BOSTON (CBS) — Most All-Star games are just an exhibition with a lot of pomp and circumstance and very little game action worth watching. Matt Turner doesn’t think that will be the case in Wednesday night’s MLS All-Star Game.
Turner has been one of the best in the business at stopping shots this year, whether for the Revs or for the US Men’s National Team in Gold Cup action, and he’ll look to do the same Wednesday night when the best of the MLS take on the Liga MX All-Stars in Los Angeles.READ MORE: NFL Adds Monday Night Playoff Game To Wild Card Weekend
“It’s going to be a highly contested game. I really foresee this game being spirited,” Turner told WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid. “Guys from the Mexican League are also part of the Mexican National Team, which the US has beaten in two finals just this summer. A lot of them will be motivated to right the ship before World Cup qualifying.”
Whenever the USA and Mexico hit the pitch against each other, it’s been a pretty entertaining match. The USMNT brought home a Gold Cup crown just over three weeks ago with a 1-0 victory over Mexico in the finals, with Turner sending away all five shots that came his way. It was his fifth shutout of the tournament, and Turner was named Man of the Match and Goalkeeper Of The Tournament.
The USMNT also beat Mexico in the Nation’s League final in June, so the Liga MX All-Stars are going to be really amped to walk away with a win at Banc of California Stadium.
Wednesday’s All-Star Game is just another accolade on Turner’s incredible resume this season. He’s one of the best keepers in MLS on the best team in the league, and he has plenty of clout after his sensational showing during the Gold Cup. The distinction that comes with being an All-Star is not lost on the 27-year-old.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to accomplish ever since I became a member of the MLS. To be here, to get to feel this experience — I know it’s tough sandwiched between two games midweek all the way across the country — but I’m going to soak it all in and make the most of it,” he said. “I’m going to really enjoy this special experience.”READ MORE: Patriots-Saints What To Watch For: A 'Do Your Job' Week For Pats Against Alvin Kamara
Through it all, Turner has remained as level as they come. He never gets too high or too low, and if he does creep into the former, he has a great base in New England to help keep him grounded.
“It’s easy for me, to be honest, when you have guys in the locker room like Teal Bunbury, Andrew Farrell, Scott Caldwell, a coach like Bruce Arena and goalkeeper coach like Kevin Hitchcock. Those are the guys who, very quickly, bring me back down to earth. They remember me as I was, not as I am,” said Turner. “The bigger thing for me is the internal feeling that I haven’t really accomplished anything. Maybe I’ll look back at the end of the year and think that 2021 was a great year for me. But for now I’m just looking ta the next thing up; the next game, the next practice. Take it one day at a time and keep it in the present.”
Stopping shots against the best players that Liga MX has to offer is the “next thing up” for Turner. But before he can do his thing in the All-Star Game, he’ll have to try his best to stop shots in Tuesday night’s Skills Challenge, which isn’t exactly built for the keepers to have success.
“I’m not going to sit here and say it’ll be the best thing ever. I’m going to make the most of it and have fun, maybe showcase some of my skills,” he said of his role in the Cross & Volley Challenge. “It’s not set up for the goalkeeper to have fun and be the showcase of the event. But it’ll be fun and I’ll enjoy myself.”
Turner also said there’s a chance he’ll be mic’d up for the event, which should lead to some colorful reactions from the goalkeeper. He made no promises to keep it clean, either.MORE NEWS: Thursday Night Football Claims Pair Of High-Profile Panthers To Injury
Turner is one of four Revolution All-Stars this season, with Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou and Tajon Buchanan all earning the honor. Wednesday night’s All-Star game will kick off at 9:30 p.m. ET.