MLS Pre-Season Preview
Welcome to my Sorare MLS Pre-Season Preview! I am focusing on the Goalkeepers today and you can find links to Forwards and Midfielders here. Defenders should come tomorrow.
Goalkeepers are a particularly tricksy position given the scarcity of them and for strategy on this see my Goalkeeping Crisis! article.
But long story short – for those on a budget, I think the optimal strategy is to get the cheapest warm body you can find and prioritise spending in other parts of the team which can deliver more points per Eth.
Be sure to click on each player name for my written analysis. And for those new to my ratings see bottom of page for detailed explanations.
Star Ratings Key:
Premium Goalkeepers (Perhaps this should be all of them?!)
About as safe as it gets, he’s a certain starter, Seattle are… sound? defensively (Awful pun and I’m not entirely sorry).
And they also start with a good run of fixtures as per my fixture ticker.
Only concern is money and we’re going to be saying that a lot about keepers. I can see one at .630 at time of writing and that’s a good price in this market.
Once you get to north of .700 it’s getting pricey but those are the times.
Should be solid and Orlando have decent opening fixtures.
Last years stats make strange reading though as in terms of Expected Goals against per minute Gallese was amongst the very best, better than Willis or Blake for example.
Yet, he only managed 3 clean sheets in 17 games, a real underperformance considering Orlando did not ship too many goals overall.
This suggests either he was unlucky or terrible. And given he is very well regarded by pundits and fans, unlucky feels more likely.
There is a decent chance he over performs last years stats.
0.735 or so ain’t cheap but it’s not poor value. I was hoping to see him for more like 0.600 given the poor clean sheet record from last season.
I don’t love picks like this. As the keeper with the most clean sheets last year he’s an easy target for those whose research consists of looking up clean sheets and then calling it job done.
Plus, success last season is no guarantee of success this season and if he underperforms he can drop in value. I prefer an undervalued keeper who can pleasantly surprise us and rise.
But lazy research comes at a price and at .850 or so it is not brilliant value.
He is good though and should be amongst the top keepers of the league. Nashville are solid and start with good fixtures.
Much like Willis above, he’s solid but a bit too obvious and therefore expensive.
0.850 or so is rich and I wouldn’t do this unless I was really splashing the cash and unconcerned about value.
Everything about Dallas and Maurer feels “good but not great”.
The one thing I like particularly is he tends to pass short and not hoof the ball up the field where it often gets lost and costs keepers a surprising amount of points in this scoring system.
Dallas are a decent defensive unit and have middling fixtures to start the season.
The price point is a bit odd right now, at .750 to .800 if you can afford that then you can afford options that are probably better and definitely have kinder fixtures in the next 6 games or so.
I don’t know why you would pick this if you can get Frei for .700 for example. Or Room. But Maurer is solid enough.
Again another solid but possibly too obvious option.
One of the leagues better defences and NY start with the kindest fixtures according to my fixture ticker.
Should be one of the top keepers around and is towards the lower price end of the premiums at 0.720 or so. (Yikes that this counts as lower end!).
If I was assembling a higher budget team, this is the sort of thing I might go for as he’s a match for the best but just that little bit cheaper.
However, Columbus actually have a tough opening schedule so I’ll nick half a star off his ability rating.
Woah. Listings between .800 and 2.6! Are these people for real?
I get that he’s young and plays for the USA U23’s but the Quakes are not a great defensive side particularly from set pieces. Nor do they start with great fixtures in the opening 6.
His personal record is better than the Quakes, for his 12 games last year he managed 4 clean sheets which is decent.
But if you are paying .900 or more for this this is “collectible” or “fan” territory rather than a rational decision about value per points. .500 would be reasonable.
Another one that is highlighting how people are trying to overprice their keepers to exploit the current situation.
The Caps are one of the worst MLS defensive sides historically and whilst they have upgraded a bit there is a lot to prove before you price them in the bracket of the top sides at .700+.
Stop it. You know who you are. 🙂
Edit: I now note a reasonable human has had an outbreak of sense and listed Crepeau for .490 which isn’t bad.
Not on Sorare yet which is a shame – he should be very solid and competitive with the established premiums above.
So if you can get him for say .500 or .600 I’d call that a good deal.
If Sorare wanted to help with the keeper issue without rocking boats too much, they could pump out these cards ASAP.
This is a bit more like it because Guzan can compete with the best in the league for output yet because of his advancing years he can be had for around .500.
Good value for what you get, and he actually has a long contract into 2023 and no plans to retire as far as I can see.
Loses half a star for ability compared to some of the premiums because Atlanta have tough opening fixtures.
But overall I’d compare him to the best in the League unless Atlanta’s high line causes them defensive problems.
They did keep 2 clean sheets in 4 in pre-season though, pretty good.
Montreal are good. In attack. Defensively last term they were one of the worst defences in the League and nobody is really expecting that to change.
He’s quite busy so he sort of claws it back and makes up for the poor defence, 40-50 points might not be uncommon.
Which is decent for a budget or low mid-price keeper. But it seems a moderate outrage that Diop is listing for .700 to .800 right now. Presumably as people try to exploit the scarcity of keepers.
But there is no evidence he justifies that price. C’mon guys. .400 to .500 would be more reasonable.
LAFC were leaky last season and whilst they are expected to do well that is mainly due to their attacking strength.
Probably Sisniega gets the nod but neither he nor Vermeer have made a convincing case.
That’s probably why you can see some Sisniega appearing for .500 rather than .800 or .900 some seemed to be holding out for which was always greedy.
