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Melia’s shootout heroics propel Sporting KC past Earthquakes

Tim Melia has been known for his heroics in penalty shootouts and Sunday was the latest example of the veteran’s impact in those situations.

The Sporting KC goalkeeper saved all three shots he faced in a 3-0 penalty shootout win over the San Jose Earthquakes after the teams played out a 3-3 result through 120 minutes.

After a winner wasn’t found in the 30 minutes of extra time, it was Melia who stood on his head in the shootout. Johnny Russell, Ilie Sanchez, and Khiry Shelton all put away their penalties while Melia denied Oswaldo Alania, Jackson Yueill, and Cristian Espinoza to secure the quarterfinal win,  and become the first goalkeeper in MLS history to shut out an opponent in a penalty shootout.

The victory advances Sporting Kansas City to the Western Conference semifinals, where Peter Vermes’ side will face the winner of the Minnesota United/Colorado Rapids quarterfinal, being played on Sunday night.

The Sporting KC shootout domination followed a wild ending to regulation that saw both teams score stoppage-time goals. Gianluca Busio scored in the 91st minute off an excellent layoff pass from Khiry Shelton to give SKC a 3-2 lead, but the Earthquakes battled back, with Chris Wondolowski scoring in the seventh minute of stoppage time with a header in the final seconds of added time to send the match into extra time.

Those stoppage-time goals came after Melia came up with back-to-back outstanding saves to deny Wondolowski and Cade Cowell in the 88th minute on chances that could have given the Earthquakes a late lead.

The Earthquakes enjoyed a surprising halftime lead after shaking off a fourth-minute Roger Espinoza finish with a pair of first-half goals to surprise the top seed in the West. Carlos Fierro and Shea Salinas scored goals to give Matias Almeyda’s side the advantage at the break.

Sporting KC equalized just two minutes into the second half, with Ilie Sanchez scoring in the 47th minute off a pass from Busio.

A goal-less extra time period set the stage for Melia, who entered the match with the best penalty save percentage in MLS history, and he only improved that number with his perfect three-save performance.

Man of the Match

Melia made five saves in regulation before making an additional three in the shootout, propelling SKC into the second round.

Moment of the Match

When it looked like SKC won the match in second-half stoppage time, Chris Wondolowski bagged his first playoff goal since 2010 after a poaching finish from close range.

Match to Forget

Alanis was put under pressure by Sporting KC’s attackers for most of the match and didn’t help his cause with a missed penalty in the first round of the shootout.

HIGHLIGHTS

Comments

  1. I’ve seen stills that show a foot still on the line at point of contact and stills that show he’s off the line. It is that close which frame is point of contact so not clear and obvious so no foul seems to be the appropriate call. The official standing on the goal line watching the feet said they were fair so you can’t overturn it.

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  2. That third one, at the very least, he hops both feet at least a foot in front of the line before the ball is kicked. There is no part of his foot on the line. Where is PRO coming out to support giving Melia a yellow for the same offense that Gallese supposedly committed?

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  3. In watching the replay… he moved early on each stop. IDK why they let him get away with it? I have no interest in either team…. just what I saw

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    • If you look how he starts he’s got his feet behind the line so when moves he ends up on the line not in front. The first one is really close but I think he gots the benefit because the player scuffs the ground.

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  4. Melia’s record vs penalties, both in shootouts and regular time, is legitimately absurd. Not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it.

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