Doing the Math: How Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath played the odds to perfection...twice

Looking at the numbers that make up Union goalie Zac MacMath

MacMath calls for it vs. Houston

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

Zac MacMath achieved something quite rare in Major League Soccer.

In the big picture, he’d rather wind up with a pair of victories.

MacMath saved penalty kicks in consecutive weeks against Chicago’s Mike Magee and Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio – hardly an easy task.

Both matches ended up in 2-2 draws, so the Philadelphia Union picked up two total points instead of six for two potential wins.

Still, the third-year Union goalkeeper has played at an extremely high level through the first six regular season matches.

He’s just a bit disappointed that the last two matches ended up in draws.

Watch: Click the graphic Zac MacMath Mic'd Up against Montreal!

“Yeah, obviously coming back against a team like Salt Lake is a big boost for us as they are one of the best in the league for sure,” MacMath said. “But I think we are overall disappointed as we probably were the better team out there, and we deserved the three points. I felt that way against Chicago, too. We just have to tighten a few things up and we’ll get those points straightened out. It’s a matter of doing it for a full 90 minutes.”

After the stellar save against Saborio, the ball caromed out and Luke Mulholland scored.

“Zac was really good, he kept us in the game a lot,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “It’s really unfortunate that our guys don’t react better on that penalty kick. Zac was pretty good.  He was good off his line, he cleared the balls and made some really good saves. I’m a little disappointed that he had to make that many.”

MacMath has been quite busy all season, especially the past two matches with a litany of action in front of him.

Coming into a match, he can never be sure how busy it will get. It’s simply a matter of preparing the same way.

“That is part of the season,” said MacMath, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.  “You have games where you don’t touch the ball and other games where you have to work more. It’s about learning to balance that and making those saves to keep my team in it.”

MacMath has made 15 saves and allowed just eight goals in the first six matches.

Impressive indeed.

“Honestly, I’d rather make less saves and get more points to help our club win,” MacMath said. “I think we feel like we’ve given up some points in the early part of the season here. Whatever it takes to get the three points, we’ll do it. We just have to stay focused and execute because we have a couple of tough matches coming up this week.”

MacMath has been ultra-tough thus far and has helped the Union preserve points with those difficult saves on PKs.

His teammates see a very confident goalkeeper.

“For sure, he’s taken charge out there,” said defender Sheanon Williams. “He’s making difficult saves and he’s carrying us at times. We need to make it a little easier on him by eliminating some of those situations in front of the goal. He looks great and we’re very happy to have him.”

What have you noticed that's different about MacMath? Leave a comment below. 

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com