Tim Melia

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SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

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Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

MVP favorites Valeri, Villa headline 2017 MLS Best XI

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All five Major League Soccer MVP finalists — Diego Valeri, David Villa, Nemanja Nikolic, Sebastian Giovinco and Miguel Almiron — have been named to the 2017 Best XI squad.

[ MORE: F.O.M.O., and a USMNT-less 2018 World Cup draw ]

The attacking talent doesn’t stop there, as the above quintet is joined by Toronto FC midfielder Victor Vazquez and Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez.

Tim Melia and Ike Opara, who were previously named Goalkeeper of the Year and Defender of the Year, respectively, for their parts in leading Sporting Kansas City to the best defensive record in 2017, were chosen alongside Kendall Waston and Justin Morrow of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC, respectively.

Yes, that is indeed a rarely-seen 3-3-4 formation which very closely borders on being a 3-0-7. My personal ballot, which features a defensive midfield-type and was submitted on Oct. 22, reads as follows:

Goalkeeper: Tim Melia

Defenders: Ike Opara, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Kendall Waston

Midfielders: Diego Valeri, Ignacio Piatti, Victor Vazquez, Cristian Roldan

Forwards: David Villa, Nemanja Nikolic, Josef Martinez

Reserves (not on ballot): Alex Bono, Chris Mavinga, Sacha Kljestan, C.J. Sapong

Tim Melia wins MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in a landslide

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What was thought to be a close race for Major League Soccer’s top goalkeeper award turned out to be an overwhelming victory.

Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia took more than 50 percent of the combined media, club and player vote as he earned 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors. The 31-year-old, in his best season as a professional to this point, set career highs in wins (12), shutouts (10), saves (91), minutes (2,759) and games started (31).

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While the Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake and Seattle Sounders’ Stefan Frei each had superb seasons for their clubs, Melia was head and shoulders the best goalkeeper in the league this season, making saves in key times to help lead Sporting Kansas City to the MLS Cup playoffs and a U.S. Open Cup title.

Here’s a look below at how the voting panned out across all the nominees.

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Player Vote % Club Vote % Media Vote % Average %
Tim Melia (SKC) 46.12% 48.81% 55.95% 50.29%
Andre Blake (PHI) 15.51% 7.14% 7.74% 10.13%
Stefan Frei (SEA) 4.49% 7.14% 13.10% 8.24%
Alex Bono (TOR) 2.86% 5.95% 4.17% 4.33%
Sean Johnson (NYC) 2.86% 4.76% 5.36% 4.33%
Brad Guzan (ATL) 3.67% 2.38% 1.79% 2.61%

MLS Snapshot: SKC wasteful in front of goal, draw MNUFC

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The game in 100 words (or less): Saturday signaled little more than a series of missed chances for the Western Conference’s top teams, as Sporting Kansas City followed up the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 3-0 hammering at the hands of the New York Red Bulls with a disappointing road result of their own: a 1-1 draw with 10-man Minnesota United, a game which the visitors were far and away the better side over the first 60 minutes, and comfortable equals over the following 25 minutes, before creating a flurry of clear-cut chances over the final 10 minutes. Diego Rubio scored his sixth goal of the season to put Sporting KC ahead just before halftime, only to see Brent Kallman equalize six minutes from the end. A late red card resulted in chance after chance after chance for Sporting, all of which went oh so close to snatching three points and moving them to within a single point of Vancouver with a game in hand. Alas, they’ll chase a win in Houston on Wednesday in an attempt to pull even atop the West.

[ MORE: USMNT routs Panama to boost WC dreams in a big way ]

Three Four moments that mattered

45+2′ — Rubio finishes a ball from Blessing or 1-0 — The deft touch from Latif Blessing sets up Rubio, who endured a torrid night last Saturday. Nothing restarts the memory like scoring a goal.

59′ — Melia leaves the game with an injury — There’s no two ways about it: Tim Melia has been the best goalkeeper in MLS this season. No one else is worthy of consideration for such a title. If he’s to miss more than a week or two with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, that’s bad for Sporting.

84′ — Kallman heads home a late equalizer — Abu Danladi floated the ball over every blue shirt but one, Ike Opara, who was expected to mark three Loons on the play. He’s good, but that’s a big ask when the service is this good.

93′ — Shuttleworth denies Espinoza from point-blank range — Now with a man advantage, the final eight minutes of this game were nothing but chance after chance for Sporting. This was the pick of the litter, a header from three yards out that Bobby Shuttleworth somehow managed to save.

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Man of the match: Bobby Shuttleworth

Goalscorers: Rubio (45+2′), Kallman (84′)

MLS Snapshot: Melia saves a point for SKC (again) vs. CLB

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The game in 100 words (or less): The story of Sporting Kansas City’s season remains their inability to score goals, thus win games, on the road. With just two wins (12 points total, and seven goals scored in 14 games) to show for their travels this season, the difference between their current place as a middle-of-the-pack Western Conference side, and running away with the West’s top spot, is plain to see. On Sunday, things were looking up for a brief period of time — say, the opening 20 minutes or so — during which Peter Vermes’ side jumped out to an early lead courtesy of Cristian Lobato’s first MLS goal, before quickly reverting back to form and conceding an equalizer (Ola Kamara) moments before halftime. Staying true to form himself, Tim Melia, the undisputed Goalkeeper of the Year (but not an All-Star, of course), bailed Sporting out a handful of times to secure a valuable, but disappointing, road point. Sporting remain fourth in the Western Conference, there points back of the Portland Timbers, with three games in hand. Crew SC remain fourth in the Eastern Conference, two points back of the Chicago Fire for third.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 26 | Weekend preview ]

Three moments that mattered

19′ — Lobato pounces on Mensah’s error to make it 1-0 — Jonathan Mensah’s first MLS season began in very rough fashion, and hasn’t really gotten any better in the six months since March.

45+1′ — Kamara heads home the equalizer for a corner — Pedro Santos served it up, no one thought to stick with Kamara, and there was nothing Tim Melia could do from there.

55′ — Melia makes a big stop in a six-yard scramble — The Best Of… Tim Melia mixtape at the end of the season is going to be highly, highly enjoyable.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: Lobato (19′), Kamara (45+1′)