As job pitches go, it was a compelling one. Matt Turner is no stranger to having to compete for the No 1 spot so far in England and is back in another arm-wrestle now.
This summer he swapped the task of trying to get into Arsenal’s team ahead of Aaron Ramsdale with what seemed set to be a tussle with England goalkeeper Dean Henderson at Nottingham Forest. More on that shortly — but an eye-catching clean sheet in Forest’s first win at Chelsea since 1995 on Saturday was a symbolic shut-out for Turner.
Welcome to the USMNT player tracker where, each week, we will be bringing you updates on our U.S. players plying their trade in various leagues around Europe.
With the Copa America next year, and a World Cup on home soil on the horizon, we’ll be keeping tabs on how they perform every weekend.
Player of the weekend
And so quickly back to Turner. The goalkeeper arrived at Nottingham Forest first, signing from Arsenal last month, and Henderson’s much-touted move from Manchester United failed to materialise as he joined Crystal Palace instead.
So job security was presumably locked down for the USMNT’s first choice, who has started all of Forest’s five games this term. If only it were that simple.
Last week, on transfer deadline day, Steve Cooper’s outfit announced the signing of Greece international Odysseas Vlachodimos from Benfica on a four-year deal. Given he is the same age as Turner — 29 — and played regularly in the Champions League last term, he arrives in the Premier League hoping to be No 1.
Once he has acclimatised to life in new surroundings, Vlachodimos, who made 225 appearances across all competitions for the Portuguese side and won two league titles, is expected to go into the team as the first choice.
And just to crank the pressure up even further, Forest have another two international goalkeepers — USMNT regular Ethan Horvath, who joins Turner on international duty this week, and the most-capped keeper in Wales’ history, Wayne Hennessey — on the books also hoping to secure game time.
It meant Turner’s head-start in playing those five fixtures had to be a convincing one if he was to remain in contention — and he was a steady, reassuring presence in west London as Forest won just their second Premier League away game since their promotion in 2022.
Turner only faced two shots on target, among misfiring Chelsea’s 21 attempts, so he had to be switched on. In that respect, it ended up a job well done.
The New Jersey boy certainly isn’t going to be giving up his place in the team without a fight.
What does the Matt Turner transfer mean for Forest’s goalkeeping situation?
Graphic of the weekend
Issue of the weekend
It was a mixed weekend for the elder statesmen of the Americans in Europe brigade. Two experienced centre-backs celebrated scoring goals, but there were contrasting fortunes for their respective teams.
Tim Ream, who is in the USMNT squad for games against Uzbekistan and Oman, scored Fulham’s solitary goal in the 5-1 defeat at Manchester City.
Ream was alert enough to tuck away a rebound after Mexican striker Raul Jimenez’s initial effort for the visitors was saved. That brought brief parity at 1-1, but it was downhill from there for Marco Silva’s men.
Ream, and everyone else in white, were victims of another Erling Haaland masterclass as the striker scored a hat-trick. By his own high standards, the USMNT defender will be frustrated with his part in the Norwegian’s first, when his attempt to intercept Julian Alvarez’s through ball only served to prod it into Haaland’s path.
Over in Germany, John Brooks was also on target as his Hoffenheim side beat Wolfsburg 3-1 in the Bundesliga.
Brooks struck in added time at the end of the first half and had an influential display, making seven clearances at the heart of a back three.
Hoffenheim moved up to sixth, but Brooks’ performances and longevity in one of Europe’s top-five leagues — he has been a regular at Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin previously — are not currently enough to make the USMNT roster.
Although he has 45 senior caps and three goals, his last performance for the national team was in a 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Honduras in September 2021.
Quote of the weekend
“Ever since I came to Wearside as a 10-year-old boy, all I’ve ever wanted to do is play for Sunderland AFC.”
So began a heart-felt 482-word farewell from Californian Lynden Gooch to what, in many respects, is his boyhood club, Sunderland.
Gooch, who has represented his country four times, arrived at Sunderland aged 10 and left last Friday for another EFL Championship club, Stoke City. He is likely to have caused a few lumps in the throats on Wearside with his goodbye letter in which he thanked the cleaners, kitchen staff and media team along with his team-mates and the north-east club’s passionate fans.
“From the Academy of Light to the Stadium of Light, thank you to all the staff who have helped me along the way. I can’t express how grateful I am for everything that you have done for me and my family throughout the past 17 years,” he wrote.
“Above all else, walking out as captain last season with my son at a packed-out Stadium of Light, as we fought to get back into the Premier League, is my most cherished memory and one that nobody will ever take away from me and my family. Thank you to you all for sticking by me throughout the difficult times.
“I gave everything for this club every single day and always stood up to be counted no matter the challenge. I hope I represented the club like a true Mackem should and I will be back on the terraces one day supporting the red and white wizards with you all. Ha’way the Lads, Lynden.”
Right winger Gooch moves to Stoke at an interesting time. His new club have recruited strongly over the summer and harbour ambitions of promotion back to the Premier League.
He made his debut from the bench in his new club’s 2-0 home defeat by early table-stoppers Preston North End on Saturday, but he is one of many signings brought to the Bet365 Stadium this summer by Stoke’s highly-rated head of recruitment, the Berkeley-educated American Jared Dublin.
Dublin, who worked at Google in San Francisco before moving to the United Kingdom to pursue a career in football analysis, spent six years with Sheffield United between 2017 and 2023, helping them achieve promotion from the Championship in 2019 and a ninth-place Premier League finish the following season.
He joined Stoke in June and has captured the excitement of fans with some impressive signings, including Portuguese winger Andre Vidigal, who has scored three goals in four games.
How did other U.S. players get on?
Name: Weston McKennie
McKennie’s resurrection story in Turin continues. The man who, at one stage, seemed destined for the boot this summer made his first start for Juventus in their 2-0 win over Empoli in Serie A on Sunday. Operating at wing-back, the midfielder played 84 minutes before being replaced by fellow USMNT star, and one of the team’s big signings this summer, Timothy Weah for the closing stages.
Name: Duane Holmes
Club: Preston North End
Holmes added his second assist of the season as PNE defeated Stoke on Saturday to go top of the league.
The 28-year-old showed his quality with clever movement and impressive pace to latch on to a long pass and unselfishly supply Will Keane with a tap-in. Before injuries halted his progress, Holmes had broken into the USMNT squad in 2019 and will hope his fine early-season form will eventually catch Gregg Berhalter’s eye.
Name: Luca Koleosho
The teenage winger’s pace and trickery was a big plus for Burnley in an otherwise morale-sapping 5-2 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. He got the better of Spurs’ Pedro Porro to gift Lyle Foster the opening goal at Turf Moor on Saturday and attempted 11 dribbles, completing five, as his confidence appeared high.
Name: Folarin Balogun
Balogun made his debut for Monaco during their impressive 3-0 victory over Lens.
The 22-year-old striker completed his move from Arsenal to Monaco in a transfer worth €40million (£34.4m; $43.4m) after add-ons earlier this week. Balogun, who was selected in Berhalter’s latest squad, came on as a late substitute in the 72nd minute with his 3-0 up at the Louis II Stadium.
The victory sees Monaco, who are yet lose to a game this season, go top of Ligue 1, having won three of their opening four league games this season.
The USMNT’s Folarin Balogun on swapping Arsenal for Monaco: ‘I expect to produce here’
What’s coming up?
It’s the international break across the European big leagues and all eyes will be on the second stage of the Berhalter era with those friendly games against Uzbekistan in St Louis on Saturday and Oman in Minnesota a week on Wednesday (September 13).
(Photos in top image: Getty Images)