Louisville, Ky. – Louisville City FC forward Chandler Hoffman has been voted USL’s Player of the Week for the fourth week of the season. Hoffman netted three goals in 18 minutes in City’s 3-2 win over regional rivals FC Cincinnati on Saturday in front of a USL regular-season record crowd.
Hoffman’s first goal, taken nervelessly from the penalty spot, gave Louisville the foothold it needed to get back in the game after falling behind to an early Cincinnati goal.
Hoffman’s second goal was a neat finish with the inside of his left foot. The goal came after Cincinnati native Kyle Smith found space down the right wing and swung a perfectly placed cross into the feet of the unmarked striker.
The Louisville City forward then completed his hat trick from another cross, this time from defender Ben Newnam. Hoffman was closely marked and created space for himself by taking the cross on his chest. His finish was perfectly placed into the lower right corner of the goal with his left foot, barely escaping the outstretched fingers of Cincinnati’s keeper.
Hoffman’s three goal haul moved him into a tie for the league lead in goals, and has firmly established the player as new fan favorite.
The win propelled LouCity to the top of the USL Eastern Conference table and secured the bragging rights in the first game in the history of the newly founded River Cities Cup — a regular season head-to-head competition between the regional rivals.
Hoffman received 94 percent of the vote in a poll conducted by a national panel of independent media representing every USL market. Only one other player, Bethlehem Steel FC’s Eric Ayuk, received a vote.
USL Team of the Week
GK – Rafael Diaz, New York Red Bulls II: Diaz came off the bench in the 12th minute for his first action of the season, and recorded five saves as the Red Bulls II remained undefeated.
D – Lee Nishanian, LA Galaxy II: The center back put in a strong performance against San Antonio, marshalling his fellow defenders as the Galaxy II extended their undefeated start to five games.
D – Michael Nelson, Seattle Sounders FC 2: Nelson was impressive in his debut for S2, as the rookie helped the side record its first shutout of the season in a 1-0 win against Colorado Springs.
D – Bruno Perone, Wilmington Hammerheads FC: Perone was strong defensively, and distributed well out of the back, as the Hammerheads defeated Montreal 2-0.
M – Luke Rooney, Arizona United SC: Rooney was lively throughout, and provided the assist on Tyler Blackwood’s game-winner for United as it handed Real Monarchs SLC its first loss of the season.
M – Cardel Benbow, Harrisburg City Islanders: Benbow scored a fine goal to cap a strong all-around performance as the City Islanders took their first win of the season against Orlando.
M – Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence: Martinez was the key factor in Charlotte’s 3-2 win against the Charleston Battery, scoring the opening goal and dictating play throughout the midfield.
M – Didier Crettenand, Orange County Blues FC: Crettenand had the game-winning goal, and helped marshal the Blues’ attack as the side took its first win of the season against San Antonio.
F – Kharlton Belmar, Portland Timbers 2: Belmar scored the only goal, and was a threat throughout the contest as T2 earned its first win of the season against Sacramento.
F – Chandler Hoffman, Louisville City FC: Hoffman had a first-half hat trick to lead Louisville to a 3-2 victory against FC Cincinnati in front of a record crowd at Nippert Stadium on Saturday night.
F – Eric Ayuk, Bethlehem Steel FC: Ayuk had a goal and assist as the Steel earned a 2-1 win against the Richmond Kickers to bounce back from consecutive defeats.
Bench: Tyler Miller (SEA), Taylor Peay (POR), Joel Johnson (CLT), Henri Manhebo (Tulsa), Derrick Jones (BST), Jose Escalante (RGV), Matthew Barnes-Homer (WIL)
Entering 2016, Louisville City FC has returned 13 players from the 2015 roster — including reigning USL Goal of the Season winner Aodhan Quinn and former English Premier League striker Lancaster. New additions include MLS Cup-winning forward Chandler Hoffman, University of Louisville alumnus Paolo DelPiccolo and University of Kentucky alumnus George Davis IV.