SANDY, Utah – Before Real Salt Lake's game against Colorado on Saturday, there was a brief ceremony honoring Nick Rimando's 100th career shutout, which he got in the season-opening win over San Jose.
Rimando was unable to post No. 101 in the team's 1-1 draw with the Rapids, but he certainly deserves some accolades for helping RSL salvage a point at a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium.
"Nick's always big for us,” team captain Kyle Beckerman said. "I say it again, and again: He is one of the best in the league. "He's done it for years now. I think maybe that's why he doesn't get as much credit as he should is because it is just expected of him.
"We need him. He's huge for us, and we'll need him more as the season goes on."
RSL needed their US national team 'keeper more than it would have liked against their Rocky Mountain Cup Rivals. Rimando was credited with five saves, but head coach Jason Kreis said "it felt like there were about 14."
After RSL fell behind in the 37th minute on a goal from Deshorn Brown, they pushed forward with a flurry, which created many chances – for both teams. The attack opened up big spaces for Colorado to counter, and without Rimando making heroic saves, the team wouldn't have had a chance to even things in the 80th minute with Álvaro Saborío's third goal on the season.
"They are going to get their opportunities when we are throwing everything at 'em trying to get that tying goal and a go-ahead goal," Rimando said. "So I just try to keep my team in it and make the saves I can make. Tonight, in the second half I was able to make those saves and able to keep our team in the game."
Rimando had nearly point-blank saves against Brown, Atiba Harris, Tony Cascio and Nick LaBrocca. The last save – an 89th-minute save on Harris that kept the 1-1 scoreline intact – was arguably the biggest, but also his most surprising.
"I got one right off the chest and stomach," he said. "It knocked the wind out of me."
While RSL are always disappointed with anything less than three points at home, they can be happy they got the one point in big part thanks to Rimando, who will be departing for the US camp this week for preparation for World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica on the 22nd in Colorado and Mexico on the 26th in Mexico City.
"I think he is being considered I think for the national team at the exact right time for next weekend's match," said Kreis. "I'm really, really pleased with his performance and pleased that we were able to recognize him tonight."