Entering the month of May, goalkeeper Tim Melia had made five starts in his five-year MLS career. All came with Chivas USA, which by and large explains the resulting stat line: zero wins, zero shutouts and a 2.95 goals against average.
Now with Sporting KC, the 29-year-old has stepped into the starting lineup for each of the past five matches to earn three straight home wins to go along with back-to-back road draws against each conference's top team. His stats this time around? Three wins, three shutouts and a 0.60 goals against average that ranks best in MLS among goalkeepers with a minimum of 45 minutes played.
Crystle Lampitt caught up with Melia earlier this month for the latest segment in the "Sporting Spotlight" series, which aired earlier today on 38 the Spot. Check out the video playlist below and follow Sporting Kansas City's flagship station on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Sporting KC's training facility is less than a mile from the Kansas City Zoo and on Sunday, the two Swope Park destinations teamed up for "Sporting KC Day at the Zoo." Benny Feilhaber, Roger Espinoza, Tim Melia and Chance Myers were all in attendance to interact with fans and zoo animals alike.
In addition, The Victory Project's portable futsal court was set up behind Tropics for free use by guests of all ages. Check out a photo slideshow above, as well as video for sights and sounds below.
Defender Kevin Ellis heads in a Graham Zusi corner kick to score his first career MLS goal at Sporting Park against FC Dallas.
Midfielder Graham Zusi scores his first goal of the season (assisted by Connor Hallisey) in the 64th minute at Sporting Park against FC Dallas.
Midfielder Benny Feilhaber scores his fourth goal of the season (assisted by Krisztian Nemeth and Jalil Anibaba) in the 51st minute at Sporting Park against FC Dallas.
Forward Krisztian Nemeth scores his sixth goal of the season in the 19th minute (assisted by Kevin Ellis and Graham Zusi) with a header from close range at Sporting Park against FC Dallas.
All eyes in Major League Soccer will be on #SKCvDAL on Friday night at Sporting Park in the Week 13 "Viernes de Futbol" match-up. It kicks off a three-game homestand for Sporting Kansas City featuring back-to-back matches against the top two teams in the MLS power rankings followed by a highly-anticipated I-70 showdown with St. Louis FC in the U.S. Open Cup.
The best place to see all the action? Sporting Park of course. Standing Room Only tickets are available for tomorrow night's rematch with FC Dallas and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the stadium box offices on gameday.
But if you can't make it to the match, take advantage of the guide below so you don't miss a moment thanks to television, radio and online coverage.
Local TV: KMCI-TV 38 the Spot
Local Radio: Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
Sporting Kansas City's flagship station KMCI-TV 38 the Spot will be providing a live three-hour broadcast for local viewers with the commentary from Nate Bukaty, Andy Gruenebaum, Jake Yadrich and Kacie McDonnell available throughout the duration of the match. Tune in at 7:30 p.m. CT for a 30-minute pre-game show leading up to kick off at Sporting Park.
Sports Radio 810 WHB will simulcast the KMCI-TV call on 810 AM, 810whb.com and through the station's free mobile app before going live from the Boulevard Members Club with The Final Whistle postgame show hosted by Dave Borchardt and Carter Augustine. In addition, La Grande 1340 AM will air the match live for Spanish listeners through the voices of Enrique Morales, Raul Villegas and Alejandro Cabero.
National TV: UniMas and Unvision Deportes
National Radio: SiriusXM FC (Channel 94)
Online: MLS LIVE, UnivisionDeportes.com
Friday's match is the first of three Sporting KC matches in 2015 to be nationally televised on UniMas/UDN -- and streamed online at UnivisionDeportes.com -- as part of the new "Viernes de Futbol" national TV window. Raul Guzman (play-by-play), Marcelo Balboa (analyst) and Jorge Calvo (sideline reporter) will be on-site at Sporting Park for live Spanish commentary, while Paul Caligiuri and Ramsés Sandoval will be the talent for the English-language broadcast available through SAP functionality.
