Louisville City FC's Cameron Lancaster led the league with a record 25 goals in the 2018 regular season, while FC Cincinnati's Emmanuel Ledesma set a USL single-season record with 16 assists for the 2018 USL Regular Season champions.
TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League announced on Monday its first official awards for 2018 after a record-setting season that saw the league’s single-season goalscoring and assists records both surpassed, with Louisville City FC’s Cameron Lancaster claiming the 2018 USL Golden Boot and FC Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma being named the 2018 USL Assists Champion after their outstanding campaigns.
FC Cincinnati’s Evan Newton was also honored as the winner of the 2018 USL Golden Glove as the veteran shot-stopper ended the regular season with the lowest goals-against average of qualifying goalkeepers for the award.
The scorer of the game-winning goal in Louisville’s 2017 USL Cup triumph, Lancaster had a superlative 2018 campaign that saw him record 25 goals in the regular season at a scoring rate of a goal every 80.8 minutes. Lancaster’s 25 goals surpassed the USL single-season record held by former Louisville teammate Matt Fondy of 22 goals in the 2015 season and placed the English forward five goals clear of Orange County SC’s Thomas Enevoldsen and North Carolina FC’s Daniel Rios in the race for this season’s Golden Boot.
Ledesma also made history with 16 assists during FC Cincinnati’s 2018 USL Regular Season Championship-winning campaign to lead the league in a standout year for playmakers. Ledesma’s total surpassed the previous record of 12 assists held by Matthew Dallman (Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 2013) and Chris Wehan (Reno 1868 FC, 2017) as he became the first player in the USL’s modern era to record 15 goals and 15 assists in a single season while finishing two assists ahead of Orange County SC’s Aodhan Quinn and three ahead of North Carolina FC’s Kyle Bekker and Reno 1868 FC’s Antoine Hoppenot.
Newton claimed the closest-run race for the USL Golden Glove in the league’s modern era with a 0.80 goals-against average over 20 appearances for FC Cincinnati that saw him record nine shutouts and a 77.8 save percentage to claim the award. Newton edged out Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC goalkeeper Dan Lynd, who ended the season with a 0.81 goals-against average over 25 appearances for the Hounds, while Nashville SC’s Matt Pickens finished third with a 0.90 goals-against average over 31 appearances in the club’s inaugural professional season.
The 2018 USL Golden Boot, Golden Glove and Assists Champion are the opening three awards that will be presented by the league this year. The USL’s Most Valuable Player, Young Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year and USL All-League Teams will be announced in November.