Nick Rimando is always buoyant about keeping a clean sheet. Most goalkeepers are.
To be fair, the Real Salt Lake shot stopper is normally a happy soul but he had special reason to be content with the blank scoreline he obtained against the Sounders.
In front of Rimando were some new faces that night, centre half Kwame Watson-Siriboe, and left back Kenny Mansally. Both had solid, some may say outstanding debuts. In fact, both had the opportunity to make piercing forays into the Sounders half.
Rimando talked to us at training about the new look defence and emerging from that losing streak:
You had two new defenders in front of you on Wednesday, and you still kept a clean sheet. How good is that?
“It’s great. For those guys to come in, step up and show what they can bring to the team, is huge for their confidence, but also for the club to know that they can rely on them when they need them to come in and replace some players that are hurt or injured or off away.”
They both made some good runs forward, too. Did you know that was part of their plan?
“That’s the way we play, especially our outside backs. They get up the field. We want them inside. We want them to play and support our offense. We get our offensive chances from our defensive efforts, and Kenny (Mansally) filled that role very well the other night.”
The three-game losing streak isn’t normal for this club. Did you feel the reaction was in proportion to the situation?
“Frustrated for the losses for sure. I think there was a lot of good soccer played in those (games) and mental errors that individuals put their hands up and said, ‘OK, we can do better.’ That habit’s back. There’s a lot of veterans on this team that know how to take losses. Three losses don’t come very usual with this team, but again, it happens in sports all the time, and to the best teams. Right now, we went through a slump, and we’re just looking to get back. That next game is Portland for us.”
Was the soccer you played on Wednesday better than you played during the losing streak?
“Yeah, 100 percent. We played good. Again, even during the losing streak, we had chances. If we put one, two of those away, it’s a different story for those games. Right now, we’re concentrated on the back half — we got the shutout the other night — but we want to start putting our chances away and burying teams, especially at home.”
You’ve got an unusual forward lineup against you in Kris Boyd and Danny Mwanga. As a goalkeeper, are you always aware of the forwards you’ll be up against.
“Yeah. Great forwards. Boyd came in here and proved himself quickly, scoring goals, getting on the end of crosses, making great runs. We’ve got to be aware of him. Mwanga as well. Fast kid, talented on the ball. Nagbe as well. So we’ve got to be aware of these guys, yeah, especially the players on their team. Their record doesn’t indicate how good that team is. All the players are fully aware of that, and we’ve got to go in there concentrated and defensive-minded, like we were on Wednesday night, but also we have to keep in mind that we get our offensive chances from our defensive effort.”