Andre Blake’s career highlight reel will be replete with breathtaking diving stops and agile kick-saves that remind everyone about the Jamaican’s spectacular shot-stopping abilities. The Union keeper is having another sensational season in 2018. He’s in the top ten in saves per match and 11th in Goals Against even though he faces far fewer headed chances — which generally are low percentage shots — compared to the guys averaging fewer goals per game than him. Specifically, the goalies that allow fewer goals than Blake see 16% of the shots against them come off the head of an attacker while Blake only sees 8% off headers.
But it was not a header that Blake had to deal with against Atlanta United when he made the stop that fans voted Save of the Month for June. In the 98th minute, the Union were tired, having showed relentless pride to make Atlanta work for their goals while up two men for most of the match. Substitute Brandon Vazquez broke in behind Fabinho, but when the ball arrived, Blake was off his line so quickly that Vazquez couldn’t shoot. Instead, the winger had to take a tight touch around Blake, who went sliding by. But that hustle allowed Fabinho to recover, and now Vazquez was facing away from goal with the ball. Still, he turned, shook off the Brazilian, and stared down a gaping goalmouth. There it was, Vazquez’s big chance to score his first goal of the season and, maybe, earn that elusive first start in the coming games. But the young Atlanta winger did not account for Andre Blake. After his initial charge out to meet the ball, Blake had not been still. He was immediately back on his feet but still needed ten steps to chase down the play, throwing himself into the empty goal frame and deflecting Vazquez’s shot wide. In a match the Union were sure to lose given the time and scoreline, Blake showed that he still never gave up.
That attitude is what made this the June 2018 Save of the Month.