Nashville continues to bolster their attack with the addition of forward Cameron Lancaster, a two-time USL champion and 2018 USL golden boot winner with Louisville City FC. Lancaster, out of contract at the end of the season, signs with Nashville MLS on the anniversary of their announcement as the 24th MLS franchise. Lancaster will join Daniel Ríos on loan to Nashville SC in 2019, and will wear the no. 9 shirt for the Boys In Gold.
The announcement finally confirms the worst kept secret in American soccer, with Jeff Rueter reporting the signing over a week ago.
The English born striker came through the Tottenham youth academy, making one Premier League appearance in 2012. After being released by Tottenham in 2014, Lancaster spent time in the lower divisions of English football before signing with Louisville City in 2015.
Lancaster's first season in Louisville was cut short by injury, making only one USL appearance in 2015 before suffering a torn ACL. He bounced back in 2016, scoring four and assisting two in 26 appearances. Despite more injury issues, Lancaster finished the 2017 as Louisville's top scorer, with eight goals in 24 matches, including the USL Cup winner against Swope Park.
It was in 2018, however, that Lancaster burst onto the scene. The striker scored 26 goals in 33 appearances, setting the USL single season record. Lancaster's consistency was remarkable, scoring in 17 of the 30 matches he appeared in, and never going more than three matches without a goal. Despite missing the final through injury, Lancaster was a key piece of Louisville City's second consecutive USL crown.
“Cameron’s pedigree in English soccer and goal scoring ability here in the U.S. make him an ideal target at this stage of building our club,” said Nashville MLS CEO Ian Ayre in the club's press release. “We are thrilled he will be joining us on our path to Major League Soccer, and we look forward to welcoming him to Nashville.”
“Cameron set new standards as a goal scorer in the USL this past season, and compares quite favorably to other strikers that have transitioned from USL to MLS,” said Nashville MLS GM Mike Jacobs. “His instincts around the goal, coupled with his unique ability to finish during the run of play and on set pieces, makes him someone the opposition has to constantly be worried about.”
Cameron Lancaster is an intelligent striker, who likes to hang on the back shoulder of a defender and find gaps between the center backs, but can drop into deeper areas to find the ball. While he primarily played as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 in Louisville, he can play underneath as a second striker or even a no. 10. He's a fantastic striker of the ball, deadly from set pieces and able to score with either foot. Despite only being 6'0" (probably closer to 5'11"), Lancaster is strong in the air and very capable of burying headed goals (his USL Cup winner in 2017 was a header).
Injuries are a very real concern for Lancaster. 2018 was his first season with over 1,500 minutes, having suffered a torn ACL and groin injury in 2015 and a history of major knee surgeries. That being said, Lancaster is still only 26 and has played in at least 24 matches for the last three seasons. Nashville also has a reputation for conducting some of the most in-depth medicals in the league, so rest assured that they've done their due diligence.
USL Appearances: 79
USL Goals: 36
USL Assists: 6
USL mins/goal: 111
Look for a piece out soon discussing what system Nashville SC will use to fit all their new acquisitions