Throughout the week, we will preview RSL's 2020 roster, highlighting each position group. Today, we look at the three players vying for minutes as the starting goalkeeper.
From 2007 until 2019, Real Salt Lake fans knew who its starting goalkeeper would be entering each season. After 13 seasons with the club and 20 in Major League Soccer, Nick Rimando retired as the all-time leader in virtually every goalkeeping statistic in league history.
Now in 2020, Real Salt Lake has been embedded in a goalkeeping competition with a trio with wide-ranging experience that all bring different things to the table. With the position up for grabs at the start of preseason, here is a look at the competitors in perhaps the most heated competition heading into the new season.
Zac MacMath - 28 years old, 6’2”, 190 pounds
MacMath has nine years of experience in MLS with 142 regular season appearances. He spent three seasons as the primary starter with the Philadelphia Union from 2012-2014 and in 2016 was a standout with the Colorado Rapids prior to the mid-season arrival of Tim Howard. During that season with the Rapids, he posted a 9-3-5 record with six shutouts and a 0.76 goals against average. At just 28 years old, he is the sage veteran of the goalkeeping unit. Prior to his MLS career, he was a three-year starter at the University of Maryland and won the 2008 NCAA National Championship.
David Ochoa - 19 years old, 6’2”, 174 pounds
Whereas MacMath has MLS experience, Ochoa is the up-and-coming youngster looking to break into first team minutes for the first time in his career. He signed out of the RSL Academy prior to the 2019 season and spent the season shuttling between RSL training, Monarchs matches and youth international appearances with the U.S. that took him around the world and included a U.S. U-20 World Cup. In the end, he finished his first professional season with 16 appearances with the Monarchs while posting four shutouts and a 1.38 goals against average. He also led the Monarchs to the USL Championship title with four playoff victories.
Andrew Putna - 25 years old, 6’2”, 180 pounds
Putna is entering his fourth professional season and has 27 appearances between RSL and the Monarchs. Seven of those have come with Real Salt Lake, including a stretch of four consecutive matches in 2019 that saw RSL go 2-2-0 with road wins over FC Cincinnati and the Colorado Rapids. He has three shutouts in seven matches with a 1.00 goals against average while also posting seven shutouts and a 1.25 goals against average in 20 matches with the Monarchs.
Real Salt Lake General Manager Elliot Fall on the goalkeepers:
“It's a competition with three talented goalkeepers all at different stages of their career. There is one who's played 140 MLS games, one who went the traditional college route into the Monarchs and earned his way onto the first team and earn some appearances, and then another who is a super talented young guy from our Academy.”