The news that most Sporting Kansas City fans were expecting came down this morning as MLS’s Disciplinary Committee announced that goalkeeper Tim Melia had been fined and suspended for his take down of Cristian Roldan in the 54th minute of KC’s 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders. On the play Melia and Roldan had both been given yellow cards and a foul was eventually called against Roldan on the play.
The one game suspension will see Melia miss tonight’s game against the LA Galaxy at Children’s Mercy Park.
According to the announcement of the suspension, the play was reviewed under MLS Disciplinary Committee Parameter 3, where the match officials (Ismail Elfath in this case) see an incident and do not issue a red card. As part of Parameter 3, the Disciplinary Committee can issue a one game suspension when PRO (Professional Referee Organization) acknowledges an error by the referee/VAR and the committee is unanimous in its vote. Melia escaped further punishment as the Disciplinary Committee could have handed down a suspension of two or more matches for the incident.
This means that tonight against the Galaxy the presumed starter will be John Pulskamp, who started the first five games of the season for KC and has a 2-2-1 record on the season. It’ll be the 22nd league game since Melia won the starting job in 2015 that he hasn’t started in goal for KC. In those previous 21 games, KC has a record of 6-7-8 (W-L-D), an average of 1.24 points per game. Melia meanwhile over that time has amassed an 87-59-44 record, averaging 1.61 points per game.
Melia has also started two more games where he did not earn the result, Andrew Dykstra earned a draw in 2017 in Minnesota after Melia subbed out with an injury. Then in 2020 Richard Sanchez took the loss after Melia was red carded against Minnesota United at the MLS is Back Tournament. Add those two results in and KC’s back up goalkeepers since Melia won the starting job are 6-8-9 with 1.13 points per game.
Pulskamp (assuming he starts) will make his sixth league start for KC, the only back up goalkeeper for KC with more league appearances since Melia became the starter is Alec Kann who made seven appearances and finished with a 2-2-3 record. The full list of back up goalkeepers to make an appearance for KC is a who’s who of “Oh yeah, I remember that guy.” Jon Kempin went 1-1-1 in three games replacing Melia in 2015, Kann’s 2-2-3 record in 2016, Dykstra’s 0-2-2 run at the end of the 2017 season, Adrian Zendejas going 0-0-1 in 2019 while Eric Dick went 0-1 the same year, then there was Sanchez going 1-1 last year, and Pulskamp’s 2-2-1 record this year.
If Pulskamp isn’t the starter tonight, the starter would be making their MLS debut as Kendall McIntosh’s only appearance for an MLS team came in the US Open Cup and Brooks Thompson has only appeared professionally for Sporting KC II.
[Editor Update]: Taylor Twellman reports the suspension was originally supposed to be two games per multiple sources. That makes it possible that there was an appeal, leading to a delay in this announcement and the reduction to one game.
Players have the ability to appeal these decisions, assumingly in part due to the CBA negotiated by @MLSPA. Nothing new, and a pretty standard element of any players' union bargaining process, surely. Not difficult to understand. #Sounders #SportingKC pic.twitter.com/JHngYfOa4r— MLS Referee Stats (@MLSRefStats) October 27, 2021