TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 7 of the 2023 regular season with Union Omaha forward Noe Meza named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after recording his second professional brace in Omaha’s victory over Northern Colorado.
In the side’s return to Werner Park, Omaha was gifted an early advantage in the 15th minute as Hailstorm midfielder Stefan Lukic was shown his second yellow card in the span of seven minutes. After a long-range Junior Palacios racket off a free kick to open the scoring, Meza took over. In the third minute of stoppage time, Meza chested a ball down before unleashing a perfect bicycle kick at a tight angle.
"I saw the ball go to Pedro Dolabella's head and I knew he was going to win it," Meza said. "Getting in front of the defender and gathering it off my chest was a skill I’ve done in training before. I hadn’t done it in a game before and it was an amazing feeling once I saw the ball in the back of the net."
"Noe does what Noe does," Omaha Head Coach Dominic Casciato said. "When he gets in and around the box, there’s nobody better. I'm really pleased with him for that finish."
Securing the match-winning score and his second professional brace, Meza finished a well-timed Luis Gil pass at the near post in the 56th minute to eventually confirm the Omaha victory.
"I'm grateful to be named Player of the Week," Meza said. "It was great to get the win at home this past weekend. I’m thankful for all the support from family, friends and fans, and I'm motivated to keep working hard and helping my team succeed in any way I can."
"I'm really pleased that Noe picked up Player of the Week honors after his two goals at the weekend against Northern Colorado," Casciato added. "It’s an award well deserved. The best thing about Noe is he will be thinking about the two opportunities he missed in the game, not the ones that he scored, and work even harder in training so that when he’s in those situations next time he will capitalize on all of them."
Knoxville, Madison and North Carolina see a joint-high two players recognized as Team of the Week starters following position results, while Chattanooga, Madison, Omaha and Richmond split players between the Team of the Week and Team of the Week Bench.
GK - Austin Pack, Charlotte Independence: Earning his third consecutive clean sheet and second consecutive Team of the Week honor, Pack recorded a week-high seven saves to help the Jacks remain undefeated.
D - Nicolás Cardona, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: Cardona scored his third professional goal just two minutes after Lexington opened the scoring, helping Chattanooga to a come-from-behind victory. The Puerto Rico international completed 97% of his passes, won six duels and recorded six clearances.
D - Michael Hornsby, Richmond Kickers: First-year Kicker Michael Hornsby tallied his first goal contribution in a Richmond shirt, assisting Justin Sukow’s match-winning goal in the 41st minute against the defending champions. Hornsby also won eight duels, two fouls and added six recoveries.
D - Sean O’Hearn, One Knoxville SC: The former USYNT defender and New England Revolution II man helped Knoxville to a clean sheet victory over Fuego FC in Fresno. The 24-year-old defender won eight duels, reeled in seven recoveries and completed 80% of his passes.
D - Mitch Osmond, Forward Madison FC: The ‘Mingo captain guided Madison to its second clean sheet of the season, this time against the league’s top team. Osmond completed 84% of his 56 passes while adding eight duels won, seven recoveries and six accurate long balls.
M - Isidro Martinez, Forward Madison FC: First-year Madison man Isidro Martinez proved incredibly efficient in FMFC’s scoreless draw with Charlotte. Martinez tallied an 85% passing accuracy to go along with 14 recoveries, eight accurate long balls, five chances created, five duels won, four interceptions and two fouls earned.
M - Rafa Mentzingen, North Carolina FC: Despite having an early penalty kick saved, Mentzingen added to his league-best scoring total with another score from the spot in the 37th minute. The Brazilian also won six duels, five fouls and tallied four recoveries.
M - Louis Perez, North Carolina FC: Perez put away a saved Mentzingen penalty attempt in the 19th minute to help NCFC to the top of the table. The Frenchman won collected seven recoveries, won five duels, and created a pair of chances.
M - Yesin van der Pluijm, One Knoxville SC: One of numerous OKSC players to reunite with their former college coach Mark McKeever in Knoxville, van der Pluijm scored his first professional goal in the dying moments of a scoreless match in Fresno. In addition to netting the match-winner, the Dutch midfielder completed 82% of his passes, nine long balls, and won seven recoveries.
F - Trevor Amann, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Coming in following the halftime intermission, Amann bagged a 21-minute brace to help a 10-man Hailstorm nearly erase a three-goal Omaha lead. Amann won 100% of his duels and a pair of fouls, helping the Westminster, Colo. native to the second-best goals-added mark on the week, according to American Soccer Analysis.
F - Noe Meza, Union Omaha: Meza recorded the second brace of his two-year professional career, with his 11-minute double propelling Omaha to a victory over then-undefeated Northern Colorado. The 25-year-old forward completed 81% of his passes, won five duels and earned five recoveries.
Bench: Bernd Schipmann (MAD), Nathan Aune (RIC), Manuel Madrid (CHA), Derek Gebhard (MAD), Luis Gil (OMA), Ropapa Mensah (CHA), Emiliano Terzaghi (RIC)