In wake of final MLS All-Star selection, Nick Rimando still taking season ‘a game at a time’

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) as Real Salt Lake hosts Toronto FC, MLS Soccer at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday May 18, 2019.

Herriman • Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando is in his 20th season in Major League Soccer. He’s won MLS Cup with two teams and appeared in the postseason 13 times.

And yet, even after he was named to the All-Star team in his farewell season, which just entered its second half, Rimando still won’t address his retirement or legacy publicly. He has maintained that that type of talk will only come after the season is over.

“I’m taking it a game at a time,” Rimando said Tuesday after training. "This is another game to showcase not only myself, but the club. We have a whole half a season to go. I think I’ll reflect after the season and not think about it too much.”

Rimando was one of two players selected to the All-Star team by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The veteran goalkeeper, who holds several all-time league records at his position, said he found out about the selection through the club, not from Garber.

RSL coach Mike Petke said he had the privilege of informing Rimando that he was going to represent the club at the game, which is July 31 in Orlando. Rimando’s humility showed in subsequent conversations about the selection, Petke said.

“At first, he went through a whole bunch of emotions,” Petke said of Rimando. “He was saying certain things to me about, ‘Maybe it’s good if a young guy gets in instead.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about? This is a great honor.’ He knew it. He was just doing the humble thing.”

Rimando indicated that he will definitely make the trip to Orlando to play in the game despite two RSL games bookending the All-Star game — July 27 at FC Dallas and Aug. 3 against New York City FC.

“Looking at the [All-Star] roster now, there’s three goalkeepers on that roster,” Rimando said. “I think my time will be limited on the field. Nothing to worry about, I think.”

Rimando pointed to overall professionalism when asked if he would actively take time to rest during the All-Star trip.

“I think we’re going to all enjoy being down at the All-Star game,” Rimando said. “But … these games on both ends … we have to prepare for those games as well. And I’ll do that the same way [as] if we had a midweek game on a Wednesday for RSL.”

Regardless of the scheduling, Rimando wants to soak in the experience of this particular All-Star game.

“This is my last one,” Rimando said, “so I’m going to enjoy it.”


When • Saturday, 8 p.m.


RSL looking to capitalize on upcoming home stretch

RSL played 10 of its first 16 games on the road, and currently have a playoff spot to show for it. General manager Craig Waibel said recently that the club’s position was respectable due to the aforementioned schedule.

But starting with Saturday’s game against Sporting Kansas City, Salt Lake will have eight of the next 11 games at home. The team believes this could be a good opportunity to make up some ground.

“I think if you ask all of us in the locker room, we want to be a little bit higher and believe we can be,” Rimando said. “So these games at home are crucial and we want to on the points for sure.”

Petke said before last Saturday’s draw against the Chicago Fire that he was trying shore up the team’s pressing defense. In the draw, Petke said he thought the team “struggled a bit” with that.

Petke thinks the upcoming stretch of home games will give RSL ample opportunity to work on that press.

“At home, we need to see a bit more of that,” Petke said.