KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Tim Melia is closing in on an MLS record he doesn’t really want.
Melia’s penalty-kick save on Diego Valeri -- preserving Sporting Kansas City a 1-1 Saturday draw with Portland and extending the Western Conference leaders’ home unbeaten streak to 18 matches in MLS play -- was his third of the season.
That’s one shy of Nick Rimando’s record, set in 2014. Still, Melia would rather not catch up with, much less pass, Real Salt Lake’s veteran keeper – especially since two of Melia’s three saves this year, including Saturday’s, have come after he was whistled for a foul in the area.
“I’m tired of giving them up, I can tell you that much,” Melia said. “Hopefully, I’m not making penalty saves because we don’t have penalties against us. Hopefully, they’re at the other end.”
Melia stood his ground and parried away Valeri’s attempted chip down the middle in the 74th minute, after Fanendo Adi tried to round the keeper but then went down as Melia moved to cut him off.
“He’s a very good penalty shooter,” Melia said. “For me, he’s one of the better guys in the league. I was just trying to not make it easy on him, and luckily I was able to make the save.”
That save allowed Sporting to save a point despite playing out of sync through the first half and registering only one shot on goal – Daniel Salloi’s 60th-minute equalizer to open his MLS account – in the match.
Melia was diplomatic about the call.
“I’d have to see it again,” he said. “I can’t put the team in that situation – if there was contact or if there was not. I can’t even give the ref the opportunity to make the call in a game that is that close. I don’t want to give up penalties. That’s not something a goalie should do, period.”
Manager Peter Vermes was more direct.
“I haven’t seen the replay,” Vermes said in his post-match news conference. “I only know what I saw, when I saw it. It didn’t look like Tim even had any effect on the play at all. [Adi] just dove, just like there were quite a few other dives in the game from their guys – which at some point, those situations require cards.”