2019 USL Championship Awards finalists unveiled
TAMPA, Fla. – The finalists for the 2019 USL Championship Awards were announced by the United Soccer League on Wednesday, with the leading performers in five categories earning nomination after a historic 2019 campaign. The award winners will be announced between Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Thursday, Nov. 21.
The 2019 USL Championship Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.
2019 Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Tuesday, Nov. 19
Zac Lubin, Phoenix Rising FC: Lubin finished tied for second in the league with 13 shutouts while recording 79 saves, the most of any goalkeeper to record double-digit shutouts over the regular season, at a save percentage of 75.7 percent.
Kyle Morton, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Morton finished second in the league with a 0.83 goals-against average, finished tied for second with 13 shutouts and played a key role as the Hounds posted the second-longest shutout streak in Championship history of 698 minutes.
Matt Pickens, Nashville SC: Pickens earned the Championship’s Golden Glove with a 0.64 goals-against average while posting a league-high 14 shutouts and a save percentage of 79.8 percent that saw him lead NSC to a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
2019 Defender of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Tuesday, Nov. 19
Joe Greenspan, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Earning nomination for a second consecutive year, Greenspan won 69.4 percent of duels and 75 percent of aerials and finished fourth in the league with 151 clearances for a backline that ranked first in the league with 17 shutouts.
Neveal Hackshaw, Indy Eleven: Hackshaw proved an integral part of an Indy defense that conceded a league-fewest six goals at home while ranking in the top 10 among outfield players with 231 recoveries and winning 65.8 of duels – 10th in the league among players to win at least 175 duels in the regular season.
Oscar Jimenez, Louisville City FC: Jimenez added to his reputation as one of the leading dead-ball specialists in the league, finishing tied for second in the Championship in Chances Created with 90 while recording seven assists and completing 1,498 passes at an accuracy rate of 81.6 percent.
2019 Coach of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Wednesday, Nov. 20
Bob Lilley, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: In his second season with the Hounds, Lilley led Pittsburgh to a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference as his side led the Championship with 17 shutouts and posted a club record for wins in a regular season with 19.
Ian Russell, Reno 1868 FC: Russell led Reno to a third consecutive postseason berth and its best finish in the Championship’s Western Conference as it ranked third in the league with 72 goals to take second position in the standings.
Rick Schantz, Phoenix Rising FC: In his first full season at the helm, Schantz led Rising FC to a Championship record 24 victories, 79 points and 89 goals, which included a North American outdoor record 20 consecutive league victories that spanned more than four months.
2019 Young Player of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Wednesday, Nov. 20
Felipe Hernandez, Swope Park Rangers: A member of the 2018 USL 20 Under 20, Hernandez continued to raise his game to the tune of eight goals, five assists and 45 chances created for the Rangers this season.
Douglas Martinez, Real Monarchs SLC: Earning selection to the Honduras National Team during the campaign, Martinez scored 16 goals and added six assists for the Monarchs at a rate of a goal every 109.2 minutes for the Western Conference Champion.
Cristian Parano, San Antonio FC: The young Argentine recorded seven goals and six assists while posting 53 chances created over the course of his first season in San Antonio, earning the No. 2 position in the 2019 USL 20 Under 20 in the process.
2019 Most Valuable Player Finalists – Winner announced Thursday, Nov. 21
Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC: Asante became only the second player in the Championship’s history to win both the Golden Boot and Assists Champion awards, setting a league record with 17 assists and 39 combined goals and assists for the Regular Season Title-Winners.
Kenardo Forbes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Forbes orchestrated the Hounds’ ascent to the top of the Championship’s Eastern Conference, recording nine assists and four goals while completing 1,513 passes and making 291 recoveries as he appeared in every game of the regular season.
Daniel Rios, Nashville SC: Rios became the first player in the Championship’s history to record 20 regular-season goals in back-to-back seasons as he led Nashville SC to a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference with a spectacular campaign.