SAN DIEGO – The Brazilian star Kaka won the MVP award at the MLS All-Stars game, but he said the player who literally saved the team was goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the defeat by 2-1 against Tottenham.
[quote_box_center]“He was unbelievable. I think he saved the game,” said Kaka, who scored a goal and had an assist. “The (22nd-minute stop) was amazing. The second one was great as well. But the first one was amazing and it would’ve probably been the tie, 1-1. We have to say thank you to him because in the end he saved the team.”[/quote_box_center]
[quote_box_center]“He’s a tremendous competitor,” said Dax McCarty “Obviously, he’s been one of the best goalkeepers in the league for a while now, and the guy just wants to be on the field. You can just tell how competitive he is in training, you can tell how competitive he is in games, he hates giving up goals.[/quote_box_center]
During the game, he made three huge saves to help the MLS All-Stars win the game. All three of them came from the same player, Spurs forward Harry Kane, and what’s most impressive is that Nick played throughout the game with pain.
Kane even went up to Rimando after the game to congratulate him on the amazing performance.
[quote_box_center]“He was possibly not going to play tonight because he had a knee injury and he couldn’t really kick the ball,” said MLS All-Stars head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “I said to him, ‘Listen I’m not making any decision. You’e got a lot of experience I’m going to leave it on you to decide whether or not you play.’[/quote_box_center]
Rimando, just like every other player was subbed off at halftime, playing only for a total of 45 minutes.
Nick started having knee problems after a contusion to his right MCL during the last day of the U.S. Gold Cup campaign, and also missed a Real Salt Lake game on Friday because of the injury. Even though the 36 year old was not feeling 100%, he still enjoyed playing.
[quote_box_center]“These games are fun, you want to be part of these games,” said Rimando. “Some of these guys, it’s special to step on the field with, so I wasn’t going to waste that opportunity.”[/quote_box_center]
Nick is from Montclair, California, played in college for UCLA and is now at MLS club Real Salt Lake and also on the U.S. Men’s National Team squad. He had his first cap in the senior team in 2002, even though he had played as a back up for Tim Howard with the USYNT in 1999. He started getting attention at the national level again in 2009 after an amazing MLS performance and in 2010 he was invited to train for the World Cup, however he didn’t make it to the tournament. He was selected for the 2014 World Cup roster, but did not make any appearances. He has made a few other appearances here and there, as he was the first choice in the 2013 Gold Cup but is now a third choice keeper under Jurgen Klinsmann command.