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5 numbers that define Forrest Lasso’s Championship career

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 01/17/23, 2:15PM EST


In earning five consecutive All-League First Team honors, the center back has dominated the league

Three-time USL Championship Defender of the Year Forrest Lasso has been one of the dominant figures in the league, and is now set for his second stint with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies

In the USL Championship’s history, only one player has earned five consecutive Championship All-League First Team selections.

You can understand, then, why Forrest Lasso’s return to the Tampa Bay Rowdies last Friday was welcomed so warmly by the club’s fans.

The center back – nicknamed The Lumberjack thanks to both his 6-foot-5 physique and matching brawny beard – has won three Championship Defender of the Year awards and been a player in demand by top clubs in the league since his breakthrough season in 2017.

Here’s a look at some of the key numbers from Lasso’s historic run between 2017-21 ahead of his return to Al Lang Stadium.

671 – No player recorded more clearances than Lasso’s 671 in his 115 appearances in the Championship’s regular season between 2017 and 2021. The center back also led the league with 372 headed clearances over the same span, while his overall total was 29 more than his closest rival (Taylor Mueller, 642) despite Lasso making 20 fewer appearances.

97.1 – Forrest Lasso played 10,058 minutes in his 115 regular season appearances while earning five consecutive Championship All-League First Team selections. That sits at 97.1 percent of potential minutes. Despite that, Lasso has yet to achieve a perfect attendance record during a regular season, with his 2,814 minutes of action in the 2021 season for the Tampa Bay Rowdies his current individual all-time high.

75 – If you’d like another example of Lasso’s aerial dominance over his past five seasons in the Championship, he led all defenders with 455 aerial duels won – and ranked only second to former Tampa Bay Rowdies teammate Steevan Dos Santos overall – at a success rate of 75 percent. By comparison, last year’s Championship Defender of the Year – San Antonio FC’s Mitchell Taintor – posted a 66.4 percent success rate.

64.3 – Among the reasons for Lasso’s individual accolades in the Championship has been a bigger-picture truth – he’s helped each of the clubs he’s represented to success. In four full-length seasons with the Charleston Battery (2017), FC Cincinnati (2018), Nashville SC (2019) and the Tampa Bay Rowdies (2021) – excluding the abbreviated 2020 campaign – his side has finished in the top two in the Eastern Conference. His individual winning percentage over that span sits at 64.3 percent, with his teams posting a 74-20-21 regular season record in games he has appeared in.

14 – Lasso hasn’t just made his presence felt at the defensive end of the field during his Championship career. Since the USL Championship partnered with Opta prior to the 2017 season, his 14 goals are the most by any defender in the league, leading Louisville City FC’s Sean Totsch by a pair of tallies.

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