TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 21 of the 2023 regular season with Lexington SC forward Ates Diouf named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball with the first hat trick of his career and first in Lexington history.
Already with a brace on the year against one of the league's most formidable opponents in Northern Colorado, Diouf started off the match in Windsor by unleashing a long-range rocket to open the scoring and confirm LSC's fastest-ever goal just over three minutes into the match. After falling behind late in the match, Diouf led Lexington's second-half surge, heading in a Tate Robertson cross in the 65th minute before pouncing on a Hailstorm turnover in stoppage time and securing Lexington's remarkable 4-3 victory.
With his perfect hat trick in his second meeting with Northern Colorado, Diouf's five goals scored against the Hailstorm on the season match the second-most goals scored by a single player against a single opponent over the course of a regular season. Additionally, Diouf joins Lyam MacKinnon (GVL) and Noe Meza (OMA) as the only players this season to be named Player of the Week on multiple occasions.
"I am very happy to be announced Player of the Week," Diouf said. "This would not be possible without the help of my teammates and coaching staff. I look forward to continuing to improve my game."
"We are all delighted for Ates, he’s been working very hard," Lexington Head Coach and Sporting Director Sam Stockley said. "For him to score a perfect hat trick – left foot, right foot and a header – against a very, very good team and for him to help us with our comeback victory was a delight for him. He’s working so hard, and he’s a great character, a great person, and a fantastic player. It’s great to see him finally start getting the goals he deserves."
With a league-leading six points won in Week 21, Omaha lead all clubs with four players named to the Team of the Week. In total, 10 of the 12 clubs in action earn representation on the list.
GK - Carlos Avilez, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: Avilez totaled three saves and matched a week-low one goal conceded to help the Red Wolves earn a point in Fresno. The former United States and Mexico youth international recorded the second-best goals-added mark on the week among goalkeepers, according to American Soccer Analysis.
D - Shaft Brewer Jr., Union Omaha: The RB Leipzig academy product helped Omaha snag a six-point week with his 10 recoveries, six duels won, three chances created and 86% passing accuracy. According to American Soccer Analysis, Brewer Jr.'s 0.42 goals added were the most among all defenders in Week 21.
D - Simon Fitch, Richmond Kickers: The hometown defender completed over 90% of his passes, delivered eight accurate long balls, won five duels and three chances created. Fitch maintained the highest passing score on the week, according to American Soccer Analysis.
D - Luca Mastrantonio, Union Omaha: Guiding Omaha to a six-point Week 21 and allowing just one goal, Mastrantonio led the league with his 16 long balls completed and added 11 recoveries, 11 duels won, four interceptions and completed nearly 80% of his passes.
D - Jordan Skelton, One Knoxville SC: Skelton reeled in eight recoveries, completed five long balls, won four duels, tallied a week-high four blocks and added three interceptions, all while completing over 88% of his passes.
M - Conor Doyle, Union Omaha: The MLS veteran tallied his first goal of the season in match-winning fashion on Saturday. Doyle added 16 recoveries, 11 completed long balls, eight duels and created a joint-league-high four chances across two matches.
M - Tate Robertson, Lexington SC: The first-year League One defender has worked his way up the pitch, filling the role of midfielder in Week 21. Robertson tallied his first career multi-goal-contribution match with his goal and assist against Northern Colorado, and added nine recoveries and nine duels won across two matches.
M - JP Scearce, Union Omaha: The Owls’ all-time appearances leader moved up to second among Omaha’s regular season goal contributors with a goal and assist in Week 21. The Omaha captain won 17 duels, 13 recoveries, five fouls and tallied four interceptions.
F - Trevor Amann, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Amann’s historic season continued with his record sixth brace of the season. With 13 matches remaining, the 25-year-old forward is three goals shy of setting a new league record for most goals in a single regular season. According to American Soccer Analysis, Amann's goals-added figure was nearly triple that of the next-best performer on the week.
F - Leo Castro, Greenville Triumph SC: The veteran’s surprise move to League One in the offseason has been paying dividends as the 34-year-old goalscorer is enjoying his most productive campaign since his 2015-16 season with Mamelodi Sundowns FC in South Africa. Castro recorded his second brace in as many weeks and won five duels and three recoveries in just 75 minutes of Week 21 action.
F - Ates Diouf, Lexington SC: Diouf tallied his first professional hat trick and the first in LSC history as he led Lexington to a remarkable, upset victory over Northern Colorado. The 23-year-old added 11 duels won, seven recoveries and five fouls won to his productive two-match week.
Bench: Brooks Thompson (NC), Dakota Barnathan (RIC), Kaelon Fox (LEX), Lucky Opara (NCO), Rafa Mentzingen (NC), Dane Kelly (CLT), Kazaiah Sterling (TRM)