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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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Rimando surprised by Real Salt Lake's quick jump from loser to champion

How times have changed for Nick Rimando.

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The Real Salt Lake goal keeper arrived in 2007 from D.C. United just in time for a complete club meltdown and a 6-15-9 record.

Now, RSL is playing in its third conference final in four years.

"To be completely honest, I wouldn't have thought [this would happen]," he said. "When I came in an saw where we were at and how we were playing, I didn't think we were going to be here at all."

Rimando credits the coaching staff and front office for drastically improving the team, which won a MLS Cup in 2009.

"We've got that winning mentality now," Rimando said. "Once you win that first championship, it's addicting."

Rimando is shooting for his third title, having also won one with D.C.

But Rimando isn't the only one surprised by how far RSL has come in such a short time. Coach Jason Kreis didn't see it happening so soon, either.

"No," he said. "I think I'm the kind of person who likes to keep his nose down and be very focused on the very next step. When we started, we focused on trying to get this team to be competitive. We've managed to be a couple steps ahead of the plan all along."



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