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.”