Mind Games: Just back from UMSNT duty, Nick Rimando helps Real Salt Lake preserve their point

SANDY, Utah -- Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando was in the Netherlands just 48 hours ago, watching the US national team record a historic first victory over the Dutch. But he hurried back to Utah to make the 383rd start of his storied Major League Soccer career.

It’s a good thing that he did.

With their Rocky Mountain Cup game against the Colorado Rapids deadlocked in the final minutes Sunday, RSL defender Aaron Maund was whistled for a penalty for taking down Rapids forward Luis Solignac.

Luckily for RSL, they had Rimando in net. And it was Dillon Powers who had the unenviable task of trying to kick a ball past the league’s best penalty stopper. Powers slowly approached the ball and actually got Rimando to guess the wrong way. Maybe it was luck, or maybe it was Rimando’s menacing aura, but Powers put his shot wide of the target as RSL survived with a point in a 0-0 draw.

On the season, Rimando has now conceded only two goals on five penalty kick attempts.

“It’s definitely different than any other year,” Rimando said after the match. “I haven’t faced this many PKS in a while, but it is what it is. The calls are there. That was a PK and you can’t argue it.”

Rimando landed in Salt Lake City on Saturday afternoon, and RSL head coach Jeff Cassar told him to give him a call so they could talk about how the veteran goalkeeper felt. Rimando relayed that he felt ready to go, so the decision was made to start him the following day against the Rapids.

Rimando ended up earning his 121st career shutout -- but was frustrated, yet again, with the final result.

“You’ve got to win your home games,” he said. “We didn’t do that tonight and we’ve just got to continue to fight and hopefully get those points back somewhere along the line.”

On the other end of the field, Sunday’s match marked the first time all season that the preferred pairing of Joao Plata, Alvaro Saborio and Sebastian Jaime started together, but RSL’s attack was only able to conjure up one shot on goal all match long. Cassar said that he thought the attacking trio played well considering what they were dealing with.

“I thought they did a good job,” Cassar said. “But you can still see that they’re not quite 90 minutes fit and they’re having to go 90 minutes. That’s tough, especially when you have to make a substitution in the back line a minute into the game. That really throws off your plans.”

RSL’s starting center back Jamison Olave picked up a knock and was forced to come off just six minutes into the game. Maund, his eventual replacement committed the foul that led to the penalty chance, before Rimando helped bail him out.

“I would’ve never thought we were going to lose that game,” Cassar said. “Sure enough, we almost did and then we almost won it a little bit later. It’s definitely a coaching point and it’s something to learn on. Thank goodness this is one of the few times that we haven’t paid for our mistakes.”