Sean Okoli Strikes USL Gold

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Sean Okoli bagged the decisive goal in FC Cincinnati’s 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night. That strike earned him the USL’s Golden Boot award for 2016. The American striker of Nigerian descent scored 16 goals this season, enough to claim the USL scoring title by a single goal.

The Federal Way, Washington native racked up an impressive set of offensive stats in the Ohio club’s first season. He scored in 13 of the team’s 30 games and led the USL in goals, points, shots and shots on goal. [USL Statistics] Okoli, who goes by the nickname “Ugo”, started his career with the Seattle Sounders Academy before making appearances in MLS with the Sounders and New England Revolution. FC Cincinnati acquired the striker in February of 2016 prior to the start of their inaugural season.

The 23 year old Okoli has netted four times in the past five games and is FC Cincinnati’s offensive difference maker as they head into the playoffs. The upstart Cincinnati club begins their playoff run next Sunday October 2nd in a matchup with one of the USL’s oldest and most iconic clubs, the Charleston Battery.

Okoli beat out LA Galaxy II’s Jack McBean who finishes the season with 15 goals, but an asterisk is attached to that number. The Galaxy II captain led the USL’s goalscoring stats for most of the year following an electric start to the season. He scored those 15 goals in just 17 games. Based on his impressive start, McBean was called up to the Galaxy first team and after making 2 appearances, was loaned to Coventry City in England’s League One. [MLS] The loan happened in August and McBean hasn’t played a USL match since July.

Despite this caveat, Okoli’s achievement is another fine feather in FC Cincinnati’s cap. When combined with the club’s third place Eastern Conference finish and record setting crowds, it’s hard to look at FC Cincinnati’s rookie season as anything but a success regardless of what the playoffs hold.

Photo Credit: Orange and Blue Press