Prior to Saturday's match with Toronto FC, Deseret News writer James Edward caught up with Real Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando to talk about all things sports, from the MLS All-Star game, to European soccer, to the NBA playoffs.
Q. Since you guys moved into Rio Tinto Stadium in 2008, your all-time record in this building over all competitions is 43-7-12. What is it about your home stadium that has led to such dominance?
A. It's just home. Our fans have a big deal to do with that, for us coming in here and wanting to please them. Just being in our home locker room, just being comfortable in a place, if it's at our own house, apartment or whatever, you just feel balanced.
Q. The all-star game is still several months away, but many believe you're the front-runner to get the starting nod when the MLS All-Stars face Chelsea this summer in Philadelphia. After getting snubbed in the all-star selection process last year, is it important that you get that recognition this year?
A. It's always in the back of your head when you don't get the recognition that you deserve. But I've come to realize the recognition comes from the guys in front of me, the coaches and the guys in the office. If they support me and they know I should be No. 1 then that's more important. Obviously, it would be great to be recognized, but that will come with how well the team does.
Q. This is your 13th season in MLS. You rank in the top three or four of most significant all-time goalkeeping records. If you played for another five or six years, you might become the all-time leader in those categories. Are those things you think about?
A. Not really. I started kind of looking at that stuff last couple years just because people were giving me grief 'cause I'm so old, I'm the old guy on the team. Those stats kind of add up. If the team doesn't do good I'm not getting any of those stats or that credit. If I stick around there's no reason I can't be at the top, and there's no reason why I can't stick around. I feel like I'm playing great right now, and I feel like I'm consistent, and I think that's a big deal with goalkeeping and any kind of player. I think I have a good backing here in Salt Lake City. Who knows what happens, but I'm looking to be at the top of those goalkeeping stats.
Q. Everybody knows you're a big Lakers fan, so how deep into the playoffs do you think THEY WILL get this year, and then, do you give the Jazz any chance of beating the Spurs in the first round?
A. Do I give the Jazz any chance against the Spurs? I hope so. The Spurs are a great team, very veteran team. The last couple games the Jazz showed some heart, and I think we all know if you show some heart and battle out there with the best anything is possible. I hope they win, I support the local team, just not against my Lakers. My Lakers, it's a toss up. I'm not very convinced of them winning the title this year. But, when you have a player like Kobe on the team, special things happen. If Bynum can get rolling and Gasol can get his points and rebounds, they're still a dangerous team.
Q. Lastly, who're you predicting to win the Champions League final next month, and why?
A. I think I'm going to go with Chelsea. They were the big underdog. I like the underdogs. They weren't supposed to beat Barca and they did. Why not go with them the whole way.