Confidence and calm: Union's MacMath peaking at the perfect time as stretch run begins
Zac MacMath has seen the progress from his rookie season until now.
And he likes what he sees.
MacMath has registered seven shutouts in 22 starts this season for the Philadelphia Union. More than that, he’s feeling more comfortable and more confident every day.
“I really just try to have the same mentality every game, every day in training,” MacMath said. “My goal is the same every game and that’s to come away with a clean sheet. I want to build on my performance all the time, keep improving and keep playing at a high level. I try to keep the opponent to a shutout every game.
“I’m working every day to be the best keeper I can be. I’m feeling confident, but I also know there’s always room for improvement. That’s the way I like to look at it. For me, it’s about getting better and playing to the best of my ability.”
MacMath will try and equal last season’s mark of eight shutouts when the Union host the Chicago Fire Saturday night at PPL Park (8 p.m., purchase tickets)
No matter what happens, it’s about giving the Union the best possible chance to win.
“Sure, that’s the plan, to keep them off the scoreboard,” MacMath said. “Sometimes, a game can go in a direction that you don’t expect. I just try and stay consistent and do all I can to help my club come away with three points.”
A former standout at the University of Maryland, MacMath was the No. 5 overall pick by the Union in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
Since being drafted, MacMath made sure to learn as much as possible.
Getting match experience has been the best way to learn.
“I was fortunate to get some games under my belt as a rookie,” said MacMath, who has 18 career MLS shutouts. “I’ve been through a lot here, some ups and downs. Through the whole process, I’ve just tried to take it all in and learn all I can. I feel like that I’ve come a long way since my rookie season. It’s been a learning experience in many ways.”
MacMath’s teammates have seen the sharp rise in his overall game.
“Zac has been terrific,” said All-Star forward Jack McInerney. “He’s been a real leader on the field and has made some huge saves for us. He’s kept in games when the offense wasn’t clicking as much as possible. I think he’s done a great job.”
“Zac’s been a consistent leader and it’s been great to see,” said defender Sheanon Williams. “He’s a competitor and has been steadily consistent all season. It’s great to have him on our side and I’m excited about his future here.”
Looking ahead, the goal remains the same.
“We are in a good place, but we have so much more to accomplish,” MacMath said. “There are some big matches coming up. We have to keep getting points and defending our home field.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org