- We’re not quite to the end of the 2022 NWSL regular season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start talking about some end-of-season awards
- Today, we’re looking at a key contender for the NWSL’s Goalkeeper of the Year award: Racing Louisville’s Katie Lund
We’re just two-thirds of the way through the NWSL regular season. There are plenty of games left to be played and playoff positions left to be secured. That said, I’m here this week to talk about an end-of-season award.
The NWSL has five major individual awards: Most Valuable Player, Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. This week, we’re focusing on the goalkeepers.
And if we’re talking about NWSL goalkeepers in 2022, we have to talk about Racing Louisville FC’s Katie Lund.
THE CASE FOR LUND
Lund is one of only four goalkeepers this season who have appeared in all of their team’s matches, and she’s accumulated the second-most minutes so far this season, only behind OL Reign’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce. One quick note before we go any further: all of the following statistics are considering goalkeepers who have recorded at least 500 minutes this season through August 14. All data is courtesy of American Soccer Analysis.
After a quick look at the goalkeeping statistics, Lund might not jump off the page at first. She’s conceded the second-most goals of all keepers this season (22) and recorded just four shut-outs over 16 games. Her Racing Louisville squad is also ninth in the standings with a 2W-8D-6L record, which doesn’t really help her case.
Once you dig deeper, though, Lund really starts to shine. She’s made the most saves of all goalkeepers (74), after facing the most shots so far this season (100). All of those shots have had a combined post-shot expected goals value of 28.27, which makes her G-xG value -6.27. That number, which means that Lund has saved her team more than six goals over the expected mark, is the best in the league.
At this point you may be thinking, okay, these raw values might be meaningful, but players have recorded different minutes so far this season. No problem. Let’s consider these values normalized by a per-game or 96 minute basis. Lund is still recording the most saves per 96 (4.50) after facing the second-most shots per 96 (6.09). The normalized post-shot xG she’s facing is still the highest in the league (1.72), and so is her normalized G-xG value (-0.38).
Are you convinced yet?
If not, we can talk about goals added, a metric that measures how a player’s actions impact their team’s chances of scoring and conceding. Ideally, a player would want to have a large, positive goals-added value.
Well, Racing’s Lund is quietly leading all goalkeepers with a goals added per 96 value of 0.41. Her shot-stopping is what’s driving this number, since she’s putting up a 0.39 goals added per 96 in that category alone. For reference, Aubrey Kingsbury, the reigning NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, had a total and shot-stopping goals added value of 0.17 per 96 last season.
All things considered, if Lund keeps this up for the remainder of Louisville’s regular season, she might just find herself on that Goalkeeper of the Year shortlist for the first time. Until we find out who makes the cut, I’ll be enjoying Lund’s latest save-of-the week performance on repeat.