TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 9 of the 2023 regular season with Lexington SC goalkeeper Amal Knight named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball with his six-save, clean-sheet victory over the Charlotte Independence.
Lexington SC’s Amal Knight, the 29-year-old Jamaica international, recorded the 14th clean sheet of his senior club and international career in spectacular fashion on Saturday evening. Knight tallied five crucial stops ahead of the 60th minute before the Charlotte attack cooled off. Khalid Balogun granted Lexington a one-goal advantage in the 78th minute, but a brief lightning delay in the 86th minute had the potential to derail the LSC momentum.
After the resumption of play, and with just 18 seconds remaining in the four minutes of announced stoppage time, Lexington defender Kaelon Fox conceded a penalty that saw Khori Bennett have a chance to earn the Jacks a goal and a point. Knight, though, made a massive save against fellow Jamaican Bennett - the first penalty miss of his career - that saw Lexington secure a massive home victory.
"I’ve been training really well, and I’ve been trusting that training," Knight said. "I got my opportunity tonight to come in and do my thing and I really felt good. I’d been making saves all night, so I knew going into the penalty I had to help out the team and that’s what I did. I came up big, and I thank God we got three points."
Knight’s six saves in Lexington’s 1-0 victory over second-place Charlotte serve as the most in a single match for a Lexington goalkeeper, and Lexington’s goals conceded minus expected goals conceded mark of -2.10 is the second-best margin across the league this season.
"That’s what this game does. It’s such a beautiful game and it can take you from the highest of highs to the lowest low and back to the highest high in a matter of seconds,” Lexington Head Coach Sam Stockley said of Knight's Penalty save. "We honestly felt we were hard done at Chattanooga where we dominated the game and we had a difficult 90 seconds that cost us. Today it evens out. I couldn’t be more proud of the team, the staff and the club. It’s just a wonderful moment for us to be able to get three points. The season carries on but we’ll enjoy this one tonight."
Madison leads all clubs with three starters named to the Team of the Week, while Lexington, Northern Colorado and Greenville place multiple starters on the list. Five of the eight teams in action in Week 9 placed at least one player on the Team of the Week and one player on the Team of the Week Bench.
GK - Amal Knight, Lexington SC: The Jamaica international registered his first League One clean sheet with six saves, one of which was a massive penalty save in stoppage time to secure the Lexington victory.
D - Nathan Aune, Richmond Kickers: Aune scored his second goal in three matches and helped the Kickers erase a two-goal deficit against Greenville in the second half. The 26-year-old defender won 80% of his duels and tackles and recorded five recoveries and three clearances.
D - Rob Cornwall, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: The Hailstorm captain won 82% of his duels and four fouls while tallying four recoveries, three clearances and two interceptions in Northern Colorado’s Week 9 victory.
D - Brandon Fricke, Greenville Triumph SC: The 31-year-old defender became the third player in league history to score in all five seasons with his 27th-minute score on Saturday. Fricke added three clearances and two aerial duels won to his impressive outing.
D - Terique Mohammed, Lexington SC: Lexington’s young Canadian defender proved efficient in the expansion side’s big shutout victory over Charlotte. Mohammed registered four clearances, three recoveries, three duels won, two chances created and maintained an 81% passing accuracy.
D - Mitch Osmond, Forward Madison FC: The ‘Mingo captain knocked in his first Madison goal in FMFC’s convincing 2-0 victory over first-place North Carolina FC. The veteran Australian completed 90% of his 59 passes, earned seven recoveries, blocked two shots and won two duels.
M - Lucas Coutinho, Greenville Triumph SC: The 29-year-old Brazilian has already eclipsed his single-season scoring record just eight matches into 2023. Coutinho scored once again on Saturday and added 10 recoveries, six duels won, three successful dribbles and a trio of chances created.
M - Derek Gebhard, Forward Madison FC: Gebhard was instrumental in Madison’s big Week 9 victory, completing 92% of his passes, recording two clearances, creating two chances and winning two fouls.
M - Miguel Ibarra, Charlotte Independence: The former United States international has continued his efficiency at 33 years old, recording five chances created, an 86% passing accuracy, a 93% long ball accuracy, five recoveries and two duels won.
M - Isidro Martínez, Forward Madison FC: Martínez enjoyed the third two-goal-contribution match of his career, scoring the match-winning goal in the 14th minute and assisting Osmond’s goal in the 68th minute. The 26-year-old midfielder also earned seven recoveries, won six duels and won a pair of fouls.
F - Trevor Amann, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: The Westminster, Colo. native has continued his hot start to his second professional season, registering a goal and an assist in the Hailstorm’s 2-1 victory in Knoxville. After averaging a goal or assist every 169 minutes across all competitions in 2022, Amann is now averaging a goal or assist every 70 minutes.
Bench: Austin Pack (CLT), Jacob Crull (MAD), Michael Hornsby (RIC), Arthur Rogers (NCO), Jake Keegan (KNX), Khalid Balogun (LEX), Billy King (NCO)