Mar 10, 2019; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia (29) talks with Philadelphia Union defenseman Aurelien Collin (78) after the match at Children's Mercy Park. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Melia had four saves, including one on a penalty kick, for his 40th career shutout to lead defending Western Conference regular-season champion Sporting Kansas City to a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union in their MLS home opener Sunday afternoon.
Ilie Sanchez scored on a penalty kick for Sporting KC, who also scored on an own goal by Union defender Jack Elliott. Melia stopped first-half penalty kick by Marco Fabian, his eighth save in 20 penalty kick tries since the start of the 2016 season, three more than any other MLS goalie during that span.
Andre Blake stopped two shots for the Union, who played the final 30 minutes with 10 men after Fabian was shown a straight red card. Fabian became the first MLS player since 2012 to miss a penalty try and also get a red card in the same game.
Sporting KC, who dropped their MLS opener at Los Angeles Football Club, 2-1, on a 94th-minute goal, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on a penalty kick by Sanchez. Philadelphia defender Auston Trusty was penalized for shoving 16-year-old Gianluca Busio to the ground in the middle of the 18-yard box. Sanchez then powered a shot just inside the right post and off the fingers of Union goalie Andre Blake.
Philadelphia had a chance to tie it in the 41st minute with a penalty-kick attempt of their own, after video review penalized Sporting KC defender Seth Sinovic for a handball on a header by Fabrice-Jean Picault on the left side of the six-yard box. But Fabian, who scored on a penalty kick in Philadelphia’s season-opening 3-1 loss to Toronto FC, was denied by Melia, who made a diving two-hand save to Fabian’s left.
Things got worse for Fabian in the 60th minute when, following a video review, the Mexican international was red-carded for stomping on the chest of sliding forward Johnny Russell just outside the center of the 18-yard box, reducing the Union to 10 men for the rest of the contest. Graham Zusi’s ensuing direct free kick caromed off the crossbar.
Sporting KC then made it 2-0 in the 80th minute on an own goal when Elliott knocked in Gerso Fernandes’ crossing pass into his own net.