2014 Major League Soccer SuperDraft first pick Andre Blake made his league debut Friday night, replacing Zac MacMath in the Philadelphia Union lineup for a 2-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo.
The Union's goalkeeping situation has been a source of controversy this season, starting with the team trading up to take Blake first overall in the draft, just two years after taking MacMath as a first-rounder. Speculation intensified when the Union signed Algeria World Cup starter Rais M'Bolhi. MacMath was the hero in Philadelphia's midweek Open Cup semifinal win, saving two shootout penalties, so Blake's start came as a surprise to most.
Blake acquitted himself well, making an impressive seven saves, but Houston scored twice, including a late Ray Gaddis own goal.
"It’s a great feeling, but it’s just unfortunate I didn’t walk away with a win or a tie,” Blake said after the game. “You’ve got to go back to the drawing board and keep working."
Another 2014 draft pick, Pedro Ribeiro, also made his Union debut in the match.