The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 7 of the 2023 regular season on Tuesday, with Rising goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo and defender Kevon Lambert earning a spot on the squad for their performances in a 1-1 draw against San Antonio FC on Saturday, April 22.
Novo recorded saves in the 88th, 80th, 65th and 61st minutes to preserve Rising’s 1-1 draw after his team went down a man due to a red card in the 56th minute. He finished the match with eights saves and now ranks second in the USL Championship with 25 on the season.
Lambert earned a Team of the Week nod for the second match in a row after recording 10 clearances, two interceptions and winning 10 of 13 duels. The defender also won five of six ariel duels.
Monterey Bay F.C. forward Christian Volesky was voted the Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball for the second time this season after recording a goal and assist in his side’s 3-2 victory against Indy Eleven on Saturday night at Michael A. Carroll Stadium.
The veteran forward claimed his second Player of the Week honor in the past three weeks after leading Monterey Bay back from a halftime deficit on the road at Indy. Trailing by a goal, Volesky pulled MBFC level in the 58th minute as he made an incisive run to lead a pass by Morey Doner before curling a finish into the top-left corner from 14 yards. Volesky then played provider on Monterey Bay’s winner five minutes later as he slipped a pass to Nevello Yoseke inside the penalty area for a shot to the right corner for the Sudanese midfielder’s first goal for the club.
Volesky earned 46 percent of the ballot to claim the award. Loudoun United FC’s Panos Armenakas, Memphis 901 FC’s Graham Smith and San Diego Loyal SC’s Joe Corona each finished tied for second on 15 percent after stellar performances in their respective clubs’ victories over the past weekend.
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 7
GK – Rocco Rios Novo, Phoenix Rising FC: The Argentine shot-stopper continued his impressive run of form, posting an eight-save performance to help Rising FC claim a 1-1 draw on the road against San Antonio FC.
D – Graham Smith, Memphis 901 FC: The center back had a strong all-around performance, scoring his first goal of the season while winning 2 of 2 tackles, 3 of 3 duels and 4 of 4 aerial duels in 901 FC’s 3-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC.
D – Eder Borelli, El Paso Locomotive FC: The Mexican full back put in a big defensive display, winning 16 of 18 duels and six tackles while making 10 recoveries in Locomotive FC’s 2-0 victory against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
D – Collin Smith, Birmingham Legion FC: The young right back had a strong two-way performance in Legion FC’s 2-1 victory against Orange County SC, recording one assist and winning 4 of 5 tackles and 9 of 16 duels.
D – Akeem Ward, Memphis 901 FC: The left back had a solid all-around performance in 901 FC’s 3-0 victory at Rio Grande Valley FC, recording one assist and completing 33 of 42 passes while winning 4 of 4 tackles defensively.
M – Panos Armenakas, Loudoun United FC: The Australian attacking midfielder was central to Loudoun’s 2-0 victory against Oakland Roots SC, scoring the second goal for the side while notching two shots and two chances created overall and winning 8 of 13 duels and 2 of 3 tackles.
M – Joe Corona, San Diego Loyal SC: The former United States international delivered a formidable midfield display in SD Loyal’s 1-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, completing 50 of 55 passes, recording two big chances created and winning 10 of 12 duels and 4 of 6 tackles.
M – Houssou Landry, Loudoun United FC: The 22-year-old Ivorian put in a strong two-way performance in Loudoun’s 2-0 victory against Oakland Roots SC, completing 42 of 57 passes and winning 9 of 11 total duels and 5 of 5 tackles at Segra Field.
M – Jeremy Kelly, Memphis 901 FC: Kelly was stellar in the center of midfield for Memphis as it took a 3-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC, completing 48 of 56 passes and 3 of 3 dribbles while winning 2 of 2 tackles and recording 10 recoveries defensively.
F – Juan Agudelo, Birmingham Legion FC: The former United States international sparked Legion FC’s comeback with a well-taken first half goal and completed 32 of 37 passes – including 16 of 18 in the final third – in a strong display leading the attacking line.
F – Christian Volesky, Monterey Bay F.C.: Volesky was efficient in the final third, recording a goal and assist on his lone shot and chance created of the game as Monterey Bay rallied for a 3-2 victory on the road against Indy Eleven.
Bench – Benny Diaz (ELP), Kevon Lambert (PHX), Paco Craig (MIA), Jairo Henriquez (COS), Luis Felipe Fernandes (SAC), Cristian Parano (SA), Solomon Asante (IND)