Signing a Goalkeeper is probably the toughest challenge on Sorare right now! Certainly if we are trying to assemble a competitive team for the Summer on a tight budget.

This is a real pain point for the product as traditionally in these games the goalkeeper is the least exciting position, yet right now can be the most expensive in your squad!

This is simple supply and demand economics – everyone needs a goalkeeper yet there is only one per team. 

It’s such an obvious pain point in fact that it is entirely feasible that the Sorare team do something to fix it at some stage – taking some heat out of keeper prices. 

The prospect of such a change is one reason why I would be reluctant to overpay for a keeper now. 

Certainly – when there are obvious problems like this we should be aware that a change might be made to address it and factor that risk in.

But even if there is no such change, spending big on a keeper makes little sense unless you have a bigger budget.

I’ll discuss why and then highlight some budget and premium keeper options for Summer.

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Good Enough is Good Enough

With keepers, most points come from clean sheets – so we can be really happy with a 60-70 from a goalkeeper who does not concede on a match day.

But an average performance without a clean sheet might still make 40-50.

It’s not a huge points gap in the same way it might be for a striker who can either score and assist for 100 or blank and get 30-40. 

In terms of what we can expect to pay the price difference between a budget keeper at 0.300 to 0.600 Eth and a premium keeper at 0.800 to 1.5 Eth can be huge.

This is just not worth it for a “moneyball” team, as it just makes more sense to spend that money on the more explosive outfield options who can get us into contention for cards by hitting 80-100 much more regularly. And they will also provide captaincy options. 

That extra 20-30 points that a Premium goalkeeper can more reliably bring could be decisive and on bigger budgets you would probably want one. 

That could be the difference between placing in the top 3 or not. But this is a bit of a luxury you can only enjoy if you have some cash to burn.

If playing “moneyball” on a tight budget (my target for this series is £2,000 or about 1.4 Eth) spending a third of that on an average keeper is rich enough already. Spending any more than that is going to sap the strength of the rest of your team.

And, by playing close attention to the match data, we can probably zero in on a keeper that can score pretty well on average. And with a kind run of fixtures maybe even go toe to toe with the premium keepers for a month or so.

Should I use a common keeper?

Please no. 

Ok, maybe in a real pinch.

But if our objective is to get in contention for cards this 50% points penalty is a savage handicap. It’s also not a given we will have a common keeper from either the MLS, J-League or K-League for Summer.

The only reason I would do this is if I was playing an ultra tight budget strategy, in the £500 or 0.300 ETH price range. 

With very well targetted choices even with this kind of budget we could occasionally get in contention for cards – but this would primarily be an “Eth Grinder” team – aiming to rack up those little threshold wins each week for a small amount of Eth. 

Budget Options - MLS, J-League and K-League

Przemysław Tytoń - 34 - GK - Cincinnati

“Cinny” have been bottom of the table whipping boys for the last 2 seasons – but have invested and might expect better this term.

Tyton isn’t entirely responsible for all that leakiness though – he only played 9 games last season and kept 3 clean sheets and xG against was actually amongst the best keepers in the League. 

The team’s poor record last term keeps the price down to around 0.400 ETH – a decent budget option and there is a chance this outfit improve as they have spent heavily. 

Masaaki Higashiguchi - 34 - GK - Gamba Osaka

Gamba Osaka have only just got their season started, they are up to 6 games behind the other teams in the League due to a COVID outbreak. 

So, their keeper Higashiguchi has not had chance to get a good “last 5 average” which attracts buyers like flies. But Gamba Osaka have pedigree as a good side, finishing 2nd last season. And what we have seen in the 2 games this season is solid defensively.

You might be able to get him for 0.600 Eth which stretches budgets but given Gamba have a lot of games to catch up, they reliably play twice a week – making him eligible for two tournaments a week for the forseeable (Many keepers are one tournament a week only). 

This could be a major factor in maximising value if you have enough cards to field teams in two tournaments.

He is also competitive with the J-League premiums like Langerak who go for 1 to 1.5 ETH and Gamba have decent fixtures too. Most people just don’t realise it yet because Gamba have missed games. Solid pick.

Kin Seung Gyu - 30 - GK - Kasiwa Reysol

Seung Gyu could be available for 0.450 Eth or so – well within budget. No clean sheets so far this season, but Kasiwa Reysol have a decent fixture schedule ahead where that may improve.

Statistically speaking, it feels unlucky he hasn’t got a clean sheet – this side are far from the worst offenders when it comes to giving shots away.

He’s also not bad all round to give him a reasonable average even when he concedes. In particular he doesn’t tend to pass long which can be helpful (keepers get punished for losing possesion this way).

Obviously inferior to the premiums – but a good warm body to put between the sticks for a budget team. 

Also reliably plays on weekends for the foreseeable – and when we have limited cards making sure our teams fixtures line up is key (Most MLS games are on the weekend for example). 

Brad Guzan - 36 - GK - Atlanta FC

A name most of us know, and whilst he is aging, he has a fresh contract and is likely going nowhere anytime soon. 

Atlanta are a strong outfit and Guzan is up there with the best MLS keepers.

