Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake says something has to change regarding the amount of games Major League Soccer stars are expected to play.
MLS clubs play 34 games throughout the duration of the regular season before nine sides from each conference battle it out in the playoffs, which pushes some teams to well over 40 games played. However, it doesn’t stop there.
All MLS teams competed in Leagues Cup, which put a pause on league play from mid-July to mid-August, while the likes of LAFC and Philadelphia Union featured in the early summer days in the Concacaf Champions League. This is all expected of MLS teams despite the hampering roster rules that head coaches like Steve Cherundolo of LAFC and Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino of Inter Miami have pointed out in recent weeks.
Blake has been one of MLS’ best goalkeepers since joining Philadelphia back in 2016, making 270 appearances while also earning the No. 1 spot on the Jamaica national team. Since late February, when the MLS season kicked-off, Blake has been in between the sticks for Philadelphia while also missing time to feature in the 2023 Gold Cup.
“We’re the ones that are suffering, and the quality of the league is going to go down,” the Union’s starting goalkeeper said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Are you going to allow us to have more depth?”
The 32-year-old’s play has not fallen off this year in MLS as he’s kept seven clean sheets, made 65 saves and conceded just 24 goals in 2,103 minutes played.
“Or, if you ask players to play however many games, obviously there’s going to be injuries, and when injuries come, then teams don’t have their best players on the field,” he added.
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With Lionel Messi now fully immersed in MLS, the sport will only continue to grow in the United States. But should the roster rules and regulations remain the same, the quality on the field could see a drop with the amount of games being added to the schedule.
“It’s ridiculous, and players have to speak up,” Blake bluntly stated.
Philadelphia and Blake hope to take another step towards locking up a fourth-place finish when they take on Atlanta United on October 4 at Subaru Park.
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