HERRIMAN — When Nick Rimando learned from his coach on Monday that he was one of two commissioner’s picks for this year’s MLS All-Star Game, the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper said his initial impression was surprise.
He even suggested to coach Mike Petke after receiving the news that because he’s retiring, maybe the honor go to a younger player, of which Petke quickly interrupted saying, “What are you talking about? This is a great honor.”
For the most decorated goalkeeper in MLS history, Petke said the choice was “a given.”
“He’s a guy who owns the position in MLS history and won’t be touched for a while, so I think it’s an unbelievable honor for him," Petke said. "It’s the right thing to do and not only that, he’s earned it. I’m ecstatic for Nick and I think it’s a great honor."
In his 20th season, Rimando is the MLS all-time leader in shutouts (146), saves (1,662), wins (213) and games played (497). He will be his ninth all-star selection.
This year’s all-star game will be played on Wednesday, July 31, in Orlando, with the MLS All-Stars taking on Spain's Atletico Madrid.
“I’m going to enjoy every bit of it. It will be my last and hopefully I can go out there and represent the club and my teammates and everyone well,” said Rimando, who said he’s excited to have his two kids attend the game with him to soak in the experience.
Rimando said that with two other keepers on the roster — Atlanta’s Brad Guzan and Philadelphia’s Andre Blake — he doesn’t know how much he’ll actually play but he’s looking forward to the opportunity, nonetheless.
“They're always exciting when you can get into games like these. A lot of people have been reaching out and saying I deserve this recognition. I appreciate that,” said Rimando.
Rimando’s 60.4 save percentage and 1.83 goals against are slightly higher than in past years, but he’s looked sharper in recent matches after he missed a month earlier this season with a knee injury.
After Tuesday’s practice, Rimando was asked if getting the all-star nod in his last season has him reflecting on his decorated 20-year career, but he reiterated what he’s been saying all season: that’s a discussion for the end of the season.
Rimando said with half the season remaining and RSL currently in a playoff position, his focus is on this Saturday’s match against Kansas City and strengthening RSL’s position in the standings.
“I want to focus on the season, the club and obviously making the playoffs and hopefully making a run to the cup,” Rimando said.