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2014 Philadelphia Union Player Review: the Goalkeepers

2014 was the Year of the Goalkeeper for the Philadelphia Union

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Season Summary

What a season for Philadelphia Union goalkeepers. The club traded up for the first pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft to select Andre Blake, which set off a firestorm of speculation regarding Zac MacMath's future at the club. Those flames were only fanned when the Union brought in Algerian goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi on July 30. Despite that, Blake had one MLS start (a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo) and M'Bolhi had four appearances, going 1-1-2 and winding up with a 1.00 goals against average. Blake also had a good run in the US Open Cup, winning the first two matches the Union were in.

What Did They Do Right?

Blake embraced his role as understudy well, staying sharp and not making waves. He played well despite the 2-0 loss to Houston, and after the season was finished helped propel the Jamaican National Team to a 2014 Caribbean Cup Championship, for which Blake won the Golden Gloves. M'Bolhi also did well internationally, helping the Algerian National Team to the Round of 16, where they suffered a gut-wrenching loss to eventual champions Germany in extra time.

What Did They Do Wrong?

Blake's 2-0 loss dropped his stock a bit. Sure he looked great against Harrisburg and the New York Cosmos, but in MLS play against a fairly strong Dynamo team he couldn't get it done. As for M'Bolhi, I'll let this speak for itself:

Most Memorable Moment

For Blake, it has to be winning a penalty shootout in the 2014 Caribbean Cup to guarantee Jamaica a spot in the 2016 Copa América Centenario. For M'Bolhi, see the video above.

Future Expectations

It's expected that M'Bolhi will be the starter for the Philadelphia Union in 2015. The earlier gaffe aside, he's got the experience and resume to qualify him to be the number one goalkeeper for the Union. Besides, the club surely wouldn't sit someone who makes that sort of money would they? As for Blake, he will most likely be loaned out somewhere he can get meaningful minutes and learn from a veteran goalkeeper while continuing to put together a most impressive international resume.