An honor for one of Nashville’s most consistent offensive threats. From club release:
NASHVILLE (November 5, 2018) – Nashville Soccer Club’s dynamic attacking midfielder Lebo Moloto was named to the United Soccer League (USL) All-League Second Team on Monday afternoon. The honor is the first for both a Nashville SC player and for Moloto in his professional career.
“Lebo has consistently shown that he is one of the top creative talents in USL,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “His exciting and effective displays have been a catalyst for the team and an immediate connection for the fans.”
Despite missing the final six games of the season with a knee injury, Moloto appeared on the scoresheet more than any other player on Nashville, compiling seven goals and five assists. The seven league goals were tied for second-most on the team, while the five USL assists were tied for the team lead.
“Lebo has proven to be one of the premier playmakers in the USL,” said Nashville SC technical director and VP of soccer operations Mike Jacobs. “Even with his season cut short due to injury, it’s nice to know that his consistent performance in 2019 was appreciated.”
A native of South Africa, Moloto was one of Nashville SC’s foremost inaugural season acquisitions when he came to SC in a trade with the Swope Park Rangers in the offseason. Moloto more than showed his value, playing in all 28 USL games prior to his injury, starting 25 of them. He created 51 chances in those 28 appearances, most of them from his regular “No. 10” positon as the orchestrator of Nashville’s attack.
A deserved honor. Although Nashville’s offense seemed to run a bit smoother in the final few weeks without him, that was more likely a result of a change in emphasis brought on by the necessity of not having him available. He was the primary creative offensive threat for the vast majority of the year. Moloto finished tied for second on the team with seven goals, was a member of a three-way tie with five assists, and his 51 key passes were second on the team behind only captain Michael Reed.
While off-field accomplishments aren’t a factor in the All-USL teams, certainly his charitable efforts are another feather in cap for any skeptic about whether he’s deserving of postseason honors.
Moloto’s late-season injury may result in needing a bit of time to work back to full health, but a version of the talented midfielder who begins the year having built up chemistry with some of his teammates could be an extremely dangerous piece in the 2019 USL side.