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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 9

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/23/21, 3:15PM EDT


Louisville’s winning streak sees it surge into second place behind El Paso

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the Championship’s Power Rankings.

“I certainly feel we are creating enough chances to win games.”

The words of interim Louisville City FC Head Coach Danny Cruz on June 6 after his side’s 1-0 loss on the road to Atlanta United 2, and in the two weeks since his words have rung true. Three games, three wins and eight goals have moved LouCity to the top of the Championship’s Central Division in short order ahead of this Saturday’s Louisville Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest at Lynn Family Stadium.

The club’s underlying numbers, of course, indicated that Louisville was running cold in front of goal. Even before the club’s three consecutive wins, it ranked near the top of the league in Expected Goals and Expected Goal Differential, and now it leads both categories in American Soccer Analysis’ database. Only fellow attacking powerhouse Phoenix Rising FC is within four Expected Goals of LouCity’s 18.92xG, while the club’s 12.21xGD is substantially ahead of the pack.

Louisville’s early ups and downs have also in some way mirrored the starts the club has made in the past two seasons. Two years ago, Louisville began 3-4-1 and hit other bumps in the road before pulling things together for another playoff run. The same applied last year, where the side one once in five games after the season’s resumption before reeling off an 11-game undefeated run to finish on top of its group.

As we’ve come to learn, it’s hard to keep a good – and talented – club like LouCity down for long.

Here’s how the rest of the big picture looks today. As always, feel free to come and yell at me on Twitter (@NJEMurray).

Atlanta United 2 Austin Bold FC Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC
Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven LA Galaxy II Las Vegas Lights FC Loudoun United FC Louisville City FC Memphis 901 FC
The Miami FC New Mexico United New York Red Bulls II Oakland Roots SC OKC Energy FC Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Real Monarchs SLC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC San Antonio FC San Diego Loyal SC Sporting KC II
Tacoma Defiance Tampa Bay Rowdies FC Tulsa

