Andre Blake injury: Philadelphia Union goalkeeper hurts groin

Andre Blake injury

One of Major League Soccer's top goalkeepers didn't reach full-time of his club's Matchday 3 fixture, as Philadelphia Union star Andre Blake prematurely exited Saturday's home matchup against Chicago Fire FC with what head coach Jim Curtin confirmed postgame was a groin injury.

The Jamaican international appeared to get injured in the 30th minute while sending a defensive-third free kick upfield. He then ran back into Philadelphia's goal to save a header from Chicago forward Kacper Przybyłko, diving low to his left after Miguel Navarro's cross.

In the 33rd minute, Joe Bendik replaced Blake, who was holding his face in considerable pain before Curtin had to call on the veteran backup. Blake walked off under his own power at Subaru Park while limping, well before Joaquín Torres' 90th-minute strike earned a 1-0 win.

"Obviously he'll get an MRI. With a groin injury, I always fear the worst," Curtin said. "Again, Andre has been a quick healer in the past. Don’t want to speculate too much until we get pictures, but he’s certainly, as you guys could see with your eyeballs, he felt it, he felt his groin kinda go. So, sometimes these things take a week, sometimes they take four weeks, sometimes they take eight weeks."

The extent of Blake's injury is unclear, but any extended absence would be a major blow to the reigning Eastern Conference champions. They're at the halfway point of their 2023 Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 series, earning a 0-0 draw at El Salvadoran side Alianza FC midweek before Tuesday's return leg at Subaru Park (8 pm ET).

The 32-year-old is the only three-time Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award recipient, including last season's year-end haul. Blake had 15 clean sheets while playing every minute of the 2022 regular season, backstopping Philly's run to MLS Cup 2022.

Bendik is now Philadelphia's lead backup after the club traded homegrown Matt Freese to New York City FC during the offseason.

"We said it at halftime, I said to the guys: Andre has bailed us out a thousand times and now we as a team, I know Joe will do a good job, but we all have to pick Andre up now because he’s going to be missed," Curtin said. "And everybody has to do a little bit more, because he’s done so much for us over the years that I think we almost become numb or comfortable to the way he wins us points and wins us games. 

"…Certainly when the best goalkeeper in the league gets injured, he’s going to be missed. So, Joe will have to step up and do his job like I know he will. The defense will have to raise their level because, again, we’re going to be missing the best goalkeeper in the league for hopefully not a long time, but it’s going to test us for sure over the next couple weeks."