Blake’s powerful presence boosts Jamaica at Gold Cup
Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake (pictured) has emerged as one of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup’s top stars. (Photo: AFP Services)

SAN JOSE, California -- Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake detests it when he surrenders a goal.

"I hate getting scored on," he said.  "Some goals are easier to get over than some [others].  But I'm sure no goalkeeper likes taking the ball out of the back of the net.  It can damage your confidence."

If that’s the case, then Blake's confidence must be going through the roof.  The 26-year-old Philadelphia Union custodian has removed the ball from his own net only twice during the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup and is a major reason why the Reggae Boyz will meet the United States in Wednesday’s final at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Not only is Blake a leading choice for Golden Glove honors, he is – after earning three man of the match honors -- a legitimate candidate for the Golden Ball as the top player.

"Andre brings confidence to the team," commented Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore.  "He gives us a bit of comfort when he's back there.  When we are running a bit of risk, Andre keeps us going."

When he led the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, U.S. head coach Bruce Arena was fully aware of Blake’s talents and is impressed by what he has seen from him in this year’s Gold Cup.

"He made an unbelievable reaction save against Mexico in the early going, a couple of other good saves," Arena remarked.  "He's grown as a goalkeeper because he's very commanding there.  Good leadership.  He's excellent.  The only way to get an edge on him is to put the ball in the back of the net."

For nearly three weeks, opponents have found that to be easier said than done.