Nothing can be more frustrating for a player than seeing his shot save. Not just turned but a spectacular individual effort that turns a sure-fire MLS Goal of the Week nominee shot on target somehow not sitting in the back of he net. That has been the case time and time again for opponents of the Philadelphia Union when they face off against Andre Blake in net.
Blake has had many catch phrases throughout his Union career with "Save By Blake!" echoing in a loop on Union telecasts when the club needed it most. There is no doubt that Blake is not only the best goalkeeper in Major League Soccer but 2021 might have been even better than his 2020 Goalkeeper of the Year resume.
When the referee points to the penalty spot and awards a PK, statistics say that its going to be a goal. Not when you're facing Andre Blake. The Reggae Boyz captain faced four of these opportunities and only one broke through the brick wall during the regular season. Oh yeah, we also remember how PKs went when the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs were on the line.
With the starting back line fully back in 2022, Blake won't need to put the team on his back like he did in 2020 as the gritty group around him has gained chemistry and confidence to allow fewer shots near Blake. When the Union need Dre, you can count on him to rise to the occasion. Last season in Concacaf Champions League action down in Atlanta, he shut them down with five saves in the first 45 minutes. Last season's opener at Columbus against the defending MLS Cup Champions, yeah Dre was there to keep the clean sheet. In the second go around against the Crew, Blake again was cool and collected to turn away a PK but moments later deny Darlington Nagbe's upper 90 golazo. The breakaway by Red Bulls early in extra time, Save By Dre.
Andre Blake's 2021 season was a special one on the career statistics as well, making his 500th save and collecting his 50th regular season shutout. Along the way he also tied the club record that was held by Zac MacMath for the most shutouts in a single season when he notched his 12th clean sheet on Halloween.
2022 marks Blake's ninth season with the Philadelphia Union. He has done it all but now looks to take the club to even bigger heights this season.
Philadelphia Union opens the 2022 MLS season at Subaru Park with a battle against Minnesota United. Kick off from Chester is set for 1 p.m. ET with tickets for the showdown going fast so be sure to get them before they are gone.