Zac MacMath Named Friday’s Starter, Will It Be His Last Philadelphia Union Appearence?


Jun 7, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath (18) is unable to stop a penalty kick by Vancouver FC midfielder Pedro Morales (77) during the second half of the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at PPL Park. The teams played to a 3-3 draw. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union made a major announcement on Wednesday announcing the signing of Algerian National Team goalkeeper Rais M’Bohli. While M’Bohli is a star player and brings talent to the Union squad, it comes as somewhat surprising with two young, talented goalies already on the roster. Zac MacMath has shined this season as the starter, and 2014 SuperDraft No. 1 overall pick Andre Blake has found time in US Open Cup and friendly action as the primary backup.

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With M’Bohli’s signing, the Union’s interim head coach Jim Curtain was clear who was the starter moving forward. On Friday, MacMath will start against Sporting Kansas City on the road as M’Bohli becomes works on his fitness and getting prepared for action. In the near future, M’Bohli will be the starter when he feels ready.

Don’t be surprised if M’Bohli starts for the Union on August 9th against the Montreal Impact. The Summer Transfer Window closes on August 6th, so there could be a slew of team to inquire about Zac MacMath. Many MLS teams should be watching his performance Friday to judge if he could fill a hole on their team. MacMath’s contract ends in 2015, so the Union could hold onto him into the off-season before making a move. However, I don’t know how MacMath would feel about being a backup. In 2015, Orlando City SC and New York City FC join MLS. Orlando could be in the market for a keeper, but it’s unknown what they would offer in return for such a deal to happen.

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  • Despite signing a quality goalie in M’Bohli, Philadelphia has a greater need in improving their defense that they may want to address this transfer window. In exchange for MacMath, the Union should look to bring in a quality left back or center back. Sheanon Williams and Ray Gaddis have been solid on defense with the latter finding success at both left and right back depending on the situation at hand.

    With Carlos Valdes’ return still in limbo, another center back option would move Maurice Edu back to the midfield permanently. Edu has struggled in his center back role specifically on set pieces when he fails to mark his defender. While Edu has played defense previously, he is best deployed as a defensive midfielder with the ability to play box-to-box.

    It does not seem like MacMath would want to play second fiddle to M’Bohli. Yes, he handled the news like a professional when Curtain notified him before the signing announcement, but I don’t see MacMath being content as a backup keeper after being a starter the last three years.

    While there has been no clear indicators of suitors interested in MacMath, the Vancouver Whitecaps expressed interest in him during the off-season. It would be interesting to see if the Whitecaps or other teams would want MacMath on their squad. For the most part, his play during the current season has been impressive and one of the Union’s strengths.

    Overall, we know MacMath is the Union’s starting keeper on Friday barring any trade Thursday or Friday. However, it seems more of a possibility that MacMath will be traded sometime after Friday’s game and before the transfer window closing on August 6th. Nothing is set in stone, but it seems unlikely that MacMath will play another game for the Union after Friday. He’ll probably be suiting up for a new MLS post-MLS All-Star Game, which takes place August 6th.

    If this were to occur, Blake would remain the back-up and learn from a talented 28-year old keeper that seems to be in his prime. M’Bohli has shined at the national level, but that has not been the case at the club level. However, that could change with his Philadelphia arrival. At the same time, M’Bohli’s entrace seems to point all signs towards MacMath’s exit.

    Where do you think MacMath will be come August 6th? Still in Philadelphia as the back-up? Or elsewhere? Share your thoughts below.