By Jared Bray, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
March 21, 2014
SANDY, Utah – Nick Rimando wears No. 18 for Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, but the figure that soccer fans really associate him with these days is 109.
Since he joined the league 14 years ago, the Filipino-American has collected 109 shutouts, which is just four shy of breaking an MLS record.
His latest clean sheet came when he shut out the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first game of the 2014 season by making nine saves, including a game-winning block on a penalty kick in stoppage time.
He should break the record later this season.
“It’s out of my mind right now,” Rimando said after a recent practice. “Just focus on the team and winning, and when you do that, the shutouts come, and so I’m just focusing on my defense and organizing, and I’m sure once that shutout comes, everybody will let me know.”
Thanks to his performance between the pipes, several analysts believe the 34-year-old has a solid shot at making the U.S. national team’s roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
It would be Rimando’s first World Cup.
“It’s something I take very deeply to heart because I’ve worked so hard to get to that point,” he said, “and hopefully I make that roster because it would be a dream come true.”
The California native was a part of the team when the Stars-and-Stripes officially qualified for the World Cup last summer. In six games, he collected six wins, two shutouts, and a 0.67 goals against average.
“Whenever you can be in camp or on the roster for a national team and represent your country, it feels great, and to be a part of the World Cup qualifying team and to possibly be a part of the Brazil team for the World Cup, it’s an honor,” Rimando said.
Rimando is currently projected to be the team’s third-string goalkeeper behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan.
Team officials are expected to announce the final roster in May.