2016 Summary: Well, he was around. Pretty much the third guy on the Union’s depth chart, Jones spent a good chunk of time in a mentoring role and made the majority of his appearances in Bethlehem this year. Five games for Steel FC saw Jones post a .700 save percentage and Bethlehem was 1-1-3 with him between the sticks. His one game in MLS against Columbus was a win in which he gave up two goals. All of his games barring one against Rochester were against some low quality teams in FC Montreal, Harrisburg City Islanders FC, and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The ‘Hounds were the most potent attacking team he faced all year with Corey Hertzog playing up top and Jones was able to hold the Steel City side to one goal with four saves.
What went right: Communicated at the back, had some good goal kicks forward and generally kept the team in games. Personally he had a successful year, giving birth to a daughter that may have had some impact on why he got released by the club. More on that in a bit. Pleasant interview and I’m sure he helped with the development of John McCarthy and to an extent Matt Perrella.
What went wrong: I’m going to sound like a prick here. Matt Jones had a daughter early on in the season. That is a wonderful achievement and I sincerely wish him the best of luck in every term of the word both on and off the field. That being said, we didn’t get to see him much because of a leave of absence to (rightfully) spend time with his wife and daughter. From a soccer standpoint he made the easy saves look a little harder than they had to be or should have been more often than I would have liked. The combination of him not being super visible and just a decent record saw the Union part ways with Jones about a week after they were knocked out of the playoffs.
2016 summary: Everyone’s favorite helmet wearing goalie this side of Arsenal had a solid year in USL, which was probably the best thing we could have asked for long-term. McCarthy wasn’t going to beat out Andre Blake for the number one role and even in relief he gave up three to an anemic Chicago Fire offense. The Union used their resources well, giving McCarthy the lion’s share of starts for Bethlehem Steel FC in the USL, where he won Rookie of the Year in 2014 after a stellar year with the Rochester Rhinos. His 11 starts saw McCarthy post a .774 save percentage and the team was 4-4-3 with him in net. If Andre Blake gets sold this will be your number one keeper and don’t worry, he’s competent enough to stop some shots from going in. Fair warning, he isn’t ‘Dre though so don’t expect that from him and we should be fine.
What went right: Got minutes. Yeah, weren’t expecting that were you? Seriously though, if this was the pre-BSFC years McCarthy either would have went out on loan somewhere or have been stuck on the bench behind the best goalie in MLS for a year. He got minutes, did well, got a few clean sheets and if anything will have learned a few things before maybe taking the number one spot next year.
What went wrong: He still kinda tries too hard and seems skiddish at times. He’s not terribly consistent. He got back-to-back wins in Bethlehem’s 2-0 beatdown of Pittsburgh and the follow-up 3-0 win four days later against a really good Louisville City team. Then he went out to Chicago and got shelled for three. If McCarthy can settle down and find some more composure it will only serve him better
Evan, did he do a cool thing?: Glad you asked, he did! Here, watch.
So, what do you think? Should we have kept Jones? Am I wrong and is McCarthy horrible and you want us to sign Zac MacMath from Colorado? Let us know in the comments.