All three of the New England Revolution‘s contracted goalkeepers caused giveaways this preseason that led to opponents scoring or nearly scoring.
The latest example came in New England’s 1-0 loss to Minnesota United on Saturday afternoon, when Brad Knighton’s errant clearance found its way to Miguel Ibarra, who easily poked the ball into the back of an open net for the game’s only goal.
Cody Cropper, a third-stringer for most of last season despite being the first-choice starter in 2017, committed a similar mistake that also led to a goal in the Revolution’s 3-1 loss to Louisville City last week.
Meanwhile, Matt Turner, the starter for most of last season, started the trifecta when he gave the ball away in the heart of the penalty area against Dynamo Kyiv two weeks ago in Marbella; the turnover led to a penalty kick after New England defender Antonio Delamea was forced to foul a Kyiv attacker in the box to prevent a goal.
However, Turner avenged his error by parrying the spot kick.
Turner is the only Revolution goalkeeper to not concede a goal this preseason. His penalty kick save, combined with him having served as the starting goalkeeper for most of last season, makes him the odds-on favorite to be the starter for the March 2 MLS season opener against FC Dallas.
Knighton, last season’s back-up, has let in four goals. Cropper has let in five.
Revolution coach Brad Friedel has been rotating his contracted goalkeepers throughout preseason. After making a halftime goalkeeping change in the first four preseason games, Friedel tabbed Cropper to play the entirety of New England’s loss to Louisville City. Knighton then went the full 90 on Saturday against Minnesota.
Turner has yet to play in an entire game this preseason. However, a strong performance in the Revolution’s next game against Orlando City SC on Wednesday — which Turner is expected to start — could play a key role in determining Friedel’s top choice between the posts.
Whoever starts the Revolution’s preseason finale against Reykjavik on Feb. 23 will likely be the favorite to start the regular season opener against Dallas.
Friedel has been coy about the battle between Cropper, Knighton and Turner.
But Turner’s impressive preseason last year played a pivotal role in him being the surprise starter.
Turner’s clean docket this winter — plus his penalty kick save — could be the reason he’s Friedel no. 1 for the second straight season.