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USL Championship Team of the Week – Week 4

By Staff, 05/18/21, 1:30PM EDT


Legion FC’s Matt VanOekel earns Player of the Week after recording shutout, assist in win vs. Memphis

TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week Presented by Cleer Audio for Week 4 of the 2021 regular season on Tuesday, with Birmingham Legion FC’s Matt VanOekel being voted Player of the Week after recording a five-save shutout and notching the assist on the lone goal in his side’s 1-0 victory against Memphis 901 FC on Saturday afternoon at Legion Field.

One of Legion FC’s early signings before its inaugural season in 2019, VanOekel has been part of the backbone of a squad that has earned back-to-back postseason appearances in its first two years. His five-save performance against Memphis was his 16th regular-season shutout in 44 appearances for Legion FC, while his assist on Neco Brett’s goal that proved decisive in the win was the 10th recorded by a goalkeeper in the Championship’s regular season since the start of the 2017 season and the sixth time a goalkeeper had recorded a shutout and an assist in that span.

VanOekel earned 47 percent of the ballot for his performance, narrowly edging out Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s Michee Ngalina on 40 percent after the winger recorded one goal and two assists in his side’s 4-0 victory against Sporting Kansas City II on Friday night.

The Championship’s Player of the Week is selected by the USL National Media Panel, which is made up of representatives from each media market in the Championship. 

GK – Matt VanOekel, Birmingham Legion FC: Matt VanOekel not only posted a five-save shutout in Legion FC’s 1-0 win against Memphis 901 FC, but also provided the assist on Neco Brett’s game-winning goal as well.

D – Issa Rayyan, Tacoma Defiance: Issa Rayyan recorded one assist, two key passes and completed 3 of 4 dribbles in attack while defensively won 8 of 11 duels and made two tackles and three interceptions in Tacoma’s 3-1 win against San Diego Loyal SC.

D – Shannon Gomez, Sacramento Republic FC: Shannon Gomez completed 38 of 42 passes and notched one assist and two key passes while recording four interceptions in Republic FC’s 3-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC.

D – Ryan James, Birmingham Legion FC: Ryan James won 8 of 11 duels and recorded six recoveries, two interceptions and four clearances as Birmingham recorded a shutout in its 1-0 win against Memphis 901 FC at Legion Stadium.

M – Michee Ngalina, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: Michee Ngalina was a menace throughout the Switchbacks’ 4-0 win against Sporting Kansas City II, recording one goal, two assists and eight key passes on Friday night.

M – Junior Etou, Charlotte Independence: Junior Etou put in an impressive display in the center of midfield, winning 13 of 17 duels and making 11 recoveries while completing 29 of 40 passes in Charlotte’s 3-0 win against the Charleston Battery.

M – Bolu Akinyode, Miami FC: Bolu Akinyode helped Miami dominate the midfield in its 1-0 win against the New York Red Bulls II, completing 48 of 55 passes, winning 9 of 15 duels and making 16 recoveries and eight interceptions.

M – Lewis Hilton, Tampa Bay Rowdies: Lewis Hilton recorded a game-high five key passes and 36 completed passes overall while recording 14 recoveries and winning 3 of 4 tackles in Tampa Bay’s 2-1 win against Phoenix Rising FC.

F – Hadji Barry, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: Hadji Barry notched a pair of goals on six shots, had two key passes and completed 22 of 26 passes overall to help the Switchbacks earn a 4-0 victory against Sporting Kansas City II

F – Steevan Dos Santos, Tampa Bay Rowdies: Steevan Dos Santos shone again for his new side, scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win against Phoenix Rising FC while winning 12 of 23 duels and recording seven shots overall.

F – Dariusz Formella, Sacramento Republic FC: Dariusz Formella recorded one goal, one assist and five key passes overall to lead Republic FC to a 3-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC last Wednesday night.

Bench: John Berner (MEM), Jack Metcalf (SD), Gabriel Torres (HFD), Speedy Williams (MIA), Wan Kuzain (RGV), Sergio Rivas (NM) Irvin Parra (CLT)

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