Louisville City Football Club has traded forward Lucky Mkosana to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in exchange for forward/midfielder Antoine Hoppenot, the team announced Thursday night. The club is looking to improve upon its seventh-place standing in the USL Eastern Conference and defend its USL Championship in the USL Cup.
Hoppenot is a 28-year-old France native who played for Hackworth and LouCity assistant coach Danny Cruz when he was with the Philadelphia Union. He also has experience with the Harrisburg City Islanders, FC Cincinnati and Reno 1868.
He has made 60 appearances in MLS matches. Hoppenot hasn’t scored a goal this season in nine appearances, but he was top three on the Rowdies’ roster in chances created with 10.
“We welcome Antoine to Louisville and our club,” said Louisville City Coach John Hackworth in a news release. “He is a player that we believe will add a different dimension to our current roster. He is explosive and creative as an attacking player. Danny and I know him well from our time together at the Philadelphia Union. We believe he will be an important addition to our team.”
Prior to the trade, Mkosana was the third-best Louisville City scorer this season with four goals.
“We appreciate everything that Lucky has done for our club,” Hackworth said. “This was a difficult decision and was not made based on his performances while playing here for Louisville City. He is a good pro and an even better person. We wish him nothing but the best in everything he does moving forward.”
Both players will be immediately eligible for their new sides, the club said. Hoppenot could play in LouCity’s matchup against Indy Eleven on Saturday, June 29.
LouCity will look to Hoppenot to increase its success in attack and set up goal opportunities. LouCity is averaging 59% of possession in its matches this year, but it only has a goal differential of +4, which ranks eighth in the Eastern Conference.
LouCity is currently just six points up on the 10th-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, and the Riverhounds have played three fewer matches thus far. The new USL playoff expansion allows for 10 teams to make the playoffs, but the seven, eight, nine and 10 seeds have to compete in play-in games before the rest of the USL Cup starts.
The club still has 18 matches left in the USL regular season, giving them plenty of time for Hoppenot to adjust and improve the attack.
Saturday’s game starts at 7 p.m. at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. Copper & Kings in Butchertown is hosting a free watch party on its big screen, located in the newly renovated outdoor courtyard.