Beyond The Box Score: Tim Melia boosts bid for Goalkeeper of the Year

It's no secret that Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia is amidst his best season as a professional.

Sunday offered a profound reiteration of that storyline.

As the match highlights above will indicate, Manager Peter Vermes' men could have taken more than a point in Sunday's back-and-forth 1-1 draw at Columbus Crew SC. They also might have come away with nothing if not for Melia's timely heroics.

Sporting Kansas City's gloveman made four saves, including multiple stops of the jaw-dropping variety, to help his side move within three points of first place in the Western Conference. Heading into the final month and a half of the regular season, Melia has built a resume that puts him in clear contention to win his first MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honor.

The table below illustrates how Melia stacks up among 2017 goalkeepers, also comparing his numbers to the Kansas City and MLS record-holder for that respective category.

TIM MELIA: 2017 MLS REGULAR SEASON

Stat # MLS
rank
SKC
record
MLS
record
GAA 0.77 1st 0.79 - Jimmy Nielsen (2012) 0.62 - Kevin Hartman (2010)
Shutouts 10 1st 16 - Tony Meola (2000) 16 - Tony Meola (2000)
PK saves 3 1st 3 - Tim Melia (2017) 4 - Nick Rimando (2014)
Save % 79.8 1st 79.6 - Tony Meola (2000) 82.5 - Matt Pickens (2006)

The next table might be even more impressive. This chart ranks the top goalkeepers based on a simple formula: goals conceded minus expected goals conceded. The statistics are generated by ASA Database, and fans can click here to view a variety of expected-goal statistics dating back to 2011.

In short, Melia has conceded almost 12 fewer goals this season than what is expected based on opponents' quality of scoring opportunities. Hence his -11.8 value in the far right column. No other goalkeeper comes close, as Luis Robles ranks second at -3.2.

GOALS CONCEDED VS. EXPECTED GOALS CONCEDED
2017 MLS REGULAR SEASON (through Sept. 6)

Goalkeeper Team Shots Goals xG G-xG
Tim Melia SKC 103 20 31.8 -11.8
Luis Robles NYRB 123 36 39.2 -3.2
Jon Kempin LAG 27 5 7.9 -2.9
Brad Guzan ATL 22 4 6.5 -2.5
Bill Hamid DCU 122 30 32.0 -2.0
Alec Kann ATL 78 23 24.7 -1.7
Alexander Bono TOR 86 23 24.6 -1.6
Clint Irwin TOR 14 3 4.0 -1.0
Matt Van Oekel RSL 2 0 0.8 -0.8
Stefan Marinovic VAN 8 2 2.4 -0.4
Zac MacMath COL 32 11 11.3 -0.3
Jeff Attinella POR 43 14 14.3 -0.3
Maxime Crepeau MTL 10 4 4.2 -0.2
Andre Blake PHI 84 26 26.2 -0.2

Melia and Sporting Kansas City now look forward to a four-game homestand, where the club boasts a 10-0-6 record across all competitions this season. In those 16 home games at Children's Mercy Park, Melia has a 0.56 goals against average, nine shutouts and an 80.0 save percentage. It was also the venue where Melia saved two penalty kicks in a dramatic shootout win over the San Jose Earthquakes in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Aug. 9.

Sporting KC's next home test comes Saturday against the upstart New England Revolution, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. CT and tickets available at SeatGeek.com.

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