TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 21 of the 2022 regular season with Union Omaha’s Noe Meza named Player of the Week. In his first professional season, Meza has accumulated eight league goals thanks to a three-goal, six-point Week 21.
Meza started his week with an equalizing goal against the Independence, smashing in a loose ball to even the score line. On Saturday, Meza added to Omaha’s early-match onslaught with a crisp chip that floated over Nicholas Holliday in the NCFC goal. Meza’s brace was confirmed in the 58th minute with a close-range header to all but confirm the victory.
“I’ve been feeling in pretty good form recently, so when I saw the ball bouncing in the box, as soon as it got close to me, I knew where the goal was at already, so I was just looking to shoot it hard and on-target,” Meza said after the victory over Charlotte.
“Putting those guys under a lot more pressure, that’s our identity and that’s who we are,” Union Omaha Head Coach Jay Mims said. “I thought we got back to doing what we’re good at, and Noe’s a big piece of that.”
“We saw a different team, a different mentality on Wednesday of ‘We’re not going to lose this game.’ We weren’t going to lose that game to Charlotte, and it just was a different mentality, and you saw that approach again today,” Mims added following his side’s victory over NCFC.
Omaha lead all clubs with four players named to the Team of the Week after a two-win week. Forward Madison FC and FC Tucson place three and two on the list, respectively, while Chattanooga Red Wolves SC and Greenville Triumph SC see a sole representative on the list.
GK – Kevin Piedrahita, Union Omaha: In just his fourth start of the season, Piedrahita became the first goalkeeper to score a goal in league history with a boot from his own box that bounced over the NCFC ‘keeper on the opposite end of the pitch. The 31-year-old veteran also tallied three saves in a 4-1 win for Omaha.
D – Derek Gebhard, Forward Madison FC: Gebhard tallied the equalizing goal – his first of the season – in Madison’s 3-1 victory over Northern Colorado on Saturday. Gebhard went on to complete over 90% of his passes and create a pair of chances.
D – Ryen Jiba, Union Omaha: Recording his third assist of the season, the South Sudanese defender helped Omaha to its third goal of the match in a 4-1 thumping of NCFC. The first-year professional also picked up four recoveries and won 100% of his eight duels.
D – Cyrus Rad, Forward Madison FC: Rad provided his fourth assist of the season on Jeremiah Streng’s match-winning goal in the 65th minute against Northern Colorado. The 23-year-old defender limited the Hailstorm to one goal while completing over 90% of his passes and creating six chances.
D – Donny Toia, FC Tucson: In a week that saw Tucson pick up a solid win and concede a heartbreaking loss, Toia anchored the Tucson back line and racked up a week-high 16 recoveries to go along with a trio of clearances and an 83% passing accuracy.
M – Conor Doyle, Union Omaha: Doyle assisted Chavany Willis’ match-winning goal against Charlotte on Wednesday evening. Across a six-point Omaha week, the 30-year-old veteran created five chances, reeled in 12 recoveries and tallied three clearances.
M – Louis Perez, FC Tucson: Enjoying his most productive professional season, the Paris Saint-Germain youth product recorded a goal and assist in the same match for the second time this season. Across two matches, the Frenchman won 14 duels, earned 15 recoveries and created a trio of chances.
M – Jimmie Villalobos, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: Scoring his second goal in his past three matches, Villalobos scored a late match-winner in the 80th minute of a 2-1 win over Tormenta FC. The second-year Red Wolf created two chances and won three duels to complement his 90% passing accuracy.
M – Aaron Walker, Greenville Triumph SC: The Triumph SC veteran scored his third goal of the season in match-winning fashion against a pesky Tucson side on Saturday evening. Walker added eight recoveries and four duels won.
F – Noe Meza, Union Omaha: Meza scored once against Charlotte on Wednesday before netting his first professional brace against NCFC on Saturday. The first-year professional added five recoveries and nine duels won to his impressive three-goal week.
F – Jeremiah Streng, Forward Madison FC: The Finland youth international tallied his first brace for the ‘Mingos, scoring the match-winner in the 65th minute before icing the match with his second in the 82nd against the Hailstorm.