The Amazing GK Tim Melia Sets Club Record with 10 Saves as Sporting KC’s 2-0 beats LA Galaxy in Their Own Home
While Zlatan Ibrahimović may be ready to help the LA Galaxy get back that winning feeling after a stunning loss to Sporting KC, the big W goes down in the history books for the boys in blue — with a big nod to SKC’s outstanding goalkeeper who kept the sheet clean.
What is better than a win?
A win against the self-proclaimed and widely adored Zlatan Ibrahimović, one of the most prolific goal scorers on the planet. Within 7 minutes of coming on the field for LA Galaxy in his debut against LAFC, 6-foot-5 Zlatan made a big difference, and he scored one of the most beautiful goals in history from 40 yards out. Playing against Sporting Kansas City, Ibrahimović impact was energetic but had no effect on the score.
The second best reason to celebrate the recent victory? Sporting KC Academy product Daniel Salloi scored in the 56th minute. While many clubs talk of player development, Sporting KC is focused on developing homegrown talent and providing players with opportunities to succeed.
And, if one needed a third reason, it was a great way for Scottish newcomer Johnny Russell to memorialize his 28th birthday — by scoring his second goal the of MLS season in the 61st minute.
This was a great game for Sporting KC’s manager Peter Vermes to commemorate his 300th MLS match – that is 300 games if you include the postseason.
Vermes said, “The game was a big test for us — we knew it would be a difficult a game. We played with a lot of confidence and we owned the ball, which was a good thing. To be able to keep the ball as we did, in another team’s stadium was excellent.”
While LA Galaxy’s head Coach Sig Schmid said, “I think we deserved a goal” the team never found the back of the net. “But, obviously our defending wasn’t good on the two goals that we took, especially the second one. I thought there was, again, a massive difference in our effort in the last 30 minutes versus the first 60. And, we have to play the first 60 like we played the last 30.”
After the match, Ibrahimović told reporters, “It doesn’t matter if you hit the post. If you don’t score you don’t win. Losing 2-0 at home is not good. We need to be more hungry from the beginning.”
While acknowledging that it is can be challenging to come into a game off the bench, Ibrahimović said, “It’s not easy to come in. I tried to help the team, I tried to create chances and tried to score. Sometimes it doesn’t go in, sometimes it goes in.”
Here is the Sporting KC Game Recap:
Sporting KC’s twenty-one-year-old Sporting KC Academy product Daniel Salloi scored the game-winning goal and Johnny Russell celebrated his 28th birthday by putting his name on the ballot for MLS Goal of the Week.
Tim Melia also etched his name in the club record books with 10 saves in the match, the most by a Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper in MLS regular season history.
With both teams missing Designated Players due to injury in MLS top scorer Felipe Gutierrez and two-time MLS All-Star Giovani dos Santos, scoring chances were at a premium in a scoreless first half at StubHub Center.
Melia, the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, produced three of his 10 saves in the opening 45 minutes, highlighted by a fingertip stop in the 43rd minute to deflect Ashley Cole‘s swerving shot into the post. That same post had already denied the Galaxy an opening goal seven minutes earlier as Chris Pontius’ header from 12 yards out was inches off target.
The Galaxy had started the second half with a flurry of scoring opportunities as Jonathan dos Santos, Rolf Feltscher and Ola Kamara all tried their luck within a two-minute span and Romain Alessandrini tested Melia with a well-struck shot of his own.
Sporting KC turned the game with two goals in a stunning five-minute stretch.
Sporting KC, which maintained 60 percent of the possession in the first half, twice threatened by Khiry Shelton in the early stages. After rifling an effort over the crossbar in the 14th minute, Shelton beat LA Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham to a lofted entry ball from Matt Besler only to see his header roll wide of the vacated net.
Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi had a long-range free kick in the 56th minute — it was destined to curl into the top corner if not for a last-second touch by Bingham.
Sporting KC then broke the deadlock on the ensuing corner kick taken by Russell. The Scotsman’s service fell to Salloi, who made no mistake with a first-time strike off the glove of Bingham and into the back of the net for his first goal of the campaign.
Russell then doubled Sporting Kansas City’s advantage with a superb run into the penalty area – skillfully slipping between two Galaxy defenders with the ball at his feet – before finishing off the individual effort with one last touch to push his shot past the outrushing Bingham.
Russell, acquired from Derby County in the offseason, now has two goals and two assists in his first six appearances in 2018.
Peter Vermes Post Game Interview at StubHub:
Trailing 2-0 at home, the Galaxy immediately introduced Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic in hopes of sparking a late rally for the second straight week following the club’s 4-3 comeback over rivals LAFC in their previous outing.
The pursuit suffered a setback when Alessandrini’s shot crashed into the crossbar in the 65th minute and would ultimately prove futile thanks to a record-setting performance by Melia with six saves over the course of the final 30 minutes.
Peter Vermes’ squad will now return home to host back-to-back Western Conference champions Seattle Sounders FC at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday, April 15. The upcoming MLS match promises to be action packed with Clint Dempsey on the field.
Main Source: Sporting KC Press Release