Zac MacMath - He's Big, He's Orange

Mitchell Leff

In the days of struggle, fans are looking at the team to see what changes will make this team better. With the number 1 draft pick of 2014 on the bench, Andre Blake, being a goalkeeper - there are calls to put him in instead of MacMath. But has MacMath's performance called for a change at the position?

Results and numbers don't lie.  They don't tell the entire story, but they don't lie.  The Philadelphia Union are in a slump, and fans are looking from top to bottom for changes that will lead to success for the team, and some considerations are causing fans to look at personnel usage, including the goalkeeper position.  The Union drafted, #1 overall, Andre Blake.  Why would the Union draft a young talented goalkeeper, when they still have a young talented goalkeeper? Not only that, the team being put on the field is clearly not working, why not give Andre Blake a chance over Zac MacMath - if Blake is so good, maybe he is better than MacMath (the #5 overall pick in 2011)?

These are some questions being asked throughout the fan base, trying to come up with hypothetical solution that can make this team win.  In some cases the talk is founded, in others, it might not be.  Up until the New England fiasco, Zac MacMath looked like he was having a career year - his positioning appears to better, he has made some fantastic penalty saves, and he looks more sure of himself than ever.  Then New England happened, which there were so many things going wrong it is hard to pick up, so going forward - for fun - let's ignore this game for now.

So - as we all like to look at the Philadelphia Union and attempt to solve unseen problems, is Zac possibly one of these problems?  I personally think no.  Let's look at his stats from season to season to prove why.

2012 - 32 games.  43 goals against.  139 shots on goal. 93 saves.   1.34 goals per game.  4.34 shots per game.  66.9% saves

2013 - 34 games.  44 goals against.  147 shots on goal.  101 saves.  1.29 goals per game.  4.32 shots per game.  68.7% saves

2014 - 12 games.  15 goals against.  48 shots on goal.  33 saves.  1.25 goals per game.  4 shots per game.  68.75% saves

Zac's career - including 8 games in 2011 -  86 games.  110 goals against.  359 shots on goal.  243 saves.  1.28 goals per game.  4.17 shots per game.  67.7% saves.

You can figure from these numbers  1) Zac has faced less shots, well below average in 2014 than in his career - which may be due to defense, 2) his save percentage, as well has goals against, has been incrementally getting better.  With more than a quarter of the season gone, it looked as if Zac could have a career season - although, in reality, it looks like not much has improved from 2013 to 2014.  If you look at his career numbers, he is progressively getting better - which is what you always want to see in a player.

But then New England happened.

5 goals, 10 shots on goal, and only 4 saves in one game (one shot having been blocked) caused his stats to inflate tremendously.  He now has 1.54 goals against per game, 4.24 shots per game, and 66.9% save percentage.  Now, like I have said earlier - numbers don't lie, but they don't always tell the whole story.  Looking at his season statistics overall - one would think that he is having a terrible year - but this is all based on one game.  Looking at the shots on goal per game would then prove that his defense is failing him, and looking at his save percentage would show that he isn't doing as well as his average, but appears to be on par with his performances.  This is why I didn't include the New England statistics - because without that game, it would look like he is having a regular year, if not a career year, but if you include that game and disregard how miserable the defense had looked, any fan could easily ask to see Andre Blake in net.

Hopefully, New England was a fluke.  Hopefully our depth at defense and central midfield is figured out.  Hopefully Zac is able to bring down that per game average going forward - because up until this past Saturday, there was nothing wrong with his usual performance.

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