0.450 to 0.550 ETH might be a realistic price and he would be a solid pick between the sticks especially as Atalanta start with reasonable fixtures. Good moneyball.

Kim Young-Kwang - 37 - GK - Seongnam

Dipping into the K-League can open up value – I particularly like it for some cheap backup players as I discussed in the last article.

Here is a potential starter, and an ultimate moneyball pick as he is 37! He shows no signs of slowing down, though. Contract date is unspecified but he says he intends to continue for years.

Seongnam are having a good season and Young-Kwang’s xG against compares well to anyones, even the premiums. And because he is very unsexy as an older K-League player you might pick him up for just 0.300 – a real bargain who can really help us win cards.

Too good to be true? Well there is a catch. Awkward kick off times at 11:30am on a Friday for example can leave your man without a game on odd weeks. This isn’t an issue for Young-Kwang for 5 matches but he will blank in the SO5 tournament on 30th April due to his game starting a few hours before the deadline. 

Awkward – particularly if you can only afford one keeper. But if you have a slightly bigger budget he would be a great rotation option. 

A bit like FPL – having 2 cheap keepers you can pick based on fixtures for a total of around 0.600 to 0.700 ETH could be better than having a single 1 ETH+ keeper.

Bobby Shuttleworth - 33 - GK - Chicago Fire

Unspectacular, but perhaps a good “warm body” option for a budget keeper. 

The attraction is he might be had for around 0.300 or even a touch less. And can probably get you the required 40-50 points most games. 

The drawback – we haven’t seen pre-season yet and he may be challenged by Kronholm for his spot leaving you stranded without a keeper. That would be fairly devastating and by the time that becomes obvious you might not be able to sell them.

One strategy with keepers who are fighting for pitch time could be to try and get cheap bids for both of them! That uncertainty over game time might make people more likely to sell them on. 

If you could therefore get the pair for say 0.500 to 0.600 you are covered and can play whoever emerges strongest from pre-season. And if the starter ever gets injured you’ve got the spare in your back pocket.

Premium Options - MLS, J-League and K-League

Whilst the premiums are little use to a budget team for this series – I look at the whole market anyway so I might as well share some thoughts.

It’s useful to know – are they as good as people think? Will their recent high scoring histories continue? 

Can they be sold due to the hype a recent hot streak and replaced with someone who is likely just as good but far cheaper because they just haven’t been as fortunate recently?

And if we are a whale who doesn’t really care about value and just wants to win cards – who is the optimal choice for the coming games?

Here are 3 examples showcasing the things I’d be considering with a premium keeper option.

Langerak - 32 - GK - Nagoya Grampus

Langerak has conceded just 1 goal in 7 games all season! No surprise then he is barely changing hands at all and if he does he is going to be around 1.5 ETH most likely.

Reassuringly for owners, the stats suggest his record is no fluke. It is probably fortunate to only concede 1 for sure, maybe it should have been 2-3. But it would be very harsh to call him lucky. 

And in his favour, Nagoya have good fixtures ahead – so there is a decent chance his strong run might continue.

If you didn’t care about value and really wanted a reliable score from your keeper – there aren’t many better options out there right now.

Yet, for those seeking value – a good run like this is just far too obvious. I would be selling this all day long if anyone was paying well above 1 ETH. 

Keepers of a similar level can be had for far, far less and I would bank the difference.

Eloy Room - 32 - GK - Columbus Crew

If I was on a slightly bigger budget for this Summer team I would probably go for Room. He only has 6 clean sheets on record where as someone like Willis at Nashville (reviewed below) has 11. 

Yet, Room played fewer games and per minute there is not a great deal between the two. 

Room is likely better than a glance at his history lets on. Because people tend to shop by average score or a really basic look at historic clean sheets – Room is actually solid value for his 0.700 ETH or so. 

It’s just outside the budget of a 1.5 ETH team though. But not by much and if a cheeky .650 ETH bid could be had I might even stretch to it if I can find strong value throughout the rest of the team (and there are far more options in the outfield positions). 

Joe Willis - 32 - GK - Nashville

A good premium pick, he boasts the most MLS clean sheets last season so is fairly obvious – but his good record is also no fluke and importantly Nashville start with some pretty kind fixtures.

At .900 ETH he ain’t cheap but as premium keepers go it is the going rate. Solid and if I was going for a higher budget team I’d go for something like this (if I couldn’t get Room, anyway). 

There is not much between him and say Andre Blake at Philadelphia who goes for around 1.250 ETH for example. Even with a bigger budget – there is no real reason to be paying more than we need to.

Also look out for...

If cards are made available for the following they could be strong options if they can be had within the budget 0.300-0.600 price range (Good luck!). 

Tarbell – Austin FC

St Claire – Minnesota

Jonathan Bond – LA Galaxy

Final Thought

The keeper is a difficult problem to solve on a budget. If really struggling we might stay patient and try to find a bargain due to an injury, or unexpected change in the pecking order during the MLS pre-season.

This is a gambit as once the season gets closer we might see prices crank up even more. Yet, if we are swift to pounce on an injury or similar we might be able to get a steal.

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