If you’re a fan of the game of soccer, you probably know Matt Turner. He’s an American professional soccer player and plays goalkeeper for Premier League club Arsenal. He’s also a member of the United States national team. His career highlights include acrobatic saves and shot-stopping numbers.
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Matt Turner’s career highlights
While he has had his share of highs and lows, Turner has remained dedicated to his craft throughout his career. He has a goal of qualifying for the World Cup and winning the MLS Cup. He also has a support system in London, including his cousin and coach Kevin Hitchcock’s family.
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Matt Turner’s early career started with the United Soccer League’s Richmond Kickers. This stint was crucial to his development and helped him gain a contract with the New England Revolution. Once he made the team, he was ready to play both starting and bench roles. He earned the All-Star and Best XI honors in the process.
During his 2016 season, Turner recorded a career-high six shutouts. He also helped New England post their lowest goals-against average. Turner finished second in the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting. He also saved a penalty kick from Nani during the conference quarterfinals against Orlando, preserving the late lead for New England. These achievements are just a few of Turner’s career highlights.
His shot-stopping numbers in MLS
Matt Turner is a goalkeeper who has far exceeded expectations in his first season in the Major League Soccer. Matt Turner ranked fourth in the league in shot-stopping efficiency and xGoals last season, and while he did concede more goals than he should, his numbers were still above the league average. The goalkeeper was also a key component in helping the New England Revolution make the playoffs last year.
While Carlos Vela and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are awe-inspiring, Turner has been even more impressive. He finished the 2019 season with fewer goals conceded than either of them did in 2018. Turner’s g+ is an important metric because it allows us to compare players from different positions. For example, Turner’s g+ was better in the 2019 season than Vela or Ibrahimovic.
Although Turner has only played in MLS for a few seasons, his shot-stopping numbers have already made him a star in the Premier League. He’s a great example of a player who was able to overcome the challenges of being a late bloomer and not receiving recognition as a teenager to reach the top of his profession.
His acrobatic saves
In MLS, Matt Turner has been one of the most impressive goalkeepers, making time again high-quality saves. His long reach, athleticism and technique help him make huge saves. One of his most memorable saves came during a MLS playoff game, blanking former champions league winner Nani on two separate occasions. The save turned out to be a game-winning one, as New England won the match 3-1.
Turner’s acrobatic save came during a penalty kick in his United States debut, as he denied Trinidad and Tobago’s Alvin Jones a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Team USA was already leading 7-0, but Turner’s heroics earned the cheers of his teammates. Head coach Gregg Berhalter even called the save “storybook stuff.”
The difference between Turner and the next-best keeper is relatively small. In 2021, he saved 5.9 more goals than his opponent’s, and was third in the league in goals saved per 90 minutes. In 2019 and 2020, he was fourth in shot-stopping percentage.
His passing ability
As a former New England Patriot, Matt Turner’s passing ability has been a topic of conversation. While many have praised his composure on the ball, there are concerns about his pass accuracy and overall ball control. The statistics above should help the coaching staff evaluate the former goalkeeper’s play.
Berhalter has been a vocal supporter of Turner, but has also avoided letting sentiment dictate the player’s performance. In fact, he’s backed Turner, despite concerns about his passing ability. He even started Steffen during three November qualifiers due to concerns that Turner was not up to the task. Nevertheless, Turner has regained his starting spot in recent games against Canada and El Salvador.
Although Turner has always been a decent shot-stopper, his distribution has never been the best. However, he’s a coachable goalkeeper. He’s made improvements over the years, which shows in his passing ability. While his technique isn’t great, he’s trying to make passes he wouldn’t have attempted in the past.