A Dream 1st Cap
The United States Men’s National Team had revenge on their mind Sunday night in Orlando, and they made it known. After blocking the US from qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago fell to the US 7-0. Though the score is notable, NE Revs’ first-choice GK Matt Turner stole the show with a spot-kick save. Getting the chance to play for his country has been a “long and arduous road” for Turner, he told MLSsoccer.com. Three years ago, he was chosen as a Revs starter for the first time. Fast forward to January 2021, and Turner gets a call up for an international debut on Gregg Berhalter’s side.
The penalty was the only shot he faced for the entire night in Exploria Stadium. Despite this, Turner made sure to make the headlines by saving Alvin Jones’s attempt in the 66th minute. The last time Turner played in Orlando, he saved a PK as well; parrying Nani’s shot helped push the Revs into the next round of the MLS Cup. Though just an international friendly, this game raises an important question for Turner’s critics: is it time to start seriously considering him in the discussion for the USA’s starting keeper for the World Cup Qualifiers?
Can Turner Keep Up With The Competition?
The MLS has never compared to overseas leagues in terms of competition. Notable names like Jordan Morris, Brendan Aaronson, and Mark McKenzie recently left the MLS for teams abroad. Other talents such as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Gio Reyna started their youth careers in other countries, and their inclusion into the USMNT is almost certain. Current US #1 Zack Steffen started his youth career in Germany and saw multiple seasons back home for the Columbus Crew before finding his current home as a Manchester City player.
On the other hand, Matt Turner has only ever spent his playing time stateside. Europe’s top leagues are the pinnacle of club competition, but the MLS is slowly gaining more and more respect. Though he continues to produce fantastic displays of individual effort no matter what team he plays for, many pundits aren’t ready to consider a player in the MLS being as competitive as a player from overseas. This hesitancy is what has kept Turner out of the discussion for the US’s starting goaltender for so long.
The motto for the USMNT is “Stake Your Claim.” Against Trinidad & Tobago, Turner did just that. An excellent individual piece of goalkeeping on the international stage has propelled his name into the limelight. Turner now deserves a chance at starting in the World Cup Qualifiers later in 2021. Revs fans everywhere will be excited to see Turner take the field at Gillette when the MLS season kicks off in April.