On a night defense reigned supreme, two Sporting Kansas City players impressed pundits enough to land MLS Team of the Week honors in Week 1.
Goalkeeper Tim Melia and right back Graham Zusi turned in stout performances to help Sporting KC keep D.C. United off the scoresheet in a 0-0 draw at RFK Stadium. Melia was included on MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week bench, while Goal.com gave Team of the Week accolades to Zusi.
Melia’s evening was highlighted by a penalty kick save against Marcelo Sarvas in the 17th minute. The keeper also came up big in the 67th minute by pushing Jared Jeffrey’s header wide of the post to cap off an astounding sequence in which Jimmy Medranda and Dom Dwyer made goal line clearances just seconds earlier.
By the end of the match, Melia had entered the history books. The 30-year-old became the first goalkeeper in Sporting KC regular season history to stop a penalty, finish with at least five saves and earn a shutout on two occasions. He first accomplished the feat in a road win over the New York Red Bulls last April.
Zusi enjoyed a career night of his own, but not in the conventional scoring manner. The defender’s 10 duels won were an MLS career-best and fifth most among all MLS players in Week 1.
With a clean sheet in their pockets, Sporting Kansas City now prepares for its 2017 home opener against reigning Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup champion FC Dallas at Children’s Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Saturday, and a limited number of tickets are available at SeatGeek.com.