SANDY, Utah — Most goalkeepers are content to pick out a target, a big body from restarts. Nick Rimando is not most 'keepers.
On Saturday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Real Salt Lake netminder unleashed a 60-yard gem to Joao Plata from a quickly taken goal kick that resulted in a second-assist on the home side's 47th-minute goal.
Even more impressive, it's just the latest instance in which Rimando has come up big on the other end of the field: Four of Rimando's seven career assists have been game-winners.
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"That's one of the big reasons, and there's a lot of reasons we like Nick Rimando, but one of the big reasons I like him is how good he is with his feet," head coach Jason Kreis said following his team's 2-0 win against the Whitecaps. "He can often times start counterattacks for us and make good tactical decisions with the ball when he has it. He can be a real steadying influence for us because we always feel like we have an extra man to pass back to. Kudos to him, and what a great, great pass."
Rimando deflected most of the credit on the goal, but it was a pass not many in his position could make.
"I saw Plata making a nice run. Their guys were up from a free kick and there was a lot of space on my right side of the field high," RImando said. "I just kicked it, and they did all the rest."
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Of course, he'll probably take a bit more pride in the shutout, No. 102 of his career, closing in on the all-time MLS mark of 112 set by Kevin Hartman. There is no doubt Rimando is one of the best at stopping goals, but the Southern California native has said before that he still feels he could be, or could have been, a field player.
"[I take] a lot of pride in that," said Rimando. "I think having an extra man back there and having the players confident in you, to play you and not just to give the ball back to the other team, is a big luxury for sure, and I think they recognize that and that's the way we play. Sometimes you can't be too fancy back there and hit some long balls, but today worked out. It worked out in a good way and in points we needed."