The Philadelphia Union battled fellow top Eastern Conference contender Columbus Crew to a 0-0 draw to open the season Sunday night and goalkeeper Andre Blake deserves heavy credit for the point earned.
The reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the year showed just why he was named the best goalie in the league last year, starting off his 2021 MLS campaign with a sensational clean sheet. The Jamaican international finished with 6 saves, including a robbery of Artur from close range after a free kick.
“He makes you sleep easier at night,” Jim Curtin said on his star goalkeeper Blake, who recorded his 45th career shutout in all competitions. “It’s kind’ve like a warm blanket back there, that if we do get beat or make a mistake he’s the guy that bails you out.”
It was an open-ended game full of action with both goalkeepers being tested and rising up for the challenge. Blake made multiple great saves to keep the game deadlocked as expected, but Crew goaltender Eloy Room was equally as impressive, denying scoring opportunities from Alejandro Bedoya and Sergio Santos.
Curtin commented on how important the goalkeepers were to each team, stating, “... These guys are so valuable to play the way that you want to play and Caleb (Porter) would probably say the same thing. The way they press and the way that they’re aggressive they can be because they have a great goalkeeper. Andre’s the same way.”
The Union’s defense has started out the season red hot with three straight clean sheets in all competitions.
“For me it’s about doing whatever I can to keep a shutout.” Blake remarked on the team’s clean sheets. “It’s not just me, it’s a teamwork. It starts with the guys on top and they’ve been doing a really good job in making it easy for me.”
The Union are firing on all cylinders as a whole on the defensive side of the ball, and will look to continue that defensive momentum in their home opener against Inter Miami on Saturday.