Three points and a clean sheet. Just what the doctor ordered for Tim Melia and Sporting Kansas City.
The veteran goalkeeper joined Sports Radio 810 WHB on Friday to discuss his team's dramatic 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC the previous night at Children's Mercy Park—a tense battle that remained scoreless until forward Erik Hurtado fired home an 88th-minute winner to lift Sporting within three points of Western Conference playoff positioning.
In a conversation with Border Patrol hosts Nate Bukaty, Jake Gutierrez and Steven St. John, Melia said the last-gasp triumph gave the club its biggest emotional high of the year.
“We put ourselves in a tough situation for a million different reasons,” Melia said of being below the playoff line with eight matches still to play. “So we need to fight for everyone at the club. It’s never been a question of, ‘Is this group talented enough?’ or ‘Are we capable of playing a certain style?’ We just got away from our identity a little bit, and I think having the character to come back against San Jose helped us clear a mental hurdle. In the Minnesota game, we got back to being patient and waiting for our opportunities but also shutting down the other team.”
Melia's shutout on Thursday was the 44th of his regular season career, moving him within one clean sheet of tying former captain Jimmy Nielsen for the most in team history. He needed to make five saves to get the job done on Thursday night, but despite inching closer to yet another club record, Melia's sights are set firmly on nothing else but the next opponent.
"Speed and transition," Melia said when asked to identify the biggest strengths of the Houston Dynamo, whom Sporting will host next weekend at Children's Mercy Park. "This is a team that is very, very athletic up front. They're looking to sit in a low block, turn the ball over and get it out wide to their best guys."
Listen to the full podcast below.
Sporting and Houston will lock horns at 7:30 p.m. CT Saturday, rounding out a three-game homestand against a Dynamo side led by interim head coach and former Kansas City great Davy Arnaud. Tickets for the contest are available at SeatGeek.com and the first 7,500 fans in attendance will receive Sporting-branded sling grips for their mobile phones courtesy of match sponsor U.S. Bank.