With NASL action soon to get underway in 2016, here's a look at potential Golden Boot award winners
Matthew Levine (@NASLInsider} | Mar 31, 2016

Stefano Pinho may have been an unknown quantity at the start of the 2015 NASL season, but everyone knew his name by its conclusion. Pinho found the back of the net 16 times to claim the Golden Boot award and has since moved to Minnesota United from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Joining an already potent attack, Pinho is certainly a contender to repeat the honor. Here is the list of possible winners at the end of 2016:

Christian Ramirez/Stefano Pinho, Minnesota United – The Loons have firepower in spades including the last two Golden Boot winners, Christian Ramirez and Stefano Pinho. Both are included together because it could be a case of either/or will score the goals, while the other may play the role of the provider. The pair had six and seven assists, respectively, last year. But for Minnesota, when that pair is on the field, there will certainly be goals aplenty. Pinho, 25, tallied 16 goals in 2015, while Ramirez, 24, scored 12.

Dario Cvitanich, Miami FC – Boasting a résumé that includes stops at Ajax, Nice, and Boca Juniors, among others, Dario Cvitanich, 31, is a notable addition to expansion side Miami FC. The veteran Argentine should spearhead the club’s attack and could certainly be the beneficiary of Matuzalém’s creativity in the midfield.

Tom Heinemann, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Despite Ottawa Fury FC not winning the title, no player finished the season in better form than Tom Heinemann. The hardworking forward scored eight times over the course of the Spring and Fall Season and then added four more in The Championship. Heinemann, 28, moved south to Tampa Bay to a team that needed a goalscorer. As the focal point, with a deep and talented midfield behind him, Heinemann could score even more in 2016.

Jake Keegan, FC Edmonton – Over 30 goals in two seasons in Ireland certainly cannot be discounted for Jake Keegan, 24. Not the tallest or strongest, Keegan knows how to find the back of the net and could be just the fox-in-the-box player that the Eddies need for success in 2016. If Keegan can carry his goalscoring form into the NASL, FC Edmonton will have a difficult attack to contend with.

Matt Fondy, Jacksonville Armada FC – Similar to Keegan, Matt Fondy, 26, was on the scoresheet often. While with Louisville City, he was the USL’s top scorer with 22 goals and aims to lead the Armada FC fleet in 2016. Linking up with Bryan Burke, who accounted for many of the assists to Fondy’s goals last year, will be a huge benefit to both players in their new surroundings.

Honorable Mentions

Brian Shriver, Carolina RailHawks – With a return to the RailHawks, will it mean a return to claiming the Golden Boot for Brian Shriver? He had his best season with the RailHawks in 2014, scoring 15 goals. Reunited with Carolina and its coach, Colin Clarke, as well as dynamic midfielder Tiyi Shipalane should spell bright things for Shriver, 28, in 2016.

Eamon Zayed, Indy Eleven – The Eleven were missing a goalscorer in 2015 and they have bolstered that department with the signing of the veteran Eamon Zayed, 32. Starting out in Leicester City’s youth academy and playing all around the globe, the Irish-born Libyan international will aim to make his mark in the NASL. With a veteran cast around him as well, Zayed could be a signing that has flown a bit under the radar, but lights up the scoresheet come the league season.

Robbie Findley, Rayo OKC – Expansion club Rayo OKC packs plenty of attacking punch for the inaugural season. With Greek international Georgios Samaras and assist-getter Billy Forbes in the squad, among others, defenses will be hard pressed to keep Rayo OKC from scoring plenty of goals. U.S. international Robbie Findley could be the one that benefits most. While teams may key on Samaras for his international pedigree and Forbes for his reputation in the NASL, Findley should be able to find himself in good spots. If he takes his chances, he could find himself towards the top of the scoring charts. 

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