LOS ANGELES – While their New England Revolution teammates train under the California sunshine, Matt Turner and Sebastian Lletget are preparing to battle both El Salvador and frigid weather conditions in Thursday night’s FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPN2, UniMas, and TUDN.
Turner is slated to start for the U.S. Men’s National Team with fellow goalkeeper Zack Steffen dealing with back tightness. The reigning Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year will be hoping to make 2022 as successful as 2021, when he debuted for the USMNT and made 13 appearances, going 10-1-2 while setting a U.S. record with nine shutouts in a calendar year. Five of Turner’s appearances have come in World Cup Qualifying, including a 0-0 draw with El Salvador to begin the campaign last September.
Lletget also featured consistently for the USMNT in 2021, scoring four goals in 16 appearances, part of eight goals in 33 total appearances at the international level. Gregg Berhalter has called upon Lletget in four World Cup Qualifiers during this cycle, most recently this past October against Panama.
Thursday night’s game against El Salvador begins a critical three-game window which could see the USMNT all but book their spot in next winter’s World Cup in Qatar. More than halfway through qualifying the Americans (4-1-3, 15 pts.) occupy second place in the Octagonal, one point behind Canada (4-0-4, 16 pts.), who they’ll visit on Sunday before closing out this round of games with a home match against Honduras next Wednesday.
All three of those games will take place while the Revs are camped out in California, training for two weeks to prepare for their Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League opener against Cavaly AS on February 15. Turner and Lletget’s club teammates will be eagerly watching from the hotel on Thursday evening.
“It’s a big game for them, and they’ve been there for a couple weeks now training, so we’re looking forward to having them back,” said Emmanuel Boateng. “Obviously it’d be nice to have them come into camp very positive coming off wins. When the U.S. is doing well, it’s all good for soccer in this country, and we’re all rooting for them. We’ll be watching the game. Hopefully they all play a big part in the U.S. getting a win, and we’re looking forward to having them back in camp.”