TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced the Team of the Week for Week 26 of the 2023 regular season with Union Omaha midfielder Pedro Dolabella named Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball with three goal contributions across a pair of Owls victories.
Less than a year since being named to the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro 2022 Best XI in his debut professional campaign, the Brasília, Brazil native and São Paulo FC youth product has put together a productive season in Omaha.
Kicking off Week 26, Dolabella headed in the opening score - his fourth of the season - against first-place NCFC and later assisted Joe Brito's goal in second-half stoppage time to confirm Omaha's league-record-breaking seventh consecutive victory.
"We knew at our house, they would have to respond to us, to our game, and we’ve been very deadly lately," Dolabella said after the NCFC match. "So many players are able to score, and we have a lot of weapons, and it was a great mentality from the team to be able to get a goal before the half."
"Great achievement for the guys and we’ve spoken about not getting too carried away," Omaha Head Coach Dominic Casciato said after setting the league record. "A lot of people on the outside are talking about winning seven games straight and being a league record and everything else. For us, I mean our feet are firmly on the ground, and we remember not so long ago we didn't win in seven games, so for us, it's about keeping things in balance, keeping things in perspective and just continuing to take it one game at a time."
To close out the week, Dolabella headed in his fifth of the season to open the scoring in Omaha's eventual victory against Players' Shield holders Richmond.
"I'm happy to score another goal and help our team keep the streak going," Dolabella said following Omaha's victory over Richmond. "We agreed in the locker room that our streak was not going to end tonight, now we keep going for another week. We're one step closer to our goals, but we know we haven't achieved anything, so this week, we're going to work even harder to focus on Chattanooga next weekend."
Just five clubs - Northern Colorado, North Carolina, Omaha, Charlotte and Lexington - placed starters on the Team of the Week. In total, seven of the 12 clubs in action in Week 26 earned representation on the Team of the Week or Team of the Week bench.
GK - Austin Pack, Charlotte Independence: Tied for a week-high seven stops on the week, Pack added to his league-leading save total and recorded his eighth clean sheet of the season in a 3-0 victory against Chattanooga.
D - Lucky Opara, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Adding an assist in Week 26 to his 2023 total, the Nigerian defender is enjoying his most productive campaign since his 2020 season with FK Spartaks in the Latvian Virslīga. Opara led the league with his five chances created and added 14 recoveries, 11 completed long passes and seven duels won across a pair of matches.
D - Arthur Rogers, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Nearing single-season league records for assists and chances created, Rogers switched roles in Week 26, scoring his first goal of the season off a free kick against Lexington. The productive defender tallied 12 completed long passes, 12 recoveries, 10 duels won and four chances created in two matches.
D - Nick Spielman, Charlotte Independence: Spielman has continued to anchor the Independence back line with his consistent and precise play. The first-year Jack maintained a week-high 12 clearances, won six duels, completed six long balls and completed nearly 93% of his passes in Charlotte’s shutout victory over Chattanooga.
M - Pedro Dolabella, Union Omaha: The second-year professional and first-year Owl tallied two goals and one assist to help Omaha extend its record-breaking winning streak. The Brazilian midfielder was the only player to tally three goal contributions on the week and also secured 16 duels won, nine completed long passes, four recoveries and three clearances in two Week 26 wins.
M - Luis Gil, Union Omaha: Looking to add another trophy to his collection, the former U.S. Open Cup and Copa MX winner has helped Omaha construct its record-breaking winning streak. Gil tallied his sixth assist on the season - a single-season career-high - on Noe Meza’s match-winning goal against North Carolina and scored the winner against Richmond on Saturday.
M - Marky Hernández, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC: Hernández recorded the seventh multi-goal-contribution match of his career with a one-goal, one-assist performance against Lexington. The Hailstorm midfielder added 13 duels won, nine recoveries and five tackles won to his side’s six-point week.
M - Rafa Mentzingen: North Carolina FC: With a goal in each of North Carolina’s two Week 26 matches, Rafa Mentzingen confirmed the most productive season of his career. The Brazilian midfielder not only tallied the match-winning score against Greenville on Saturday but also won eight duels and reeled in eight recoveries.
M - Jaden Servania, North Carolina FC: Since missing five matches to end the summer, Servania has registered either a goal or an assist in each of NCFC’s five matches since. In Week 26, the Puerto Rico international served up an assist against Omaha and scored a goal against Greenville.
F - Oalex Anderson, North Carolina FC: The former MLS Cup winner’s career-best campaign rolled along with an assist in each of North Carolina’s two Week 26 matches. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines international recorded six recoveries, five duels won and two interceptions.
F - Ates Diouf, Lexington SC: Fresh off a USL Championship title with San Antonio FC a season ago, Diouf has been one of the league’s biggest surprises. The 23-year-old Senegalese forward became the first player in Lexington history to achieve a double-digit scoring season with his brace against Central Valley on Sunday.
Bench: Sean Lewis (KNX), Jacob Crull (MAD), Avionne Flanagan (CLT), Alexis Souahy (OMA), Joe Brito (OMA), Noe Meza (OMA), Danny Robles (NCO)