In addition, SiriusXM FC (Channel 94) will carry #SKCvDAL coast-to-coast on Friday for satellite radio subscribers in the U.S. and MLS LIVE users in Canada or Mexico will also have access to the broadcast in real-time on all supported devices. Please note: Friday's match will be blacked out for MLS LIVE users in the United States and made available in the archives 48 hours after the match.
Finally, Friday's encounter will be broadcast well beyond North American borders through the following MLS rights holders:
In each of my affiliate visits thus far, I have communicated a distinct message to the coaches and board of directors: The pathway to the pros. This message represents a topic that means a great deal to me.
Growing up, my path to the pros was not only unclear, but also almost non-existent. Players in today’s culture have the opportunity to associate themselves with an MLS club not only locally, but regionally as well as nationally.
Our Academy Affiliate program offers this clear pathway and as our 2015 Academy tryouts have concluded, an astounding 197 players -- out of approximately 750 total trialists -- were represented from 10 different Academy Affiliate teams. Of those 197 players, 32 players were added to the Sporting KC Academy teams from the U12, U13, U14, U16 and U18 age groups.
The U12 age group is a tremendous indicator of the impact of our Academy Affiliate program. For example:
- Sixty-two out of 150 players trying out came from our Affiliate program
- Eight of our affiliates across the nation were represented
- Fifteen out of 22 players, or roughly 70%, of players on the U12’s were developed within the affiliate program before making the U12 Academy team
This is a very exciting and clear indicator that our affiliate system is working and we are headed in an extremely positive direction. Families are moving to Kansas City to accommodate this prestigious accomplishment, distinctly demonstrating the change in the culture of youth soccer.
A special thank you to all of our Academy technical staff who poured in countless hours providing a competitive environment for which the enormous talent pool could compete in. Also, congratulations to all of the players who made Academy rosters or trials.
Sporting Blue Valley, Sporting Lincoln, Sporting Kaw Valley, Sporting Lee's Summit and Omaha FC are all represented in the Academy rosters and this should further encourage affiliate clubs’ participation in related experiences.
More information regarding Academy tryouts and rosters can be found here.
This week, The Victory Project hosted its annual fundraiser soccer clinics at Sporting Park. Over 135 participants registered for this year’s clinics, including five of The Victory Project’s previous in-game honorees.
Each clinic was 90 minutes, including 60 minutes of on-field instruction with Sporting KC players and Sporting Club Network coaches. Following the clinic, players hosted an autograph session and tours of the team’s locker room were provided.
During the clinics, participants learned various drills that were split up into four different stations designed to focus on a variety of attacking and defending skills. A Sporting KC player and Sporting Club Network coach was assigned to each station and groups rotated every few minutes to insure everyone had an equal chance to participate in each station.
Sporting KC players in attendance were Graham Zusi, Seth Sinovic, Servando Carrasco, Soni Mustivar, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jon Kempin, Tim Melia, Connor Hallisey, James Ansu Rogers, Marcel de Jong and Jalil Anibaba. All funds benefit The Victory Project in its mission to help children thrive through life's challenges.
It’s every kid’s dream to hang out with a group of famous soccer players, let alone have the opportunity to lead them out to the field. Last week, this dream came true for nine-year-old Make-A-Wish candidate Vince Pham.
Vince, who was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular disorder, had his wish to escort Sporting KC captain Matt Besler onto the field come true thanks to the Make-A-Wish Missouri Foundation and The Victory Project.
Prior to his big moment, Vince and his family had the opportunity to visit with Sporting KC players at Swope Soccer Village. In addition to watching the players run drills and getting various Sporting KC items signed by the team, he also received a special message from Manager Peter Vermes and a special visit from ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman after training.
The next day, decked out in their Sporting gear, Vince and his siblings watched the players warm up from the sidelines at Sporting Park. During pregame, Vince and his family were recognized on the videoboard and received a visit from Sporting mascot Blue.
Finally, the moment was here. With his father’s assistance, Vince got to live his wish by escorting the World Cup veteran onto the field in front of a sold-out crowd during the pre-game ceremony shown live on ESPN2.