TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 3 of the 2023 regular season with North Carolina FC midfielder Rafa Mentzingen named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after recording his first NCFC goal in match-winning fashion.
In his second match with NCFC, Mentzingen scored the match-winning goal in the 73rd minute to secure the first win of the season for his new side. Mentzingen, one of just six players to score for three unique League One clubs, has recorded 10 match-winning goals or assists across his five-year professional career. His last three goals have been match-winners in the 73rd, 86th, and 101st minutes.
"It feels really good," Mentzingen said of his outing. "Not only the goal but the three points. We worked hard for two weeks to get the first win at home, and I think it’s a big accomplishment for the group. We can build on this and really show what we can do."
First-place Charlotte lead the league with three players named to the Team of the Week for the second consecutive week, while Northern Colorado see a combined six players named to the Team of the Week and Team of the Week Bench thanks to its big victory in Statesboro.
GK – Edward Delgado, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Delgado’s two saves were second on the week as the Hailstorm goalkeeper recorded his league-leading second consecutive clean sheet.
D – Rob Cornwall, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Northern Colorado’s captain knocked in the match-winning score in the 25th minute to go along with his four recoveries, four accurate long balls and two clearances in the Hailstorm’s clean sheet victory.
D – Mouhamed Dabo, Central Valley Fuego FC: Central Valley’s Senegalese defender helped his side to a clean sheet in their season opener, adding eight recoveries, six clearances and an 85% passing accuracy.
D – Clay Dimick, Charlotte Independence: In his 75th appearance with the Jacks across all competitions, Dimick recorded his first professional goal in the 13th minute of Charlotte’s big victory in Richmond. Dimick also tallied five recoveries, three clearances and one interception.
D – Nick Spielman, Charlotte Independence: After 57 appearances and one goal in NISA with Chattanooga FC, Spielman bagged his first Charlotte goal – in match-winning fashion, no less – in just his third appearance with the Jacks. Spielman also contributed with four clearances, four recoveries and two interceptions.
M – Alexis Cerritos, Central Valley Fuego FC: It took Cerritos eight games to score for RGVFC in 2021 and five games to score for Fuego FC in 2022; now in only his first match of the season, Cerritos opened his 2023 account with a special match-winner. Cerritos was efficient with his 96% passing accuracy, five duels won and three fouls earned.
M – Miguel Ibarra, Charlotte Independence: The veteran midfielder recorded the 45th career of his storied 12-year professional career on Saturday, helping Spielman record the match-winner in the 62nd minute. Ibarra also created a trio of chances, completed 87% of his passes, reeled in nine recoveries and was 100% accurate on his three crosses.
M – Felipe Liborio, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: Longtime NISA midfielder Felipe Liborio was solid in the Chattanooga midfield in Week 3, completing 91% of his passes, dishing out seven accurate long balls, earning seven recoveries and winning five duels in just his second appearance for Chattanooga.
M – Rafa Mentzingen, North Carolina FC: League One veteran Rafa Mentzingen scored his first for NCFC, becoming one of just a handful of players to score for three different League One clubs. Mentzingen’s match-winner was complemented by his eight recoveries, nine ground duels won and four fouls won.
F – Khalid Balogun, Lexington SC: After winning the penalty to set up Lexington’s first-ever goal in its season opener, Balogun bagged LSC’s first goal from open play in the fifth minute of the match in Cary. The 24-year-old forward added to his solid outing with 12 duels and seven fouls won to become the first Lexington player to be named to the Team of the Week.
F – Owayne Gordon, Richmond Kickers: Veteran Jamaican forward Owayne Gordon leveled Richmond’s match against Charlotte with his 25th-minute score. Ultra-efficient in Richmond’s slim loss, Gordon completed 81% of his passes, placed 100% of his two shots on target, completed 100% of his four dribbles and won 88% of his duels.
Bench: Mitch North (CV), Devin Benton (NC), Bruno Rendon (NCO), Marky Hernandez (NCO), Nortei Nortey (NCO), Dane Kelly (CLT), Stefan Lukic (NCO)