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Matt Turner to start for USMNT vs. El Salvador after Steffen is sidelined by back spasms

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Matt Turner has won every match he has played for the U.S. men’s national team and Gregg Berhalter will be hoping that perfect record stays perfect when Turner starts in goal against El Salvador on Thursday.

Regular USMNT start Zack Steffen has been sidelined by back spasms and has been ruled out of Thursday’s World Cup qualifying opener in San Salvador, opening the door for Turner, who is coming off a standout showing at the Concacaf Gold Cup.

Turner gets the nod ahead of Ethan Horvath, who starred for the USMNT in the Nations League final, coming off the bench in place of an injured Zack Steffen to help the Americans defeat Mexico.

Horvath’s lack of playing time at Nottingham Forest, which he joined this summer on a free transfer, made it tough for him to get the nod ahead of Turner, who was outstanding at the Gold Cup, and in the midst of a dominant season in MLS with the league-leading New England Revolution.

“It was a difficult choice, and it wasn’t it wasn’t easy for us,” Berhalter said of going with Turner ahead of Horvath. “Ethan performed really well in Nations League, and then the friendly game after that, and the game against Switzerland. So he’s had strong performances for us, and we just felt at this given moment, Matt is the is the goalie in better form, and we went with him.

“I have complete confidence in him and what he can do and his ability, and the next step is going to be for him to translate it into these these ultra competitive matches and see how we can manage that,” Berhalter said. “So far. He’s passed all his tests. And now it’s about dealing with it in qualifying.”

Turner posted five shutouts in the USMNT’s six matches at the Concacaf Gold Cup, and the team has won all seven matches he has started, but all seven of those matches came on American soil, and none carried the weight and importance of World Cup qualifying.

“We understand that it’s challenging to come to Central America and win games,” Turner said on Wednesday. “And last time through qualifying, the United States failed to win any games on the road during the hex so we understand it’s different and challenging.”

 

Comments

  1. I watch Turner week in and week out for the Revs and think he is our #1 keeper. Maybe the best ever for the USA. He has amazing reflexes and if a shot is at all stoppable, he will stop it. Those that worry about his foot skills dont watch the Revs. He rarely kicks it long if there is no other option. The Revs play it out of the back under control so that is not new for Matt. Watch tonight and become a believer

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  2. as long as — and especially if — he is freed to boom the ball out instead of play tiki taka sweeper keeper, this is fine. the superior shot stopper in games this year. if you ask him to dance around short pass from the back, less so, but then i’m not sure what keeper or defender we have that does that part particularly well. forced. and when i’ve watched barca do it, it looks like a high wire act for them as well.

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    • i do think they should be monitoring steffen for readiness and we should have a new 3rd keeper in camp for the home game if needed. i have seen chelsea hurt 2 keepers in 1 game before, and these contests are by their nature often rough. it’s a low low percentage risk but not zero. it’s solved by putting someone on a plane to nashville.

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  3. Very little separates the top 3 goalies. I would take Turner right now as #1, even if Steffen were healthy, and he probably is pretty healthy.

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  4. Steffen’s injury and history of injuries supports the argument why he shouldn’t be our No.1. For a GK, he gets hurt way too much.

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