Player of the Week

Player of the week: Andre Blake

Photo: Earl Gardner

What is there left to say about Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake?

The 26-year-old is an absolute stud.

In league play, Blake is putting together another stellar season and should be a serious candidate to defend the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award he won last season. Only Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia, who leads the league in clean sheets, has a better claim.

Now, Blake is shining on the international level.

There is no question who has been the best keeper at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. More impressively, Blake has been the best player for the side that will challenge the United States in the competition’s final on Wednesday in Santa Clara, CA.

Captaining Jamaica, Blake first helped the Reggae Boyz dispatch Canada in the quarterfinal last Thursday. His four saves helped propel the the islanders to a semi-final matchup with Mexico. None, however, were better than his 71st minute stop on David Junior Hoilett. The Canadian No. 10 fired a slicing missile that looked destined for the upper corner, which would have leveled the game at 2-2. Instead, Blake made an acrobatic leaping save to push the ball over the bar. It may have been the save of the tournament.

Check it out here (it’s the first clip in the montage, although more from Blake follows):

Dispatching Canada is one thing. Beating a heavily-favored Mexican side in an international competition is a different animal.

But that is exactly what Blake and Jamaica did, avenging a loss in the final of the 2015 Gold Cup.

Once again, Blake saved. Mexico was held scoreless thanks to five crucial stops from the Union keeper. In the 12th minute, Blake dove to his right to challenge Mexican midfielder Jesús Dueñas’ attempt, but a deflection saw the shot change course to the keeper’s left. Blake maintained complete control, as his outstretched body was parallel with the grass. He raised his left foot to deny Dueñas. His work was not done. The rebound found its way to forward Erick “Cubo” Torres. Blake scrambled to his feet and maintained his positioning, turning aside the second chance.

While this was his best sequence of the night, the “save of the game” came in the 25th minute. Torres had another chance, this time on a free header in the box. Blake stood tall and denied the Houston Dynamo player who tried putting his attempt back across goal.

Here is the video:

What the hell, check out that first sequence of saves as well. They should have been the “saves of the game.”

As far as Blake’s standing with his club side in Philadelphia, the Union will be without their star for at least Wednesday’s match with Columbus. He should be available when the side travels to New England this weekend.

Every match he plays for the Union is now a blessing. He looks destined for new challenges at larger clubs. In the international spotlight, Blake shined.

Enjoy whatever time is left with Philadelphia.

Andre Blake won’t be suiting up in the blue and gold forever.

Previous Winners

5 Comments

  1. So…. Do we root for a Jamaica victory on Wed. with Blake earning a clean sheet, thereby setting his value at peak Euro transfer levels?

    • Nick Fishman says:

      Maybe Blake stops a barrage of shots, and the two sides go into penalties. The U.S wins the tournament, as Blake can only stop 2/5 spot kicks.

    • Personally, I do. this is an year gold cup and means nothing.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I am seriously thinking about wearing a Jamaica T-shirt to the game Wednesday rather than my normal Union shirt. I find it a lot easier to root for Blake than for Bradley, Dempsey, Howard, Altidore, etc.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Unless he has a howler of a game tomorrow, Blake deserves Golden Glove and Golden Ball for the Gold Cup regardless of the outcome. He has meant more for Jamaica than any other player has for their country in the tournament.
    .
    Honorable mention for this week’s POTW goes to Bedoya’s wife.

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