HERRIMAN, Utah — It took facing the possibility of his final game for Nick Rimando to experience something new on the pitch. He’ll have to go through it again on Wednesday in Seattle. The prospect of ending his career in 90 minutes or pushing ahead for another game hangs in the balance at kickoff. That unknown is something he wasn’t expecting to have to think about.
“The unknown of not knowing if you’re ever going to step on that pitch again or be in that locker room is always going to be there until we lose or until we win,” Rimando said. “Just go with the flow.”
A 2-1 win for Real Salt Lake over the Portland Timbers on Saturday gave Rimando another game in his career, something he was grateful for, but he’s facing that same unknown on Wednesday, the Western Conference Semifinals against the Seattle Sounders (10 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes in US; TSN1/4, TVAS in Canada) in a place where one of his greatest achievements with RSL took place.
Rimando announced that he would retire following the season before it started, marking an end to a legendary career that will end with him holding nearly every goalkeeping record there is in MLS. One of his crowning achievements is winning MLS Cup in 2009 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. While that’s a great memory for the 40-year-old, he isn’t counting on it mattering much on Wednesday.
“Every game brings its own elements, this one, it’s the playoffs,” Rimando said. “On both sides, everybody is up for it.”
While RSL isn’t quite at "Win one for Nick" status yet, his upcoming retirement does represent the end of an era for the club, something that will be tough to replace as Rimando has been the full-time starter for the club for the last 13 seasons. The club has played a total of 15 seasons.
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RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman and Rimando have been teammates since 2007 and the two helped the club win one title, finish second in the 2011 Concacaf Champions League and reach the playoffs in 10 of the last 12 seasons. But Beckerman is hoping that this will not be the last time he steps on the field with his goalkeeper.
“I still remember [MLS Cup in Seattle],” RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. “I think it’s only Nick and myself now. We’re looking to make a new memory. This would be a huge moment for this club to get a win on Wednesday and moving forward with the young guys to get a big, big playoff win Wednesday would be something.”