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When Harry Met Nicky

Nick Rimando looks like someone you'd want on your side in a bar fight. He's short for a goalie, but sturdy. He's friendly, gregarious even, but he gives off a subtle intensity, which loses its subtlety when he steps in front of a soccer goal. That's his territory, where he's made his living in MLS since 2000 with (now defunct) Miami Fusion, D.C. United and Real Salt Lake. At 36, he's an MLS lifer at this point. 

Harry Kane looks like a member of the Royal Family. He would be Prince Harry if one of those didn't already exist. He's the golden boy of English soccer, a phenom who at age 21 was the second-leading-scorer in the Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur. Now 22, Harry is an international superstar. He's the draw, the one all these fans at the MLS All-Star Game have come to see.

Nick Rimando is not who the fans have come to see, unless they are from Salt Lake City of a member of his family. He's been in MLS for 4/5 of its existence. When he played his first game for the Miami Fusion, Harry Kane was six years old and probably just learning that he might be better at soccer than the other kids. 

Harry Kane and Nick Rimando are on the same field. It's the MLS All-Star Game. Harry Kane is a goal poacher who excels at finding little pockets of space when the center backs aren't watching, then finishing past a keeper who doesn't have a chance. Nick Rimando has been around the block a few times, and his positioning is perfect. Does Harry Kane know this? If not, he's about to find out.

It's the 22nd minute. Mousa Dembele wins the ball off Dax McCarty. Dembele, being hounded by DaMarcus Beasley, dribbles across the middle of the field and gives the ball up to Nacer Chadli. Chadli sends it into the middle where Golden Boy Harry Kane has found a pocket of space in front of the goal. The crowd noise swells, this is what they've come to see, and Harry Kane is about to give it to them. 

Except he doesn't because Nick Rimando is there. One absurd kick save later and the MLS All-Stars are counterattacking, which leads to a David Villa goal. The FOX announcer notes that it should be 1-1, but by virtue of Rimando it's now 2-0 to the MLS. 

It's the 34th minute. Nabil Bentaleb brings the ball up the field for Tottenham. He chips it wide for Christian Eriksen. Eriksen slides the ball past Beasley into the middle, where Kane has found another pocket of space. The crowd roars again. Sitting wide-open in front of the goal, surely this time Harry will not be denied. 

Surely he will. Rimando is there again, closing Harry's angle perfectly so the only place the ball can go is right into Rimando's midsection.

Harry breaks through and scores in the 37th minute, capitalizing on a Matt Besler slip and sending a 22-yard shot that takes Rimando out of the equation entirely. 

Rimando comes off at halftime. 

Harry stays on for another half-hour. The MLS's second-half XI decides there is safety in numbers, and sends multiple defenders at Harry whenever he gets near the ball, nipping at his heels like a litter of puppies. Harry does not score again, and the game ends 2-1 to MLS. 

Kaka wins the All-Star game MVP with a goal and an assist, but the consensus is that Rimando could have easily won the award. 

Rimando is in a good mood after the game. He played great, despite battling an MCL contusion. Most players would skip an All-Star Game if they so much as stubbed a toe the day before. Not Rimando.

"I remember Nicky when he came in the league," MLS All-Stars coach Pablo Mastroeni said. 

"He gets up for these games that are tight, and I remember when we were in training in Miami he was impossible to beat." 

"He's not big in stature but he's amazing when it comes to reactions and he's amazing in tough situations."

Harry was impressed.

"They were top saves. The ‘keeper was on top form, but I’m delighted to [have] the goal go in. I’m delighted to be out there and playing already," Harry said.

Nick Rimando will go back to Salt Lake City now, and in a few weeks he and Harry Kane will likely have forgotten all about each other, but last night the two players, at opposite stages of their careers, with (nearly) opposite levels of recognition from soccer fans, gave us a hell of a show. 

Contact The18 Staff Writer Sam Klomhaus at or follow him on Twitter @SamKlomhaus

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