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Bruce Arena calls USMNT’s decision to play in frigid conditions “stupid”

“Well, personally I told them in advance, I thought it was stupid to be playing teams of that quality, thinking that they have to be in those kinds of conditions.”

MLS: New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arena is the most decorated United States Men’s National Team manager, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about running the team. On Saturday night, the current New England Revolution head coach stated that he thought it was stupid to play in frigid cold conditions against Honduras in Minnesota on Feb. 2, 2022.

“Well, personally I told them in advance, I thought it was stupid to be playing teams of that quality, thinking that they have to be in those kinds of conditions,” Arena said. “Having said that, we’ve been playing in a mess in previous games here. But U.S. Soccer, I personally felt, could’ve played in any venue in the country and would’ve succeeded in those games. So, Matt’s [Turner] injury that he has now is not a result of the injury he suffered in the game in Minnesota.”

Arena noted that when he coached the national team, “there was always little gimmicks that countries played to try and get an edge.” The U.S. ultimately secured a 3-0 win against Honduras in the sub-zero temperatures.

Turner backstopped the U.S. in the shutout. In an interview with Dan Roche of CBS Sports Boston released on Friday, Turner said, “I developed a bit of tendonitis in my foot. It was because the tissue in my foot was frozen and I was running back and forth to stay warm. All the running on frozen tissue sort of expedited the process of tendinitis. But that was only like three or four days.”

On Saturday, Arena said that Turner’s short-term ailment was because of frostbite.

“He got frostbite actually,” Arena said in response to a question posed by WPRO’s Tom Quinlan. “It was frostbite.”

When asked if Turner got frostbite from the USMNT, a national team spokesman told The Bent Musket that the goalkeeper was never diagnosed with frostbite by the medical staff.

Regardless of what kept Turner out for a few days at the start of the season, it’s unrelated to what’s currently keeping him sidelined. Turner quickly recovered before joining up with the Revs in California. After one day of training, Turner participated in a closed-door friendly against LAFC.

Turner explained the injury when talking to Roche, saying, “A few minutes into the game, a back pass was left short, I went to clear it and someone left their foot in. I cleared the ball, kicked the bottom of their foot and I got a hairline fracture in a small bone in my [right] foot.”

Arena’s comments on Saturday also made it clear that the injuries are unrelated.

“The injury he has now has nothing to do with the frostbite he suffered in Minnesota,” Arena said. “The frostbite was on one foot. The injury he has now is on the other foot. So, you can’t – there’s no connection to it.”

The goalkeeper has yet to make a start in what will be his final MLS season as Turner moves to Arsenal in the summer. With New England currently on a three-game MLS losing streak, fans will be anxiously awaiting Turner’s return to the field.

Arena told media during a mid-week press availability that he anticipates that Turner will return to training in 1-2 weeks.

“I’d say by the middle of the month [Turner] should be back in training,” Arena also told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand, I would think in the month of May he’ll be ready to play. He’ll be leaving the Revolution at the end of June, so we’re hopeful we can get Matt back on the field.”

Turner also gave an update on his rehab in a statement that he put out on Saturday.

“My rehab is going very well; I’m hopeful I will get cleared to return to training again very soon and I can put this chapter behind me and get back to doing what I love every single day,” the goalkeeper said.

While the USMNT was able to put the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup behind them, fans will wonder if it was worth a player developing frostbite and two opponents being treated for hypothermia just to get three points.