Tim Melia takes Team of the Week honors in Sporting KC debut

If Sporting Kansas City fans weren’t familiar with Tim Melia before Sunday, they are now.

In his club debut at Sporting Park, Melia recorded the first win and shutout of his six-year MLS career as Sporting KC blanked the Chicago Fire 1-0. His solid outing between the posts, punctuated by three sure-handed saves, earned him Team of the Week honors from MLSsoccer.com and SI.com.

In addition to the clean sheet, Melia led all MLS goalkeepers in Week 9 with four punches and five keeper sweepings, the latter figure indicative of his important role in the high defensive line Sporting KC held throughout the game. Chicago players were offsides eight times on Sunday, but whenever they did get behind Kansas City’s back four, Melia was quick off his line to handle the danger.

Three of Melia’s teammates also received Team of the Week recognition for their roles in a victory that lifts Sporting KC into a fourth place tie in the West. Benny Feilhaber, Major League Soccer’s Player of the Month for April, created three excellent scoring chances and joined Melia among MLSsoccer.com’s best XI while also getting the nod from NBC Pro Soccer Talk.

Elsewhere, Captain Matt Besler was a Team of the Week selection on NBC Pro Soccer Talk and Goal.com, leading all MLS players this weekend with 13 clearances. His backline partner, former Chicago defender Jalil Anibaba, was named among Bleacher Report’s top performers after he limited Harry Shipp’s impact on the match and supplied a perfect cross for Paulo Nagamura’s game-winning goal.