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Union's MacMath, Okugo take a leave of absence

Immediately after the Union earned a 1-0 MLS win in Houston on Saturday, goalkeeper Zac MacMath and midfielder Amobi Okugo left the team to train for the U-20 championships in Guatemala, March 28 to April 10.

Immediately after the Union earned a 1-0 MLS win in Houston on Saturday, goalkeeper Zac MacMath and midfielder Amobi Okugo left the team to train for the U-20 championships in Guatemala, March 28 to April 10.

Both players will miss three MLS matches, plus a U.S. Open Cup match against D.C. United. Though Okugo appeared in the 85th minute against Houston and could work his way into the midfield rotation, MacMath isn't expected to see much time in goal behind Faryd Mondragon.

That said, MacMath still was conflicted in leaving the team.

"Being away for the home opener and a couple of big games will be tough, but I will be following it every day and checking in with the guys," MacMath said after Saturday's win. "I also realize that it will probably be best that I get some games in."

MacMath understands that he is considered the goalie of the future for the Union, while the 39-year-old Mondragon is clearly the keeper for the present. So MacMath's best chances will be in non-MLS games.

"I am excited to hopefully get three good games against really good competition," said MacMath, the fifth overall selection in MLS SuperDraft from the University of Maryland. "For me, Monday is No. 1 here, so this is a chance to get in any games at a very high level."

- Marc Narducci

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