Read any MLS SuperDraft recap. Each points to the Union being big winners in 2014.
Part of that has to do with the club's decision to trade up to the No. 1 overall spot and select goalkeeper Andre Blake. In the immediate future, the 23-year-old's role will be that of a backup for current keeper Zac MacMath.
But even with no imminent threat on the horizon, MacMath admitted to being a bit surprised by the move according to Dave Zeitlin on MLS' official website:
I was a little bit surprised, but obviously I understand why they picked him. He's a very good goalkeeper with a lot of potential and someone that's going to push me. That's the whole point of drafting him. I'm already working with him and it's going well.
That, however, was said publicly. According to ESPN's James Tyler, MacMath had an intense discussion with his agent behind closed doors just moments after the selection.
So, should the 22-year-old be wary of losing his starting role?
In 2013, MacMath finished third in clean sheets (12) behind Donovan Ricketts (13) and Jimmy Nielsen (13). His 68.7 save percentage ranked him in the top 10 amongst goalkeepers with a minimum of 40 saves.
But there are some weaknesses that the young American must correct in order to solidify his ground.
No keeper in 2013 failed to claim more crosses than MacMath (4). His 95 percent success rate ranked him 17th amongst starting MLS goalkeepers with at least 20 starts. That weak link was reflected further by the five corner-kick goals—second only to Michael Gspurning (6)—he conceded last season.
One of the five farcically came off his own hands.
Enjoy the video above.
MacMath's distribution can also use some polishing. He ranked 15th amongst starting goalkeepers with 54 percent accuracy from the position. That percentage is alarming considering the average length of his passes (51 yards) was the league median.
As troubling as those numbers sound, however, all signs still point to MacMath being the starter come Week 1. But make no mistake: Legitimate competition is now present at Philadelphia's training grounds.
A sluggish start could ratchet up the pressure and lead to a change.