CINCINNATI – Three members of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 squad are among the finalists for the USL’s major end-of-season awards, which the league released today.
- Midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma is one of four finalists for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award
- Defender Forrest Lasso is one of three finalists for the league’s Defender of the Year Award
- Head Coach Alan Koch is one of three finalists for the league’s Coach of the Year Award
The award winners will be announced next week, with the Defender of the Year being named on Monday, Nov. 12; Coach of the Year coming on Tuesday, Nov. 13; and Most Valuable Player awarded on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The 2018 USL Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.
Ledesma, who yesterday was tabbed to the USL All-League First Team, posted one of the USL’s most dynamic seasons in league history, becoming the first player in USL history to score at least 15 goals and record at least 15 assists. Appearing in 31 league contests – starting 30 – Ledesma was the USL Assists Champion with a league-record 16 assists in 2018. He also added 16 goals. On the season, he posted four multiple-goal games and three multiple-assist efforts. Six of his goals were game-winners, while five of his assists set up the game-winning goal. He also finished inside the league’s top 10 in chances created. Ledesma was a two-time USL Player of the Month (June, September) and was a seven-time member of the USL Team of the Week, including a Player of the Week nod in Week 10. Additionally, he was the USL’s fan-voted Midseason MVP.
Ledesma is joined among the MVP finalists by Orange County SC’s Thomas Enevoldsen and Aodhan Quinn and Louisville City FC’s Cameron Lancaster.
Yesterday, Lasso was also named to his second-straight USL All-League First Team after a standout season for the Orange and Blue. He appeared in 29 of FCC’s regular-season games, starting 28 at center back. His 2,574 minutes led all Cincinnati defenders and were third most on the team. The 6-foot-5 defender led the USL with 223 clearances on the year, and finished second in the league with 32 blocked shots and 172 aerial duel wins for an 82.7 percent success rate. On the attack, Lasso netted three goals – all off set pieces. He was a two-time USL Team of the Week honoree, picking up the weekly accolades in Week 13 and Week 19. Lasso also started both of FCC’s USL Cup Playoffs matches and two of the team’s U.S. Open Cup contests.
Lasso is joined among the Defender of the Year finalists by Louisville City FC’s Paco Craig and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Joe Greenspan.
In 2018, Koch orchestrated one of the most successful campaigns by any club in USL history. In his second year at FC Cincinnati’s helm, Koch integrated a total of 21 new players into the squad over the course of the season – carrying over fewer than 10 players from the 2017 roster. Despite the great turnover, FCC finished the 2018 season with a 23-3-8 overall record.
In the process, Cincinnati set USL single-season records for points (77) and wins, as well as establishing a new regular-season undefeated streak record (23 games) and the league’s longest-ever winning streak (10 wins). The club earned its first-ever trophy, claiming the USL Regular-Season title by 11 points. After claiming a playoff berth for the third-straight year, FCC also advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the first time in club history.
Koch was also the league’s fan-voted Midseason Coach of the Year, and claimed the USL Coach of the Month in September after leading the squad to a perfect 6-0-0 month and the league’s regular-season championship with three games to play.
Koch is joined among the Coach of the Year finalists by Orange County SC’s Braeden Cloutier and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Bob Lilley.
The next time FC Cincinnati takes the field, it will be as MLS’ 24th team in 2019 when the club debuts in the top professional league in the U.S. and Canada. Season tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale at fccincinnati.com/tickets. The club will unveil its MLS branding on Monday, Nov. 12.
For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets - including 2019 season tickets - call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets.