In this recent goalless skid for Sacramento, it seems like even when chances do occur for the Republic, they are either wasted or meet with what appears to be a brick wall wearing gloves. While wasted chances may not purely be a result of strong keeper play, a goalkeeper does have a significant amount of control over the number of saves they can make in a given game.
In the USL Western Conference, the average goalkeeper records 3.02 saves per game. This ranges from LA Galaxy II’s per-team high of 4.33 saves per game and Rio Grande Valley FC’s low of only 1.83 saves per game on average.
Sacramento, however, has the unfortunate knack of bringing out latent superpowers in opposing keepers. Opposition goalkeepers have made an average of 4.25 saves per game against Republic this season. That is 140% of the average number of saves per game.
It is true that Sacramento has more on target shots per game than nearly any other team in the West (5.25 per game), trailing only Swope Park Rangers (5.33), RGVFC (5.33) and Real Monarchs (6.67). However, that is not enough to offset a higher save rate, as the average for shots on target is 4.39 per game. This means that Sacramento gets 0.86 more shots on target per game than the average team, but has 1.23 more shots saved per game. If you subtract save rate to shots, Sacramento is in the red at -0.37, meaning the efficiency is poor.
This needs to change. Republic can put more shots on target to account for keepers suddenly getting more than one save per game than you would typically expect. Beat them with volume. Even if the keeper can save one extra shot per game, put two or three more on frame than is typical.
The other option is to be more efficient with shots. Make the most of what you have and don’t become the statistical outlier for an inefficient team. Remember if Sacramento would have played a keeper with typical save rates (+1 goal per game), they would be a 4-1-3 team right now.