Of all the ways Nick Rimando could have tied the all-time Major League Soccer record for most shutouts, who would've believed it would happen the way it did on Saturday night in Colorado?
But playing with just 10 men for another 47-plus minutes, Rimando & Co. managed to shut down Colorado for the one-goal win and tie the record for clean sheets at 112.
“Whenever you get three points on the road, especially with the circumstances that we had on the field with 10 men, it feels really great,” Rimando said in a postgame television interview.
He fended off 22 shots by the Rapids — six on goal; some downright dangerous. RSL had just 35 percent of the possession as the visitors fought off wave after wave of Colorado attacks.
And, finally, Rimando matched the record of 112 shutouts first achieved by retired keeper Kevin Hartman —a record he's been oh-so-close to since shutout No. 111 back on April 19.
“We've been trying to do it now for a little while,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar told reporters with a laugh. “For Nicky to get it and kind of get that over with is something. The accomplishment that he's achieved tonight is unbelievable and his play tonight was unbelievable.”
“He really came up big in the times that we need it.”
It wasn't like he wasn't tested. In the 28th minute, it appeared nearly certain that Colorado forward Deshorn Brown would score when he slipped by Maund. But Rimando made himself big and Brown skied it over the net.
And Rimando's best save came in the 94th minute. Brown — who had been frustrated by the RSL defense in general and Nat Borchers in particular all night long — rifled a shot from 20 yards out that Rimando managed to fend off.
But it escaped the goalkeeper's grip, forcing him to pounce on it as Rapids defender Drew Moor followed the ball and gave Rimando a shot in the arm in the process.
According to Rimando, it was all in a day's work.
“A shutout's a shutout,” he said. “For me, the ingredients for a shutout are the guys in front of me. If that's 112 or one tonight, the effort in front of me was fantastic. And to do it in the fashion of a player down, it feels good to get that monkey off my back.”
At least until the next game on Saturday, when he goes after sole possession of the record.
Saturday night wasn't just about Rimando, however. Not only did RSL move back into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference, but the team also reclaimed the Rocky Mountain Cup — symbol of supremacy in the RSL-Rapids rivalry — winning it for the seventh time in the last eight years.
“Colorado really threw everything at us, but our guys stood still and defended it awesome,” Cassar said.