IF THE UNION HOPE TO THRIVE, MacMATH MUST CONTINUE STREAK OF TORRID PLAY
From ninth to sixth, and maybe second by next weekend.
That's quite a turnaround. And that's largely thanks to Zac MacMath.
A second-year goalkeeper and first-year starter, MacMath posted his third consecutive clean sheet Saturday in a 1-0 victory over Chivas. The shutout extended MacMath's scoreless streak to 332 minutes. He hasn't given up a goal since the 28th minute of a 1-0 loss at Chicago March 24.
Here's the skinny: Until the Union establish any degree of consistent offense, they're going to need to lean upon MacMath.
The Union average less than a goal a game, with four in six matches. That means Union manager Peter Nowak will take extra effort in making sure his backline is working to its fullest potential, so that the Union can score early and hold a one-goal advantage.
“You can see that we bunkered in a little bit," MacMath said Saturday. "We had to. We were down two guys (following red cards to Gabriel Farfan and Keon Daniel). We just stayed together as a team, communicated and worked really hard.”
Centerbacks Sheanon Williams and Carlos Valdes played well against Chivas. As did Raymon Gaddis, making only his second start in MLS. But Gabriel Farfan fell victim to chippiness late, getting issued a red card in the final minutes. With Danny Califf on the mend, it looks like Porfirio Lopez would be a safe bet to return to the lineup next weekend.
All of that amounts to MacMath playing well under pressure. He's made nine consecutive saves in a span of four games. He's going to need far more than that if the Union want to continue their ascent in the Eastern Conference table.
(Times staff photo / JULIA WILKINSON)