Club and Country

Charlie Davies: Matt Turner should be the USMNT No. 1 for World Cup Qualifying

Coming off the US men's national team's thrilling Concacaf Gold Cup Final triumph over Mexico, who should be the team's No. 1 goalkeeper come World Cup Qualifying has emerged as a major storyline.

That's due to a stalwart showing from New England Revolution standout Matt Turner, who started and played every minute of every match during the Yanks' Gold Cup-winning run, shining throughout between the posts. The 26-year-old was honored with the Best Goalkeeper Award for his efforts, which included multiple highlight-reel saves in crucial moments.

Turner's breakout showing on the international level adds another name to the mix of potential options at the position for head coach Gregg Berhalter. Current Manchester City and former Columbus Crew netminder Zack Steffen has long been the presumed starter. But Ethan Horvath, who recently transferred to English Championship side Nottingham Forest, made a case of his own in injury relief for Steffen with a legendary showing in the USMNT's wild Concacaf Nations League victory earlier this summer.

So, who should start when the fast-approaching World Cup Qualifiers kick-off?'s Charlie Davies weighed in on the latest installment of Extratime Club & Country, saying that he believes all three have a valid argument, but that Turner should indeed lay claim to the No. 1 spot.

"I don't envy Gregg Berhalter that you have three phenomenal goalkeepers and all three are capable of winning you games in Concacaf," Davies said. "But you always go with the hot hand, in every instance: The player who's playing consistently and the player who's playing the best. That's always how the national team has been, for the most part. We want guys who are considered the best but are playing week in and week out and doing well – and Matt Turner's doing that. So, I think in that instance after tonight's performance against a Mexican A team, he vaults himself to No. 1."

While that's his feeling for the moment, Davies did qualify that his opinion could change based on the circumstances. Horvath's recent move to Nottingham Forest will hopefully yield him more playing time where he can get more consistent reps than he did at his previous stop with Club Brugge in Belgium. And Davies also said Horvath's heroics during Nations League can't be discounted when making the evaluation.

"One thing that I really dislike is that we kind of just skip over Ethan Horvath," Davies said. "I mean, he came in as a substitute for Zack Steffen in that Nations League final, saved a [penalty], had another big save and then had a clean sheet against Costa Rica the following game. We don't give him any credit. He's also in the mix as a starter. He's proven it. And he made a move because he needed to a move to play. So if he's starting every week at Nottingham Forest and putting in performances, then his name should certainly be in the equation."

Asked by co-host David Gass to clarify if he really believes that Turner should be the starter over Steffen, who currently plays at one of the biggest clubs in the world, Davies answered in the affirmative, barring a development that sees Steffen take over and consistently thrive in a starting role.

"That is correct," said Davies. "Unless we see something unforeseen with Manchester City and Ederson goes down injured or something and Zack Steffen is a starter and he's playing. Barring that situation, Matt Turner should be starting coming World Cup Qualifiers because he's going to be in form."