19 years in, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando shows he's still got it

SANDY, Utah – Watching Nick Rimando keep a clean sheet against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday reminded everyone of two things: how great Rimando is and that he can’t play forever.

Real Salt Lake center back Justen Glad started taking goal kicks in the first half after Rimando felt some sensitivity in his adductor. That didn’t limit his shot stopping ability though, as Rimando made four big saves – two of the spectacular variety – to keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“He’s somebody that comes up huge. He’s a leader from the back, and we were fortunate he was able to finish the game and he came up huge for us,” RSL head coach Mike Petke said after the match.

Saturday’s performance wasn’t anything MLS watchers hadn’t seen before, but it is consistently what Rimando brings in goal. In his 19th season, he’s focused on what’s in front of him rather than when it may be over.

“It’s one game at a time. I don’t put a limit on how long I’m going to play or when I’m going to hang them up,” Rimando said. “You train during the week to perform on Saturdays when the games are and that’s what I focus on.”

His on-the-field performance still speaks for itself, but spend time watching him in goal and perhaps he's done it all – until the next game rolls around.

“It got to a point where I didn’t think he could impress me anymore,” said former teammate Chris Wingert, who was honored at halftime on Saturday. “He continues to do so. It just seems to happen week in and week out. He makes the spectacular saves and keeps them in the game and really wins it for them.”

That’s been happening to Wingert for 11 years. Glad has only played in front of Rimando for four and he doesn’t know what else to say when the 38-year-old remains a big reason for three points.

“Nothing surprises me from this guy, I have seen it all,” Glad said.

Petke doesn’t have anything new to say, either. In addition to a flair for the spectacular, it's Rimando's consistency that has impressed.

“Just go back and listen to what I have said and what everybody has said about Nick over the last 18 years,” Petke said.

Maybe the only person who has anything new to say is Rimando himself. Why he’s back in Salt Lake for his 19th season in MLS even though he already holds every major career goalkeeping record. Why he’s still playing when he’ll be 39 this June. Why he’s a pillar of consistency for Real Salt Lake, on and off the field.

“For me I want to win more cups and more championships. I came back because I want to win championships and I want to win games. I’m not done yet and that’s what drives me,” he explained.