• Saturday Jul 27, 2013

    Rimando savoring U.S. Gold Cup run

    By Michael Lewis

    CHICAGO -- On a national team that boasts quality goalkeepers such as Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, finding playing time is no easy task.

    That is why getting an extended run at the CONCACAF Gold Cup has been so enjoyable for Nick Rimando.

    The Real Salt Lake star has often found himself behind both of the English Premier League standouts on U.S. rosters. During the Americans' run to the final against Panama at Soldier Field on Sunday, however, Rimando has played in four games, allowing three goals and recording one shutout.

    "It's great to get on the field, finally," Rimando said prior to U.S. practice at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Friday afternoon. "There are some great goalkeepers ahead of me right now. I'm playing well with my club team and my club team is the reason why I'm here. I don't get to showcase all time for Jurgen [Klinsmann, the coach] because of the goalkeepers in front of me.

    "When the time comes you've got to be able to turn it on, take your opportunity and really go with it. So, playing consistency and playing with this team is a chance to really show Jurgen what I can do on the field."

    The 34-year-old has been enjoying one of his best club seasons, leading Major League Soccer with a 0.82 goals-against average and six shutouts. Entering this weekend's action at the New York Red Bulls, RSL has accrued the most points in the league (37).

    After earning his first cap in 2002 against El Salvador, Rimando waited seven years before wearing the red, white and blue again. Until this Gold Cup, he was used sparingly, but now has made 11 appearances.

    Not surprisingly, Rimando is treasuring the experience of participating in CONCACAF’s premier event.

    "It's great because you always try to judge yourself a bit on how you perform with the national team," he noted. "It's different playing with your club team than the national team. This tournament has given me the confidence that I can play with this group of guys. We could get results and possibly win a tournament. That's great for the confidence, but it’s also great for the players on this team trying to make that World Cup roster.”

    Panama enters the game undefeated at 4-1-0, allowing a tournament-low three goals. Additionally, it is the only team to beat both the U.S. and Mexico in Gold Cup history. The Canaleros handed the U.S. its only first-round Gold Cup loss in the 2011, winning, 2-1.  The U.S., though, has eliminated Panama in each of the competition’s last four editions.

    The 5-9, 184-lb. Rimando said Panama is a "Tough team. Organized. Big. Strong. A team that's probably for this tournament as much as we are. In the back of their minds, it might be the Seattle qualifier that we won. I think they're a group that's similar to the one that's in Seattle and looking to take that cup away from us."

    Winning the Gold Cup will have further rewards for the victor, which will clinch a playoff berth for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup against the 2015 Gold Cup champion.

     Rimando isn't thinking that far in advance. He’s focused on only one thing on Sunday.

     "I think it's in the back of the minds, but it's not something that we're really thinking about yet," he said. "We've got to win the game on Sunday first and then that comes into play."

  • Champions League

    Related News



RELATED NEWS YOU'LL LIKE

Grenada targets Gold Cup return

Of the 24 teams to have participated in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, only seven came from the Caribbean.

Elite Referees Course - Gold Cup 2015

Grenada, T&T battle to 2-2 draw in friendly

Marcus Joseph scored late to give Trinidad & Tobago a 2-2 draw with host Grenada in an international friendly on Saturday at the Grenada Athletics Stadium.

Guyana has eye on Gold Cup

With the aim of qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time, Guyana trained Friday with nearly a full squad for its CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup, first-round clash on March 22 against visiting Group 5 rival Anguilla.

Grenada primed for T&T test

Grenada hosts Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday in a friendly hoping that the occasion provides a springboard for success ahead of the opening round of qualifying in the CFU Caribbean Cup.