Tim Melia’s big 28th-minute save changed the complexion of the game. (Tim Rohman/USA TODAY Sports)

KANSAS CITY, Kansas — A goalkeeper’s life can be a lonely one. He can be peppered with shots and be called on to make save after save.

Or, he can be lulled into sleep, whether his team is maintaining ball possession for huge periods of time, his defense has been outstanding in limiting attempts or that the opposition is not creating any chances.

But when an opportunity comes, he has to be ready and at the top of his game.

Tim Melia certainly was in Sporting Kansas City’s 2-0 victory over the Red Bulls Wednesday night.

With the game still scoreless in the 28th minute at Children’s Mercy Park, Red Bulls forward Fredrik Gulbrandsen was bearing down on Melia. The East Islip H.S. graduate just got enough of his finger tips on the ball and tipped it out of harm’s way for a corner kick.

“There was one mistake by us, but Tim made an incredible save tonight,” KC head coach Peter Vermes said.

It was one of two saves by Melia, who recorded his sixth shutout of the young Major League Soccer season.

“That save was incredible,” defender Seth Sinovic told The Kansas City Star. “Completely changed the game for us.”

Even his Red Bulls’ counterpart had to give Melia his due.

“If Tim doesn’t make such a great save on Freddy’s chance, we’re talking about a different game,” Luis Robles said.


Video courtesy of Sporting Kansas City’s Facebook page

He also shrunk his goal-against average to a miniscule 0.33 while boosting his record to an impressive 5-1-3. In 27 games with KC last season, Melia registered eight shutouts while surrendering 30 goals en route to an 11-11-5 mark.

Melia, who turns 31 on May 15, played two years at SUNY-Oneonta before he transferred to Lynn University. He also performed for the Long Island Rough Riders in the Premier Development League in 2007.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.