Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia has been voted the 2017 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Major League Soccer announced on Thursday.
Melia helped lead the best defense in Major League Soccer, as Sporting KC's 29 goals allowed during the regular season were eight fewer than any other team. The 31-year-old saved three penalty kicks, one shy of the single-season league record, and his stunning finger-tip stop to deny Darlington Nagbe in a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers on April 15 was nominated for MLS Save of the Year.
"Winning an award like this is one of the best compliments you can get as a goalkeeper," Melia said. "It's a huge individual accolade, and it's one that is only possible because of the efforts of my teammates and my coaches. To gain this recognition is an incredible honor."
In his third season with Sporting KC, Melia posted MLS career-highs in wins, 12, shutouts, 10, saves, 91, starts, 31, and minutes, 2,759. Among goalkeepers with at least 15 regular-season appearances in 2017, he led MLS with a 0.78 goals against average, 78.4 save percentage and 69.2-percent passing accuracy. The eighth-year professional also ranked second in shutouts.
"Over the course of the season, Tim was extremely consistent and came up with some really big saves," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. "There is no doubt that his excellent play was one of the reasons we won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for a seventh straight year."
In the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Melia started all five matches and posted three shutouts en route to his second career Open Cup title. He made two saves in a penalty shootout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in the tournament semifinals on Aug. 9, paving the way for Sporting KC's championship win against the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 20.
"Tim had a major role in our success as a team, and we are happy he got rewarded. I also give a lot of credit to our goalkeeper coach Alec Dufty, who has done a great job helping our goalkeepers improve."
Melia finished the year with a 16-7-12 record as a starter in all competitions, recording a 0.72 goals against average and 13 clean sheets.
A native of Great River, New York, Melia becomes Sporting KC's third MLS Goalkeeper of the Year recipient. He joins the ranks of Sporting Legend Tony Meola, 2002, and former captain Jimmy Nielsen, 2012; making Sporting KC the first club to have three different MLS Goalkeeper of the Year winners.
Melia garnered more than half of the votes for Goalkeeper of the Year, which consisted of ballots from active players, club technical staffs and media members who covered the league in 2017.
Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.