Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rimando the Magnificent ...

Experience, experience, experience ... and then some awesome goalkeeping by Nick Rimando turned the 2009 MLS Playoffs upside down.
The dream final of Los Angeles vs. Chicago came to an end last night at the Fire's home stadium - Toyota Park.

No Beckham vs. Blanco ... no Galaxy vs. Fire ... no Hollywood vs. the Windy City ... instead it's the upstart Cinderella REAL SALT LAKE going to the final in Seattle.

While Chicago's veterans - Brian McBride and Cuautemouc Blanco played the entire 120 long minutes into extra time - RLS' no name players stood firm shutting down the home team FIRE.

Nick Rimando, winner of MLS Cup 2004 - then with DC UNITED, faced seven penalty kicks in the shootout - because the pressure looked to get to both Fire and RSL takers - each team missing two in the appointed round of five kicks. But Nick Rimando had different plans.

When it looked bleakest - after the first miss by Salt Lake's Javier Morales, Nick was the first to run up to him and seemed to say "don't worry, I'll win it". He was spot on correct.

Amazingly, Rimando guessed correctly ALL 7 times which way the Chicago penalty kicks went. He got close on several occasions and in doing so saved a whopping 3 of the PK's ! (like his fantastic GOAL GUARDS card above)
REAL SALT LAKE will appear in their first MLS Cup final and take on the stars of the Galaxy - at least the ones in Los Angeles.

On a card note - MLS has original photos available (with hologram) on line. I just happened to find one that was used for Nick Rimando's 2008 Upper Deck card. How cool is that ?

NEXT UP: MLS Cup reviews.

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