the whole field from where I am and I can let them know where they need to be or who they need to pick up."
The 33-year-old from Southern California shows no signs of slowing. If anything, he may be getting better with age and experience. Something that is evident with his recent U.S. National Team camps.
"The last couple of years I have been one of the guys to get called in," said Rimando. "One of the best things about that is I know (U.S. coach) Jurgen (Klinnsmann) trusts me. He knows what kind of player I am, what kind of professional I am. He knows that if need be, I could go in and do the job.
"I know my role on that team right now and it's very refreshing and very honoring to be called in and to represent the U.S."
Rimando has made 59 saves this season to go along with his 12 wins and nine shutouts. He is creeping up on the all-time MLS leaders in several categories. He is already third in games played with 313. He is second in wins (133) and second in shutouts (96) trailing only Dallas FC veteran Kevin Hartman. But he said those numbers don't mean all that much while he is still playing.
"Not now, but after I'm done it might mean something," said Rimando about the importance of reaching some MLS milestones as a 'keeper.
And while retirement is not even on his mind right now, he does know what kind of legacy he would like to leave behind.
"One of the best goalkeepers to play in MLS," said Rimando of how he would like to be remembered. "A guy that put his time in, a great teammate, someone that fans loved and when that time does come, to be able to stick with soccer somehow."