After making just seven MLS starts in his first two seasons in the league, Andre Blake appeared in 32 of the club’s 34 matches in 2016. The Generation Adidas product was the first goalkeeper ever to be selected with the No. 1 pick in the MLS SuperDraft and showed why in his first full season as a starter.
Statistically, Blake’s Best XI honor is questionable at best. His 66% save percentage is on par with the league average while his 99 saves barely put him in the top ten in the league. However, anyone that followed the Union knows just how critical he was to the team’s success.
Philadelphia made their second postseason appearance in club history in 2016. Without Blake between the pipes, it is safe to say that their results could have been dramatically different. Blake made a handful of show-stopping saves to not only keep the blue-and-gold in matches but win them a handful in the process.
As you can see in this video, without Blake’s heroics a lot of points could have been lost along the way. Saves like this, not numbers, tell the story of the season that the Jamaican international had.
En route to his MLS Best XI selection, he earned his first All-Star appearance in addition to being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Blake was also nominated for the league’s Save of the Week award twelve times in his 32 appearances. Blake joins Sebastien Le Toux as the only other Union player to earn this selection. Joining him in the Best XI is Matt Hedges, Axel Sjoberg, Jelle Van Damme, Mauro Diaz, Giovani Dos Santos, Sacha Kljestan, Ignacio Piatti, Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa, and Bradley Wright-Phillips.