Melia makes his debut with Chivas
VENTURA, Calif. –It isn’t easy finding time on the field, when you’re backing up a budding star like Chivas USA’s Dan Kennedy, but back-up goalkeeper Tim Melia made his presence felt in his competitive debut for the Rojiblancos on Tuesday.
In the US Open Cup third round match-up, Melia was unbeatable making several key saves to preserve the 1-0 victory over the Ventura County Fusion and advance for just the second time in franchise history. Time and time again, Melia repeatedly came up large in goal to bat away any Fusion shot that came his way.
“Tim’s a very good goalkeeper. There was no doubt that he was going to do well,” head coach Robin Fraser said of Melia’s performance after the Open Cup win. “I have a ton of faith and confidence in him. We’re in a great spot where we have a couple of good goalkeeper and Patrick McClain is another good budding goalkeeper.”
Fraser’s faith in the 26-year-old is understandable as Melia once played at Real Salt Lake while the current Chivas boss served as an assistant coach to RSL’s Jason Kreis. After departing on loan to join the USL’s Charleston Battery, Melia was able to make a name for himself in the Open Cups the goalkeeper was selected as the player of round three during the 2010 edition of the tournament.
Since his heroics with the Battery, Melia has found playing time hard to come at RSL by after spending 2011 on loan to NPSL club FC New York . After being released by Salt Lake at the end of the 2011 season, he was promptly invited to Chivas camp where he almost immediately locked down the backup to Kennedy.
In the fourth round, Melia may be called upon yet again as the Rojiblancos face off against his old rival with the Battery, the Carolina Railhawks. Ever the professional, Melia refuses to get ahead of himself fully understanding that anything could happen in the days leading up to the match.
“Any opportunity [to play] is always good, but I’ve just got to do well and continue on and hopefully get as many games as I can,” said Melia. “Carolina is good team and I know them well from my USL days and we’ve just got to go out there and do a job again.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano