Union’s MacMath drawing on lessons from European vacation
It was a tough night to take in. Four goals allowed with just seven on target in a 4-1 loss to the LA Galaxy last Wednesday. As a goalie, games like these are your worst nightmare.
It was hard to think about the positives of Union goalie Zac MacMath, even though he had six saves just days earlier in a 1-0 shutout of the Chicago Fire.
Another match against the Fire this past Saturday was MacMath’s chance to hit the reset button and get his team and fans behind him again. He did by registering six saves and topping the Fire, 1-0, for the Union’s first home win of the season.
“Anytime you register a shutout, it’s always a confidence boost,” said MacMath. “Your teammates respect you more and put more trust in you. It shows that I’m doing my job and I hope to have a few more as the season progresses.”
MacMath, drafted fifth overall in 2011, is looked at as a defensive anchor for the Union, which added more talent in the offseason like Abington native Jeff Parke. His 35 saves this season places him ninth in the MLS, but he’s allowed the second-most goals with 18. He’s hoping he can play more consistently as the season continues.
“It was a tough loss [agianst the Galaxy], but definitely something we can build off of,” said MacMath. “I think in every loss you’re able to learn something different. The Galaxy are a great team and they showed that.”
In the 2012 offseason, MacMath had the opportunity to train with Everton in the English Premier League. He’s fortunate to have the accomplishment on his resume already.
“Playing at Everton you almost have a different mindset,” he said. “Soccer’s everything over there and it’s just so competitive. Every player should have the opportunity to play in Europe and I’m lucky enough to already have that in my young career.”
With Everton, he was able to train under one of the greatest American soccer goalies, Tim Howard.
“I wouldn’t say there was one guy I tried to model my goalkeeping after, but Tim Howard definitely influenced it,” he said. “I used to watch him in the Olympics for Team USA growing up and learning from him was a great experience I won’t forget.”
Training on the big stage is something the Union will need this season. At 5-4-3 they sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference for the final playoff spot. There’s still a lot of season left, but MacMath is confident his team will get in.
“I expect us to make the playoffs,” he said. “We’re in a good position right now and we’ve beaten some of the better teams in the league…I think if we can keep our intensity up all season then we’ll be in [the playoffs] for sure.”