The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 32 of the 2022 regular season today with Rising midfielder Gabi Torres being named to the squad for his goal-and-assist performance in a 3-1 win against Atlanta United 2 on October 15.
Torres joined Rising via trade with FC Tulsa on September 23 and immediately produced. The Brazilian started his first match for Phoenix just five days after arriving and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 shutout win against Sacramento on September 28. Torres moved into an attacking role following that victory and recorded goals in three consecutive matches to close out the season with three goals and an assist in four matches for Phoenix.
Aodhan Quinn picked up an honorable mention for Rising on the Team of the Week voting with a goal and two chances created in the win against Atlanta. Rising’s leading scorer (9) this season finished second in the league for chances created with 83.
New Mexico United midfielder Harry Swartz was voted Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after recording a pair of goals as New Mexico clinched its berth in the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs presented by Hisense with victory last Wednesday night against the LA Galaxy II.
Currently in his second season with United, Swartz’s two-goal performance was his first in the professional ranks and moved him to six goals this season for the club. With New Mexico trailing at the halftime break against Los Dos at Isotopes Park, the Massachusetts native struck first in the 49th minute with a beautiful finish on a give-and-go with Armando Moreno that was nominated for the Championship’s Goal of the Week award on Monday and then added a second five minutes later. That proved to be the winner in a 3-2 victory that sealed New Mexico’s third postseason trip in four seasons.
Martinez earned 50 percent of the ballot to claim the award. The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Leo Fernandes finished second on 42 percent after recording three goals in two games to lead the two-time Eastern Conference title winner to victories against El Paso Locomotive FC and the New York Red Bulls II to wrap up the regular season.
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 32
GK – John Berner, Memphis 901 FC: Berner posted a four-save shutout as Memphis claimed the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 victory on the road against FC Tulsa on Saturday night.
D – Jonathan Dean, Birmingham Legion FC: Dean recorded one assist and four chances created while completing 49 of 57 passes overall and winning 3 of 4 duels and 4 of 4 aerial duels in his side’s 3-1 victory against Indy Eleven last Wednesday night.
D – Akeem Ward, Rio Grande Valley FC: Ward scored once and had two shots overall while completing 50 of 54 passes and winning 2 of 2 duels as Rio Grande Valley clinched a playoff berth with a 4-1 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. on Saturday night.
D – Aaron Guillen, Tampa Bay Rowdies: Guillen put in two sterling displays as the Rowdies took victories against El Paso Locomotive FC and the New York Red Bulls II, completing 120 of 137 passes, winning 15 of 19 duels and making 15 recoveries.
M – Harry Swartz, New Mexico United: Swartz recorded a pair of goals to lead New Mexico to a 3-2 victory against the LA Galaxy II on Wednesday night that clinched the club’s return to the postseason, while also notching two chances created and winning 9 of 11 duels.
M – Aaron Molloy, Memphis 901 FC: Molloy scored his eighth goal of the season in 901 FC’s 3-0 victory against FC Tulsa on Saturday night and completed 67 of 72 passes – including 7 of 9 long passes – while winning 3 of 4 tackles and 6 of 9 duels and making 15 recoveries.
M – Marcus Epps, FC Tulsa: Epps recorded his first two-goal game in the Championship to lead Tulsa to a 2-0 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. on Wednesday night and ended the game with four shots overall while winning 2 of 2 tackles and 2 of 3 aerial duels and completing 34 of 45 passes.
M – Marlon, Birmingham Legion FC: Marlon scored once, and had three shots and three chances created in Legion FC’s 3-1 victory against Indy Eleven on Wednesday night that sealed a top-four finish in the Eastern Conference while winning 10 of 15 duels defensively.
M – Gabriel Torres, Phoenix Rising FC: Torres recorded a goal and assist as Phoenix wrapped up its campaign with a 3-1 victory against Atlanta United 2 on Saturday night while also notching two chances created, winning 3 of 3 tackles and 4 of 6 duels, and completing 29 of 37 passes overall.
F – Russell Cicerone, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Cicerone notched a goal and assist as the Hounds rallied from an early deficit to take a 3-1 victory against Oakland Roots SC at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, sealing a fifth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
F – Leo Fernandes, Tampa Bay Rowdies: Fernandes recorded three goals across a pair of games to lead Tampa Bay to victories against El Paso Locomotive FC and the New York Red Bulls II and a four-game winning streak to close the regular season.
Bench: AJ Marcucci (NY), Callum Chapman-Page (MIA), Kenardo Forbes (PIT), Bolu Akinyode (MIA), Aodhan Quinn (PHX), Rodrigo Lopez (SAC), Cristian Nava (NM)