Biggest Movers






1 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 10: --

Last Week:
El Paso made another step toward potential history last Friday night with its win against the Monarchs, that’s now 18 consecutive regular-season games without a defeat, five away from tying the league record.
2 Louisville City FC
Week 10: v. IND
Last Week:
A six-point week for Louisville with wins against two of its potential rivals for top spot in the Central certainly sent a message, and there could be more of the same expected against Indy on Saturday.
3 New Mexico United
Week 10: @ COS
Last Week:
New Mexico is starting to pick up the pace when it comes to the Mountain Division’s top spot with seven points from its last three games after defeating San Antonio FC last Wednesday night.
4 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 10: @ SAC
Last Week:
Strange game, soccer. Phoenix got a point from a game it probably should have lost at home to San Diego and then lost a game it probably should have taken something from to the same opponent.
5 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 10: v. NY
Last Week:
All hail Head Coach Bob Lilley and his players for navigating two difficult games on the road at Indy Eleven and the Tampa Bay Rowdies and emerging with six points. Masterful planning and execution.
6 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 10: @ HFD
Last Week:
The Rowdies got have dropped two of their last three after Saturday’s home defeat to Pittsburgh, where the Hounds seemed to out gameplan the hosts to claim their first win at Al Lang Stadium.
7 Hartford Athletic
Week 10: v. TBR
Last Week:
The lightning delay couldn’t have come at a better time for Hartford on Saturday night, allowing them to recalibrate for the final push that gave it victory against Loudoun. Tampa Bay’s visit is going to be a much bigger test, though.
8 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 10: v. TUL
Last Week:
The Toros were stunned by Austin’s late winner to end their home winning streak, but battled back well enough to secure a point in San Antonio on Saturday to remain top of the Mountain Division for now.
9 Orange County SC
Week 10: @ LA
Last Week:
The loss to end May against the LA Galaxy II seems to have provided the jolt OCSC needed. Now it can not only gain revenge on Los Dos on Wednesday night, but pull level on points with Phoenix as well.
10 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 10: @ MIA
Last Week:
Birmingham wasn’t at the same speed as Louisville in their second encounter last Wednesday, but there’s still plenty to feel positive about here even after Saturday’s washout.
11 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 10: @ LV
Last Week:
SD Loyal was certainly good, especially Jack Blake, but it also rode its fortune a little in getting victory against Phoenix. A stronger all-around showing would have resulted in a bigger bump up the rankings.
12 Charlotte Independence
Week 10: v. CHS, @ MIA
Last Week:
The Independence fell flat against the Red Bulls II last Wednesday night. They’ll try to put that right against Charleston on Wednesday before a key game on the road against Miami to end the week.
13 San Antonio FC
Week 10: @ SLC
Last Week:
San Antonio has quickly seen a four-game undefeated streak turn into a five-game winless one after last week’s loss in New Mexico and is going to have to find its shooting boots soon.
14 FC Tulsa
Week 10: @ RGV
Last Week:
Tulsa’s attacking arsenal shone against Sporting Kansas City II and then almost produced a big comeback against Louisville on Saturday, but it’s going to have to stop leaking quite so many goals at the other end.
15 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 10: @ ATX(W), v. NM
Last Week:
Hadji Barry is a man on fire with eight goals in his past six games – scoring at least once in each – to get the Switchbacks right into the playoff picture after Tuesday’s gutsy victory in Austin.
16 Charleston Battery
Week 10: @ CLT, v. LDN
Last Week:
The Battery were starting to look like themselves a bit more on Friday night while defeating Miami and can add to that mood in Wednesday night’s trip to face Southern Derby rival Charlotte.
17 The Miami FC
Week 10: v. BHM, v. CLT
Last Week:
Three games without a win now for Miami after letting an early lead slip in Charleston, and that’s added pressure on this week’s home contests against Birmingham Legion FC and the Charlotte Independence.
18 Austin Bold FC
Week 10: v. COS(L), @ OAK
Last Week:
Austin produced a great display to claim victory on the road against Rio Grande Valley FC and then spoiled it by losing a game it held the lead and a man-advantage in at the 30-minute mark on Tuesday against Colorado Springs.
19 Atlanta United 2
Week 10: v. OKC
Last Week:
We’re about to find out if Atlanta’s early-season form was a mirage, or whether this side can be a long-term playoff contender, starting with Sunday’s home contest against a boosted OKC Energy FC side.
20 Indy Eleven
Week 10: @ LOU
Last Week:
Getting that first win on Sunday night was good for the vibe around the team, but it took an eight-save shutout from a goalkeeper making his first professional start to accomplish. There’s still a lot to be sorted out here.
21 Oakland Roots SC
Week 10: v. ATX
Last Week:
Saturday will go down as a low-point in what should be a celebratory season for Roots SC, now it’s on the team to provide a reason for the fans to smile on Saturday against Austin.
22 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 10: v. SD
Last Week:
Las Vegas’ undefeated run came to an end at the hands of Orange County on Saturday night, but the club’s attacking prowess continues to provide room for optimism as the season progresses.
23 Memphis 901 FC
Week 10: v. SKC
Last Week:
Praise be to Mark Segbers for an all-timer of an emergency goalkeeping performance, and you can make a good argument Memphis should have taken something from Saturday’s game against OKC as well.
24 LA Galaxy II
Week 10: v. OC, @ TAC
Last Week:
Los Dos has hit a rough patch with three losses in its last four games. Can it find a way to rebound against 405 Derby rival Orange County on Wednesday night?
25 Tacoma Defiance
Week 10: v. SLC, v. LA
Last Week:
The Defiance had little answer for the Colorado Springs duo of Hadji Barry and Michee Ngalina but getting back to Cheney Stadium should provide the potential for a rebound against the Monarchs on Wednesday night.
26 Sporting Kansas City II
Week 10: @ OKC, @ MEM
Last Week:
Two narrow defeats will have left a frustrated dressing room last week, but opponents are still going to have to be wary of what this side can bring game-in and game-out.
27 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 10: v. PHX

Last Week:
Sacramento has games in hand on the teams above the playoff line in the Pacific, but that four-point gap has to start to close now, starting in Saturday’s home game with Phoenix.
28 New York Red Bulls II
Week 10: @ PIT
Last Week:
That was more like the Red Bulls II of old against Charlotte. The side’s going to need plenty more of that from Jeremy Rafanello, Omar Sowe and company moving forward to get into contention again.
29 OKC Energy FC
Week 10: v. SKC, @ ATL
Last Week:
That first win was hard-earned, but it gets the pressure off a little. Now Energy FC has an even bigger burden to shift as it looks for its first home victory since the 2019 season.
30 Real Monarchs SLC
Week 10: @ TAC, v. SA
Last Week:
The Monarchs gave us a glimpse of hope a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s back to the same old, same old after two consecutive defeats and a six-point deficit to anyone else in the Mountain Division.
31 Loudoun United FC
Week 10: @ CHS
Last Week:
Four consecutive defeats has left Loudoun marooned five points back of everyone else in the Atlantic Division.

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