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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 11

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/07/21, 1:50PM EDT


Louisville takes top spot as attack continues to roll in five-game undefeated run

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

It’s basically been one month since what’s looking like might be the low-point of the 2021 Louisville City FC season, a 1-0 defeat to Atlanta United 2 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium that saw the visitors rack up chance after chance but fail to find the net.

Since then, the new No. 1 in the USL Championship Power Rankings have broken out of their funk in a big way. Fifteen goals across five games is a remarkable run by any standard, but what’s been noticeable is the balance with which it has arrived across LouCity’s attacking pieces.

Nine different players have found the net starting with Louisville’s 3-0 victory against Memphis 901 FC, while another five have dished out assists and 11 having recorded at least one key pass. No team – not even the high-flying attack at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – has recorded more goals since the start of Week 8, while only FC Tulsa has been more efficient in its finishing than LouCity’s mark of 26.3 percent.

Louisville might still be in second place in the Central Division for now, trailing a Birmingham Legion FC side it defeated during its current run of form, but the performances interim Head Coach Danny Cruz’s side is producing once again has the look of the title contender.

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 Louisville City FC
Week 12: @ TUL
Last Week:
Louisville is not only undefeated in its last five games while winning four of them, it has also recorded 15 goals across that span. Collectively, this might be the best attacking team in the league.
2 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 12: @ CLT

Last Week:
Rising FC picked up a solid win against the slumping Galaxy II on Saturday night and with both Orange County and San Diego dropping points also has a four-point cushion at the top of the Pacific Division.
3 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 12: @ SLC
Last Week:
The biggest question after El Paso’s first loss of the season was how it would respond three days later. Dylan Mares’ pair of goals provided the answer to keep Locomotive FC within touching distance of first place in the Mountain Division.
4 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 12: --
Last Week:
SD Loyal was so close to a six-point week, which would have started to put some pressure on Phoenix, but its inability to put away a second goal was punished by Sacramento’s late equalizer.
5 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 12: @ MIA
Last Week:
The Rowdies looked back to their best against a Battery side that didn’t seem to offer much at Al Lang Stadium, and it will need to be in what should be a very good game against Miami on Wednesday night.
6 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 12: @ CHS
Last Week:
The Hounds produced one of their poorest performances in a while against Loudoun United FC to lose in midweek, then came back and were outstanding against the Independence on Saturday. This group’s high end is much more the latter than the former.
7 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 12: v. MEM
Last Week:
Legion FC just keeps going about its business, picking up shutouts and wins. Head Coach Tom Soehn’s team looks very comfortable right now for a top-two finish at least.
8 Orange County SC
Week 12: v. TAC (T), @ SAC
Last Week:
Orange County produced an excellent performance to snap Colorado Springs’ winning streak last Thursday night but then drew a blank against Tacoma when the chance to close the gap on Phoenix was at hand.
9 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 12: @ ATX
Last Week:
The Toros had to hold on late to secure their victory against El Paso Locomotive FC, but last week’s victory was a very positive outcome ahead of another test against Austin Bold FC on Wednesday night.
10 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 12: @ NM
Last Week:
The Switchbacks were finally stymied last Thursday by Orange County, but immediately got right back on track with another three goals against the Monarchs, which should keep the fans flooding back to Weidner Field.
11 Hartford Athletic
Week 12: v. NY

Last Week:
The Athletic got the result it needed against Loudoun on Sunday afternoon, but it’s going to be interesting to see how the club’s attack fares without both Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. and Walmer Martinez for stretches over the next few weeks.
12 FC Tulsa
Week 12: v. LOU

Last Week:
Tulsa’s undefeated streak against Black Gold Derby rival Energy FC continued in a scoreless draw on the road. Now we’ll see if it can give Louisville a proper run for its money on Saturday night at ONEOK Field.
13 OKC Energy FC
Week 12: v. IND
Last Week:
Energy FC continues to turn a corner after its third shutout in the past four games against Tulsa, and now has a chance to overtake Indy Eleven and move into the playoff places as the Boys in Blue visit Taft Stadium on Saturday.
14 The Miami FC
Week 12: v. TBR, @ LDN

