The race for the postseason continued tonight in Texas, but to start the new week let’s take a look at one of the landmark moments of this past weekend, notched by maybe the best marksman to grace the Championship over its first decade. Here’s your Morning Tea for Tuesday.
Let’s get this out of the way: There’s never been a striker quite as prolific as Cameron Lancaster in the USL Championship’s history.
Yes, Dane Kelly has the most regular season goals in the Championship. Chandler Hoffman got to the 50-goal mark in fewer games. But when it comes to banging in finishes with the regularity of the chime on your grandfather clock, Lancaster is the man.
Of the players who’ve also scored 50 goals in the Championship’s regular season, the closest anyone comes to Lancaster’s current strike rate of a goal every 114.8 minutes is Kelly, who currently rates at a goal every 153.3 minutes. Among players who’ve notched 40 goals, Daniel Rios – now making starts for Nashville SC in Major League Soccer – is close at a goal every 117.3 minutes, but still can’t top the Englishman.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Lancaster has always had the pedigree that meant this production was possible. Having signed professionally at Tottenham Hotspur to start his career, LouCity knew what it was getting when it signed him before its first season. He’s lived up to the billing, and more.
But what Lancaster brings consistently in addition to goals is the work that makes a team better, and that’s in some measure why Louisville has always felt better when he’s been on the field.
“We talk about doing everything together,” said LouCity Head Coach John Hackworth on Saturday after Lancaster’s two goals keyed a 4-1 victory against Memphis 901 FC and took him to his landmark moment. “We talk about our collective defending and transition. Nobody gets a play off with us and when you have one of the best goalscorers of all time in this league doing the work that he’s doing, it’s easy to see that that’s going to translate.”
What also makes him great? The ability to stay in the moment. Whether scoring the type of instinctive goals that make him appear to have second sight like Saturday’s improvised backheel, or the goal that might be his most remarkable in LouCity colors, a half-volley from 45 yards against the New York Red Bulls II two seasons ago, what’s done is done, and the next game, the next moment is what now matters.
“We take it game-by-game,” he answered when asked if the side was looking at the big picture on Saturday, with the playoffs beckoning. “We have got another hard test next weekend and a hard test the weekend after, so we just take it game-by-game trying to win each one we can and see where we are at the end of the season.”
With Lancaster leading the line, there’s still much to look forward to for LouCity fans this season.
- Before the 2020 season began, the Charlotte Independence hadn’t defeated North Carolina FC in a regular season game in the Championship. On Saturday they made it three wins from three this year, and it’s put the club on the verge of a playoff place. The Charlotte Post’s Ashley Mahoney has more on the turnaround in the Tar Heel state rivalry.
- Louisville City FC announced it had added veteran midfielder Kenney Walker for the remainder of the season on loan from Indy Eleven on Monday. A former University of Louisville standout, Walker had seen limited time for Indy this season, making only three appearances.
- New Mexico United had a new man leading the way on the sideline on Saturday as Zach Prince took charge of the club’s game against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. The reason? Head Coach Troy Lesesne and his wife were expecting the arrival of their first child, rightly keeping Lesesne home in the Land of Enchantment.
- Fresh off clinching a place in the USL Championship Playoffs on Sunday evening, Hartford Athletic will host its Match for a Cause on Wednesday night when it faces the Philadelphia Union II at Dillon Stadium. This year’s game will benefit the Hartford Boys and Girls Club, WTNH.com’s Alex Ceneviva has the details.