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This save from Nick Rimando is proof: RSL’s veteran keeper is deep in ‘The Zone’

Mar 16, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT

Nick Rimando, apparently not content with the season’s first Player of the Week honor, put in an early candidate for Save of the Year in San Jose, denying Chris Wondolowski with a first half, reflex save that leaves us looking beyond Major League Soccer for comparables.

Left with nothing but his reflexes and luck while stranded at point-blank range, Rimando ultimately didn’t need the luck. Reacting instantly to his fellow U.S. international’s far post flick, Rimando “wax offed” the San Jose captain’s try, denying the former Most Valuable Player his second goal of the night.

Yeah, perhaps we’re making too much of this one, but after Rimando saved a stoppage time penalty last week in Carson to preserve Real Salk Lake’s 1-0 win, the U.S. international appears to have started the season in the zone. Unless you give the Goalkeeper of the Year finalist absolutely no chance (as, to their credit, San Jsoe has done twice tonight), Rimando’s keeping your shot out of goal. At 34, the veteran keeper is at the top of his game.

In ancient times (the 1980s), they called this type of performance “The Glow.” Maybe, just maybe, Rimando is the Last Dragon? Come next week against Los Angeles, he may be ready to catch bullets.

  1. mvktr2 - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:17 AM

    While I tend to agree with the article perhaps a picture of the goalie with his eyes open would be a better fit? Then again perhaps the definition of an in the zone keeper is making point blank saves with your eyes closed.

  2. dfstell - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    It’s a nice save. But I generally think commentators make too much out of point break reflex saves where the ball is at head/shoulder height. It’s still amazing that he is that fast, but lots of people are that fast. You just have to move your hand 2 feet. It’s like if someone threw a ball at your from 10 feet away and it was a little to the side of your body and you just managed to put your hands on it. Impressive, but save of the year? Nah….

    It’s a ton more impressive to me when keepers make a save where they have to get down. Not so much the diving, full extension save, but the point blank ones from a similar distance to what Rimando did. David De Gea did one a few weeks ago….bam…..he was on the ground to stab a ball around the post. Those are complex saves: moving your feet, collapsing, landing in position, timing, etc.

    What IS impressive about Rimando there is how well he controlled the space. He was perfectly positioned, not just in line with the ball, but he had the right distance. Closer and he probably isn’t fast enough to make the save. Further and he hasn’t closed the angle.

    I’m not hating on it. It’s a really nice save. I’m just saying that it’s frustrating to see these types of saves get more credit than the really hard ones. Rec league keepers make these saves because they still have quick hands. They can’t make lots of the other saves Rimando makes because they can’t move their feet and get down as incredibly as he does.

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