One of the top MLS storylines in 2020 has a distinct Husky feel to it.
The Philadelphia Union have taken the league by storm, and they’re anchored by former UConn men’s soccer goalkeeper Andre Blake, who was named Major League Soccer’s 2020 Goalkeeper of the Year. It is Blake’s second piece of hardware earned this year; he also earned the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Glove earlier in the summer.
If it feels like Blake has been a brick wall in the MLS for an eternity, it’s because he has. This is his second ‘Keeper of the Year award, the first coming back in 2016. The former No. 1 overall SuperDraft pick in 2014 was named an All-Star in 2019, and has been the top keeper for the Jamaican national team since 2014. Blake manned the posts as the Union blitzed their way through the league to nab the 2020 Supporters’ Shield, the first trophy in club history.
The final GotY vote tally wasn’t much of a contest; Blake received 33% of the player vote, 49% of the club vote, and 50% of the media vote. He finished the regular season with a 0.778 save percentage and 0.88 goals allowed average, both MLS-leading. This all comes even after missing two matches with a hand fracture.
Blake’s not done either. Not only have the Union earned the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs, but Blake is one of the five finalists for the 2020 Landon Donovan MLS MVP award, as well. It is the first time since 2004 that a goalkeeper has been named a finalist for the award.
So in short, it was a banner year for Blake that hopefully ends with an MLS Championship. The Union are a fun side to watch; head coach Jim Curtin has his men playing an attractive style of soccer and the roster is filled with young, exciting prospects such as Brendon Aaronson (who will leave January 2021 for Red Bull Salzburg after the playoffs for a tasty transfer fee).
And my personal favorite: do you know how quick your reactions have to be to snuff out that second ball?
Look I know the U.S. national team is in good hands with Zack Steffen. But a small part of me wishes Blake suited up for the Stars and Stripes.