Nashville SC’s 2019 season is one for the record books, and it finishes with three players named to the USL Championship’s first-team all-league side.
Striker Daniel Ríos, centerback Forrest Lasso, and goalkeeper Matt Pickens earn top honors.
Daniel Ríos finished as the runner-up in the Golden Boot race, scoring 21 goals and adding two assists in 33 combined regular-season and playoff games. He became the first player in league history to eclipse the 20-goal mark in back-to-back seasons after scoring 21 in another runner-up Golden Boot campaign the previous season with North Carolina FC.
The 24-year old Mexican has signed to play for the inaugural Major League Soccer season as Nashville SC leaves USL for that league.
Forrest Lasso joined Nashville SC in July, helping transform a disappointing defense before his arrival into the best in the league (along with fellow loan signing Jimmy Ockford) during the course of his loan stint from former USL club FC Cincinnati – with whom he was first-team all-league in FCC’s final USL campaign.
Matt Pickens finished the year with some significant hardware: he took home the USL’s Golden Gloves award after a season that saw him earn 14 clean sheets, allow 0.64 goals per game in 25 appearances, and save a league-best 79.6% of shots faced.
The veteran didn’t lose a step in his 16th professional season, and even managed to excel while splitting duties: he was the goalkeepers coach for NSC, as well.
Louisville City FC – which will play for its third-straight USL Championship this weekend – landed two players on the all-league team in defender Oscar Jimenez and midfielder Magnus Rasmussen. The Boys in Purple are matched by Phoenix Rising’s duo of striker Adam Jahn and winger Solomon Asante. Asante beat out Ríos for the Golden Boot with 22 goals (and an eye-popping league record of 17 assists) as he and Jahn combined to help Rising FC set a new USL Championship points record with 78 points in the regular season. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – the Eastern Conference regular-season champions – landed midfielder Kenardo Forbes and centerback Joe Greenspan on the first-team all-league list.
New York Red Bulls II and Indy Eleven each landed a single player on the first-team all-league list: midfielder Jared Stroud and defender Neveal Hackshaw, respectively.
Disclosure: For Club and Country was on the media voting panel for the USL’s season-end awards.