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USL Championship Team of the Week – Week 2

By Staff, 03/19/24, 2:30PM EDT


Monterey Bay F.C. midfielder Rafael Baca voted Player of the Week after leading victory against Phoenix Rising FC

TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 2 of the 2024 regular season on Tuesday, with Monterey Bay F.C. midfielder Rafael Baca voted the Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after he scored the decisive goal in Monterey Bay’s 1-0 victory against Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday night, part of a four-point week for the side as it kicked off the season.

A mid-season arrival last year, the Mexican veteran has been a key addition to Monterey Bay’s squad. The 34-year-old played the full 180 minutes as the side earned a point on the road against El Paso Locomotive FC to kick off its new season on Wednesday night, and then provided a sharp first-half finish against Phoenix at Cardinale Stadium to earn MBFC its first win in club history against Rising. Over the two games, Baca also completed 92 of 103 passes, won 6 of 7 tackles and 9 of 11 overall duels, providing strong all-around play in the heart of midfield.

“It was fantastic, really good,” said Monterey Bay Head Coach Frank Yallop of the home opener victory. “There was a terrific crowd tonight and tons of energy, not only on the field but off the field with the crowd. I think it was a great night for all. I thought the team performed well, and part of that is the crowd. … It was a really good team performance and a great three points against a very good team.”

Baca earned 44 percent of the ballot to claim the award. Loudoun United FC’s Kalil ElMedkhar and FC Tulsa’s Blaine Ferri finished tied for second place on 22 percent after ElMedkhar recorded a goal and assist to lead Loudoun to a 3-1 victory against North Carolina FC, while Ferri notched a pair of assists in Tulsa’s season-opening 3-1 victory at Las Vegas Lights FC.

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 – Colin Shutler, Orange County SC: Shutler posted a two-save shutout on the road against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC while also making eight recoveries and one high claim as Orange County earned a 2-0 victory at Highmark Stadium.

D – Matt Mahoney, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: Mahoney produced an impressive individual display defensively, winning 7 of 8 duels overall and one tackle while making seven clearances, three interceptions and eight recoveries and scored off a well-conceived set piece.

D – Aedan Stanley, Indy Eleven: Stanley had a strong all-around performance, notching one assist and three chances created while completing 2 of 2 dribbles in attack while also winning 5 of 6 duels and making five clearances and five recoveries in Indy’s road victory at Memphis 901 FC.

D – Sean Totsch, Louisville City FC: The LouCity veteran provided the assist on Wilson Harris’ game-winner in El Paso and was solid throughout, winning 4  of 6 duels overall and making two interceptions and five clearances in Louisville’s season-opener.

M – Blaine Ferri, FC Tulsa: The 23-year-old notched a pair of assists on three chances created and also hit the crossbar with one of two shots in Tulsa’s 3-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC while defensively he won 5 of 6 tackles and 9 of 16 ground duels.

M – Rafael Baca, Monterey Bay F.C.: The veteran midfielder scored the decisive goal as Monterey Bay won its home opener 1-0 against Phoenix Rising FC and across two contests completed 92 of 103 passes and won 6 of 7 tackles and 9 of 11 duels.

M – Jack Blake, Indy Eleven: The English midfielder scored from the spot after winning a penalty kick and had an impressive all-around performance in Indy’s 2-1 win at Memphis 901 FC, completing 26 of 31 passes and recording two chances created while winning 3 of 4 tackles.

M – Kalil ElMedkhar, Loudoun United FC: The attacking midfielder notched a goal and an assist to lead Loudoun to a 3-1 victory against North Carolina FC while recording three shots and two chances created overall.

M – Clay Holstad, Rhode Island FC: The 24-year-old shone in Rhode Island’s inaugural game, recording four shots – two of which hit the woodwork – and completing 38 of 49 passes while defensively winning 3 of 3 tackles and 5 of 7 duels and making 12 recoveries in RIFC’s 1-1 draw with New Mexico United.

F – Zach Ryan, Loudoun United FC: Loudoun’s captain put in an efficient attacking display, recording one goal and one assist on one shot and one chance created in United’s 3-1 victory against North Carolina FC in the club’s home opener at Segra Field.

F – Phillip Goodrum, FC Tulsa: Goodrum scored in his fourth consecutive league contest dating back to 2023 with a beautiful strike against Las Vegas and won 9 of 13 ground duels and 8 of 13 aerial duels in Tulsa’s 3-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC.

Coach - Frank Yallop, Monterey Bay F.C.: Monterey Bay picked up four points from its opening two games of the season and earned its first win all-time against Phoenix Rising FC as Yallop’s selections and substitutions paid off handsomely.

Bench: Antony Siaha (MB), Ryan Doghman (OC), Jack Gurr (SAC), Memo Diaz (OAK), Aaron Molloy (CHS), Pacifique Niyongabire (TBR), Milo Yosef (TUL)

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