Saturday, April 09, 2016

Melia Carries Sporting to Three Points

Sporting KC's Tim Melia continued his good run of form in the early 2016 MLS season with a six save performance, including a penalty kick stop as Kansas City topped the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at Red Bull Arena. Kansas City took advantage of lax New York defending and the counter attack to score their two goals and to give Melia the offensive support that he needed to help KC to get all three point. Unfortunately it wasn't all good news for Kansas City as they were forced to use all three substitutions on injuries tonight with Kevin Ellis, Chance Myers, and Roger Espinoza all leaving the game due to injuries.

The two teams went back for forth early on with Connor Hallisey putting an effort wide of goal on the volley after a cross from Benny Feilhaber. Ten minutes later, Lloyd Sam fired a deflected effort that went just wide of Tim Melia's near post to keep the game tied at 0-0. Three minutes later though KC grabbed the lead as Sporting struck on a perfect counter. Dom Dwyer held up a long ball up to him before playing it through to Graham Zusi who was running through. With the leading goal, KC had to deal with mounting pressure from the Red Bulls as New York threw numbers forward. Melia was called into action to make saves on the likes of Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips to keep the Red Bulls off the board. KC suffered their first injury sub in the 42nd minute when Kevin Ellis had to leave the game with a groin injury, replaced by Ike Opara. Ellis was having trouble even walking on his own after picking up the injury. In first half stoppage time the Red Bulls had another good chance as Sacha Kljestan played the ball through to Sean Davis who blasted a shot off the post and the rebound was fired over the goal.

Early in the second half Kansas City was forced to make another substitution due to injury as Chance Myers had to sub out for Saad Absdul-Salaam. Abdul-Salaam made a fairly quick contribution to the game in the 60th minute when he helped set up KC's second goal. On a throw in for KC, Abdul-Salaam threw the ball into the box toward Dwyer and Chris Duvall. No other New York player broke to the ball and it was allowed to bounce in the box.Dwyer held off Duvall as the ball bounced past the pair and Dwyer fired the ball inside the near post to double Kansas City's lead. The two goal lead looked like it'd only stand a few minutes when Ike Opara was called for a hand ball when a cross by Sam was blocked by Opara's hand. Wright-Phillips stepped up to take the penalty kick but Melia came up with a big save, diving to his right side to knock away the shot and keep KC up by 2-0. Melia continued to come up with big saves on the likes of Mike Grella and Wright-Phillips as Kansas City got back to their winning ways and moved to 4-1 on the season.

Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Came up with six saves, including one on a penalty kick, Melia had another big game for Kansas City.

Honorable Mention - Graham Zusi

Player Ratings - Melia 9, Dia 6, Ellis 6, Coelho 7, Myers 6, Olum 6, Espinoza 7, Feilhaber 6, Zusi 8, Dwyer 7, Hallisey 5.Subs: Opara 7, Abdul-Salaam 6, Medranda NR.

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