New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner was watching with the rest of us as Orlando City SC and New York City FC put on one of the wildest penalty-kick shootouts you’ll ever see in their Round One matchup of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
And like the rest of us, the 26-year-old backstop could hardly describe his emotions as he watched the madness transpire, as Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese drew a second yellow card for coming off his line and defender Rodrigo Schlegel made the save of his life in relief duty to spur the Lions to victory.
Speaking with the Extratime crew after his team’s 2-0 Round One win over the Philadelphia Union, Turner said he feels for the plight of Gallese, who will now be suspended for Sunday’s Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup between the sides in Orlando.
“I was watching that game in my apartment and I just couldn’t believe what was going on. I really couldn’t believe it. Poor Gallese,” Turner said. “I really feel for him. I feel like guys have come off their line a lot more than and not gotten repercussions. But the refs made the call, it’s a yellow card, you can’t reserve it. That’s that. We’ll take that as advantage going into Sunday because he’s been good for them all season. So, we’re really looking forward to that game.”
As for his thoughts on Schlegel’s heroics? Turner kept them brief, but pointed out that the defender now has some impressive goalkeeping statistics to add to his resume.
“All I’ll say is his penalty-save percentage is better than mine,” Turner deadpanned. “1-for-2.”
With the huge win over Philly in their pocket, the Revs certainly draw a tough test in the Semis in an Orlando side that has emerged as an Eastern Conference frontrunner under first-year head coach Oscar Pareja. But New England look as strong as they have all season, fueled by star playmaker Carles Gil, who is back fit and healthy after missing much of the season due to injury.
New England will have to get a first-ever victory at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium to pull off the road upset, but with his team firing on all cylinders, Turner told hosts Andrew Wiebe and David Gass he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“Another team, we’ve never won in Orlando,” Turner said. “We’ve conceded a fair amount of goals when going down there. Oscar’s got them playing really good football. They’ve got some good strikers up top, obviously Nani. We’ll take time tonight to savor this and we’ll look at the film and we’ll get ourselves ready. I know they’ve have Daryl Dike and a bunch of guys, so it’ll be a great game and a great matchup and it’ll be a great test for us.”