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Niyongabire Earns Team of the Week Honors

June 18, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla - The USL Championship revealed the Team of the Week for Week 15 of the 2024 season on Tuesday, with Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielder Pacifique Niyongabire earning a spot for his performance in the club's dramatic 3-2 win over Louisville City FC.

With the match level heading into added time, the Rowdies needed a special moment to take all three points off of first-place Louisville. Niyongabire delivered with his second assist of the season, sending a pinpoint cross from the right edge of the box to set up attacker Damian Rivera for a right-footed volley into the back of the net. The Burundi international created two chances overall while completing 23 of 30 passes and winning 3 of 3 tackles and 10 of 13 ground duels defensively for the Rowdies versus Louisville.

This is the first Team of the Week selection for Niyongabire, who joined the Rowdies via transfer from Canadian Premier League side Valour FC in the offseason. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has become a regular starter for the Rowdies in his first season, logging 719 minutes on the pitch for the Rowdies in 13 league appearances. Niyongabire missed out on Tampa Bay's trip to North Carolina back in Week 3 of the campaign due to international duty with Burundi.

Born in Burundi, Niyongabire emigrated to Australia with his family at a young age. Two months before his 18th birthday in 2018, the creative winger made his professional debut for Adelaide United after developing in the A-League side's youth system. Following several seasons with Adelaide United, he moved to Perth Glory FC for a two-season stint before moving to Canada to sign for Valour FC in 2023.

After the win over Louisville, the Rowdies sit fourth in the Eastern Conference standings with 25 points. The club heads to Connecticut this Friday to battle Hartford Athletic at Trinity Health Stadium. The match match will be available to stream on CBS Sports Golazo and SiriusXM FC Channel 157.

USL Championship Team of the Week - Week 15

GK - Hunter Sulte, Indy Eleven: The 22-year-old goalkeeper recorded a key early penalty kick save as part of a two-save shutout that registered a -1.61 Goals Prevented mark as Indy won its eighth consecutive league outing with a 1-0 victory against San Antonio FC.

D - Triston Hodge, Hartford Athletic: The Trinidad and Tobago international notched one assist in his side's 2-0 victory against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and recorded eight clearances, 10 recoveries and one interception defensively at Trinity Health Stadium.

D - Lamar Batista, North Carolina FC: Batista won 9 of 13 duels - including 4 of 5 aerial duels - while recording five clearances and six recoveries and completing 56 of 62 passes as North Carolina earned a 2-0 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. on Sunday evening.

D - Akeem Ward, Memphis 901 FC: The veteran defender recorded three chances created, recorded five interceptions, six clearances and eight recoveries and completed 78 of 102 passes across two games as 901 FC took four points to move into third in the West.

M - Yosuke Hanya, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: The Tokyo native scored a pair of goals, had five shots overall, three of which were on target, and completed 3 of 5 dribbles in the Switchbacks' 4-2 victory against Orange County SC.

M - Rafael Mentzingen, North Carolina FC: The Brazilian scored once from the penalty spot and had three shot and two chances created while completing 43 of 51 passes overall and winning 2 of 2 tackles, 5 of 6 ground duels, and 3 of 4 aerial duels in a 2-0 win against Monterey Bay F.C.

M - Lindo Mfeka, Oakland Roots SC: The South African playmaker recorded his first two-goal game since 2022, also hit the woodwork and completed 13 of 15 passes while winning 2 of 2 duels as Roots took a 3-2 victory against Sacramento Republic FC.

M - Pacifique Niyongabire, Tampa Bay Rowdies: The Burundi international provided the assist on the Rowdies' late game-winner against Louisville City FC and had two chances created overall while completing 23 of 30 passes and winning 3 of 3 tackles and 10 of 13 ground duels defensively.

F - Bryce Jamison, Orange County SC: The 18-year-old United States youth international scored a pair of outstanding goals and had one chance created while completing 15 of 18 passes and winning 2 of 3 tackles and 3 of 5 ground duels in Orange County's visit to Colorado Springs.

F - Michee Ngalina, Hartford Athletic: The former Championship Young Player of the Year scored twice in the opening 16 minutes, recorded three shots on target and had two chances created as Hartford took a 2-0 victory against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.

F - Maalique Foster, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: The Jamaican forward scored a pair of goals, had four shots overall and two chances created while completing 4 of 4 dribbles and 25 of 28 passes in the Switchbacks' 4-2 victory against Orange County SC.

Coach - Gavin Glinton, Oakland Roots SC: Glinton's side took its first victory in club history on the road against rival Sacramento Republic FC with an impressive all-around display that earned the side its fourth win in the last five league outings.

Bench: Renan Ribeiro (HFD), Stephen Carroll (DET), Joe Farrell (HFD), Bruno Lapa (MEM), Maxi Rodriguez (DET), Trevor Amann (SAC), Greg Hurst (NM)

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United Soccer League Championship Stories from June 18, 2024

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