The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 26 of the 2023 regular season on Tuesday, with Phoenix Rising FC forward Manuel Arteaga voted the Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after recording two goals and one assist across a pair of victories for his side.
The Venezuelan forward has helped power one of the most prolific attacks in the Championship this season, and played a key role in pushing Rising FC to the verge of a top-four place in the Western Conference in the past week. On Wednesday night, Arteaga notched a goal and assist as Phoenix took a 2-1 win against current Western Conference leader Sacramento Republic FC, and then added another goal in a 2-0 win against Rio Grande Valley FC that wrapped up a run of three victories in eight days for the side. Arteaga has scored in three consecutive outings, and now sits tied for second in the league with 14 goals overall this season, one behind teammate Danny Trejo, who has also scored in three consecutive games. Trejo earned an honorable mention on the team of the week for his two week.
Arteaga earned 62 percent of the ballot to claim the award. FC Tulsa midfielder Eric Bird and Sacramento Republic FC goalkeeper finished tied for second on 15 percent as Bird notched a goal and assist in a stellar all-around display as Tulsa defeated San Antonio FC on Sunday night, while Saldana notched a six-save shutout in Republic FC’s 1-0 win at Oakland Roots SC on Saturday 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.
USL Championship Team of the Week – Week 26
GK – Carlos Saldana, Sacramento Republic FC: Saldana recorded a six-save shutout in Republic FC’s 1-0 victory against Oakland Roots SC on Saturday night while also recording three punches to help his side return to the top of the Western Conference.
D – Ryan Doghman, Orange County SC: Doghman notched one assist and two chances created in OCSC’s 5-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC while locking down defensively, winning 3 of 3 tackles and 6 of 7 duels and making five recoveries.
D – Keegan Hughes, FC Tulsa: Hughes put in a key defensive performance in Tulsa’s 2-1 win against San Antonio FC, winning 5 of 5 tackles, 7 of 10 aerial duels and 6 of 10 duels while making seven clearances, nine recoveries and two interceptions.
D – Owen Lambe, Orange County SC: Lambe recorded one assist and five chances created in OCSC’s 5-1 win against Las Vegas Lights FC while completing 39 of 53 passes and making nine recoveries and three interceptions defensively at Cashman Field.
D – Younes Boudadi, Indy Eleven: Boudadi provided the assist on Sebastian Guenzatti’s game-winner against Miami FC as part of a strong all-around game that saw him make three clearances and six recoveries and complete 39 of 48 passes.
M – Eric Bird, FC Tulsa: Bird recorded a goal and assist in his side’s 2-1 victory against San Antonio FC on Sunday night and won 6 of 6 tackles in midfield while completing 21 of 30 passes and recording eight recoveries and two clearances.
M – Carlos Moguel Jr., Louisville City FC: The 20-year-old recorded two assists in LouCity’s 3-2 victory on the road at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC while completing 18 of 23 passes and winning 5 of 8 duels overall.
M – Collin Martin, San Diego Loyal SC: Martin dominated in midfield against Birmingham Legion FC, completing 50 of 52 passes, winning 5 of 6 duels and completing 3 of 3 dribbles before adding the final goal in his side’s 3-0 victory at Torero Stadium.
F – Manuel Arteaga, Phoenix Rising FC: Arteaga recorded two goals and one assist in two victories for Rising FC against Sacramento Republic FC and Rio Grande Valley FC while recording seven shots overall and three chances created.
F – Romario Williams, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: The Jamaican forward scored twice, passing 50 regular season goals in the Championship for his career, and had five shots overall and two chances created in Colorado Springs’ clash with Louisville City FC.
F – Marcus Epps, FC Tulsa: Epps recorded a goal and assist against former club San Antonio FC in Tulsa’s 2-1 victory on Sunday night and had three shots overall while completing 22 of 30 passes at the Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium.
Bench: Rocco Rios Novo (PHX), Marcus Nakkim (OC), Devon Amoo-Mensah (DET), Jeremy Kelly (MEM), Blake Bodily (SD), Danny Trejo (PHX), Jorge Gonzalez (LOU)