With the month of May underway, we return to our Eastern Conference Best XI, this time, for Week 7!
Goalkeeper: Odisnel Cooper, Charleston Battery: 2390 pts*
Cooper recorded his second shutout of the season, leading the Battery to a fourth consecutive match unbeaten. Cooper also finds himself in the top five of saves in the Eastern Conference with 18.
Defender: O’Brian Woodbine, Charleston Battery: 2616 pts
Despite not recording an appearance through the first three matches for Charleston, O’Brian Woodbine has quickly become a staple of the back line. He is second on the team in tackles (8) and would probably be near the top of the club in that category if he had featured in those opening matches.
Defender: Taylor Washington, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2473 pts
Recording six interceptions on the night, Taylor Washington has made it a habit of interrupting attacking play. His 33 interceptions on the year lead the Riverhounds in the category.
Defender: Justin Bilyeu, New York Red Bulls II: 2433 pts
Despite earning a yellow card on 50’, the NYRB II captain makes an appearance on this week’s Best XI. Bilyeu recorded an assist to a Douglas Martinez goal at the 79th minute, cementing a victory over Harrisburg.
Defender: Matt Bahner, FC Cincinnati: 2199 pts
As a defender, Bahner has made himself a part of FCC’s offense in a big way. Creating two chances, with an assist in a 1-1 result against Richmond, Bahner makes his case for being one of FC Cincinnati’s top defenders.
Defender: Jamal Jack, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2093 pts
Defenders earn as much, maybe even more credit for preserving shutouts, and for performances like Jamal Jack’s is why. Jack had 8 clearances vs Toronto FC II, frustrating the TFC II offense through 90 minutes.
Defender: Damion Lowe, Tampa Bay Rowdies: 1967 pts
A staple of the first Teams of the Week, Damion Lowe makes a triumphant return to this week’s list. Leading the Rowdies in interceptions, Lowe added four more to that tally with a shutout result against former NASL counterpart, Ottawa.
Midfielder: Victor Souto, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 3425 pts, Player of the Week
Victor Souto was everywhere for Pittsburgh’s win on Wednesday night. Scoring the match’s only goal, his first tally of the season no less. Souto also posted eight tackles and eight interceptions on the night, a performance more than worthy for Player of the Week.
Midfielder: Marshall Hollingsworth, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2241 pts
Goals are scored by creating chances, and Hollingsworth did just that for Pittsburgh. The Columbus Crew SC loanee recorded an assist while creating five chances in the match.
Forward: Ataulla Guerra, Charleston Battery: 2326 pts
If not having April’s Player of the Month, Romario Williams, in the lineup spelled trouble for the Battery, someone didn’t tell Ataulla Guerra. The Trindad & Tobago striker scored the only goal in another win for Charleston on Saturday. Guerra is tied for second on the team in goals with three.
Forward: Brandon Allen, New York Red Bulls II: 2555 pts
With two penalty goals in a 3-1 win over Harrisburg, 2016 USL Rookie of the Year, Brandon Allen, makes his debut on the Team of the Week in an impressive way.
Goalkeeper: Trey Mitchell, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2390 pts*
Defender: Joseph Greenspan, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 1899 pts
Midfielder: Jimmy McLaughlin, FC Cincinnati: 1950 pts
Forward: Douglas Martinez, New York Red Bulls II: 1963 pts
*Denotes Cooper won the tiebreaker due to more saves in their respective matches. Cooper posted 3 vs Bethlehem, Mitchell had 2 vs Toronto FC II.
The race for the goalkeeper on the Best XI this week was a close one, with Odisnel Cooper barely edging out Trey Mitchell on saves despite the two being level on points earned this week. This is the first time all season that there was tie at goalkeeper, in what was a low-scoring week for the Eastern Conference as a whole.
Pittsburgh walk away as the big winners this week, sending four players to the Best XI, including two more earning honorable mentions. The Riverhounds took both spots in the midfield, including one by Player of the Week, Victor Souto. Charleston and New York Red Bulls II both send multiple players to the Best XI this week, three players and two players respectively.
What do you think of this week’s Best XI? Which player not listed do you think is most deserving of a spot. Let us know in the comments below!