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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 10

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/30/21, 2:00PM EDT


San Diego moves into top five as winning streak continues to roll

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

There was no doubt about the buzz surrounding San Diego Loyal SC going into its second season in the Championship. The late-season run the side had produced in 2020 coupled with the new signings the club had made all seemed to say “contender”.

Then, of course, the side proceeded to lose its first four games of the season, making some of us wonder if we’d completely misevaluated Head Coach Landon Donovan’s side.

This month has seemed to prove those fears as unfounded. The club’s seven-game winning streak and four-game winning streak after Tuesday night’s victory against Oakland Roots SC has pushed SD Loyal into second place in the Pacific Division with one-third of its season complete.

“It was a very good performance, not perfect,” said Donovan after the win. “It’s nice to send everyone home happy.”

There are still going to be some questions, especially for a defense that almost had to produce its first shutout of the season an Oakland side that has looked in tough shape offensively over the last couple of games. But what’s unquestionable is that with players like Alejandro Guido, Jack Blake and now Miguel Ibarra – who’s first goal of the side provided the winner against Roots SC – this side is capable of pulling out something special when it needs it.

When it comes to the postseason, those are the people that are always the most valuable to have in your back pocket.

Here’s how 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 11: @ RGV, v. NM

Last Week:
Locomotive FC’s undefeated start to the season gets a couple of tests in the next four days as it visits Rio Grande Valley FC on Wednesday night and then hosts rival New Mexico United on Saturday.
2 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 11: v. LA
Last Week:
Rising FC rebounded well to take a second victory in Sacramento on Saturday night, and we’re curious to see if David Egbo retains his spot after scoring while Rufat Dadashov took a spot on the substitutes bench last Saturday.
3 Louisville City FC
Week 11: @ SKC
Last Week:
Brian Ownby’s performance on Saturday night was one of the best examples of wing play we’ve seen this season, and LouCity earned a deserved draw against LIPAFC rival Indy as a result.
4 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 11: @ LDN, v. CLT
Last Week:
The Hounds have started to pick up steam with three consecutive victories, and after their scare last time out at Loudoun they’re not going to underestimate Wednesday night’s opponents either.
5 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 11: v. OAK(W), v. SAC
Last Week:
San Diego hasn’t lost in more than a month after Tuesday’s win against Oakland made it four consecutive victories. All the pieces are starting to come together for Head Coach Landon Donovan’s side.
6 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 11: v. CHS

Last Week:
The Rowdies got an important road victory against Hartford Athletic, but it wasn’t exactly the most convincing display you’ll see. They’ll need to be sharper against Charleston on Friday.
7 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 11: v. OC, v. SLC
Last Week:
By one measure, Hadji Barry’s current scoring streak is more impressive than his eight-game run in 2018 with SKC II in that he’s already scored two more goals than the last time he got this hot.
8 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 11: v. ATL, @ IND
Last Week:
Picking up a win on the road in Miami was a nice way to rebound for the Hounds last week. Now they’ll look to solidify their place at the top of the Central with games against Atlanta and Indy in the next few days.
9 Orange County SC
Week 11: @ COS

Last Week:
TOrange County is undefeated in five consecutive games after its draw with the LA Galaxy II, but someone’s going to need to step up to fill the scoring boots of Ronaldo Dames (six goals in the past five games) while he’s on international duty with Haiti.
10 New Mexico United
Week 11: @ SLC, @ ELP
Last Week:
As solid as New Mexico had looked defensively going into last Friday night’s game, it got pulled apart impressively by Colorado Springs. They’ll want a positive response in a two-game week capped by a trip to El Paso.
11 Hartford Athletic
Week 11: @ LDN
Last Week:
Hartford has shown it can compete with the big clubs in the Atlantic Division, but it also got a lesson in not squandering opportunities when they present themselves against the Rowdies.
12 FC Tulsa
Week 11: @ OKC
Last Week:
Tulsa tied for the fewest shots in a game this season with only three efforts against Rio Grande Valley FC, but became the first side to win this season with that few shots thanks to Rodrigo da Costa’s quality.
13 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 11: v. ELP
Last Week:
The Toros should have been doing extra shooting practice building up to Wednesday night’s game with El Paso Locomotive FC after the way it dominated Tulsa without an end product to show for it.
14 The Miami FC
Week 11: @ NY
Last Week:
Miami finally broke its winless streak, which is good, but there’s still a long way to go for this side if it’s going to be the playoff contender it believes it is.
15 Charlotte Independence
Week 11: @ PIT
Last Week:
The Independence have seemingly solved their issues with Charleston after bagging a second win this season against a side they’d only defeated once previously, but now they can’t seem to get a result against Miami instead.
16 OKC Energy FC
Week 11: v. TUL
Last Week:
Three consecutive victories have given Energy FC some positive mojo ahead of Friday night’s massive Black Gold Derby against FC Tulsa. If they can even this season’s series, it’ll be the best win so far in the club’s run of form.
17 Charleston Battery
Week 11: @ TBR
Last Week:
The Battery have lost the upper hand to Charlotte in the Southern Derby so far this season, but they came away with a solid win in response against Loudoun United FC on Saturday to stay in touch with the playoff positions..
18 Austin Bold FC
Week 11: @ SA

