WASHINGTON, D.C. – The New England Revolution secured a massive 2-1 victory over D.C. United on Tuesday night at Audi Field, as the team conquered their first road win of the 2020 campaign.
“It was a really huge three points,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner. “We’ve been really needing to put the ball in the net and I’ve said all along, if we can keep one or two goals against, that will give us the best chance to maximize our points in games. We were able to put two away tonight, and that was huge.”
The win extends the Revs' regular-season unbeaten run to six games dating back to early March. Amidst the squad's 2-0-4 record in that stretch, what has allowed the group to consistently pick up points has been their resolute defense. Pairing the defensive strength the team has built with an attacking breakthrough against D.C. was the perfect remedy to lock up the win.
After New England went up 2-0 in the first half, D.C. ended the Revs' 189-minute shutout streak as Ola Kamara put away a penalty kick in the 72nd minute. However, that lengthy shutout period spanning three different games speaks to both the group’s overall defense and Turner’s ability to step up to keep the Revs in games when things break down.
“The keeper, he’s part of the eleven, so that’s what he’s there for,” said assistant coach Richie Williams. “He’s there to balance us out, make saves, and Matt’s shown that he’s done that on a regular basis for us.”
Turner was tested against D.C. from the early stages of the match when he went 1-v-1 with Kamara in just the third minute. Turner read the game and stepped outside of the six-yard box to stifle the forward to keep the game scoreless early on.
Had that instance played out differently, the game could have had a different outcome. But Turner didn’t give D.C. the opportunity to find out.
“[It’s] unfortunate in the third minute that you give that chance away,” said Williams.
“We had a little bit of a slow start and weren’t fully focused, but again, our goalkeeper’s there and [Turner] makes the save for us. He keeps us in the game, especially on the road, and then again little by little, we got back into the game.”
It’s not only that Turner comes up with saves when the squad needs them, but it’s also the variety of saves, diving left or right, tipping the ball above the crossbar to stepping off his post, that allows the goalkeeper to be so successful.
When Turner’s save variations are coupled with his keen ability to perform them at any point in time of the match, it truly positions the 26-year-old to be a strong asset to the squad. From his save in the third minute through stoppage time, Turner proved he’s locked in from start to finish, as he dove with a full stretch to ensure that Kamara’s attempt in the 91st minute – while New England was down a man – was pushed around the far post.
“Turner’s coming up with a lot of saves, saving us when the ball does get by,” said Brandon Bye. “I think we’re playing with confidence and playing well.”
“I believe he’s focused every day in training and every game to play well here in MLS and to play well for the New England Revs,” said Williams. "It’s great for him. He’s done a great job for the team, he’s played for the team and we hope to continue to have him for a long time.”
With 17 registered saves and three shutouts in only six appearances (2-1-3) for the 2020 season, Turner will aim to continue to impress as the Revs host the New York Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, August 29 (8 p.m. ET, FS1).