The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 8 of the 2023 regular season today, with Phoenix Rising midfielder and local product Jose Andres Hernandez being named to the squad for his goal-and-assist performance in a 3-1 win against Loudoun United on Saturday, April 29.
Hernandez opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and added an assist just three minutes later on a goal scored by Manuel Arteaga. The Maryvale native also completed 58 of 63 passes and won three of five duels.
Arteaga also earned a spot on the squad after assisting on Hernandez’s goal, completing 88 percent of his passes and winning seven of 10 duels.
Birmingham Legion FC’s Enzo Martinez was voted the Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after an outstanding performance that saw him record two goals and one assist in leading Legion FC to a 3-2 comeback victory against Hartford Athletic on Sunday evening.
Sunday saw Martinez reach a pair of personal landmarks while helping drive his team to a victory that moved it to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. With Birmingham trailing by a goal at the halftime break, the 32-year-old leveled the game in the 65th minute for his 100th goal contribution (goals+assists) in the Championship’s regular season. After Hartford regained the lead two minutes later, Martinez struck again with 12 minutes to go to pull the hosts level, and then in second-half stoppage time delivered a corner kick that was headed home by Alex Crognale for the winner, and Martinez’s 40th regular season assist of his career.
Martinez earned 67 percent of the ballot to claim the award. New Mexico United’s Joshua Dolling finished second on 22 percent as he recorded the first three-assist game in United’s history in the club’s 3-1 victory against Orange County SC, which also stands as the 25th instance of a three-assist game in the Championship’s regular season overall.
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 8
GK – Leo Diaz, Las Vegas Lights FC: The Argentine recorded a crucial early penalty kick save and posted a three-save performance overall as Lights FC earned a 1-1 draw on the road against defending title holder San Antonio FC.
D – Jonathan Ricketts, Rio Grande Valley FC: The Toros’ right back put in a stellar defensive display winning 3 of 3 tackles, 5 of 5 duels and 12 of 13 aerial duels while making three interceptions and five clearances as RGVFC earned a 0-0 draw on the road against Monterey Bay F.C.
D – Adrian Diz Pe, Indy Eleven: The Cuban center back was impressive on the ball and defensively in his side’s 1-1 draw against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, completing 93 of 112 passes and making 18 recoveries while winning 5 of 7 duels and 4 of 5 aerial duels.
D – Duke Lacroix, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: The veteran produced a beautifully weighted pass to set up the Switchbacks’ opening goal in their 2-1 win at the Charleston Battery and won 2 of 2 tackles and 8 of 11 duels defensively.
D – Graham Smith, Memphis 901 FC: The 2022 All-League selection had a strong defensive display in his side’s 1-1 draw against Louisville City FC, recording seven clearances and three interceptions while winning 7 of 7 aerial duels.
M – Charlie Dennis, Tampa Bay Rowdies: The English midfielder had a stellar all-around performance, scoring the decisive goal from the penalty spot for the Rowdies in a 1-0 win against Detroit City FC while recording seven chances created, winning 2 of 2 tackles and 8 of 12 duels, and completing 31 of 39 passes.
M – Jose Hernandez, Phoenix Rising FC: The midfielder scored his first goal since signing with his hometown club and also added an assist in Rising FC’s 3-1 victory against Loudoun United FC while also completing 58 of 63 passes and winning 3 of 5 duels.
M – Prosper Kasim, Birmingham Legion FC: The Ghanaian provided the assists on both of Enzo Martinez’s goals for Legion FC in the side’s comeback victory and had five chances created and five shots overall while winning 2 of 2 tackles.
F – Joshua Dolling, New Mexico United: The English forward became only the 25th player to record three assists in a USL Championship regular season contest to lead New Mexico to a 3-1 victory against Orange County SC at Isotopes Park.
F – Enzo Martinez, Birmingham Legion FC: The veteran forward rallied Legion FC with two goals and one assist in a 3-2 victory against Hartford Athletic on Sunday evening, reaching 40 regular season assists and more than 100 combined goals and assists in the league’s regular season in the process.
F – Prince Saydee, Hartford Athletic: The Liberian continued his stellar start to the campaign with a pair of assists and four shots, one of which hit the woodwork, as Hartford fell 3-2 on the road against Birmingham Legion FC.
Bench: Nathan Steinwascher (DET), Forrest Lasso (TBR), Paco Craig (MIA), Sergio Rivas (NM), Denys Kostyshyn (ELP), Manuel Arteaga (PHX), Greg Hurst (NM).