When the time does come to induct him into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Nick Rimando should be a unanimous first-ballot honoree.
The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper won his 200th regular-season game on Saturday in the 3-2 victory over D.C. United.
Rimando’s career started in 2000, when he recorded 10 wins with the Miami Fusion. In his time with Miami, D.C. United and RSL, Rimando put together 15 double-digit win seasons in addition to earning 22 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“It’s special for sure. I’ve got to give not just myself credit, but all my team mates that I’ve played with credit,” Rimando said. “I don’t win games by myself, that’s clear for sure, and those guys out there today fought hard for me and I share it with them, but also a lot of teammates in the past.”
“The longevity of my play, the consistency of my play, the trust that I get from my teammates and the coaches I take a lot of pride in that. To play this many years and to get to 200 is special,” Rimando said.
“That’s just Nick. He’s all about the team, he’s making turns to get three points, win the game, all that other stuff is bonus,” RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. “And that’s I think part of the reason that makes him so great. You know that’s his mindset, he’s always with the team, and he’s kept us in so many games, he’s been huge for us for so many years, so it’s great to be a part of that game to be a part of 200, and let’s get to 300 [wins].”
Rimando’s 200th win didn’t come easy, as D.C. United jumped out to an early lead before things went south for Ben Olsen’s team when Joseph Mora was sent off after video review determined malicious intent on a tackle from behind.
The win was important for the Claret and Cobalt, as they got back on track after losing two games in a row and Rimando accomplished his milestone in front of the home crowd.
“It’s special. We’ve played a lot of games here, had a lot of special moments and played a lot of years here and to do it in front of those fans is special,” Rimando said.
“They’ve had my back and supported me through so many years. Again, I’m lucky to play here and play in front of those fans, to do it in front of the them on this special night is something to remember for a long time,” Rimando said.
While plenty has changed recently at Real Salt Lake, Rimando has been a stalwart in net, and he is usually reliable for one or two massive saves per game, including penalty stops, which you can argue he is the best in the league at making.
Rimando’s legacy will last forever in MLS lore, as few goalkeepers will ever come close to matching his longevity and production in net.
The 38-year-old is the all-time MLS leader in wins, shutouts (139) and saves (1,563). The closest active goalkeeper to Rimando in most of those categories is Stefan Frei, who has 728 career saves, 83 wins and 60 shutouts. Even if the Seattle Sounders goalkeeper plays five or more seasons in MLS, he’d have a hard time eclipsing the marks set by Rimando.
What Rimando brings to the table is far more than numbers, he’s been a symbol of Real Salt Lake since its institution and a leader for the club, especially as it goes through a youth movement in every other aspect of the field.
Rimando’s impact on Major League Soccer is immense, and it might not be matched by anyone ever, and the best part is we still get to enjoy the record-setting netminders marvel us with ridiculous saves every week, which is something we sometimes take for granted, but will always appreciate when remembering his career.