In his third season with the Philadelphia Union, Andre Blake has not only solidified his position as the team’s starting goalkeeper but done so by firmly making the case that he’s the best shot stopper in all of MLS.
Blake made just six starts a season ago, but has well surpassed that total in 2016, appearing in 19 matches and leading the Union to a 7-6-6 record, good enough for second place in a congested Eastern Conference. The 25-year-old continues to impress week in and week out, despite the Union playing with several new faces this year defensively, including rookies Keegan Rosenberry and Josh Yaro.
This season, Blake has averaged slightly over three saves per game, while making 58 stops in total. The former no. 1 overall pick has proven to be everything he was billed to be coming out of UConn, especially given his athleticism and innate sense of finding the ball.
The Jamaican international has also seen his excellence rewarded on the world stage after Blake was named to his country’s roster for the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
Blake’s superb efforts over the first half of the season has earned the keeper SBI MLS Midseason Goalkeeper of the Year honors.
Here’s a look at the rest of the candidates, as voted on by the SBI Editorial Staff:
2. DAVID BINGHAM
The San Jose Earthquakes have had their share of struggles in 2016 but there’s been no doubting David Bingham’s abilities in goal. The keeper’s 74 percent save rate is among the league’s best and his 22 goals allowed puts the Quakes third in the catrgory in the Western Conference, trailing only the Colorado Rapids and the LA Galaxy.
3. NICK RIMANDO
It seems as though Nick Rimando hasn’t aged because the veteran U.S. Men’s National Team keeper continues to dazzle in goal for Real Salt Lake. The 37-year-old has RSL currently fourth in the West, a position that very few expected the team to be in before the season began. Rimando has made 56 saves in 16 appearances this season, making him a crucial piece defensively for RSL.
4. CLINT IRWIN
Injuries have absolutely decimated Toronto FC in 2016, but Clint Irwin’s presence has eased the team’s struggles a bit. Irwin’s 1.07 goals against average ranks fourth in MLS among goalkeepers that have started 10 games or more. TFC’s solid backline has aided Irwin’s success at times this season, but the former Colorado Rapids keeper is largely the reason why his team currently holds a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
5. CHRIS SEITZ
Being on arguably the league’s best team has its perks, but Chris Seitz has done just about everything he can to make a strong impression in goal for FC Dallas. The MLS veteran has made 43 saves in 16 matches this season for the Western Conference leaders, and has done so with a backline that has been forced to make changes throughout the year.
What do you think of our selection? Which player has stood out to you as Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016?
Share your thoughts below.