2024 MLS NEXT Pro Matchweek 16 Honors

MW 16 Honors

Matchweek 16 of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season was headlined by Tacoma Defiance's pair of shutout wins, a memorable day for Philadelphia Union II forward Eddy Davis, and a first MLS NEXT Pro goal for LAFC2's Javier Hernandez.

Here's a look at the top-performing player, team, and Rising Star of Matchweek 16:

MLS NEXT Pro Team of Matchweek 16: Tacoma Defiance

The best way to rebound from a three-match losing streak is by starting a winning run up the standings.

Tacoma Defiance did just that this past week, defeating Real Monarchs 3-0 and Timbers2 by a 1-0 scoreline over the past five days, earning Team of Matchweek 16 honors. Herve Diese's squad used goals from Chris Aquino, Danny Leyva, and Osaze De Rosario to roll past Monarchs last Wednesday before watching Yu Tsukanome play the hero in Sunday's shutout victory over Timbers2.

Jacob Castro and Andrew Thomas both registered clean sheets as the Defiance jumped to seventh place in the West standings.

A three-match homestand concludes for Tacoma on Sunday, July 7 against Sporting KC II.

MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 16: Eddy Davis (Philadelphia Union II)

The good times just keep on coming for Eddy Davis and Philadelphia Union II.

Davis scored three goals in a five-day span for East-leading Union II, including a brace in Sunday's 4-0 road win over TFC II. The 18-year-old forward earned MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 16 honors for his impactful run in the Union II attack.

He scored the lone goal in Union II's 4-1 loss to New York Red Bulls II last Wednesday before registering a 19-minute brace in Sunday's comfortable win at York Lions Stadium. A former Red Bulls academy player, Davis now has eight goals in 15 league appearances this season, helping Marlon LeBlanc's squad continue to sit top of the East table.

Union fans will hope that Davis continues his impressive season and develops into a first team standout like many who have come before him from the academy.

MLS NEXT Pro Rising Star of Matchweek 16: Javier Hernandez (LAFC2)

LAFC2 made it back-to-back league victories on Sunday with Javier Hernandez neting his first MLS NEXT Pro goal in the process.

Hernandez, 18, scored the opening goal of Sunday's 3-2 home triumph over Colorado Rapids 2, in his first start for the club. He entered the match with only two appearances under his belt, but proceeded to walk away with a major confidence boost heading into July's schedule.

Hernandez headed home Adrian Wibowo's cross in the 37th minute as LAFC, kicking off the scoring from Titan Stadium. Despite a comeback from Rapids 2, LAFC2 used a second-half stoppage time winner from the penalty spot.

The young forward won three duels, drew two fouls, and logged a full 90 minutes as LAFC2 registering their first back-to-back victories since early-May.

Up next for LAFC2 is a trip to St. Louis CITY2 on Saturday, July 6.