SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake have been without last year’s starting goalie, David Ochoa, who remains sidelined with an injured quad. So it was veteran shooter Zac MacMath who stepped in and performed admirably throughout the first three weeks of the season.
It’s unclear how long Ochoa will be out for, however, it doesn’t or doesn’t look like he’ll be back in the starting XI anytime soon after manager Pablo Mastroeni admitted he hasn’t trained yet with the team.
MacMath’s tenure in goal this season has been impressive. In the first two games against Dallas and Seattle, he kept clean sheets. Then, in snow and wind in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he allowed the first goal of the season 225 minutes into the campaign. MacMath has found form and is playing extremely well.
Assuming the form of MacMath continues, what will happen when Ochoa becomes available for selection?
“I think it’s a tricky situation,” admitted Mastroeni when asked how he plans to handle the unavoidable situation. “I think David [Ochoa] finished the season last year in a terrific way and started the majority of pre-season games, but you want to create a competitive environment. What I’ve learned from managing over the years that I’ve done this, which didn’t last long, is that you can’t fix problems in the future. Future situations will resolve themselves, and when that time comes, you will deal with them. You don’t know all the variables that come into play, you don’t know the flow of the form, the results… solving the problem now would be futile and I learned that you can’t do that.
For now, it will be MacMath as the starting goaltender and when Ochoa returns to full health, Mastroeni will assess the variables and make his decision on that. Who knows, maybe when Ochoa returns, the decision will already be made for Mastroeni.
Real Salt Lake will return home to host Nashville next Saturday, March 19, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The match will be available to watch via the KSL Sports or KSL 5 TV app or on KSL Sports dot com.