Last Week:
Miami’s finishing has to get better at some point, right? Friday night’s visit to the Red Bulls II felt like more points left on the table ahead of Wednesday’s visit from its in-state rivals the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
15 Austin Bold FC
Week 12: v. RGV
Last Week:
Austin’s defense hasn’t been watertight in every game this season, but when it’s been on Bold FC has been hard to break down. The goals are going to have to start to come eventually, but this is a solid run the side’s one.
16 Charlotte Independence
Week 12: v. NY, v. PHX
Last Week:
The road hasn’t been kind to the Independence the past two weeks, but they’re still perfect at home ahead of the opening of Memorial Stadium on Wednesday night. Three points against the Red Bulls II would be a very welcome sight.
17 New Mexico United
Week 12: v. COS
Last Week:
United has dropped three consecutive games in which it held a halftime lead to put the side below the playoff line ahead of what are now two crucial home games against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and the Charleston Battery.
18 Charleston Battery
Week 12: v. PIT
Last Week:
The early departure of Stavros Zarokostas didn’t help matters, but Charleston looked a bit too timid against Tampa Bay on Friday night. They’ll need to be more aggressive against Pittsburgh back on home turf.
19 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 12: @ OAK
Last Week:
With the way the Pacific Division is performing outside the top three, Las Vegas’ win on Saturday opened the door to the side potentially becoming a playoff contender. Why not, right?
20 Tacoma Defiance
Week 12: @ OC(T), @ LA

Last Week:
Tacoma managed to earn a point from its visit to Orange County on Tuesday night, but the side overall is going to have to start getting more points on the road if it’s going to end up in a top-four slot later this season.
21 Indy Eleven
Week 12: @ ATL, @ OKC
Last Week:
Indy huffed and puffed in the second half against Birmingham Legion FC but couldn’t blow Legion FC’s house in. The good news for the side is it’s fared better on the road than at home as it heads out for a two-game week.
22 Atlanta United 2
Week 12: v. IND, v. SKC

Last Week:
Atlanta’s late rally was something to build on against Memphis, but it’s still four games without a win in the big picture. Wednesday’s game against Indy offers a chance to jump back into the playoff spots, though.
23 Oakland Roots SC
Week 12: @ SAC, v. LV

Last Week:
Oakland hasn’t threatened enough in attack over three consecutive scoreless outings, the side has to be hoping Brandon Allen’s arrival starts to change that, starting against Sacramento on Wednesday.
24 San Antonio FC
Week 12: --
Last Week:
San Antonio’s first defeat at home to Austin continued its elongated winless run. The side scored twice on Tuesday in an exhibition with Liga MX’s Querétaro F.C., though, which could be a sign of encouragement.
25 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 12: v. OAK, v. OC
Last Week:
Mitchell Taintor’s late equalizer in San Diego was a massive moment for Sacramento, but it’s not going to mean much if Republic FC can’t end its seven-game winless streak back at home Wednesday against Oakland.
26 Real Monarchs SLC
Week 12: v. ELP
Last Week:
The Monarchs took one step forward with their win against New Mexico, and then one back with its loss to Colorado Springs, and they’re now the only side in the Mountain Division with a negative goal differential.
27 Memphis 901 FC
Week 12: @ BHM
Last Week:
Memphis let three points slip through its fingers in Atlanta on Saturday night. With fourth place currently up for grabs, that’s not the way you go about claiming it.
28 Sporting Kansas City II
Week 12: @ ATL
Last Week:
SKC II did really well to contain Louisville for a half, but the visitors proved too much as they rattled off a four-goal performance to hand Sporting its fourth loss in the past five games.
29 Loudoun United FC
Week 12: v. MIA
Last Week:
Loudoun got its reward for a strong performance against Pittsburgh with a second win of the season, and then went back to missing chances against Hartford in a game it will feel it should have got something from.
30 New York Red Bulls II
Week 12: @ CLT, @ HFD
Last Week:
The Red Bulls II escaped with a draw with Miami on Friday night after being reprieved by the woodwork, now they get to try and play spoiler as Charlotte opens its new home on Wednesday night.
31 LA Galaxy II
Week 12: v. TAC
Last Week:
Los Dos have gone winless in five games and lost four of those after Saturday’s defeat to Phoenix. Sunday’s game with Tacoma is looking like an awfully important one.

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