With the season in full swing, we present the Best XI for the Eastern Conference from week 3. Repeat appearances and dominance by one particular state are all that entails in this week’s team. Read up on our player rating methodology here, and you can find last week’s Best XI, here.
Best XI - Week 3
Goalkeeper: Jake McGuire, Bethlehem Steel FC: 3080 pts
Jake McGuire had five saves during a shutout win over FC Cincinnati. After only one match, McGuire finds himself in the top ten of saves in the Eastern Conference.
Defender: Jack Elliott, Bethlehem Steel FC: 3067 pts
As a defender, offensive opportunities are sometimes few and far between, which makes each chance more valuable. Elliott lead Bethlehem in long passes (19) on the day, as well as providing an assist.
Defender: Abbas Mohammed, Harrisburg City Islanders: 2816 pts
A defender’s bread and butter is tackles, and Abbas Mohammed has proven that he has a handle on that particular skill. Mohammed lead City Islanders in tackles with 10 in their win over the defending champs, increasing his season total to 17 tackles through 2 matches.
Defender: Damion Lowe, Tampa Bay Rowdies: 2669 pts
Damion Lowe is a staple of these early Best XI lists, making his third consecutive appearance this week. Lowe’s solid defense - he leads the Rowdies in clearances (18) and interceptions (11) - are the reasons for his consistent features on this list.
Midfielder: Seth Rudolph, Saint Louis FC: 2231 pts
After coming off the bench, Seth Rudolph scored a goal in the 84th minute that lifted Saint Louis FC to a 3-2 win over the Baby Bulls, and preserved Saint Louis’ unbeaten start to the season.
Midfielder: Alex Martinez, Charlotte Independence: 2271 pts
Leading the Independence in shots with five, Martinez has been instrumental in any attacking chance for the North Carolina club. In their 1-1 draw vs Orlando City B on Saturday night, Martinez provided an assist and created two chances.
Midfielder: Marshall Hollingsworth, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2445 pts
Marshall Hollingsworth - on loan from Columbus Crew SC - scored an equalizing goal for the Riverhounds on Saturday, off his first shot of the season.
Forward: Corey Hertzog, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2715 pts
After a one week absence from the Best XI, Hertzog returns with a tour de force, scoring the winning goal for Pittsburgh in a 2-1 win over Charleston.
Forward: Seku Conneh, Bethlehem Steel FC: 4783 pts, Player of the Week
Notching a brace, and leading the club with nine shots, Conneh provided a boost to Bethlehem’s attack. Even a missed PK does not take away from his Player of the Week performance.
Forward: Manolo Sanchez, Harrisburg City Islanders: 2792 pts
After providing Harrisburg’s lone goal in its 1-0 win over New York Red Bulls II, Manolo Sanchez features on the Eastern Conference Best XI for the first time this season.
Forward: Georgi Hristov, Tampa Bay Rowdies: 2770 pts
With 3 goals in 3 matches, Hristov is on track for a 32 goal season, and has set the pace for any other goalscorer in the Eastern Conference.
Goalkeeper: Brandon Miller, Harrisburg City Islanders: 2410 pts
Defender: Lalas Abubakar, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2608 pts
Midfielder: Paul Clowes, Orlando City B: 2227.4 pts*
Forward: Hadji Barry, Orlando City B: 2643 pts
Weighted Average of two matches this week = (1.0*Higher match Rating) + (0.3*Lower match rating)
The Pennsylvania USL clubs (Bethlehem, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh) are represented quite well in this week’s Best XI with combined SEVEN players. Bethlehem leads all teams this week by sending three players to the Team of the Week, including Seku Conneh, who earns Player of the Week honors.
Georgi Hristov and Damion Lowe each make their third straight appearance on the Best XI, having featured on every list published this season. As long as Tampa Bay keeps playing high-quality soccer, look for Hristov and Lowe to keep making appearances among the best of the best of the East.
Corey Hertzog also returns to the list this week for his second appearance of the season. With three goals on the season, Hertzog remains in a close race for the Golden Boot of the Eastern Conference, alongside the previously mentioned, Georgi Hristov.
What are your thoughts on this week’s Best XI for the Eastern Conference? Which player not named to the team do you think is most deserving a spot? Let us know in the comments below?