After standing on his head in Saturday's scoreless draw against Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia has received a well-deserved nod to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi.
Team of the Week (3-5-2, left to right): Tim Melia (SKC) – Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (MIA), Xavier Arreaga (SEA), Antonio Carlos (ORL) – Marcelino Moreno (ATL), Rodolfo Pizarro (MIA), Ryan Gauld (VAN), Mark-Anthony Kaye (COL), Diego Fagundez (ATX) – Adam Buksa (NE), Jeremy Ebobisse (SJ)
Coach: Matias Almeyda (SJ)
Bench: Maxime Crepeau (VAN), Nkosi Tafari (DAL), Luciano Abecasis (SJ), Joao Paulo (SEA), Quinn Sullivan (PHI), Tajon Buchanan (NE), Sebastian Driussi (ATX)
The veteran keeper delivered a dazzling performance between the posts, making seven standout saves to help 10-man Sporting extend their road unbeaten run to six matches and stay within three points of first-place Seattle Sounders FC in the Western Conference race.
“Tim was excellent, but Tim's been excellent all year,” Sporting Manager Peter Vermes said after the match. “He's another guy who doesn't get recognized in the way that he should. Week in and week out, he is a consistent goalkeeper. Excellent at shot stopping, excellent with his feet and a great team guy. Just tremendous.”
Melia’s seven saves on Saturday were tied for the fourth most in his MLS career and the second time he has totaled at least seven stops at the expense of Minnesota.
Tim Melia: Most Saves in an MLS Match
- 10 saves | 04/08/18| W 2-0 at LA Galaxy
- 8 saves | 05/09/18 | W 2-0 at Atlanta United FC
- 8 saves | 08/25/18 | W 2-0 vs. Minnesota United FC
- 7 saves | 09/09/15 | T 0-0 at Portland Timbers
- 7 saves | 10/16/15 | L 0-1 at San Jose Earthquakes
- 7 saves | 07/04/21 | W 2-0 at LA Galaxy
- 7 saves | 08/21/21 | T 0-0 at Minnesota United FC
Even more impressively, no MLS goalkeeper has more regular season shutouts since 2015 than Melia. The 2015 campaign holds particular relevance in this context, as it was the year that Melia became Sporting’s full-time starting goalkeeper.
“That type of performance where we all come together as a group and everyone is sacrificing their body all over the field and running players down, that's the type of performance for me that galvanizes you as a group,” Melia said after Saturday's game. “We didn't walk away with three points but so proud of the way we played tonight. Even if they had snuck a goal in there at the end, it wouldn't change the way I feel about the game at all because we truly came together as a group and we fought for every inch on that field today.”
With a breathless stretch of seven matches in 22 days behind them, Melia and Sporting Kansas City (11-4-6, 39 points) will rest and recover before returning to world-class Children's Mercy Park on Saturday for a pivotal Western Conference clash against the third-place Colorado Rapids (11-4-4, 37 points) at 8 p.m. CT.
Tickets for the marquee matchup are available at SeatGeek.com and the first 10,000 fans through the stadium gates will receive a vintage Sporting KC poster courtesy of match sponsor Children's Mercy. Saturday will also see Sporting celebrate Retro Night, featuring a wide selection of throwback merchandise from the Since '96 Collection (jersey, T-shirt, long sleeve T-shirt, jacket and headwear) and additional items with the classic Wiz logo and rainbow elements.
Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app will provide three hours of live coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. CT, while the Sporting KC app will deploy additional in-game updates and exclusive offers. Listeners can catch the action live locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB.