No one expected Earl Edwards Jr. to be the starting goalkeeper for the first two matches of the 2022 season, but that hasn’t stopped him from looking great in net.
Edwards Jr recorded the first clean sheet of his MLS career on Saturday afternoon as New England was victorious in its home opener.
“I’m excited,” the goalkeeper said on the field after the match. “I wanted to go get my daughter because this is very much so who I do it for, my kids, my family. So to earn a shutout, have Bruce break the record as well, just a really cool moment.”
Edwards Jr. finished the game with one save, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Especially against the Portland Timbers he made some amazing saves and helped New England salvage a point out west. Saturday was also the goalkeeper’s first win since 2018.
Head Coach and Sporting Director Bruce Arena was pleased with the performance of his goalkeeper.
“Earl [Edwards Jr.] played well,” said Arena. “I’m trying to think if he was called upon to make many saves today. I can’t even recall a save today. He must’ve had one, right? They put us under some kind of pressure during the second half. I don’t recall exactly if he had any saves comparable that he did last week in Portland, but he was very composed. I think he made good decisions in his distribution and again, had a solid game.”
New England will need Edwards Jr. to continue to play well. With Matt Turner being seen in a boot on Saturday, it doesn’t appear that he will play anytime soon. After the game, Arena also said Turner could be out for a month.
But Edwards Jr. and New England don’t have too much time to celebrate the victory as they face Pumas UNAM in Concacaf Champions League play on Wednesday.