Without any context, it looked like Sacramento Republic FC were letting fly on the shots Wednesday, mostly to no end.
In their 0-0 draw against Oakland Roots at Heart Health Park, Sacramento enjoyed a whopping 19-3 edge in shots, and they truly battered Oakland’s goal area for the final 70 minutes or so of the game.
But some fans were discontent at a mere three of those 19 Republic FC shots being on target, and that rate certainly isn’t promising in general.
“Obviously we’ve got to get that final missing piece, that elusive goal, put games away, but we feel like the team’s moving in a better direction. Cohesively, it’s clicking,” said head coach Mark Briggs at training on Friday.
“The biggest factor, the biggest stat, when it comes to winning games, is hitting the target. That’s the biggest stat. Collectively as a group, we spoke about it yesterday, we spoke about it this morning, about our target for each game and hitting a certain percentage of everything on target,” he added.
But while efficiency is prized in the sport of soccer generally, the larger picture for Sacramento in particular is that they’ve scored just three goals in their last five games, amid an ongoing eight-game winless run.
It’s obvious that the players were told against Oakland to shoot a little earlier, to worry a little less about the quality of the chance than to just let it rip and see what might happen. On Wednesday, it didn’t get the desired result, but it’s a tried and tested strategy for teams that are looking for a spark in attack, including the proverbial goal off someone’s backside.
With another big game coming up, Saturday at home against Orange County SC, who have beaten Sac Republic twice already, defender Shannon Gomez says the team is confident they are building the parts to finally get back on track this season.
“I think keep pressing, keeping the [other] team on the back foot, it gives us more opportunities to score goals,” Gomez said. “I think we were trying to be more direct and have more 1-v-1 situations, when we take advantage of those we know we have the speed, the ability to get in behind and create some havoc. I think in that game, we were just trying to create as many opportunities as we can. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get that final goal but we were knocking on the door the whole time and we want to continue knocking on the door, because eventually it’s going to open. I think now, more than anything, I believe in our attack, I believe we’re able to score goals, but we just need to get that final ball, that final piece down pat and with this run of games, we should be able to do that.”
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