MacMath loaned to Colorado Rapids

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

The Philadelphia Union announced on Tuesday afternoon the loan of goalkeeper Zac MacMath to Colorado Rapids.

In return for the one-year loan, the Union will receive a second round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Colorado presently has two picks in the second round of this year’s draft, the 26th and 41st overall. Philadelphia, whose first pick of the upcoming draft will come in the second round, 31st overall, will receive the Rapids’ lowest pick.

If the Rapids decide to retain MacMath after the expiration of the loan, the Union would receive Colorado’s highest first round pick in the 2016 draft.

Kevin Kinkead reported at CBS Philly on Tuesday morning,

MacMath is on a guaranteed contract this year, which served as a red flag for potential suitors. If he has a good season in Commerce City, then theoretically his value will increase upon completion of the loan. If MacMath doesn’t see a lot of playing time, the Union would let the season-long loan expire and not pick up his contract option for 2016.

The 23-year-old MacMath has 102 starts in league play for the Union after the club selected him with their first pick in the 2011 draft, fifth overall.

MacMath’s future with the Union has been the subject of much speculation following the controversial signing of Algerian national team goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi after the 2014 World Cup, which itself followed the club trading up to sign Jamaican national team goalkeeper Andre Blake as the first pick overall in the 2014 draft last January.

With MacMath’s loan, the Union’s goalkeeper depth chart is presently made up of two goalkeepers likely leaving the team throughout the season on international duty. Mbolhi will be with Algeria, the favorite to win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament that begins in Equatorial Guinea on Jan. 17 and runs through Feb. 8, during the start of the Union’s preseason. It is expected that Blake, the Golden Glove winner at the recent Caribbean Cup, will join Jamaica for this summer’s Gold Cup tournament, which runs July 7-26.

Kinkead reports, according to sources, the Union “still plans to loan out backup goalkeeper Andre Blake.” However, the league’s rules for intraleague loans state that teams can only make one loan within the league per season. With MacMath’s move to Colorado, that means the Union will have to loan Blake outside of MLS, be it to a lower division team domestically or to a team abroad.

That leaves Mbolhi. Kinkead reports there are no plans to sell the Algeria international, who will “be the starting goalkeeper on opening day.” Kinkead adds, “The club will also sign a backup who can cover for Mbolhi while he is away on international duty throughout the season.”

All of which means that, while MacMath’s immediate future is now known, the Union’s goalkeeper situation remains unsettled.

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff first tweeted news on Monday of an imminent MacMath trade. Kinkead soon followed Goff’s tweet with one of his own saying he understood the move would take the form of a loan rather than a trade. Kinkead’s loan tweet was followed later by one from Ives Galarcep saying the same.

On Tuesday morning, a league source confirmed to PSP that a deal was in the works to send MacMath on loan to Colorado.

The Union will host Colorado in the 2015 season opener at PPL Park on March 7. When they do so, even if MacMath has earned the starting spot with the Rapids, he will be prohibited from facing the Union. The league’s intraleague loan rules state, “Players may not compete against their former Team during the MLS Season while on loan (includes MLS games and all other competitions).”


  1. It is essentially a trade.
    Mac for a second and a 1st if he signs with the Rapids next year.
    It’s not like the Union are going to pick up that option.
    I think the loan condition that he can’t play against the Union is a bonus against possible humiliation that the FO is glad for.

  2. Sounds like the beginnings of a reasonable plan. Now to sort out if Mbohli really has told people that he wants to go back to Europe and to find a good one year spot for Blake to hone his skills until the Mbohli dust clears and he takes the reigns long run. That ‘keeper for Harrisburg looked great against us in the Open Cup… who was he?

    • Silvestre? They also have Nick Noble down there (I think still), who could probably fill in as well.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        They had Noble in earliest Preseason last year but signed the younger, quicker guy as the #3 behind MacMath and Blake. I wondered at the time if Harrisburg had wanted Noble back all along since he was their captain last season. They looked at Sylvestre towards the end of last season at one point, I think he was in the eighteen one home game when Blake and Mbohli were both away, and Noble was playing for Harrisburg as they were pushing for the last playoff spot.

  3. The Union’s handling of the GK position this past year will be the future textbook in MLS for what NOT to do. 🙁

    Good luck to Zac, Andre, and Rais in the future. I hate that they were fored to endure do much crap caused by the FO.

