Wednesday, October 14, 2015
TAMPA, Fla. – The curtain will come down on the biggest season in the USL’s history on Friday night when the Rochester Rhinos face the LA Galaxy II for the 2015 USL Championship at Sahlen’s Stadium, and during the past month we’ve asked you, the fans, to decide the #USLFanAwards.
More than 100,000 votes were cast from fans across North America and the world to determine what brought a smile during the past nine months. Now, without further ado, here are your winners.
BEST RIVALRY: The King’s Cup
One of the league’s newest rivalries was also voted the USL’s best in 2015, though with the combination of animosity and amicability on display it certainly felt like the Louisville Coopers and St. Louligans had been going at it long before Louisville City FC and Saint Louis FC were announced as members of the USL.
While Louisville claimed the trophy on the field on goal differential, the best rivalry in the league also produced one of the best off-field stories of the season, as the St. Louligans raised more than $13,000 and the Louisville Coopers more than $4,000 for local charities in a fundraising contest sparked by #PizzaGate.
BEST CELEBRATION: The Purple Plunge
With a league-leading 55 goals in the regular season, the Purple Plunge became a signature move for Louisville City FC fans at Slugger Field this season, as everyone from Matt Fondy, to Magnus Rasmussen, Kadeem Dacres and Ilija Ilic spent time in the supporter’s section during the season.
Thanks to the proximity of the stand behind the goal, and the low wall separating the players and fans, it certainly wasn’t a surprise when players took the plunge, enveloped in purple smoke from the Louisville Coopers and their cohorts. Take a look at all of the Goal Celebrations nominated >>
BEST UNIFORM: Sacramento Republic FC’s Gold and White
From the moment the special third uniforms were unveiled, fans in Sacramento couldn’t get enough of the gold and white hoops at Bonney Field. The classic look was present for some classic moments in the 2015 season, as Sacramento wore the uniforms in a heartbreaking defeat in a penalty shootout against the San Jose Earthquakes in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Most memorable, though, was the club’s exhibition victory against the Premier League’s Sunderland AFC at Bonney Field on July 14. In Coach Paul Buckle’s first game at the helm, Cameron Iwasa’s 58th-minute finish was as sharp as his threads, as Republic FC won in front of another capacity crowd on a memorable night for the club.
TOUGHEST OPPONENT: Matt Fondy, Louisville City FC
He struck fear into the hearts of defenses all season, and apparently into the hearts of opposing fans, too. The USL’s Golden Boot winner, and one of the top candidates for Most Valuable Player, was the player most fans did not want to see lining up on the opposing side of the field this season.
Fondy’s 22 regular-season goals came in all manner of ways, as he set a single-season record and moved into third place on the league’s all-time scoring charts. While he just missed out on leading Louisville City FC to a championship game in the club’s inaugural season, Fondy earned the respect of all he faced throughout 2015.
BEST MASCOT: Cozmo, LA Galaxy II
Of all the mascots in the USL, is it any surprise that Los Dos’ social-media savvy, interplanetary hero came out in first place? Cozmo took almost half of the fans’ votes, which is impressive considering - as far as we know - voting was limited to Earth.
Since his arrival in Carson, Calif. on June 7, 2003, Cozmo has been a fixture on the Galaxy’s sidelines, and in the past two seasons he’s also been on hand to cheer on the Galaxy II. All the while, there’s been friendly trash talk with opposing fans, photo after photo with friends and foes, and $2 beer and tacos for all who visit him at Los Dos home games.
FAN-FAVORITE PLAYER: Enrique Montano, Louisville City FC
Enrique Montano was the big beneficiary of the bond that formed between Louisville City FC and its players, as he first claimed his team’s bid into the 24-player bracket, and then worked his way through to the final to face off against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2’s Chris Serban.
The defender had a good rookie season for Louisville, as he recorded six assists in 23 appearances to help the side finish second in the USL’s Eastern Conference. Now he’ll get to carry the mantle of the USL’s Fan-Favorite Player with him in the offseason.