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Sandy • Nick Rimando has always told Jurgen Klinsmann that he's a phone call away. So last week, the U.S. men's national team coach took the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper up on it.
Before the U.S. men's national team faced Ecuador in the Copa America Centenario quarterfinal Thursday in Seattle, Klinsmann phoned RSL coach Jeff Cassar to ask if the RSL shot-stopper could serve as a guest goalkeeper coach. Rimando, whose became a regular under Klinsmann the past five years has 21 caps with the U.S. and was part of the 2014 World Cup roster in Brazil.
"When your national team coach thinks of you, that you can bring something to the team if it's not on the bench, it's in the locker room or maybe for some advice or some support it says a lot about what he thinks about me," Rimando said.
Not in the final Copa America 23-man roster, Rimando took a flight to Seattle after training Thursday and within hours of landing, was at CenutryLink Field with a credential that dubbed him a coach on the U.S. bench. His reputation in penalty kick situations is not lost on anyone in U.S. Soccer, so once he agreed to go, he started studying up on tendencies of Ecuador's players.
The U.S. eked out a 2-1 win over Ecuador to earn its first berth in a Copa America semifinal round since 1995.
Which begs the question: Will Rimando be asked to reprise his guest role Tuesday night in Houston at NRG Stadium against Argentina?
Klinsmann has phoned Cassar to ask. But RSL's head coach has not given a definitive answer yet. RSL hosts the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night, which could be cutting it close.
"We've always got to do what's going to be best for us, as well as helping out the national team," Cassar said.
Rimando said Friday that a trip Houston where the U.S. will face Lionel Messi and Argentina is "up in the air right now." But he is looking at flights at the chance RSL gives him another green light.
Ned Grabavoy returned to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night for the first time since RSL parted ways with the veteran midfielder in Dec. 2014. The 32-year-old midfielder signed as a free agent with the Portland Timbers this offseason after spending the 2015 season with New York City FC. Grabavoy, who spent six seasons at RSL, was injured during NYCFC's lone visit to Utah last year.
"It's always great to see Ned," Rimando said. "He was a big part of this club."
Grabavoy started his fourth match of 2016 against RSL Saturday night.
RSL midfielder Sunday Stephen returned to the starting lineup after reaggravating an ankle injury on June 8. RSL entered Saturday night 6-2-2 when "Sunny" starts in central midfield.