Matt Turner, Red Bulls-NYCFC, Galaxy, more
Up to this point, if there’s one thing you take away from Matt Turner’s story, it’s to dream big.
The Arsenal goalkeeper only signed his first professional contract with the New England Revolution six years ago but it did take some convincing as at the time he was considering settling for a job in the business world.
As so often in his life, the path was not easy. Turner was a latecomer to the sport, and it was just something that happened in his teenage years, not necessarily as a passion. The goaltender had some success in 39 appearances at Fairfield University but arrived in Major League Soccer undrafted and largely unknown.
Turner couldn’t imagine what the future held for him. He quickly became one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, developed into a crucial part of the USA men’s national team and is now joining Arsenal in the Premier League.
“Everything worked out as it should,” said Turner, who became an Arsenal fan as a child thanks to his older sisters.
This distinction is important, because when asked what inspires him, Turner does not hesitate to mention his family. Growing up in cramped New Jersey, they were always there to pull him up during tough times but also to keep him humble. He also already has a support system in London, including a cousin, Revolution goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock’s family and about a dozen college friends.
Turner spent his last game with the Revolution on Sunday watching from the bench in what appeared to be an odd decision by Bruce Arena. Turner put that into perspective, of course.
“At the end of the day, it’s about more than me. This team did well this week, got two good results and Djordje [Petrovic] played well,” he said of his successor. “So, grow him into the role. You don’t have to throw me in a one off game just to say goodbye. It was a perfect night in every sense of the word.”
Turner is now flying to England. Whether the move to Arsenal is ideal for him for the 2022 World Cup is still unknown. USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter has previously mentioned that the No. 1, whoever it is, has to be someone who gets regular playing time, which could complicate things a bit for Turner as he adjusts to the Premier League.
Regardless, the mission remains the same.
“It’s going to be an amazing step in my story, but that novelty will wear off pretty soon because I understand it’s going to take a lot of focus, dedication and sacrifice to get there,” Turner said. “I have to do my best every day if I want to have even a little bit of success.”
Sounds pretty much like what he’s been doing his whole football career and seems to be working out well.
US Open Cup rivalry, defeat, cupset
Both New York teams are at the top of the Eastern Conference rankings and had the perfect chance to rekindle their rivalry in an elimination game.
Unfortunately for NYCFC, they were ruled out by the Red Bulls on Wednesday and kicked out of the US Open Cup despite dominating with 65% of possession. RBNY’s Lewis Morgan continued his great form as he opened the scoring and 10 minutes later NYCFC’s Thiago Andrade was shown red for a headbutt and the visitors were never able to recover when a man went down.
Elsewhere, Sporting Kansas City took care of business, destroying Union Omaha 6-0 of USL League One. But the most surprising result of the week came Tuesday in SoCal, when the Galaxy were stunned 2-1 at home by USL side Sacramento Republic.
Greg Vanney’s side were trailing just four minutes into the game as Sacramento brought a different energy to the game. The equalizer came from an own goal from a corner and the Galaxy surprisingly looked like the second best team of the night. A long-range shot in the 70th minute, which keeper Jonathan Klinsmann apparently could have parried easily, finally brought the Republic to victory.
After thoroughly dominating rivals LAFC in the previous round, the Galaxy missed a prime opportunity at a trophy. And once again, Carson has far more questions than answers.
The final semi-finalist will be Orlando City’s winners against Nashville, to be played in Florida on June 29.
End of Nashville’s home game streak
Nashville lost 2-1 at home to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, their first loss at home since November 4, 2020. That run spanned 25 games in all competitions and two different stadiums. In those 593 days, Nashville SC beat their opponents 51-25.
The streak would eventually end, but the SKC setback left head coach Gary Smith disappointed at his team’s ineffectiveness. Aside from the US Open Cup Quarterfinals, we’ll be learning a lot about Nashville over the next month. The next three visitors to GEODIS Park: Portland, Seattle and LAFC.
Don’t sleep on RSL
The hottest team in MLS might be one that people don’t pay attention to. Real Salt Lake have made their best start in club history with 28 points from 16 games and are midway through the season in the Supporters’ Shield mix.
This shouldn’t be too shocking considering how RSL reached the Western Conference Finals last season. But somehow they exceed expectations. They are 6-0-1 at Rio Tinto this year, the only two teams unbeaten at home to Philadelphia Union. No names on the list are particularly eye-catching, but it’s kind of reminiscent of what the Rapids did last season in their quest to become No. 1 in the west in the regular season.
“I think it validates all the work we’ve done preseason and built the culture since last year and really that the lads have embraced it and taken it with them,” said coach Pablo Mastroeni after a recent 2-0 win -Victory over the San José earthquake.
Are the stars aligned in LA?
With July fast approaching and Carlos Vela’s contract expiring, we still know absolutely nothing about what’s next. Months ago there were reports that a deal had basically been finalised, but Vela herself reiterates that nothing has been signed yet. The door is half open or closed depending on how you look at it.
Is there perhaps a stalemate due to money and contract length, or is LAFC just dragging this out for no good reason? The black and gold caused a stir when they signed Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, who may have been intrigued by the idea of playing in a team with Vela.
The feeling is mutual for the Mexican.
“(I) hope he can be the part we need to make that leap and finally lift the trophy for this club,” Vela said.
So everything points to him staying. But until it’s officially announced, LAFC fans will remain nervous.