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Where are the goals going to come from?

I was inspired by, of all things, an /r/USLPRO discussion today about power rankings. Cincinnati British Accented Soccer Talk posted some initial USL Eastern Conference power rankings, and put Louisville City eighth behind Tampa, Ottowa, New York, themselves (of course), St. Louis, and I forget who else. As you should know, power rankings are dumb and clickbaity and we should never pay attention to them because they’re basically a bunch of people’s subjective opinions. However, my opinions are important, so you should read them!

We know Louisville City is returning the core of last years team (the last two years, in some cases), e.g. Greg Ranjitsingh, Sean Reynolds, Kyle Smith, Guy Abend, Niall McCabe, and Cameron Lancaster. What we don’t know, however, is who’s going to score goals. Gone are Chandler Hoffman, Kadeem Dacres, Magnus Rasmussen, Aodhan Quinn and their 30 combined goals. City added some intriguing attacking midfield talent in the offseason, but just one forward with zero goals to his USL resume. For all of Richard Ballard’s industry and Luke Spencer’s bigness, the two of them only scored a goal apiece in the preseason. Cameron Lancaster, true to form, only scored on penalty kicks.

In terms of returning goalscoring, the list looks like this:

Player (2016 Goals, all competitions)

  • George Davis IV, Guy Abend (5)
  • Cameron Lancaster (4)
  • Ilja Ilic (3)
  • Niall McCabe (2)
  • Paolo DelPiccolo, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Tarek Morad, Paco Craig, Kyle Smith, Ken Luther (1)

City scored 54 goals last season. The above list only tallied 24 (25 if you count Ken, but you shouldn’t). There’s cause for concern. That said, our leading goalscorer didn’t find the net once in the last fourteen games he played in, and the team went 7-4-3 over that span and scored 20 goals in the process. That’s not terrible.

The question of where the goals will come from in 2017, unfortunately, hasn’t been answered. Maybe this will be Cameron Lancaster’s breakout season? Maybe Luke Spencer was badly overlooked in Cincinnati? Maybe Ilja Ilic finally paid off that gambling debt and is allowed to knock ’em in the net again now that he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder for angry Hungarian mafia goons?

At this point, we’ll have to put our trust in James O’Connor and the coaching staff that they know what they’re doing. They haven’t given us many reasons to doubt them. We’ll just have to hope that the new pieces surrounding our old talent create better chances, and that our boys in purple are able to take advantage. It’s not a lot to go on, but it’s what we’ve got.