Every team will have games like this.
But none of those other teams have Tim Melia.
Sporting KC’s veteran shot stopper was the savior once again in a tough 0-0 draw in Commerce City, Colorado against the Rapids. The result leaves KC unbeaten in four straight matches on the road.
The first half may not have been full of action, but a very unique lineup provided SKC fans with plenty to keep an eye on. Sporting uncharacteristically trotted out three centerbacks, Grayson Barber was playing his first minutes in the top flight, 21-year-old Wilson Harris got the nod at striker, and there were a few other changes as well.
Starting over on the wing in place of a resting Daniel Salloi, Barber was lively and eager to make an impact. His first touch on the ball was a clever flick during a nice buildup that led to one of KC’s only decent looks of the first half.
Michael Barrios appeared destined to score right from the start. His trademark speed was causing problems, but Peter Vermes’ defense had clearly been focused on him during training last week. In the 6th minute, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin made an absolutely fantastic recovery run to track down and block a shot from a breakaway Barrios.
Later in the second half, Isimat-Mirin went down and had to be replaced by Kaveh Rad. But early reports suggest the injury is not with the hamstring that kept him sidelined recently.
The Colorado Rapids got the better of the visitors in the first half, but Tim Melia was kept the score even with two nice saves.
The second half was more of the same. The Rapids were getting the better chances and Melia kept denying them. He brought out the save of the game in the 75th minute with a great tip over the bar.
HOT DAMN, TIM!— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) August 8, 2021
WHAT A TIP!!! pic.twitter.com/lLSu5Ct1L4
Colorado finished the match with Expected Goals of 2.9 after 13 shots on the night. In stark contrast to the visitors’ 0.4 xG with zero shots on goal.
Alan Pulido replaced Wilson Harris in the 59th minute and brought a spark to the attack. Just seven minutes later the Mexican striker shaved the side netting with shot off a deflection, but he was never able to steal the winner.
It was far from pretty, but Melia saved the day to grind out a point on the road. A point, by the way, that keeps Sporting KC clear of the Seattle Sounders at the top of the Western Conference table.
The Leagues Cup kicks off on Tuesday night, with Liga MX side Leon coming into The Blue Hell.