ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The USL Championship revealed the Team of the Week for Week 18 of the 2023 regular season on Tuesday, with Tampa Bay Rowdies forward Cal Jennings and midfielder Sebastian Dalgaard making the cut on the back of their contributions in the 3-0 win over Oakland Roots SC this past Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium.
Jennings notched his first hat trick for the Rowdies and the third of his career to propel the club to victory over Oakland. The 26-year-old attacker opened the scoring in the 8th minute with a tidy first-timed touch between the legs of keeper Paul Blanchette. Jennings added a second goal through a superb individual effort in the 41st minute, dribbling 30 yards down the field past a few defenders before slotting a low strike into the net. Jennings completed his hat trick in the 58th minute with another tremendous finish off his first touch at the near post.
This is Jennings’ second Team of the Week selection of the season. The first-year Rowdies player has been on a tear in recent weeks, adding six goals and an assist in his last three appearances. Jennings now leads the Rowdies with eight goals on the season, putting him just two back of the current USL Championship Golden Boot leader, Manuel Arteaga.
Dalgaard earns his first Team of the Week spot of the year after providing the assist on two of Jennings’ goals. The Danish winger threaded a perfect ball for Jennings to convert for the first goal of the night. Dalgaard then danced his way into the box in the 58th minute, shaking off a defender and directing a cross directly to the feet of Jennings for the third goal. The 31-year-old also completed 26 of his 31 passes while winning 4 of 6 duels and 2 of 2 aerial duels.
Now in his third season with Tampa Bay, Dalgaard is currently tied for the league lead in assists with five so far. The veteran midfielder recently made his 100th appearance overall for the Rowdies, becoming the third player this season to reach the milestone.
USL Championship Team of the Week – Week 18
GK – Antony Siaha, Monterey Bay F.C.: Siaha recorded a six-save shutout to earn his side a point in a scoreless draw against El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday night, including four saves on shots inside the penalty area.
D – Wahab Ackwei, Rio Grande Valley FC: Ackwei scored the game-winning goal in the Toros’ 2-0 victory against Orange County SC on Sunday night, hit the woodwork with another chance off a corner kick and won 2 of 2 aerial duels while completing 35 of 41 passes overall.
D – Mitchell Taintor, San Antonio FC: Taintor recorded five interceptions and nine recoveries while making two clearances and winning 4 of 6 duels defensively and notched a pair of chances created as a target at set pieces in the attacking half.
D – Erik McCue, El Paso Locomotive FC: McCue won 7 of 7 duels and 3 of 4 tackles as Locomotive FC posted a shutout in its 0-0 draw at Monterey Bay F.C. while also recording two blocked shots, five clearances and eight recoveries and completing 35 of 45 passes.
M – Jorge Hernandez, San Antonio FC: Hernandez recorded a goal and two assists in his side’s 4-0 victory against Memphis 901 FC and completed 16 of 20 passes overall and made five recoveries defensively.
M – Steven Echevarria, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: Echevarria recorded the first two-goal game of his career in the Switchbacks’ 4-0 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. on Tuesday night and completed 21 of 24 passes while winning 3 of 5 duels defensively.
M – Jonathan Ricketts, Rio Grande Valley FC: Ricketts scored the insurance goal in the Toros’ 2-0 victory against Orange County SC on Sunday night, capping a performance in which he completed 37 of 47 passes and 2 of 3 dribbles while winning 5 of 7 duels, 4 of 4 aerial duels, and made seven recoveries.
M – Sebastian Dalgaard, Tampa Bay Rowdies: The Danish winger recorded a pair of assists in his side’s 3-0 victory against Oakland Roots SC and completed 26 of 31 passes overall while winning 4 of 6 duels and 2 of 2 aerial duels defensively.
F – Tani Oluwaseyi, San Antonio FC: Oluwaseyi recorded a first-half hat trick – his second of the season, becoming the first player in SAFC history to record multiple hat tricks for the club – to lead San Antonio to a 4-0 victory on the road against Memphis 901 FC and had eight shots overall in the contest.
F – Cal Jennings, Tampa Bay Rowdies: Jennings recorded the third hat trick of his career to lead the Tampa Bay Rowdies to a 3-0 victory against Oakland Roots SC on Saturday night while also completing 9 of 13 passes and winning 2 of 3 aerial duels as he put all five of his shots on target on the night.
F – Enzo Martinez, Birmingham Legion FC: Martinez recorded one goal and two assists in Legion FC’s 3-3 draw with Las Vegas Lights FC, recording five shots overall and hitting the woodwork once while also winning 4 of 5 tackles, 5 of 5 duels and 1 of 1 aerial duels.
Bench: Jordan Farr (SA), Morey Doner (MB), Ruxi (TUL), Tyler Pasher (BHM), Houssou Landry (LDN), Evan Conway (SD), Tabort Etaka Preston (LV)