Portland, Ore. • When Major League Soccer and Bayern Munich rolled into town this week, Timbers fan Kris Carpenter sought out an autograph from just one all-star: Nick Rimando.
Yes, that Nick Rimando. The Real Salt Lake keeper who’s 8-1-2 all time against Portland. The Timbers nemesis who’s allowed just three goals in four matches at Providence Park. So why would Carpenter, a 28-year-old member of Timbers Army since 2007, carry such regard for a star who’s enjoyed so much success against his club?
"Everyone I know has nothing but absolute respect—and a little fear of him anytime we play [RSL]," Carpenter says. "For 90 minutes, I hate him."
Otherwise, Carpenter says, his feelings for Rimando are far from adversarial. And according to the U.S. National Teamer, it’s a shared admiration.
"They definitely show their love for me here," said Rimando, who makes a habit of applauding Timbers Army after each match in Portland. He said he admires Portland fans’ energy and passion—"not only for the Timbers," he said during training on Tuesday afternoon, "but to show the world that we have great fans here [in the U.S.]. It’s a mutual respect I have for them and they have for me."
Rimando says Portland fans most often reach out to him on social media, and the past week has brought even more real-life interactions with Timbers backers who simply want to shake the hand of a worthy rival. A few have even lobbied Rimando to eventually make The Rose City his home.
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