A brief preface before dive into the numbers for these two guys. The statistical information gathered is from a website called fbref.com. They are wonderful and made my life extremely easier to put my thoughts together and back them up with statistics. Please visit them if you have any interest in soccer statistics.
Affectionately known as Camp Cupcake, the January USA Men’s National Soccer Team training camp roster was announced today, and two members of the New England Revolution’s squad were selected. In the senior team, goalkeeper Matt Turner received his 3rd call up into camp, and rookie phenom Henry Kessler got called into the U-23 camp. While both players will be looking for their first appearances for the national team, Matt Turner should be starting in net for the match against Serbia’s rumored opponent. Kessler may see the field but with other strong defenders in camp has less of a chance.
Matt Turner’s 2020 was another year to remember for the Revolution’s number one. After a disappointing start to the season with the 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact, Turner picked up a slight knee injury. Starting in the MLS is Back tournament, Turner made many game-changing saves throughout the season. The main one everyone remembers due to proximity is the penalty save over Nani in the MLS Playoffs with the Revolution lead at 2-1, but Turner always seems to come up with the big save when needed. Looking at his statistics this past year, Turner had a 75.5 save percentage, good for top 5 in MLS. His goals allowed versus goals expected to conceded was a +8.2 the top in MLS, which means he allowed fewer goals than expected, and his passing, while not notable, was at 70.6% up from 63.2% the previous year. The other noticeable change was the command of the 18-yard box. Something that we could hear a lot more due to lack of crowds was Turner’s yelling at his defenders and organizational strategies. He looked more at home, telling them where to be and what he expected from them. Finally, as Matt Doyle said earlier this year, he would have had Turner starting over the current number one Zac Stefen, sooo eat your hearts out.
Henry Kessler’s rookie season was one that has Revolution fans drooling with anticipation to see how he can develop into his sophomore season. While Kessler was not projected to be a starter coming into camp by most pundits, including myself, injuries thrust him into Montreal’s spotlight, and he never looked back. Even in his rookie season, Kessler never looked out of place in the MLS. He had a poise and confidence about him that showed in his gameplay. Kessler contributed one goal in his rookie season and no assists while having an 85.2 passing completion percentage. On the defensive side of things, Kessler finished the season with the 3rd best in MLS successful pressures at 44.3 percent and 5th in MLS in clearances with 124. He completed 27 tackles in 35 attempts, which is just a shade under 80%. In what should have been a rookie of the year season, MLS changed the award. Kessler stabilized the Revs’ backline and became one of the most critical players on the field every match.
Going into the US National Team camp is an excellent opportunity for both of these players to further their careers and develop more skills. This can only be seen as a good thing for the Revolution in terms of success in the coming 2021 season.