The next step in the Philadelphia Union's ongoing and possibly never-ending goalkeeper saga will be made tomorrow.
Loanee Brian Sylvestre, who has performed admirably since earning the starting job back in May, was limited in training yesterday due to a hand injury. If the knock prevents him from playing in tomorrow's game, either Andre Blake or John McCarthy will get the start.
Just this week, Blake returned from Gold Cup duty with Jamaica after spending the better part of July with the team. During their historic run, the Reggae Boyz defeated the United States to book their spot in the Final, but they were thoroughly beaten by Mexico in the last game of the tournament. Blake, who won the Golden Glove in last year's Caribbean Cup, didn't play a single minute. When starting goalkeeper Dwyane Miller went down with an injury, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 'keeper Ryan Thompson was chosen to play in his stead.
Blake's struggled with injuries this season, tearing his left meniscus in February and his right meniscus in May, just when he looked set to establish himself in the Union's starting eleven. He insists he's fully fit, but who knows where he stands after suffering two devastating injuries in quick succession.
Since his selection in the 2014 SuperDraft, Blake has made only one MLS appearance for the Union. The Jamaican goalkeeper represents the best on-roster solution to the Union's long-held goalkeeper woes, and he has to start playing on a consistent basis in order for his tremendous potential to materialize.
John McCarthy is also hoping to start tomorrow's game against the New York Red Bulls, a team that he has beaten twice already this season. McCarthy has proven to be a capable goalkeeper when called upon, flashing the ability that won him the USL Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2014. Unfortunately, he is just as likely to make a highlight-reel save as he is to find himself stranded 15 yards from his goal.
If he's fit, the starting goalkeeper job should be Blake's to lose from tomorrow until the end of the season. The Union are in no position to withhold playing time from their brightest prospect. He may become the goalkeeper that makes us forget about the failures that came before him, or he may join that list. We'll never know until he actually plays.