LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Cameron Lancaster lives for the biggest moments, it seems. The 23-year-old striker was the hero of Louisville City FC’s second-round victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on May 18, burying the deciding after entering as a late second-half substitute. And in the USL season opener, again as a late sub, Lancaster claimed maximum points off a free kick at the death at Charlotte.
He did it again in Louisville City’s (7-1-3, 24 points) victory over regional rival Saint Louis FC on May 14.
Lancaster started his professional career at the academy level of Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League before making his way to LouCity in 2015. After witnessing what the team was capable of during the inaugural season, Lancaster is prepared to help spur the team on this year.
During both LouCity’s season opener against Charlotte Independence and Saturday’s King’s Cup match against Saint Louis FC, Lancaster was subbed in during the second half by Coach James O’Connor.
Lancaster volunteered to take the final free kick against Charlotte and claimed the goal that cemented victory for LouCity in the season opener.
“The main thing was just to come on and make an impact,” Lancaster said. “We needed a goal and I was down to get it.”
Lancaster steps back from the ball. He takes a breath and launches the ball over Charlotte’s wall. Charlotte’s Cody Mizell springs toward the upper-right corner and gets a hand on the ball.
It’s not enough.
Lancaster’s kick pushes through into the net.
During LouCity’s match against Saint Louis, Lancaster entered as a sub for Chandler Hoffman and took another penalty kick that doubled the team’s score during the 89th minute.
The only thing that stands between Lancaster and another goal is Saint Louis goalkeeper Mark Pais. Using his right foot, he keeps the ball low, sliding it into the net just under Pais’s outstretched arms.
For Lancaster, scoring goals is all a striker can hope for.
“It’s always good to score, but all that matters is we get the win and we see it out,” he said about his two league goals.
The team’s dynamics are what make the goals possible. If Lancaster had not been there to take the penalties, he’s certain that one of his teammates would have scored instead.
“We train all week so we’re all in sync,” Lancaster said. “So it doesn’t really matter who it is, if it’s (Andrew Lubahn), if it’s (Hoffman). It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing with, you’re always going to be in sync. You know where you want the ball and they’re going to put it in.”
Lancasters’s happy with O’Connor starting him or sending him in as a substiture. The sport itself is what’s important and Lancaster’s intent on working hard for both himself and his team.
It’s certainly what Lancaster focuses on when O’Connor tells him to warm-up before being subbed in.
“To perform your best,” he said. “That’s all you can do and when (O’Connor) asks you to go in, you just have to run your (hardest) and do as much as you can to help the team.”
Lancaster will certainly be someone to keep an eye on as LouCity progresses through the season. His late heroics are only the beginning of what he’s capable of contributing.
Louisville City will head back on the road to face Indy Eleven on June 1 (7:30 p.m. | TICKETS) in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fixture. A return to USL play will see LouCity visit Orlando City B on June 5 before returning to Slugger Field on June 11 to host Wilmington Hammerheads (7:30 p.m. | TICKETS).