HARRISON, N.J. – New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner glanced up at the scoreboard in the 87th minute of Saturday night’s meeting with the New York Red Bulls.
Deadlocked at 1-1 and under mounting pressure from the home side at Red Bull Arena, Turner told himself that he was going to need to come up big one more time.
Turner came up with the best of his nine saves – a new career-high – in the 92nd minute, reacting quickly to kick away a point-blank effort from Bradley Wright-Phillips and secure a point for the Revs, who extended their unbeaten run on the road to seven games (3-0-4), a new club record.
“It’s just about being locked in and ready for those moments,” Turner said. “I was lucky I was up to the task in stoppage time.”
Turner was locked in on Saturday night for several reasons. The magnitude of the game, of course – the Revs remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference following the draw, three points back of the Red Bulls with eight games to play. But the match was also a homecoming for Turner, who hails from Park Ridge, N.J., just 30 miles from Red Bull Arena in Harrison.
That meant plenty of friends and family in the stands, including both the boys and girls soccer teams from Park Ridge High School, where Turner’s father is a volunteer assistant coach, and where Turner himself has spent time mentoring the players in recent offseasons.
“I go and play with them, I coach them a little bit – nothing too crazy,” Turner said. “But I just have fun with the kids. I love giving back to the community that I was raised in. It was a nice night that they got to see. Hopefully they were excited and had a good time, as well.”
Turner’s heroics – along with Gustavo Bou’s second-half equalizer – didn’t just send the soccer teams from Park Ridge High home happy, but also the 500 traveling Revolution supporters who made the trek to Red Bull Arena as part of the club’s Season Member away trips.
Shortly after the final whistle, Turner took a few moments to himself to gaze up at the away support as they chanted and sang, soaking in the atmosphere of a memorable evening.
“It was just a special night,” Turner said. “We were really disappointed with how we went out in the first half, and to be able to play the way we did in the second half, get a couple chances to even go up 2-1, and for me to be able to have a couple saves and an impact on this game, it’s just a really special night.
“We hope that the supporters that traveled are proud of what we put out there on the field tonight, and also my family was up there (in the stands). It all coming full circle tonight was just a really special night for me.”