Fresh off of being the No. 1 pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Andre Blake told philadelphiaunion.com that the most important thing he wanted to do as a member of the Philadelphia Union was to make sure that he made “the most of every opportunity the coaches give me.”
On Friday night at PPL Park, Blake was given that opportunity in an international club friendly against English Premier League side Crystal Palace FC. The Union came up just short after a 1-0 final, but one certainly can't blame the goal and subsequent result as any fault of Blake's.
In fact, quite the contrary as the Jamaican international was a monster in front of goal making six saves, five in the first half alone including phenomenal back-to-back saves in the first half keep his side close.
The rookie goalkeeper’s performance was so dynamic that in spite of coming up short, he still received postgame Budweiser Man of the Match honors for a performance that ensured all night that the Union would have a chance to tie – if not pull out a win in front of a healthy crowd on hand.
Following the match, Delco Daily Times reporter Matt DeGeorge captured Union interim manager Jim Curtin who had this to say:
Jim Curtin on the performance of Andre Blake vs. Crystal Palace. http://t.co/kWrgBybf0M— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) July 26, 2014
As for Blake, he hopes that this is a continuation of better things to come in a professional career that is just beginning.
“It's a great feeling, it's always great to be on the pitch," Blake said postgame. "I am just trying to continue to work hard so that everytime I get a chance to showcase what I can do I take full advantage of it. For me, it's about doing whatever I can and trying my best to help my team. At the end of that day, that's what we are all here for."
Blake completes a goalkeeper tandem that has been solid this season for the Union. No. 1 keeper Zac MacMath is arguably having his best season as a pro, Blake continues to impress and goalkeeper Brian Holt, who put the time in to earn a Union contract continues to push the pair in front of him every day.
With this game in the books, it’s a week of prep for a return to MLS action next Friday when the Union travel to Sporting Kansas City for a nationally televised tilt (8 p.m., NBC Sports).
Focus is for the Union organization is now on that squarely on that match in a continued push for the postseason, but it would have been remised if on this night, Blake didn’t receive his much deserved curtain call.
The best Union player on the field tonight is Andre Blake.— Kevin Kinkead (@KevinKCBS3) July 26, 2014
What did you think of the performance of Andre Blake? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org