Hm. It’s a little risky and it is probably better to wait to see if either of them can cement the position.
Decent keeper at a solid team with good opening fixtures.
Pretty much middle of the pack for almost everything and if we are calling 0.600 mid-price for keepers then this is a reasonable shout.
Does tend to pass long which is not a good feature in a Sorare keeper.
Solid enough, but keepers are difficult. We only really want to spend extra money if it actually buys us something.
Unless I had a big budget I would probably much rather have something like Putna below, save my .300 and use that elsewhere than pay twice as much for such a mild improvement like this.
Or just pay the extra .100 to .200 and get a premium keeper.
Portland are a good side offensively but were surprisingly leaky last campaign.
I note they kept just 2 clean sheets in 6 in pre-season and also shipped 2 to Marathon last week in the CONCACAF Champions League. So there aren’t many reasons to believe this has improved.
This weak clean sheet record of 5 in 18 isn’t terrible but it also seems, worryingly, like an over performance. They were amongst the worst for expected goals conceded last season.
He may start well because the first two games are kind but I’m unconvinced. There are better options at this .600 price point.
I fully expect Salt Lake to get consistently dunked on.
However, Putna is cheap so if looking for a warm body to fill the slot – this is probably The One.
If only because there are lots of him on the market right now for .340 and I expect lower bids might be accepted.
This is actually not bad strategy because whilst a weak keeper might cost you 20-30 points a week – that can be made up for if it allows you to spend more of your budget elsewhere on players who can score more points per Eth.
*Edit* Whilst Putna is expected to start 20 year old David Ochoa is a threat to his place. That would be unusual for such a young keeper but he is very well regarded.
Ochoa is being sold for outrageous prices right now and given RSL aren’t a brilliant defensive side, there is no realistic way he can justify that price in terms of tournament results. But maybe for collectibility, if that is your jam.
I guess .400 or just under has to count as budget.
He should start for Miami but they have just signed Marsman who might well push him for starting status over time which is a risk.
Inter Miami are also a wildcard team who have had no real pre-season games at all which makes me wary.
Risky but could come good – it may be that for a budget team there is little choice but to punt on something like this if we want a competitive MLS team.
If you can spell the name to find him, he’s not a bad pick.
Cinny have been the MLS whipping boys for two seasons and on historic form are basically terrible. However they have invested a lot and history doesn’t always count for much.
Tyton is also surprisingly good – he only played 9 games last term keeping 3 clean sheets and ranking amongst the best for Expected Goals against. This is actually very comparable to the premium keepers like Willis. Very respectable.
On the other hand, my fixture ticker does not like Cinny’s chances and they face a really tough opening schedule.
Overall though I quite like it, particularly once the fixtures ease up. He fills the same warm body requirement as Putna but there is also an upside in that Cinny may improve – plus you have to respect Tyton’s record in the 9 games he played last season.
.400 is decent value. And given there are many cards for sale you might be able to bid that down.
Could be disappointment here as it is likely Meara will be replaced by loanee Coronel (unavailable), robbing some of a reasonable budget option.
He wouldn’t be much better than “warm body” level anyway but this strategy is actually quite good if working on a tight budget as I say in the Putna review.
Tricky because Kromholm is injured but probably first choice and possibly just 2-3 weeks away from a return.
Shuttleworth should therefore start the early games but is likely to lose his spot soon after.
Chicago aren’t great defensively anyway and have tough opening fixtures.
This is rough but there might be a sensible path – try to use the uncertainty to get away with a cheap bid for both, doubling up and having the spare in your back pocket. Which in total can come in for the same price as a mid-price keeper.
Hassle, though. I might only do that if holding one of them already since I’m already halfway committed.
With a free hand I’d probably just go with Putna, Tyton or Guzan or similar in that scenario.
Another injury situation. Hamid is the main man and could be out for 3-4 weeks giving Chris Seitz a run.
The DC defence was abysmal last season and no better in pre-season with no clean sheets in 5.
Seitz at .200 is the cheapest starter but it does give you a headache for later on when Hamid replaces him.
Seitz and Hamid for the pair comes in at .600 or just under but then if you are spending that why not buy a keeper in a better defence?
Buying Seitz brings a lot of presure for a quick return to justify the near inevitable later price drop.
I’m not convinced, this feels like a situation where he is cheap for a reason, not because it’s good value.
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Star Ratings Key:
The strength of the player in the Sorare scoring system. This is based primarily on Adam’s detailed assessment of their real match data not SO5 scoring history which can be misleading.
Recent match data is weighted more heavily. And the fixture schedule for the next 6 games is taken into account.
A 3 star player is above average, and likely to be capable of contributing to a team trying to place high enough to win cards.
4 Stars is very strong and players are not given this rating lightly. 5 is exceptional, reserved only for the real elites.
2 Stars or less means they are weak but may still be viable for a less ambitious team trying to meet the Eth win threshold or similar.
An assessment of value based on the Ability of the player and market prices available at time of review as well as recent sell prices.
3 stars here would generally be an acceptable price to pay, with 4 or 5 stars good value or excellent value.
2 or less would generally indicate poor value.
My overall assessment based on ability and value plus all other soft factors like general desirability and trend fit beyond just raw tournament performance.
Please note that whilst the star ratings are provided for at a glance convenience I always recommend reading the text as well which provides valuable context!
And, as always, my guides are meant to narrow down targets for readers to look at rather than make their decisions for them!