Sporting Kansas City’s attempt to avoid a fourth straight knockout-round playoff exit will come without its top goalkeeper.
Tim Melia will miss Thursday’s first-round MLS playoff match in Houston because of a hamstring strain, coach Peter Vermes said Tuesday.
Melia was injured Oct. 7 in Minnesota. He has returned to minimal training exercises over the past few days, but Vermes said Tuesday, “He’s just not ready yet.” Melia stood behind the goal and observed the morning practice.
The match Thursday — which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston — is winner-take-all. If Sporting KC wins, it would play at home either Sunday or Tuesday in the first match of the two-leg Western Conference semifinals. Vermes did not rule Melia out for any potential future matches.
Andrew Dykstra started the final three regular-season matches in Melia’s absence and allowed four goals. Sporting KC was 0-2-1 in those three games.