Brad Friedel wasted no time ruffling feathers in New England. Ahead of his team’s season-opening match against the Union, the first-year Revolution gaffer started unproven Matt Turner between the sticks. Even after a center back was sent off in each half of the match, the 23-year old held his own, making four saves in a strong performance. Turner went on to save a penalty in an imperfect-but-still quality outing last weekend against the Rapids.
The sample size is small. But through two weeks, Turner looks capable of manning the Revolution net. Should Friedel continue to lean on Turner? Or should he create more competition by starting Brad Knighton or Cody Cropper?
Our staff weighs in.
Jonathan: Start Matt Turner
I’m not going to sit here and question who Brad Friedel, a former goalkeeper with 82 U.S. National Team caps and 17 seasons in the Premier League, wants to start in net. The man knows far more about the position than most Americans ever will, and I’ve heard rave reviews about Ruben Garcia, his goalkeeper coach.
If they think Turner deserves the starting spot, I’m going to trust them. Simple as that. Case closed.
Nick: Start Cody Cropper
I want to believe Brad Friedel is onto something with Matt Turner. In a limited sample size, the former 3rd string keeper has held his own between the sticks. But I’m not convinced—at least not yet. I’m still on the Cody Cropper hype train.
Though Cropper turned in an uneven season last year, he flexed enough raw skill to earn the number one shirt. He’s more explosive than many MLS starters, has tremendous range, and—perhaps most importantly—commits to decisions in spots where many keepers would hesitate. With better distribution, Cropper could grow into a top-tier MLS keeper.
Seth: Start Matt Turner
Matt Turner made his Revolution debut against the Philadelphia Union this season but his professional debut came in 2016. Turner’s first seven games with the Richmond Kickers were stellar, as he recorded four shutouts while going 5-1-1. His next 20 appearances, which happened in 2017, weren’t as good as he only collected three shutouts over 20 games. Still, this experience was invaluable for a keeper who led the nation in save percentage (89%) and shutout percentage (72%) while in college in 2014.
All of this is to say that Turner isn’t a nobody. This young, talented keeper has paid his dues. If the Revolution coaching staff, led by U.S. legend Brad Friedel, trusts Turner then I have no reason to doubt them. Turner has performed well so far and will only improve with more reps. I say keep him in the net.
Jake: Start Cody Cropper
This is not a knock on either Matt Turner, who has been solid in two starts this year, or Brad Knighton, who arguably was more consistent than Cropper was last year.
But at the end of the day, Turner doesn’t have the pure shot stopping ability that Cropper has and eventually those rebounds Turner puts into the middle of the field will come back to bite him. Cropper has a lot of things he needs to improve on, mainly distribution, but overall the defensive struggles New England have had over the years don’t exclusively fall on Cropper or the goalkeeper position as a whole.
The defense will have to improve their communication as a unit, which includes the goalkeeper, and I think Cropper’s USYNT experience gives him the edge for the number one shirt in New England.
Who should start in goal?
This poll is closed