The penalty kick king did it again and this time Tim Melia put himself in the record books after leading Sporting Kansas City over the San Jose Earthquakes in Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Melia saved all three San Jose attempts in the shootout, the first goalkeeper to shut out a team in MLS Cup Playoffs history. It is not the first time Melia has managed the feat, however. In the 2010 US Open Cup, Melia, then playing for the Charleston Battery, shut out the Chicago Fire in a shootout, although on that occasion he only needed to make one save with the other two kicks missing the target.
Melia is now a perfect 6-0 in penalty-kick shootouts, which includes Sporting advancing in the MLS is Back Tournament against the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 on PKs after the teams played to a 0-0 draw in the Round of 16 match in July.
"He’s just really good at it. I’ve never seen that in my life," Peter Vermes said after the match. "I’ve never seen a goalkeeper make the first three saves in penalty kicks. I’ve never witnessed it. It says a lot about Tim. He does this regularly. It’s something special that he has. It really is. He’s a different level. I don’t get surprised a lot, but I was surprised tonight."
This was Melia’s fourth PK shootout triumph with SKC after his first two came with lower-division Rochester and Charleston — albeit against MLS competition — in the US Open Cup.
Melia’s heroics aren’t limited to shootouts. He’s tied with Joe Cannon (11) for third all-time in PK saves, with first belonging to recently-retired Real Salt Lake legend Nick Rimando (24) and second going to now-LA Galaxy academy director Kevin Hartman (12).
Melia's All-Time PK Shootout Record:
- June 30, 2009: Rochester* 1, Columbus Crew 1 / 5-3 on PKs (US Open Cup)
- June 29, 2010: Charleston 0, Chicago Fire 0 / 3-0 on PKs (US Open Cup)
- Sept. 30, 2015: Sporting KC 1, Philadelphia 1 / 7-6 on PKs (US Open Cup)
- Aug. 9, 2017: Sporting KC 1, San Jose 1 / 5-4 on PKs (US Open Cup)
- July 26, 2020: Sporting KC 0, Vancouver 0 / 3-1 on PKs (MLS is Back)
- November 22, 2020: Sporting KC 3, San Jose Earthquakes 3/ 3-0 on PKs (MLS Cup Playoffs)
= Melia played for Rochester Rhinos and Charleston Battery