Last Week:
Austin did everything but score against Oakland on Saturday, but the attacking initiative and defensive solidity was much more positive ahead of Saturday’s visit to San Antonio.
19 Indy Eleven
Week 11: v. BHM
Last Week:
Indy’s attack has picked up nicely in the past two games with five goals. If it can keep that momentum rolling against Birmingham’s solid defense, it could get back into the race for top spot sooner rather than later.
20 Tacoma Defiance
Week 11: @ LV
Last Week:
The Defiance grabbed four points from two games on home turf in the past week, including what could end up being an important win down the road against the LA Galaxy II on Sunday afternoon.
21 San Antonio FC
Week 11: v. ATX
Last Week:
San Antonio has drawn six of its opening 10 games of the season, which in terms of reaching the playoffs is death by 1,000 cuts. Head Coach Alen Marcina’s side must get back in the win column, fast.
22 Atlanta United 2
Week 11: @ BHM, v. MEM
Last Week:
Atlanta’s strong start is starting to fade into the distance after its loss to Energy FC on Sunday night, and a visit to face Birmingham Legion FC on Wednesday is a tough spot to try and rebound in.
23 Oakland Roots SC
Week 11: @ SD(L)
Last Week:
Oakland’s signing of Brandon Allen – who’s notched 47 goals in 113 games in the Championship’s regular season – is certainly needed. The side has a cumulative 0.62xG over the past two games, and is last in the league in that category overall.
24 Sporting Kansas City II
Week 11: v. LOU
Last Week:
Sporting looked like it was going to let a solid lead slip away in Memphis on Saturday night until it found another late push in a highly entertaining 3-2 victory.
25 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 11: v. TAC
Last Week:
Las Vegas put up a solid resistance to San Diego last Saturday, but two consecutive defeats have seen Lights FC slide back in the standings again.
26 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 11: @ SD
Last Week:
Sacramento looked more dangerous with 10 men against Phoenix than with 11, when it didn’t record a shot before Fatai Alashe’s red card on Saturday. This team needs to get out to faster starts.
27 LA Galaxy II
Week 11: @ PHX
Last Week:
Los Dos is above the playoff line for now, but with Tacoma sitting a point back with three games in hand after its win when the sides met on Sunday that may not be the case for much longer.
28 Memphis 901 FC
Week 11: @ ATL
Last Week:
The wind was in Memphis’ sails as it leveled against SKC II on Saturday night but 901 FC couldn’t close the deal and fell to defeat. This side is entertaining, though, and will get better.
29 New York Red Bulls II
Week 11: v. MIA
Last Week:
The Red Bulls II aren’t picking up results because of the inconsistency of their finishing, as exemplified in their visit to Pittsburgh on Saturday, and that’s going to make it hard to break into the top four in the Atlantic.
30 Real Monarchs SLC
Week 11: v. NM, @ COS

Last Week:
Massive credit to 16-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Beavers on a solid debut on Saturday night that saw the Monarchs earn a point from San Antonio FC’s visit.
31 Loudoun United FC
Week 11: v. PIT, v. HFD

Last Week:
Either Loudoun has terrible luck in front of goal, or its finishers aren’t good enough. Either way, this is a really tough losing streak the side is on right now.

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