Defender Tyler Turner was the fourth player to sign an MLS contract from the club's USL squad in 2014. The 5-foot-11 native of Milford, CT, looked like a sure bet to spend the year on loan to Louisville City FC or elsewhere to receive more seasoning. However, injuries, suspensions, international duty, and a lack of fullback depth kept Turner with the club throughout 2015.
Although a prize prospect, Turner wasn't expected to play a major role in Orlando City's inaugural MLS season, despite being the club's rookie of the year and the captain of the U.S. U-18 National Team a year ago.
Still, he ended up appearing in seven games, starting five of them. He also took part in the MLS Homegrown Game in Colorado mid-season. Let's take a look at his 2015 season.
Turner didn't score a goal or register an assist in his 477 minutes of MLS playing time. In fact, he didn't even register a shot. He completed 81% of his passes, averaging 32 passes per game. He spent nearly every one of his appearances at right back when Rafael Ramos wasn't available. He also played center back one forgettable night at D.C. United when Aurelien Collin went down with a hamstring injury and things did not go well, as the Black & Red turned a 1-0 second-half deficit into a 2-1 win on May 13. Turner came on with 23 minutes to play and it didn't take long for United to take advantage of him playing out of position.
The nadir came at Seattle on Aug. 16., when Turner collected four of the 13 fouls he committed all season, earning a pair of yellow cards before halftime. Following the game, Head Coach Adrian Heath admitted that perhaps Turner was in a bit over his head and the 19-year-old didn't see the field the rest of the season.
Turner's best match of 2015 came in the 4-4 draw at Charleston in the U.S. Open Cup, with the Lions advancing on penalties, 8-7. Orlando City trailed the game 1-0 when Turner's gorgeous long cross found the head of Lewis Neal, who nodded home in the 63rd minute. Unfortunately, Turner hurt his leg on the play and had to be subbed out. Check out this beauty:
His best MLS match came on Aug. 1 vs. Columbus Crew. There was nothing flashy or special about his game, but he was mostly solid and didn't make too many mistakes.
Turner is almost certainly going to be slated to appear more for Orlando City B than the senior club next season. The Homegrown Player will turn 20 on March 4 and there aren't many players his age starting on back lines in Major League Soccer. However, the seven games he played in 2015 will serve him well, earning him valuable experience in America's top flight. If you want to see Turner play, most likely you'll have to drive over to Melbourne, although he could be called up for spot duty in case depth suffers again from injuries, suspension or international call-ups.
Final 2015 Rating
The Mane Land staff can't give an official player rating for Turner this season, after only seven games, including one that saw him sent off before the half and another that had him playing out of position at center back. Officially, it's an incomplete score. Unofficially, however, the site's staff grades out his performances this season at a composite of 4.5, with the understanding that he was thrown into the deep end without fully knowing how to swim. Turner has a lot of upside to his game and with some more seasoning, could become a valuable player for Orlando City in time.