During his first two MLS seasons, Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner spent more time traveling down I-95 than he did playing at Gillette Stadium.
An undrafted signee in 2016, Turner joined a Revolution side with proven goalkeepers Bobby Shuttleworth and Brad Knighton already on its roster. That made Turner the team’s third-string keeper. But the Revolution saw potential in the Fairfield University alum and ultimately sent him on several loan stints to the Richmond Kickers (USL), where he made 27 starts from 2016-2017.
Ahead of the 2018 season, Turner had apparently grown tired of making the trip to Richmond. The New Jersey native turned in a strong preseason and, with the support of first-year head coach Brad Friedel, started the team’s season opener against the Philadelphia Union. Turner hasn’t looked back since. And now, the Revolution have no intention of sending him south.
“He’s got such a level head,” Friedel said of Turner following Saturday’s 1-0 loss to FC Dallas. “He’s like a sponge for learning...We’re just really pleased with him so far.”
Though Turner’s debut didn’t go as planned—two red cards doomed the Revolution in a lopsided 2-0 loss—the 23-year-old keeper has impressed in all six matches this season. His teammates have noticed.
“Everyone knew his quality in training and everyone was always pushing for him to get the shot,” Revs forward Juan Agudelo said. “This year, he’s taken advantage of that and I’m really happy for him.”
During his eight-year professional career, Agudelo has played with his share of renowned keepers. His run with the U.S. Men’s National Team has allowed him to suit up beside Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, and Luis Robles, among others.
That makes Agudelo’s praise for Turner all the more impressive.
“People might think I’m getting ahead of myself, but to me he’s a national team player just [by] the way that he trains and some of the saves that he’s making in goal,” Agudelo said.
Turner has a long way to go if we wants to catch the attention of interim USMNT gaffer Dave Sarachan. That’s something Cropper and young keepers Ethan Horvath and Zack Steffen have already accomplished. To follow their lead, Turner will need to maintain his high level of play. And he’ll need to stay atop Friedel’s depth chart.
“I’ve said it many times—he has to stay on top of his game to keep the number one jersey,” Friedel said, “because Brad [Knighton] and Cody [Cropper] are excellent.”