The New England Revolution have three goalies within their organization in Matt Turner, Brad Knighton, and Cody Cropper. As the 2019 MLS season approaches, Coach Brad Friedel will have to sit and think about who will be his number one between the sticks. Lets take a look at the candidates.
The first option for goalie is Matt Turner. Turner had a decent 2018 season. He ended the season with 83 saves and 42 goals allowed over 27 appearances. Turner also had 5 shutout performances in 2018.
One thing that sets Turner apart from the others is his athleticism. Throughout the season, Turner displayed his athletic ability by diving to block shots and scooping up loose balls.
Turner’s first season as an MLS starter didn’t produce stellar results, as he went 8-10-9. That said, he did have a lot of success during his time with the Richmond Kickers (USL) and Fairfield College. With the Kickers, Turner recorded seven shutouts and only allowed seven goals in first 990 minutes of professional action. As a senior at Fairfield, Turner played in all 18 matches and turned in seven clean sheets.
Turner had a solid showing during his first season as a starter for the Revs. He will hope to build upon that in 2019.
The next option the Revolution have is 33-year-old Brad Knighton. Knighton is the definition of a veteran goaltender as he has spent the past 11 seasons playing in the MLS. Last season, Knighton started seven games in goal, going 2-3-2. He was able to save 33 shots and allowed 13 goals.
What sets Brad apart from other goalies is his goaltending IQ. Knighton is able to read the situation at hand and position himself to make the stop. Although Knighton turns 34 in February, he has something others lack and that’s experience.
As the 2019 season approaches, Knighton looks to use his previous experiences and goaltending intelligence to take control of the starting position.
The last option the Revolution can place in goal is 25-year-old Cody Cropper. Cropper did not have any appearances in the 2018 season yet was very active for the Revs in 2017. He finished that year with 71 saves, 50 goals allowed, and had eight shutouts over 28 starts.
Although Cropper allowed many goals, he has shown that he has the ability to be a lights-out goalie, as made evident by the number clean sheets he recorded.
If 2018 is any indication, it’s unlikely that we see much of Cropper next season. That said, Coach Freidel has consistently said that he’s willing to give opportunities to guys that are performing well in practice.
Coach Friedel will have to take a lot into consideration when he decides who he will place in goal for the Revs. I predict that Friedel will occasionally shift between Matt Turner and Brad Knighton. Turner has the inside track but Knighton will be pushing him throughout the season.