The dream becomes a reality for New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner, who will be in the US men national team’s starting XI in an international friendly against Trinidad & Tobago Sunday (7 pm ET | FS1, UniMas, TUDN) at Exploria Stadium.
Gregg Berhalter confirmed Turner will get the start and make his long-awaited USMNT debut in a video conference call with reporters Saturday.
Turner just finished his second national team camp and has made a stark improvement during those 12 months, according to Berhalter.
“Matt certainly has improved. I think it's night and day compared to him last January camp,” Berhalter told reporters on Monday. “He had the reflexes last January, but now his whole game is improved and you can see he's gained confidence and that whole season behind him has really improved him, and he's looking sharp.”
It’s been a long and arduous road for Turner, who went from an undrafted rookie on a tryout with the Revs to becoming one of the top goalkeepers in MLS. He said watching the USMNT compete in the 2010 World Cup provided the starting point for this journey, with the next step a start on his national team debut.
“The reason I got into soccer in the first place was because of the [USMNT’s] World Cup run in 2010. It's something that's always been so special to me, and it's what ignited me to become passionate about this game,” Turner said. “And 11 years later, to be able to have the chance, even, to wear the crest on on a match day is nothing short of a dream come true.”
Gregg Berhalter confirms that goalkeeper Matt Turner will earn his #USMNT debut tomorrow vs. 🇹🇹.— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) January 30, 2021
Additionally, he says Aaron Long will partner with Miles Robinson in central defense. Robinson will earn his first international start on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/yr9Seog7u5
Long will earn his 19th cap Sunday, all starts. The New York Red Bulls standout wore the captain’s armband four times, including his last two appearances against Costa Rica at the conclusion of last year’s January camp and El Salvador in December.
Robinson, the young Atlanta United center back, will be making his third appearance with the USMNT. The 23-year-old previously came off the bench against Mexico and Uruguay in Sept, 2019.