Andre Blake's heroics propel Philadelphia Union to much-needed win vs. DC

CHESTER, Pa. – Andre Blake was not going to let the Philadelphia Union walk away from 1370978467" tabindex="0">Saturday’s game vs. D.C. United with anything less than three points.

On a night when referee Sorin Stoica called the Union for a penalty and rescinded a red card to D.C. United’s Luciano Acosta, Blake came through with a huge PK save and another sparkling stop in stoppage time to lift Philly to a 1-0 victory at Talen Energy Stadium.

“He’s, for me, by far the best goalie in the league,” said Fafa Picault, whose goal provided the difference in the match. “I’m really happy to have him on our side. Every week, week in and week out, he’s shown great performances. It’s emotional for me during the games to watch that. It gives me a lot of motivation to keep going.”

Blake’s penalty stop came in the 70th minute when, after Oguchi Onyewu was whistled for a handball in the box, the Union goalkeeper dove to his right to bat away Lamar Neagle’s attempt from the spot and preserve Philly’s 1-0 lead.

Blake said afterwards he had a feeling Neagle would go that direction based on some good intel.

“I decided I was gonna go to my right,” he said. “I saw a few cues from him and I made up my mind. I went there and I made the save.”

For Onyewu, the save proved to be sweet vindication on a night he had a lot of questions about refereeing decisions.

“The ball never lies,” Onyewu said. “I don’t feel it was a PK. My hands were on the side, it didn’t hit the lower part of my arm; it hit the upper part. The referee said he was 300-percent sure.

“Dre is obviously a great goalkeeper," Onyewu added. "He’s been playing well and we have confidence in him. He did what he’s paid to do. We were able to keep a clean sheet and work our way up the table.”

The PK save – Blake’s first since he stopped Orlando City SC midfielder Kaká from the spot last May – ignited the crowd and paved the way for the Union to snap a three-game losing streak and move ahead of D.C. in the Eastern Conference table.

“I think it’s the loudest the crowd has been all season on that save,” Curtin said. “That was as loud as this place has got, maybe ever, to be honest.”

The fans continued to adorn Blake in adulation, going nuts after he again stopped Neagle with a leaping save in stoppage time and chanting his name as he came off the field.

“You need your best players at times to really step up in games, and I thought Andre Blake did that 1370978468" tabindex="0">tonight,” Curtin said.

“Andre is a great goalkeeper,” said midfielder Haris Medunjanin. “He saved us a lot of games and tonight he saved the penalty kick. It was a moment for him to step up and he did it. This is the reason why last year he was the best goalkeeper in the league. He has the potential to play in Europe.”

But before any potential transfer to Europe, Blake will soon return to national team duty to play for Jamaica in the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“It’s always nice to head out on a win,” Blake said, “and hopefully the guys can keep it going.”