USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner gives Arsenal mediocre Europa League performance against Sporting CP with questionable assertiveness

Matt Turner Arsenal Sporting CP
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U.S. men's national team star Matt Turner was handed the start in goal for Arsenal's Europa League round of 16 first leg against Sporting CP.
  • Turner starts for Arsenal
  • Remains Gunners go-to cup goalkeeper
  • USMNT camp later this month

WHAT HAPPENED? Turner was named to a heavily-rotated starting XI by Gunners' boss Mikel Arteta, with the club keeping one eye on their Premier League title race. The match was Turner's first appearance since January 27 and only his third since the USMNT was knocked out of the World Cup by the Netherlands on December 3.

Arsenal went on to draw the match 2-2, leaving it all to play for in the return leg at the Emirates, and Turner probably could have done a bit better between the posts.

HOW HE GOT ON: It was an up-and-down day for Turner, who had several good saves but also some questionable decisions. Moments before Sporting CP's opener, the American made a solid diving save, only to see the goodwill evaporate shortly after with the goal. It could be argued that Turner should have come out with more confidence on the Sporting CP corner kick that was ultimately headed home by Goncalo Inacio.

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Turner will feel similar emotions about Sporting CP's second, having made the initial save only to parry the ball straight out to Paulinho for a simple finish to make it 2-2.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Turner made four saves in total in a wild first-leg draw.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Turner has been Arsenal's go-to goalkeeper in the Europa League, having made four appearances in the competition so far this season. In total, Turner had featured in six matches for Arsenal prior to Thursday's match. The return to the field will be good news for Turner and the USMNT, which could count on the goalkeeper to start later this month for Nations League matches against Grenada and El Salvador.

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WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? The Gunners remain atop the Premier League following this past weekend's thrilling win over Bournemouth, with the club maintaining a five-point lead over Manchester City. Up next is a clash with Fulham and its two American stars, Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson.