TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week Presented by Cleer Audio for Week 25 of the 2021 regular season on Tuesday, with Tacoma Defiance forward Samuel Adeniran being voted Player of the Week after recording the second hat trick in the Defiance’s history to lead a 4-1 victory against Orange County SC on Saturday night at Cheney Stadium that provided a major boost for Tacoma’s playoff prospects.
The Texas native has been one of the leaders for the Defiance this season and on Saturday night helped the side break out of a month-long slump with his biggest performance to date. Adeniran opened the scoring less than a minute into the second half after smartly intercepting an attempted clearance and firing home a power shot before adding another goal in the 52nd minute with a well-taken finish off a through-ball by Danny Robles. He then capped the performance in stoppage time, becoming the first player since Darwin Jones in 2015 to record a hat trick for Tacoma.
Adeniran earned 50 percent of the ballot to claim the award. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC goalkeeper Danny Vitiello finished second on 38 percent as he recorded a four-save shutout that included a key penalty kick save on Sunday night as the Hounds ended the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ nine-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory at Highmark Stadium.
The Championship’s Player of the Week is selected by the USL National Media Panel, which is made up of representatives from each media market in the Championship.
GK – Danny Vitiello, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: 2020’s Championship Golden Glove winner recorded a four-save shutout as the Hounds ended the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ nine-game winning streak on Sunday, including a key penalty kick save early in the second half to keep the hosts ahead at Highmark Stadium.
D – Emrah Klimenta, Oakland Roots SC: The veteran scored the decisive goal against former club Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday night in a 2-1 win for Roots SC and over two contests complete 100 of 122 passes, won 12 of 19 duels and made 22 recoveries.
D – Gaoussou Samake, Loudoun United FC: Gaoussou Samake put in a strong display on the back line for Loudoun in its 3-2 upset of Miami FC on Sunday, winning 10 of 14 duels and making 10 recoveries while in attack completing 5 of 6 dribbles and completing 52 of 56 passes.
D – Mikey Lopez, Birmingham Legion FC: Mikey Lopez put in a stellar display with 10 recoveries and three tackles while winning 6 of 9 duels and completing 51 of 60 passes in Birmingham’s 3-1 victory against Indy Eleven on Sunday evening.
M – Alejandro Guido, San Diego Loyal SC: The San Diego native recorded a goal and assist to lead SD Loyal to a 2-1 comeback victory against Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night and finished the night with three shots and seven key passes while completing 34 of 36 passes overall.
M – Jake Davis, Sporting Kansas City II: The 19-year-old shone with a pair of goals against Louisville City FC on Saturday, which served as the centerpiece of an overall performance that saw Davis complete 29 of 35 passes and win 4 of 8 duels.
M – Paolo DelPiccolo, Louisville City FC: LouCity’s captain recorded the opening goal, had three key passes and completed 20 of 27 passes overall while also winning 6 of 7 duels and making eight recoveries in LouCity’s 4-3 win against Sporting Kansas City II.
M – Jake Areman, Charlotte Independence: Jake Areman recorded one assist and six key passes while completing 37 of 40 passes overall, serving as one of the key players in the Independence’s 2-1 comeback victory against the New York Red Bulls II on Saturday night.
F – Samuel Adeniran, Tacoma Defiance: The Texan forward scored the second hat trick in Defiance history – and first since their inaugural season – as the side snapped out of its recent losing run with a 4-1 win against Orange County SC on Saturday night.
F – Nathan Fogaca, San Antonio FC: The Brazilian forward recorded his fourth two-game performance of the season in San Antonio’s 4-2 victory against Memphis 901 FC on Sunday night and recorded seven shots and three key passes overall while also completing three dribbles.
F – Cameron Lancaster, Louisville City FC: The English striker scored the winner in second-half stoppage time for his second goal of the game as LouCity rallied to claim a 4-3 victory against Sporting Kansas City II while finishing the night with eight shots and completing 15 of 17 passes overall.
Bench: Christian Herrera (TAC), Eder Borelli (ELP), Leo Fernandes (TBR), Marcus Epps (SA), Kyle Murphy (MEM), Ted Ku-DiPietro (LDN), Sebastian Guenzatti (TBR)