TAMPA, Fla. - USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 9 of the 2022 regular season with North Carolina FC forward Garrett McLaughlin named Player of the Week. McLaughlin recorded his first brace in over a year to gift North Carolina FC the victory and a second-place position in the league table.
League One’s all-time leading scorer broke the match open early, as Richmond’s Emiliano Terzaghi powered a perfect pass from Stephen Payne past Will Pulisic in goal. From there on out, however, it was the Garrett McLaughlin show. The 24-year-old jumped to the top of the Golden Boot race with a six-minute brace that featured a goal scored with the back of his head and a match-winning penalty conversion. With the victory, North Carolina extended its unbeaten streak against Richmond to eight.
“It was a great team win,” said McLaughlin. “The message all week was to play a complete game and to get a consecutive win, and it feels awesome to have done both.”
“I’m extremely pleased with the way the guys turned around a poor start to the game,” said NCFC Head Coach John Bradford following the match. “Something we’ve been preaching is that consecutive goals win games. It was nice to have that response in the first half and a really good defensive effort in the second half. Good job to the boys on being able to see out a good result.”
North Carolina FC’s near-complete performance sees the side place four on the weekly list, while Triumph SC field three representatives following its 1-0 victory over Chattanooga. FC Tucson and Central Valley Fuego FC each have one player named to the Team of the Week, while South Georgia Tormenta FC – despite its loss to Tucson – place a pair of representatives on the list.
GK – Paul Christensen, Greenville Triumph SC: Christensen denied the equalizing Red Wolves penalty and earned a clean sheet after recording three additional saves.
D – Brandon Fricke, Greenville Triumph SC: Contributing to Greenville’s shutout win over Chattanooga, Fricke recorded eight clearances and completed 89% of his passes and 67% of his long balls.
D – Christian Lue Young, North Carolina FC: Limiting the Richmond attack to just one goal, Lue Young created a trio of chances while recording six recoveries, three clearances and two interceptions.
D – Luca Mastrantonio, FC Tucson: Mastrantonio put in a strong performance on the Tucson backline, tallying nine clearances, seven recoveries, five interceptions and a pair of blocked shots in his side’s first shutout win of the season.
D – Joshua Phelps, South Georgia Tormenta FC: Despite Tormenta FC’s 1-0 loss to FC Tucson, Phelps had a strong outing, gathering 13 recoveries, four clearances and four interceptions while creating one chance on the offensive end.
M – Luis Arriaga, North Carolina FC: Assisting Garrett McLaughlin’s first goal, Arriaga also contributed to NCFC’s victory with four shots, two chances created and a pair of corners.
M – Gabriel Cabral, South Georgia Tormenta FC: Cabral won six of seven ground and aerial duels while creating six chances and maintaining a passing accuracy of over 85% in his side’s loss to Tucson.
M – Don Smart, Greenville Triumph SC: The League One veteran recorded his first assist of the season on Jacob Labovitz’s winner in Chattanooga. Smart guided Greenville to victory with 88% passing accuracy, seven recoveries and six of nine ground and aerial duels won.
M – Raheem Somersall, North Carolina FC: Another strong performer in a solid midfield group in Cary, Somersall created two chances while recording six clearances and six recoveries and won 100% of his aerial duels.
F – Villyan Bijev, Central Valley Fuego FC: Bijev recorded his second stoppage-time goal of the season to again salvage a draw out of seemingly nothing. The veteran forward sent in three of four shots on target and won 12 of his 15 ground and aerial duels.
F – Garrett McLaughlin, North Carolina FC: Now leading the league in scoring with six goals, Garrett McLaughlin propelled NCFC to victory with his brace that featured a goal scored with the back of his head and a penalty conversion.