Striker Lachlan McLean enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 / Photo courtesy Greenville Triumph SC
Under its U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame Head Coach John Harkes, Triumph SC was a dominant force in League One last season, topping the table from start to finish on its way to lifting the trophy as title-winners. The team was immaculately balanced from back to front, and found ways to win games time and again when it looked as though they might have to settle for a point.
Following last season’s success, the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” sums up Greenville’s offseason. The club re-signed Harkes through 2023, and brought back the vast majority of its key players, including Dallas Jaye, Aaron Walker, Brandon Fricke, Evan Lee, Tyler Polak, Noah Pilato, Alex Morrell, and Lachlan McLean among others.
The most notable departure, which saw striker Jake Keegan join Forward Madison, was covered by the addition of experienced League One goal-scorer Don Smart from the Flamingos and Marios Lomis from North Carolina FC. A repeat will not be easy, but Triumph SC has all the pieces to make a run at a place in the League One Final for a third consecutive season.
Don Smart, Forward: Spent 2019 and 2020 seasons with Forward Madison FC.
Marios Lomis, Forward: Joined from North Carolina FC.
Jacob Goodall, Defender: Played a standout collegiate career for Xavier University.
Jake Keegan, Forward: Joined Forward Madison FC.
Carlos Gomez, Midfielder/Forward: Joined Forward Madison FC.
Dallas Jaye, Goalkeeper
Jaye won League One’s Golden Glove award in both 2019 and 2020, and shows no sign of slowing down in 2021. Last season, the Guam international led League One with nine shutouts and a 0.69 goals-against average. Jaye recorded 32 saves in 16 appearances with a save percentage of 72.4 percent, anchoring Triumph SC for the duration of the team’s title-winning campaign.
Alex Morrell, Forward/Midfielder
Morrell is among League One’s top creative players, earning a place on the All-League First Team in 2020. Morrell finished tied for the most assists in the league with six, created the third-most chances in the league with 32, completed the second-highest number of dribbles in the league with 27 and tallied five goals in a standout campaign. He will once again feature as a key part of a Greenville team looking to reach its third consecutive League One Final.
John Harkes (3rd season)
League One’s Coach of the Year in 2020, Harkes is one of the most recognizable names in the league thanks to his playing career, during which he represented the United States men’s national team at two FIFA World Cups. He’s instilled a culture of success during Triumph SC’s first two seasons, making them one of only two teams (alongside North Texas) to finish in the top three of the regular season standings in both 2019 and 2020.
1 Greenville’s key number is one, not because they finished first last season, but because that’s the goal margin by which the club earned 8 of its 11 victories in 2020. It’s easy to assume that last year’s Triumph team was cruising through matches since it topped the table from start to finish, but Greenville’s dominance of the standings stemmed from an incredibly consistent ability to win close games. Fans and players alike surely wouldn’t mind seeing some more comfortable scorelines in 2021, but wins are wins, and Triumph SC will be looking for more of the same this year.
4-2-3-1: D. Jaye; C. Murillo, B. Fricke, E. Lee, T. Polak; A. Walker, N. Pilato; J. Donnelly, D. Smart, A. Morrell; L. McLean