On the bright side, there is now zero chance that Nick Rimando will have to wear that neon orange uniform he hates so much when Real Salt Lake plays at Chicago on Wednesday night.
That’s because he won’t play.
The veteran goalkeeper did not make the trip with his teammates Monday because of a shoulder injury suffered in a 2-1 home victory over New England last weekend, leaving backup Kyle Reynish to make his first start of the season against the Fire. Midfielder Will Johnson didn’t go, either, because he must serve a one-game suspension for his red card ejection against the Revolution.
“I’m always excited whenever I get some minutes,” Reynish said.
Rimando and his coaches hope that by leaving him home to get treatment for his injury, he will be ready to rejoin the team for its game at Seattle on Saturday. “We’re just being cautious,” Rimando wrote on Twitter. “I’ll be ready to go” against the Sounders.
While RSL is 7-3-1 this season, the Fire are 3-2-2 in their first full season under coach Frank Klopas. They’re coming off a 2-1 win at Chivas USA that Klopas missed because of a suspension for being sent off the field against Seattle the previous weekend.
Reynish has made only four Major League Soccer regular-season starts in five years with RSL, but he has been pretty solid when called upon. He’s 1-0-3 with just two goals allowed in that span, and allowed just three goals in five starts in the reserve division last season.
“Kyle is probably one of the most underappreciated players in the league,” coach Jason Kreis said, “just because he doesn’t play that often.”
Kreis said Rimando was injured making a crucial save late in the game, helping RSL preserve a victory in the first of three games in eight days.
“All in all, I think it was worth it,” Kreis said. “Earned us two extra points” in the standings.
Kreis said he had been looking for an opportunity to give Reynish a game, so this might work out well as long as Rimando can recover as quickly as the team hopes.
Rimando started all but one game last season for RSL, and has played all 990 minutes for the team so far this season, with a 1.09 goals-against average — that’s exactly his average for all of last season — and three shutouts.
Without Johnson, the coaching staff will have some lineup decisions to make in the midfield.
In all likelihood, Jonny Steele will simply step in for Johnson, as Kreis acknowledged that a long dearth of league games starting next week might make it easier for him to rely on his regulars throughout this week — rather than shuffle the lineup much — knowing they will get plenty of rest soon.
RSL at Chicago
P Wednesday, 6:30 p.m, CW30