On the night Sporting Kansas City jumped within two points of first place in the Western Conference, Tim Melia stood out among the rest.
In a 1-0 win over first-place Seattle on Saturday, Sporting KC's No. 1 goalkeeper made a career-high six saves en route to his fourth shutout in six games since taking the starting role at the beginning of May. Pundits nationwide took notice, as Melia received unanimous Team of the Week recognition from MLSsoccer.com, ESPNFC, SI.com, Bleacher Report and NBC Pro Soccer Talk.
The best of Melia's six stops came in the 36th minute when he denied Lamar Neagle from close range. Melia sprang to his right to block the shot, then prevented a rebound attempt by heading the loose ball out of play. He made another reflex save in the 62nd minute after Marco Pappa had cut past two defenders inside the penalty area.
Sporting KC is 4-0-2 when Melia starts between the posts, and his 0.50 goals against average leads MLS. With Saturday's result under his belt, he became the first goalkeeper in club history to go unbeaten in his first six league appearances.
Melia wasn't alone in Sporting KC's resolute effort to keep Seattle off the scoresheet. Captain Matt Besler (ESPNFC, SI.com, NBC Pro Soccer Talk) and rookie left back Amadou Dia (Bleacher Report) also took Team of the Week honors. Besler anchored a defense that picked up its third straight clean sheet, leading all players with 55 successful passes and nine interceptions in the process. Dia, making his fourth consecutive start, recorded four tackles and four interceptions while limiting Seattle rookie Cristian Roldan to just 25 touches.
Sporting KC now enters their first bye week of the season before starting their 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign next Tuesday, June 16, at Sporting Park. Peter Vermes' side will host USL club St. Louis FC at 7:30 p.m. CT, with a limited number of tickets for the match available via Ticketmaster.com.