  4. The loan makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is what we got for it. Zac should be valued much higher than 1 second round pick and a potential first round pick in 2016. What also doesn’t make sense is now loaning out Andre Blake. We would then need to spend money on another backup GK when at the beginning of the offseason this was our deepest position. Money needs to be spent on a forward, replacement for Okugo, and some depth at outside back. Maybe I’m missing something, but the big picture looks counterproductive.

    • T of the U says:


    • Shane (new official OC FC supporter) says:

      agree with the 2nd part of your comments, but clearly MacMath doesn’t have that much value league wide. NYCFC and Orlando could have had him for nothing, or could have picked him and traded him to another team interested in him. I personally like him and would prefer he and Blake, but it’s fairly evident Union fans value him much more than the rest of the league.

    • Zac is what he is. And what he is in some ways is a reclamation case. The Unoin have pretty much messed with the kid from day one. From giving him the starting job too young. To not giving him the proper coaching and support. To having one of the owners undermining him, and then outright dissing him in press conferences.
      It is probably going to take Colorado 3 months to untangle the wires just to see what they actually have before they can even start to decide what to do with him.
      So on that alone determining his rue value is rough.
      When you add in the fact that the Union had zero bargaining leverage when the rest of the league knew that the Union had three goalkeepers tying up an obscene amount of money(by mls standards).
      AAAANNNNNNDDDD when you consider the sheer amount of quality starting keepers that hit the Market this offseason we should be ecstatic that we got a 2nd and a potential first for him.
      Almost none of this is Zacs fault. He has pretty much risen to every challenge given to him. But the Union put him and themselves into this unworkable situation and this is pretty much the best outcome.
      As far as Blake goes he is either our goalkeeper of the future or a future sale. And none of those things can be achieved by having him languish on the bench. So off he goes.

      • MacMath never played like that. I don’t recall one game where you could say he played off his game. Not sure why the rest of the league doesn’t see a starter.

      • le zolo, sorry what games have you watched ? He has never been stellar in net, only with PKs but unfortunately soccer isn’t all PKs.

  5. In my view, this loan only makes sense if Blake is also loaned out and a capable backup is brought in (Jon Busch?) who won’t miss time on international breaks. Regardless, the transactional calisthenics that this organization is going through with the goalkeeper position can’t be anything other than a distraction for Curtin/Albright/(Meulensteen?) from actually STRENGTHENING the club.

  6. You are assuming that Curtin/Albright have a freakin’ clue. Maybe they’re handling the GK fiasco on their own and are helpless. They’ve made some hair-brained decisions already:
    1. lose Okugo for a few bucks,
    2. lose Ribiero for nothing,
    3. claim there’s a lot of interest in Fabinho, then fail to actually trade him.

    No, more likely this isn’t a distraction for Albright/Curtin, but their master-freakin’-plan. Not to excuse Nick, but I don’t think anyone at this club has the smarts or the wherewithall to compete in MLS.

    That said, I’ll see you March 7th!

    • Hmm, well when you put it like that….

      This is Philly, so our teams must remain at best mediocre, but preferably atrocious and downright embarrassing.

    • The Union have a problem in the fact they are continually trying to undo previous mistakes made by other hands. I wouldn’t put all of those things on Curtins head.

      • Instability. Five years of it. As Radiohead sing…
        All these things into position
        All these things we’ll one day swallow hole
        And fade out again And fade out again.
        Here’s to putting an end to all this…….instability.

      • Great song. I’m gonna listen to The Bends now at an inappropriate volume.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Brian Sylvestre played well enough in the Open Cup game against us, looked like a better Athlete than Noble, even though Noble was HCI’s starter and captain. If the defense is solid with Valdes, Edu, Williams and Gaddis in front of him , he could be an adequate #3. They thought so last season.

    • Sylvestre was also up with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011-12, but I don’t know that he saw any playing time there. It seems like everywhere he goes he gets stuck behind someone entrenched, even though every time he gets a shot to play, he’s impressive enough.
      Late in regulation at the U.S. Open Cup game against Harrisburg, I turned to the guy behind me who said something about the damn goalie and said, “You know, he’s their backup.” His response was, “What?! HOW?!”
      Definitely seems like a good international break backup for Philadelphia to have.

      • ‘Definitely seems like a good international break backup for Philadelphia to have’ … unless Haiti calls him up.

  8. This is Phil says:

    In other news, LeToux was traded to San Jose for a bottle of Cuervo and half a dozen day old donuts from Frangelli’s….

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