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Phoenix Rising’s Asante wins back-to-back MVPs for 1st time in USLC history

Phoenix Rising FC forward and captain Solomon Asante. (ArizonaSports/Ashley Orellana)

Phoenix Rising FC forward and captain Solomon Asante was named USL Championship’s 2020 MVP on Friday, making the Ghanaian the first back-to-back MVP in league history.

Asante also becomes just the second player in USLC history to receive the award for a second time, joining the likes of Minnesota United forward Kevin Molino (2012 and 2014 MVP).

“I’m overwhelmed,” Asante said in a press release. “This year and season did not go as planned but together as a team, we stood by each other to ensure the joy of the game prevailed.

“This award is dedicated to the entire team, our board of directors and our amazing fanbase. My family and friends… I say thank you so much.”

After leading USL Championship with nine assists, the PRFC captain became the first player in league history to be the Assists Champion in back-to-back seasons.

Asante also led USLC with 42 chances created and his nine big chances finished tied for the league lead, according to Opta.

And thanks to his six goals on the 2020 campaign, the forward became just the second player in league history to amass 40 goals and 30 assists in a career.

The Ghanaian has managed to surpass that feat with 41 goals and 35 assists in just three seasons in Phoenix (78 matches).

Those metrics show that Asante has averaged nearly a goal or an assist per match over his 78 regular-season contests in a Phoenix Rising kit.

“In a season with so many challenges, the leader of our team was not only exemplary on the field but off,” PRFC manager Rick Schantz said in the release.

“I’m certain that in every game we played, our opposition was focused on his abilities and importance, but he continued to succeed and be the best player in the league. I’m so happy for him because no one works harder than Solomon Asante at being the best in all facets of life.”

A total of 24 players received a vote for the 2020 Most Valuable Player.

Asante received 22% of the overall vote for this year’s award.

Louisville City forward Cameron Lancaster came in second with 15%, while the Charlotte Independence forward Dane Kelly finished third with 7%.