PASADENA, California -- Andre Blake reminded everyone again on Thursday night why he is one of the finest goalkeepers in CONCACAF.
The Philadelphia Union custodian was credited with 11 saves, including several crucial stops down the stretch, to help Jamaica to a 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Canada in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
That Blake came up big when needed did not surprise his teammates.
"Awesome, awesome, awesome," defender Kemar Lawrence remarked. "I think one of the best right now in the world. I'm not even trying to be over the top. Definitely the best in CONCACAF. Definitely the best in the U.S. He's just an awesome guy, a humble guy."
Forward Romario Williams, who scored against the Canadians to help send the Reggae Boyz into Sunday's semifinal against Mexico, echoed Lawrence's sentiments.
"I've seen him day and day out in practice,” commented the Charleston Battery standout. “I know what the guy is capable of. He's truly a special talent, one of a kind. I'm not surprised. There's a reason why he's our leader. He's done an incredible job and he's been doing it all tournament."
The 2016 Major League Soccer goalkeeper of the year, Blake – despite posting seven shutouts this season (one more than all of last season) -- wasn’t selected to the league's all-star game against Real Madrid in Chicago on August 2.
He’s not bothered by the exclusion.
"It is what is," Blake expressed. "They have their way of going about it. They have the fans vote and the coach picks a goalkeeper. I wasn't chosen. That's ok, that's fine with me. Life goes on. The journey continues. I just got to keep playing, keep doing what I'm doing, keep improving."
And, perhaps, leading Jamaica to a second straight trip to the Gold Cup final.