TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 2 of the 2023 regular season on Tuesday, with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC forward Albert Dikwa voted the Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after scoring the first hat trick of his career in the Hounds’ victory on the road against Memphis 901 FC at AutoZone Park.
Now in his seventh season in the Championship, the 25-year-old Cameroonian is coming off a breakout season in Pittsburgh in which he recorded a single-season career best 11 goals. He opened his account for the 2023 season in the sixth minute in Memphis, capitalizing from close range after the hosts were unable to clear a free kick from the left. Dikwa doubled his tally six minutes before halftime as he calmly converted from the penalty spot to put the Hounds back ahead, and then added an insurance goal with 19 minutes to go with a crisp, first-time finish from 14 yards.
Dikwa earned 54 percent of the ballot to claim the award. Birmingham Legion FC’s Tyler Pasher finished second on 31 percent after scoring a pair of goals – including a brilliant individual finish that landed at No. 3 on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 on Friday night – in his side’s comeback 3-2 win against FC Tulsa at Protective Stadium.
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.
USL Championship Team of the Week – Week 2
GK – Koke Vegas, San Diego Loyal SC: The Spanish shot-stopper recorded his second consecutive shutout to start the season, making three saves as SD Loyal pulled away for a 3-0 victory against Phoenix Rising FC at Torero Stadium.
D – Jonathan Ricketts, Rio Grande Valley FC: Ricketts scored the opening goal for the Toros in their 1-1 draw with Oakland Roots SC and had a stellar defensive display, winning 10 of 12 duels and 2 of 3 aerial duels while recording seven clearances and seven recoveries.
D – Aaron Guillen, Tampa Bay Rowdies: The veteran center back made a crucial goal line clearance to keep Tampa Bay in the game against Orange County and won 9 of 9 duels, made nine recoveries and completed 5 of 5 dribbles as the Rowdies rallied for a 1-1 draw.
D – Mitchell Taintor, San Antonio FC: Taintor put in a big individual defensive display with four interceptions, 10 clearances and 12 recoveries while winning 3 of 3 aerial duels in SAFC’s 1-1 draw at Loudoun United FC.
D – Patrick Hogan, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Hogan won 2 of 2 tackles, 2 of 3 duels and 3 of 4 aerial duels and defensively recorded six clearances and six recoveries while being credited with an assist on the Hounds’ opening goal in a 3-1 win at Memphis 901 FC.
M – Maxi Rodriguez, Detroit City FC: Rodriguez scored once and put in a big all-around midfield display as Le Rouge defeated El Paso Locomotive FC on the road, winning 10 of 11 duels, three tackles, making eight recoveries and completing 3 of 3 dribbles.
M – Charlie Dennis, Tampa Bay Rowdies: Dennis pulled the strings for the Rowdies in midfield as he completed 51 of 59 passes and 8 of 11 long passes while recording two chances created, and also won 4 of 5 tackles, 10 of 15 duels and 3 of 3 aerial duels in his side’s 1-1 draw at Orange County SC.
M – Edgardo Rito, Oakland Roots SC: The Venezuelan had a strong attacking performance on the right for Roots SC, notching the assist on a late equalizer while notching five chances created overall in a 1-1 draw at Rio Grande Valley FC.
F – Albert Dikwa, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Dikwa scored his first professional hat trick on four shots to lead the Hounds to a 3-1 victory on the road against Memphis 901 FC on Saturday evening, while also notching a pair of chances created.
F – Tyler Pasher, Birmingham Legion FC: Pasher scored his first two goals for Legion FC, including a remarkable individual effort that pulled the side back level before earning a 3-2 victory in stoppage time against FC Tulsa on Friday night.
F – Rodrigo Lopez, Sacramento Republic FC: The veteran playmaker had a strong all-around game, notching five chances created and two shots while winning 8 of 11 duels and 3 of 4 tackles to help the 10-player Republic FC earn a 1-1 draw with the Charleston Battery.
Bench: Nathan Steinwascher (DET), Lamar Batista (SA), Amadou Dia (LOU), Gaoussou Samaké (LDN), Jack Gurr (SAC), Justin Portillo (NM), Elliot Collier (SD)
Tag(s): News Team of the Week Videos San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC Louisville City FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds Tampa Bay Rowdies Justin Portillo Albert Dikwa Mitchell Taintor Lamar Batista Maxi Rodríguez Tyler Pasher Amadou Dia Birmingham Legion FC Aaron Guillen New Mexico United Loudoun United FC Elliot Collier Edgardo Rito San Diego Loyal SC Rodrigo Lopez Jack Gurr Oakland Roots SC Gaoussou Samake Detroit City FC Nathan Steinwascher Koke Vegas Charlie Dennis Jonathan Ricketts