Tim Melia entered the 2013 MLS season as the clear number two in the Chivas USA goalkeeping pecking order. Sitting behind Dan Kennedy and ahead of Patrick McLain, the 27-year-old was not expected to play a great deal, and overall he didn't. But his season was nearly wiped out from a back injury that required surgery.
With the league no longer requiring teams to disclose full injury reports on a weekly basis, it was initially unclear what had happened to Melia when all of the sudden, McLain began to be named in the matchday 18 for games. But after suffering what the team later called "extreme lower back pain," Melia had surgery and took about four months to recover. Normally, that wouldn't be extremely important, since Kennedy is the established starter at Chivas, but with DK receiving a red card against Sporting Kansas City, and being suspended the following game, McLain was pressed into duty in Melia's absence.
Still, Melia did recover and rehab fast enough that he still got his shot, starting the final two games of the season, with Kennedy being listed as out with a minor injury.
Here are Melia's statistics for 2013:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Saves||Goals Allowed||GAA||Shutouts||Win %||Save %||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||2||2||180||8||7||3.50||0||0||60||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Though Melia played fine during his two outings, the fight had basically drained out of the Goats by that point, and coming against the two teams who ended up contesting the Western Conference championship, Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers, Chivas were walloped 7-1. The bright side, if one could call it that, is that Kennedy likely would not have turned the result in either match in Chivas' favor, but Melia has still not tasted victory in his MLS career, going 0-3-1 in two seasons. Luckily, he's undefeated in U.S. Open Cup play with Chivas, though his injury meant he didn't get a shot this year in that tournament.
In all, Melia's limited minutes mean we can't necessarily give a comprehensive scouting report on all of the angles of his game. Do I think he's a true rival for the top spot to Kennedy? Absolutely not. But Chivas have done well historically with their goalkeepers, and in limited minutes, Melia has ensured his place as the insurance policy for the team's best player overall.
Back in March, Melia signed a contract extension with the team, with word only recently emerging that it was for two years. So it is possible that he could end up leaving this offseason one way or another, though that seems pretty unlikely. He did make a fair amount for a backup goalkeeper this season, at $60,000 base salary ($65,000 guaranteed compensation), up from the regular league minimum the season before.
Melia has gotten some minutes during his time with Chivas, though he is clearly second fiddle to Kennedy, and unless DK leaves the team or gets injured, Melia will be playing mop-up minutes with the Goats. Still, he's done a competent job thus far, and he looks set to continue with the team for another year.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!
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