TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 19 of the 2023 regular season with Greenville Triumph SC forward Leo Castro named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball with the eighth brace of his decorated 15-year professional career.
The 34-year-old Castro - a former CAF Champions League winner and longtime Kaizer Chiefs FC and Mamelodi Sundowns FC star - has flourished in his first season in Greenville. Already the second-oldest goalscorer in League One history, the Colombian forward has enjoyed fantastic form as of late, scoring four goals across his last five matches to help Greenville to a 4-1-0 record in that span.
Castro recorded his first brace in a Triumph SC shirt against Peach States Derby rival South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday, tapping in a perfectly-weighted Noah Pilato through ball in the fourth minute before confirming his side’s derby victory with a headed score in the 25th minute.
"Full credit to our team," Greenville Head Coach John Harkes said after the victory in Statesboro. "The players were unbelievably gritty tonight. They sacrificed so much and they pushed hard. The way the midweek loss happened in Charlotte, going into stoppage time and then losing so late like that, put a chip on their shoulder.
"It’s hard to accept that kind of loss, and they came here against a very good side and competed so well. Great goals tonight – Leo [Castro] is just so intelligent in the box and had great finishes on great passes from the guys. I’m very proud."
For the first time in club history, Lexington place more starters on the Team of the Week than any other club, while Charlotte, Greenville, and Northern Colorado also place at least two starters on the Team of the Week. In total, eight of the 10 teams in action in Week 19 are represented on the Team of the Week.
GK - Amal Knight, Lexington SC: The Jamaica International helped Lexington to a massive, 3-0 clean-sheet victory over Omaha with five saves on the evening. Knight helped LSC to its largest win in club history, completing nine long passes and grabbing seven recoveries.
D - Jordan Chavez, Central Valley Fuego FC: Enjoying the first multi-goal-contribution match of his career, Chavez helped Fuego FC to its first-ever victory over Charlotte with an assist and match-winning goal. The defender also created four chances, won six duels and recorded six recoveries.
D - Clay Dimick, Charlotte Independence: The Charlotte captain scored his second goal of the season to help the Jacks down Greenville, 1-0, on Wednesday. In addition to maintaining the highest passing score on the week, according to American Soccer Analysis, Dimick tallied eight clearances, seven duels won and five recoveries.
D - Brandon Fricke, Greenville Triumph SC: Fricke was productive along Greenville’s backline across a pair of matches, leading the league with 19 clearances on the week and adding 10 duels won, five recoveries and five completed long balls to help Triumph SC concede just two goals through 180 minutes.
D - Lucky Opara, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Opara netted his first Hailstorm goal in Northern Colorado’s 3-1 victory over Richmond. The Nigerian defender reeled in 13 recoveries, completed 11 long passes and won four duels to go along with his 83% passing accuracy.
M - Billy King, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: The Scottish goalscorer has prolonged his stellar form to help Northern Colorado to a 12-match unbeaten streak. King scored the third of the Hailstorm’s three goals against Richmond last weekend and totaled six duels won, six recoveries, three dribbles completed and three chances created.
M - Tresor Mbuyu, Charlotte Independence: In addition to bagging a surefire Goal of the Year candidate against Fuego FC on Saturday, Mbuyu tallied 12 recovers, 10 duels won, six successful long passes, four completed dribbles and a quartet of chances created across two matches. Mbuyu’s 0.67 goals-added mark was the most on the week, according to American Soccer Analysis.
M - Terique Mohammed, Lexington SC: The former Canada youth international has enjoyed a successful return to League One, becoming the first player in Lexington history to record a multi-assist match in his side’s largest-ever victory on Saturday. Along with his two assists against Omaha, Mohammed won seven duels, registered five recoveries and won a pair of tackles.
F - Leo Castro, Greenville Triumph SC: Now with the most goals in a single season of his career since the 2015-16 campaign with Sundowns in South Africa, Castro recorded a brace, won a joint-league-high 17 duels, earned five recoveries and completed over 80% of his passes across a pair of Week 19 matches.
F - Ates Diouf, Lexington SC: The Senegalese striker is in the midst of his most productive professional season and added to his impressive 2023 totals with a goal against Omaha - his third consecutive match with a score. Diouf proved efficient across the pitch, completing over 90% of his passes and winning nine duels.
F - Chevone Marsh, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: The first-year Red Wolf and former Jamaica international tallied his second brace in as many matches - becoming just the fourth player in league history to do so - to help Chattanooga to a 3-2 Smoky Mountain Smackdown victory over rivals Knoxville.
Bench: Jared Mazzola (GVL), Dani Fernández (KNX), Avionne Flanagan (CLT), Matheus Cassini (TRM), Omar Ciss (CLT), Miguel Ibarra (CLT), Jimmie Villalobos (KNX)