TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship officially announced its first three individual awards of the 2019 season on Monday as Phoenix Rising FC’s Solomon Asante earned both the league’s Golden Boot and Assists Champion awards and Nashville SC’s Matt Pickens claimed the league’s Golden Glove following standout seasons for their respective clubs.
Asante led the USL Championship with 22 goals and 17 assists in the 2019 regular season, leading his side to a record-setting campaign that saw Rising FC set Championship records for total wins (24), total points (78) and goals (89) in the regular season. The Ghanaian forward was at the forefront of that success, with his 17 assists and 39 combined goals and assists breaking single-season records set last season by 2018 Championship Most Valuable Player Emmanuel Ledesma for FC Cincinnati.
Asante is the second player to claim both the Golden Boot and Assists Champion awards in the same season, following Trinidad & Tobago international Kevin Molino, who recorded 20 goals and nine assists for Orlando City SC in the 2014 season.
Pickens earned the Championship’s Golden Glove as he posted a 0.64 goals-against average over 25 appearances for Nashville, which helped the side earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference for the upcoming 2019 USL Championship Playoffs. Pickens recorded 14 shutouts for a second consecutive season for NSC, this year leading the league in that category, as he posted a 79.2 save percentage.
Both Asante and Pickens are set to be in action this Saturday night for their respective clubs in the Conference Quarterfinals of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs, which kick off on Wednesday with the Eastern and Western Conference Play-In Round as eight teams look to take the first step toward the 2019 USL Championship Final on Sunday, November 17.