TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 2 of the 2023 regular season with Richmond Kickers midfielder Nil Vinyals named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after helping his team remain undefeated by assisting Richmond’s match-winning score.
Earning the fourth Player of the Week honor of his career, the League One veteran proved vital to Richmond’s 1-0 victory in Greenville with his assist on Kharlton Belmar’s 12th-minute match-winner. Vinyals proved nearly impossible to contain throughout the contest, completing 100% of his dribbles, creating a quartet of chances and winning a week-high five fouls. The 26-year-old Spanish midfielder added to his impressive outing with an 82% passing completion rate and 67% long-ball completion rate.
"Nil has worked incredibly hard to help dictate tempo in games," Richmond Head Coach and Sporting Director Darren Sawatzky said. "We have work to do to improve as a group, but seeing his work translate to a good end product for us is growth. We are happy for him to be recognized."
The Independence lead the way with their three Team of the Week and two Team of the Week Bench selections following a resounding victory in Statesboro, while Madison and Richmond place a pair on the Team of the Week, respectively. All eight teams in action see players placed on the Team of the Week or the Team of the Week Bench.
GK – Carlos Avilez, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: Avilez set a personal and club record with his eight saves against Northern Colorado on Saturday, helping Chattanooga start the Ziggy Korytoski era off with a point and a clean sheet.
D – Clay Dimick, Charlotte Independence: Dimick led the league with his eight tackles and five tackles won while also winning 12 of his 13 duels in Charlotte’s 3-1 victory over South Georgia.
D – Shalom Dutey, Charlotte Independence: Dutey recorded Charlotte’s match-winning goal in the 60th minute, adding to his five clearances and three recoveries in Charlotte’s Week 2 victory.
D – Joel Johnson, Charlotte Independence: The third Charlotte defender recognized on the Team of the Week, Johnson completed 85% of his passes, reeled in five recoveries and won three of his five total duels in Charlotte’s dominant victory over South Georgia.
D – Arthur Rogers, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: The ultra-productive 2022 League One Defender of the Year began his 2023 campaign with a week-high five chances created and four successful crosses in the Hailstorm’s scoreless draw in Chattanooga. According to American Soccer Analysis, Rogers maintained the highest passing score on the week.
M – Derek Gebhard, Forward Madison FC: The veteran winger assisted Christian Chaney’s match-tying score in the 55th minute. Gebhard also completed 86% of his passes, created four chances and recorded six recoveries.
M – JP Scearce, Union Omaha: Omaha’s all-time appearances leader scored the first goal of the season for the Owls, hammering in a header in the 20th minute against Madison. Scearce also claimed eight recoveries and won nine of his 13 combined tackles and duels.
M – Nil Vinyals, Richmond Kickers: Vinyals assisted Kharlton Belmar’s early match-winning score in the Kickers’ victory in Greenville. Vinyals was productive in the win, completing 82% of his passes, creating four chances and winning a week-high five fouls.
F – Mukwelle Akale, South Georgia Tormenta FC: Akale was a bright spot for Tormenta FC is an otherwise disappointing evening in Statesboro. In addition to a remarkable score off a free kick, Akale completed 85% of his passes and won six duels.
F – Kharlton Belmar, Richmond Kickers: The former USL Championship goalscorer notched his first goal in League One with a perfect, long-range strike that served as the match-winner for Richmond. Belmar also gathered seven recoveries and won eight duels.
F – Christian Chaney, Forward Madison FC: Chaney bagged his first goal for Madison in the 55th minute with a wild, acrobatic near-post finish to beat Rashid Nuhu in goal. Chaney led the league in goals added on the week, according to American Soccer Analysis.
Bench: Rashid Nuhu (OMA), Jacob Crull (MAD), Brecc Evans (NCO), Brad Dunwell (CLT), Luis Gil (OMA), Khori Bennett (CLT), Leonardo Castro (GVL)