Player of the Week

Player of the Week: John McCarthy

Photo: Paul Rudderow

When you stop three straight penalty kicks to give your team a win, it doesn’t matter much what else you did before that.

Yes, McCarthy scared anyone rooting for Philadelphia Union on Tuesday when he came too far off his line and got chipped by Rochester’s Jonny Mendoza in the game’s waning moments. McCarthy’s adventures away from goal have become all too routine in his appearances for the Union, and this looked like the game-winner. Then Ray Gaddis stole in for a saving clearance to force extra time. A similar adventure led to a goal by Rochester’s Christian Volesky that was disallowed due to a foul.

Basically, McCarthy had been lucky twice.

After a scoreless 120 minutes, McCarthy stepped up to make amends, with stops on Vasillios Apostolopoulos, Johnny Walls, and Christian Volesky.

In the end, the Union walked off with a win thanks to McCarthy’s penalty kick heroics.

It was the type of effort that makes one see clearly what the Union see in McCarthy. Yes, he needs some game experience so he can develop better judgment on when to come off his line. Opponents now know this is a clear tendency of McCarthy’s, and it is a massive weakness waiting to be exploited.

On the other hand, the dude just stopped three straight penalty kicks to advance his team in the U.S. Open Cup. That is seriously clutch, and it shows some definite shot-stopping skill for the local kid.

And that’s why he’s PSP’s Player of the Week.


  1. Well deserved. And I’ll take overeager and aggressive right now over the general aparthy we had early this season in goal. Coaches can work with him on restraint and better judgment.

    • I remember MacMath having the same problem his first year in the net. He can learn. However, I’ll be honest, I don’t think he has the upside that MacMath does, and I don’t think either of them have the upside that Syvestre does.

      Sylvestre must be our guy going forward. I think Blake has been injured too many times, for too long, for me to have any faith in his truly untested potential.

      Send him somewhere, and get an old vet/coach as a third keeper to train Sylvestre and McCarthy.

      • I think that Sylvestre is our guy…until Blake is fit. Blake has serious upside and shouldn’t be disregarded. McCarthy is far from ready for the MLS. Let him develop.
        MacMath is a good backup, if Sylvestre doesn’t pan out in the long term. I think Blake is the cream of our crop.

      • If Sylvestre doesn’t work out, I want MacMath back. Granted, keepers are a different breed, but I just don’t see any evidence of this great potential from Blake…and the injuries. How many people with THAT many injuries turn things around? He might, and I hope he does, but he’s a good 4-5 years away from Sylvestre and MacMath, in my opinion. Sylvestre and MacMath represent a bird in the hand. Blake is 6 in the tree.

      • Ultimately, the Union’s problems with keepers is they have to many sitting around the same situation where they could be very good or not. All very young. They are sitting in a land of mediocrity with no one to teach them. The Union’s player development and age differences on this team are not looked at and it ultimately hurts the players. You have Blake(24) with 2 knee injuries tied to the Jamacian national team a year older then MacMath (23), but untested as far as MLS goes. You have Sylvestre (22) good size calm and organized, but ultimately not signed on your team and has had injury problems in the past. You have MacMath (23) who the team already pissed off (personally if I were him I wouldn’t come back). MacMath with his 100+ MLS starts is a veteran as far as the league is concerned and is very capable keeper. However they just stifled his development by sending him to Colorado to ride the bench. Ultimately I don’t see any of these keepers settling to just sit on the bench. Value wise I think you get the most out of an unknown in Blake cause teams still think that he has potential. In my eyes you try to keep Sylvestre MacMath and get a tested veteran keeper on the roster. Everyone else is expendable (this includes McCarthy, M’bohli and trading Blake and signing Sylvestre). However, none of this likely can all play out until the end of the season.

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