TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 11 of the 2023 regular season with Union Omaha forward Noe Meza named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball with his two-goal, one-assist week for the Owls.
Although the Owls picked up just one point from two Week 11 matches, Meza continued to shine in his second professional season. The 25-year-old Sunnyside, Wash. native helped Omaha jump out to a 3-1 lead over Greenville on Wednesday with a headed assist on Pedro Dolabella’s opening score and a 17-minute brace in the second half. The brace was the third of Meza’s Omaha career, which surpasses JP Scearce’s two and positions Meza as the club's all-time leader in braces.
"I’m just glad to help the team in whatever way I can, and I’m happy to get two on the night," Meza said after the draw with Greenville. "I thought we started off the match strong. We scored some great team goals. It was unfortunate at the end to not close off the game, but we’ll learn from it."
"It’s just about sticking to the program, sticking to the process, keeping belief in what we’re doing because you watch the football and some of it is incredible," Omaha Head Coach Dominic Casciato said. "We're super organized and tough to break down, but then in little moments, we’re having lapses, and that’s costing us now, so it’s just about sticking to the plan and staying focused and switched on mentally. And again, if we do that, these draws will start turning into wins, and we’ll be sitting pretty in the table."
Following a fantastic debut professional season in 2022 consisting of nine goals and four assists in league play, Meza is poised to surpass his production from a season ago. While Meza averaged a goal contribution every 165 minutes in 2022, the 25-year-old forward is now averaging a goal contribution every 118 minutes.
Northern Colorado’s four goals sent past Central Valley earns the Hailstorm a league-best four players named to the Team of the Week and Team of the Week Bench. Charlotte, South Georgia and Omaha join Northern Colorado with multiple players named to the starting lineup and bench. In total, nine of the 12 teams in action in Week 11 are recognized with the weekly honor, matching a season high.
GK - Austin Pack, Charlotte Independence: The only goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in Week 11, Pack tallied six saves in Charlotte’s 3-0 victory over Chattanooga to add to his league-leading 43 saves.
D - Nick Akoto, South Georgia Tormenta FC: Akoto recorded his first professional goal to earn South Georgia a point against Richmond. The 24-year-old defender also registered eight duels won, five recoveries, three crosses completed and two clearances.
D - Jan-Erik Leinhos, One Knoxville SC: The German defender tallied his first professional assist to help Knoxville to a 1-1 draw with Lexington to go along with three duels won, three recoveries and the best passing score on the week with his 90% completion rate, according to American Soccer Analysis.
D - Bruno Rendón, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: The first-year Hailstorm defender has proven a pivotal addition to one of the league’s top defensive units. Rendón recorded 14 recoveries, 11 duels won, six tackles won and three clearances in Northern Colorado’s huge home-opener victory.
D – Tate Robertson, Lexington SC: Robertson registered his third assist of the season – the most amongst defenders this season – to help Lexington to a 1-1 draw with Knoxville on Saturday. The 25-year-old also won seven duels, earned five recoveries and tallied a pair of interceptions.
M - Devin Boyce, Greenville Triumph SC: In his first match at Werner Park since winning the 2021 League One title, the former Owl recorded his first goal contributions since that match, tallying a goal and assist to help Greenville rally back for a draw against his former club.
M - Luis Gil, Union Omaha: The former United States Men’s National Team midfielder tallied nine chances created on the week – the most in Week 11 – to boost his league-leading total to 24 on the young season. The 29-year-old also added 11 duels won, a week-high eight completed crosses and seven recoveries across two Week 11 matches.
M - Billy King, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Longtime Scottish Premiership and League of Ireland Premier Division winger Billy King has started to find his footing with Northern Colorado. The former Scotland youth international assisted the Hailstorm’s opener and scored the match-winning score whilst completing over 91% of his passes.
M - Stephen Payne, Forward Madison FC: The former United States youth international tallied his first pair of goal contributions since joining Madison in the offseason, assisting both of FMFC’s two goals in the side’s 2-1 victory in Omaha.
F - Trevor Amann, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Now leading a tight Golden Boot race, the northern Colorado native has fittingly become the Hailstorm’s all-time scoring leader with his third brace in four matches.
F - Noe Meza, Union Omaha: The only player with three goal contributions on the week, Meza scored twice and assisted once in Omaha’s 3-3 draw with Greenville. Across two Week 11 contests, Meza won five duels, created four chances and led the league with 0.68 goals added, according to American Soccer Analysis.
Bench: Lalo Delgado (NCO), Shaft Brewer Jr. (OMA), Omar Ciss (CLT), Tobias Otieno (TRM), Justin Sukow (RIC), Pedro Dolabella (OMA)