Jamaica Shotstopper Blake Nets Prestigious Prize In US

Andre Blake, the Jamaica captain, has scooped the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award for the second time.

The May Pen-born shotstopper, who last won the esteemed prize in 2016, has now equalled the achievement of compatriot Donovan Ricketts with two awards in the US top tier.

Blake, nursing a fracture in his right hand, was missing from Jamaica’s troubled two-match whistlestop tour of Saudi Arabia and his club’s final regular season games. Following surgery the 29-year-old Philadelphia Union keeper is expected to be fit for the MLS Cup play-offs, which kick off on 20 November and conclude on 12 December.

  

Blake, who earned the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Glove in the summer following the resumption of the soccer season, conceded the fewest goals in the league (20). He also helped the club capture their inaugural trophy, the 2020 Supporters’ Shield.

He could also be picking up further prizes before the season ends. Blake is one of five finalists for the 2020 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first goalie to be among the finalists since Colorado Rapids’ Joe Cannon in 2004. And he is a finalist for the 2020 MLS Save of the Year, for his sensational diving save in the 2-1 success over New England Revolution on 19 October.

Blake’s youth career included Harbour View FC, and since joining Philadelphia Union in 2014 he has made 145 appearances. Blake has also emulated Montego Bay-born Ricketts, who picked up the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year awards in 2010 for LA Galaxy and 2013 for Portland Timbers respectively.

Award-winning Ricketts made a century of international appearances for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, and was in the squad that famously made their first foray to the FIFA World Cup finals for the France 1998 competition.

Blake, who has played 45 times for the Boyz since 2014, could well follow in Rickett’s footsteps by reaching the World Cup finals. Jamaica are now fully focused, under head coach Theodore Whitmore, on preparing for next summer’s qualifiers to reach Qatar in 2022 for football’s most spectacular tournament.

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