Sunday night in Orlando, the USMNT put a bow on the 2021 January Camp by defeating Trinidad & Tobago by a score of 7-0.
FT! Nice win tonight @ExploriaStadium where we remain a perfect 4-0-0.
Thanks for joining us! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/4KopVP7jf9
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) February 1, 2021
Jonathan Lewis, Jesús Ferreira and Paul Arriola all scored twice for the Stars and Stripes. Miles Robinson was the other American to find the back of the net on the night. It was a good, solid victory over a team that this group of players should be beating.
For fans in New England, the game meant a bit more than that. Sunday’s main storyline was the much anticipated national team debut for New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner.
There’s some folks in New England who will appreciate us saying it once more:
Congrats Matt! 🇺🇸 👏 pic.twitter.com/zmDrTS8XIV
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) January 31, 2021
Revs fans who have followed the team over the past several seasons know just how deserving Turner was of this opportunity. The New Jersey native first appeared for the Revolution in 2018. Since making his debut, he has steadily established himself as one of the finest backstops in the league.
After starting out as somewhat of a secret weapon for New England, Turner raked in the accolades and praise in 2020. He finished runner up to Philadelphia’s Andre Blake in the 2020 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting. However, the 26-year-old was not done there. Turner was the 2020 winner of The Midnight Riders’ Man of the Year award. He also cleaned up at the Revolution Team Awards, claiming Team MVP and Player’s Player honors.
As the 7-0 scoreline would indicate, Turner did not have much to do for significant stretches of the 90 minutes.
However, that all changed in the 66th minute. A minute earlier, Ryan Telfer had been fouled inside the 18 yard box, resulting in a Trinidad & Tobago penalty.
Midfielder Alvin Jones stepped up to take the spot kick, looking to get the Soca Warriors on the board.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 1, 2021
Turner was more than up to the task, diving the right way and making a great save to preserve the clean sheet. The Revolution standout’s professionalism and sharpness were on full display with the save. Turner met the challenge and produced a moment of heroics despite not being tested for the previous hour plus.
For Revs fans, Turner’s save looked awfully familiar. It was a near carbon copy of the stop that Turner made on Nani in the Revs’ Eastern Conference semifinal victory against Orlando.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) February 1, 2021
The fact that the two games took place in the exact same stadium only added to the comparisons.
The penalty proved to be Turner’s largest contribution on the night. However, he also did the little things extremely well. Turner completed 100% of his 19 attempted passes throughout the game. This success rate made him the most accurate passer for either team (Fotmob).
Against Trinidad & Tobago, Matt Turner once again demonstrated that he can be counted on in big moments.
Turner thoroughly earned the clean sheet with his moment of brilliance. However, his steady presence throughout the rest of the match cannot be ignored. The goalkeeper’s composure and accuracy with the ball at his feet prompted manager Greg Berhalter to say that Turner “made the right decision every single time.”
While speaking on Turner’s journey up to this point, Berhalter referred to a “storybook type of saga.”
With his play on Sunday night, the 26-year-old showed that the writing of the Matt Turner storybook is far from finished.
Manchester City’s Zack Steffan remains the presumptive number one in the USMNT goalkeeping pool.
However, with his play for club and now country, Turner has given a great account of himself. The competition for the role of second string keeper remains open, but not too many resumes can match what Turner has accomplished.
While nothing in the sports world is ever set in stone, Matt Turner’s current trajectory appears to be a very exciting one.
If the Revs’ number one continues to improve as he has in recent years, there is no reason why Sunday will not have been the first of many signature moments for Turner with the USMNT.
– Andrew Fasciano (@afasc573)