If you are a Sporting Kansas City fan, you know pain. The pain of watching your team struggle through the 2022 and 2023 MLS seasons and the pain of seeing your team constantly dealing with injuries.
Add another name to the injury report.
Tim Melia is now reported to be out for three to four months with an “avulsion of his hip flexor muscle.”
Out at #SportingKC training today. No Tim Melia. Vermes said he will be out for 3-4 months, erring on the longer side of that.
— Daniel Sperry (@sperrydaniel94) May 23, 2023
In news that was apparently mentioned on the Apple TV MLS Season Pass broadcast (but not on the FS1 telecast), it’s now been confirmed by the team at training. If the injury is four months, that’ll take us until the end of September and Melia will miss most of the regular season. According to Daniel Sperry in the KC Star, “the nature of how it heals has Vermes looking at the longer side of his estimated return.”
If it’s four months from today, that would leave just three regular season games left to be played. The return trip to St. Louis on September 30, another road game against Real Salt Lake on October 7 and a Decision Day home game against Minnesota United on October 21st.
It’s a brutal blow, particularly after finding out that Melia is the league’s 7th highest paid goalkeeper.
The only “positive” is that the injury doesn’t require surgery. This will mark the second straight season that Melia has missed a huge chunk of the year.
Who Replaces Melia?
Looking all around the Sporting KC roster, goalkeeper might be the deepest position.
LA Galaxy Homegrown John Pulskamp started the first five games of the 2023 season before finding the bench after a 4-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders. He allowed only seven goals in that stretch, which was looking far better before the four against Seattle.
I say it’s the deepest position because there is probably no other spot on the roster that’s three deep (though I suppose many probably don’t rate Pulskamp, McIntosh or both). The only other spot I’d contend is the dual #8 midfield spot that’s frequently occupied by Erik Thommy, Gadi Kinda, Remi Walter among others (Espinoza, Hernandez, etc.).
As for who starts, it seems to be McIntosh for the moment, but I think both could find time. If the team were to deal with another injury, they’d likely sign the MLS pool goalkeeper, which is how Melia came to KC to begin with. They had to do that very thing in 2020 when they signed Charlie Lyon.
Sporting KC have a full roster at the moment and could choose to put Melia on the season ending injury list, but that spot seems destined for Kortne Ford is anyone is going there. That decision would need to be made before the secondary transfer window opens in the summer.