Mfeka earns USL Player of the Week; Kelly, Hoppenot honored as well
RENO, Nev. – More than 450 players were on USL matchday lineups last week and not a single player had a better week than Reno 1868 midfielder Lindo Mfeka, who was voted the USL’s Player of the Week on Tuesday.
Mfeka received 52 percent of the votes conducted by a national panel of independent media representing every USL market. Phoenix Rising FC midfielder Alessandro Riggi finished second with 33 percent of the vote.
Mfeka recorded Reno’s third hat-trick of the season last week in a historic 3-0 win over OKC Energy FC. His three goals helped Reno both clinch a playoff spot and set a new USL record for most goals in a single season.
Reno’s current goal tally stands at 69, the most in the league’s six years of existence.
Mfeka’s week didn’t end Wednesday as the South African native played a pivotal role in Reno’s 6-1 rout of Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday. Mfeka scored his fourth goal of the week and also set up midfielder/forward Antoine Hoppenot, who also made the USL’s Starting XI this week, for a goal from a backheel pass.
That was the second of Hoppenot’s two goals Saturday as the veteran player scored earlier in the second half after a wide-open shot into the upper left corner.
Hoppenot’s 11th goal of the season helped Reno join an exclusive club.
Of the 30 USL clubs, Reno became the third this season to have two players with 10 or more goals. Joining Hoppenot is Golden Boot leader Dane Kelly, who made the reserves in this week’s USL Team of the Week.
Kelly scored two goals and recorded an assist in just 33 minutes of action on Saturday. The USL’s all-time leading scorer leads the USL this season with 18 goals.
Reno is back in action on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. in a heavyweight battle against Western Conference leader Real Monarchs SLC.
USL Team of the Week
GK – Fabian Cerda, Tulsa Roughnecks FC: Cerda recorded a five-save shutout, as the Roughnecks moved closer to a playoff berth with a 1-0 win against the LA Galaxy II.
D – William Yomby, Richmond Kickers: Yomby made six interceptions and nine clearances, as the Kickers earned a 1-0 victory against the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday night.
D – Hunter Gorskie, Tampa Bay Rowdies: Gorskie scored the only goal of the game and also put in a solid defensive display as the Rowdies moved into the Eastern Conference’s top four by defeating the Charlotte Independence.
D – Oumar Ballo, Swope Park Rangers: Ballo opened the scoring in the Rangers’ 3-1 win against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and also recorded eight clearances while going five of eight in duels.
M – Lewis Neal, Orlando City B: Neal scored a late game-winner to go with his earlier assist, as OCB gave its playoff hopes a major boost with a 2-1 victory against the Charleston Battery on Saturday.
M – Alessandro Riggi, Phoenix Rising FC: Riggi recorded two goals and two assists to lead Rising FC to a pair of victories, as Phoenix ran its undefeated streak to 10 games.
M – George Davis IV, Louisville City FC: Davis scored two goals in two games, as Louisville took four points from the week to extend its lead in the Eastern Conference to seven points.
M – Lindo Mfeka, Reno 1868 FC: Mfeka scored four goals in two games – including a hat trick against OKC Energy FC on Wednesday night – as Reno moved into second place in the Western Conference.
F – Antoine Hoppenot, Reno 1868 FC: Hoppenot notched a pair of goals, as Reno romped to a 6-1 victory against the Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday night at Greater Nevada Field.
F – Cory Burke, Bethlehem Steel FC: Burke tallied twice to help Steel FC take a big step toward a place in the playoffs with a 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday afternoon.
F – Heviel Cordoves, Charleston Battery: Cordoves scored three goals in two games, including a pair of goals on Wednesday night to help the Battery defeat the Charlotte Independence.
Bench: Matt Pickens (TBR), Jose Escalante (RGV), Jose Angulo (OKC), Kharlton Belmar (SPR), Dane Kelly (RNO), Seth Rudolph (STL), Corey Hertzog (PGH)