Matt Turner said goodbye to New England fans on Sunday.
He returned from U.S. national team duty to suit up for the Revs one last time before heading off to Arsenal.
But the 2021 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year did not get in the game at Gillette Stadium. He watched as his successor, young Serbian keeper Djordje Petrovic, was in goal for the 2-1 win over Minnesota United, which extended the Revolution's unbeaten streak in MLS play to eight games (four wins and four ties).
Turner, who had been battling food poisoning over the past week, said it was the correct decision not to play him.
"This team has done well this week, got two good results, and Djordje has been playing well," he said. "So, grow him into the role, you don't need to throw me into a one-off game just to say goodbye. It was a perfect night in every sense of the word anyways, in my opinion. It's a results business and [we got] three points tonight."
After the match, the Revs aired a highlight video of Turner's seven MLS seasons. He was presented with a flag from fans in a ceremony on the capo stand and did one last lap around the field in Foxboro.
“The gift they gave me with the flag signed by all the supporters was truly just so special," he said, "something I'll cherish for the rest of my life, for sure."
He said he was touched to see signs young fans held up, saying that they played goalkeeper because of him.
"I think that that's what really got me," he said, "because I always looked up to people and the fact that people look up to me, especially here, it's amazing. It's amazing, and I'm glad I could leave my mark in that sense.”
Turner did not play in his first two seasons with the Revs after being undrafted out of Fairfield, but he was the No. 1 keeper over most of the next four years, reaching an agreement with Arsenal before the start of the 2022 season.
“There’s very few people in a sport with better character than Matt Turner," said Revs coach Bruce Arena ahead of the game. "His strength is certainly shot blocking. He's outstanding on his line, he's quick, he makes great saves, has great reflexes, his distribution has improved greatly as has his ability on crosses. So he's becoming a very good goalkeeper. I coached Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, goalkeepers that have played very well in the Premiership and Matt can grow to that level. So I think Arsenal has gotten themselves a very good goalkeeper.”
Turner, who started eight of the USA's 14 World Cup 2022 qualifiers and two of its four June matches, said his final day with the Revs was emotional.
"I'm still 27-28, you know? I'm still learning how to cope with all that," he said. "On top of that, my wife's in England, nine months pregnant. So I got a lot of stuff going on. So, maybe I wouldn't have put my best performance out there tonight, and then I'm kicking myself because I left on a bad note."
He said it was certainly a mix of emotions to say goodbye.
"I'm happy because of the way everybody made me feel tonight," he said. "I'm sad because I'm going to miss everybody as well."
Photo: David Silverman/New England Revolution