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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 15

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 08/04/21, 2:30PM EDT


Louisville’s dynamic wide duo of Ownby, Gomez, helping power club’s success

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

Saturday night brought an end to July, and in its 2-1 victory against OKC Energy FC a fourth win in its past five games for Louisville City FC. It also produced a rarity, at least for the past month: a game in which one of Brian Ownby and Jonathan Gomez didn’t record an assist.

Because prior to that in July, that had been the theme for the month for one of the Eastern Conference’s perennial favorites.

Both Ownby and Gomez recorded four assists apiece over the course of the month, with each having his own two-assist game – Gomez on July 14 against OKC Energy FC, Ownby last Wednesday against Sporting Kansas City II – but beyond that in the five games prior to Saturday at least one of their names appeared on the scoresheet having set up a teammate for a finish.

Combined, the two now have 11 assists this season, with Ownby tied for second in the Championship with six helpers. That’s already a single-season high for the veteran winger, whose playoff exploits have been well documents in the past but who is now seeing chances taken consistently at the other end of his creativity.

For the teams now chasing LouCity in the Central Division, Ownby and Gomez seem set to be a puzzle that is going to have to be solved in the second half of the season. For the rest of us, we can sit back and enjoy the show each player is putting on.

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 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 16: @ OAK, @ LV

Last Week:
Phoenix was clinical in putting away a good Rio Grande Valley FC side on Saturday night to earn its third consecutive victory and fifth in the last six games as Arturo Rodriguez continued his emergence.
2 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 16: v. SA, v. ATX

Last Week:
A six-point week gave Locomotive FC a nice cushion above the melee happening around the playoff places in the Mountain Division, and it has still got a game in hand on second-placed RGVFC.
3 Louisville City FC
Week 16: v. SKC

Last Week:
LouCity put together two more solid victories to stretch its lead at the top of the Central Division and might be putting any challengers to its top spot in the rear-view mirror soon.
4 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 16: @ CHS

Last Week:
Alex Dixon ensured Pittsburgh would end July with four wins out of five outings against Hartford, and now the Hounds are driving hard in attack more consistently.
5 The Miami FC
Week 16: @ HFD
Last Week:
That late first-half goal was so key to Miami’s comeback victory against Charleston on Sunday night, giving the team a smaller hill to climb after the break. Suddenly, they’re only a point back of the Rowdies.
6 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 16: v. SLC
Last Week:
San Diego just didn’t seem itself as it visited Tacoma on Thursday night, but it at least responded well with victory against the Galaxy II on Sunday to redeem itself. The next four-game homestand is going to be crucial.
7 Hartford Athletic
Week 16: v. MIA, @ COS
Last Week:
You can’t question the Athletic’s heart after Saturday’s loss in Pittsburgh, and while they weren’t able to hold on for a point the belief the side has shown remains impressive.
8 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 16: v. ATL, @ TUL

Last Week:
Legion FC can’t be letting points slip through its fingers in the way it did against Atlanta United 2 on Saturday night if it hopes to seriously challenge Louisville City FC for top spot.
9 San Antonio FC
Week 16: @ ELP, @ RGV
Last Week:
Yeah, SAFC fell at home to El Paso last week, but they followed it up with a really impressive road win in Austin to pick up a third win in their last four games. This team is on the move.
10 Memphis 901 FC
Week 16: @ OKC
Last Week:
A five-game undefeated streak after Sunday’s win at Sporting Kansas City II has Memphis above the playoff line in the Central Division ahead of a massive game this Saturday against Energy FC.
11 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 16: @ SLC, v. SA
Last Week:
The Toros tried to battle back against Rising FC on Saturday, but the damage of the first half was already done. They’ll get a chance to rebound on Wednesday night against the Monarchs before a South Texas Derby on Sunday.
12 OKC Energy FC
Week 16: v. MEM
Last Week:
OKC made a game of it on the road against Louisville but came up short. That makes Saturday’s home game with Memphis that much more important with 901 FC sitting in fourth and holding three games in hand.
13 Charleston Battery
Week 16: v. PIT
Last Week:
The Battery were well on their way in Miami after just over half-an-hour, but then couldn’t get their potent counterattack going in the second half. This still looks like a dangerous side, though.
14 Orange County SC
Week 16: v. LA
Last Week:
Victory on the road against Oakland was a good way to end that winless streak. Now OCSC is going to need to find another gear as it enters a key point of its schedule this month.
15 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 16: @ ATX, v. HFD
Last Week:
The Switchbacks got the job done in an exciting game against Loudoun United FC on Saturday and could really do their playoff chances good with victory against Austin on Wednesday night.
16 Charlotte Independence
Week 16: @ LDN
Last Week:
The Independence were very happy to see Dane Kelly come back into the lineup, and he’s now only five goals away from the century mark for his career in the USL Championship’s regular season.
17 Tacoma Defiance
Week 16: v. SAC, v. OAK
Last Week:
The Defiance took a four-point week against San Diego and New Mexico to remain undefeated at home this season. If they can keep that home form up, it might be enough to send them to the postseason.
18 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 16: @ NY
Last Week:
The Rowdies have lost four out of five after dropping their second visit to Charlotte this season. There’s no big reason to panic, but the side needs to find its scoring touch again soon.
19 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 16: @ TAC
Last Week:
The numbers still like Sacramento as the fourth team to advance from the Pacific Division. Handing Tacoma its first home loss of the season would boost those chances plent
20 Atlanta United 2
Week 16: @ BHM, v. IND
Last Week:
Atlanta jumped back into contention thanks to its victory against Tulsa and a late draw with Birmingham in the past seven days. As tight as this race is becoming, there’s no reason why this side can’t be a top-four finisher.
21 FC Tulsa
Week 16: v. IND, v. BHM
Last Week:
That was not the result Tulsa was looking for against Atlanta United 2, and now the side is being dragged into the battle around the playoff line in the Central Division. It really needs a lift against Indy on Wednesday before hosting Legion FC.
22 Austin Bold FC
Week 16: v. COS, @ ELP
Last Week:
Austin suffered its heaviest defeat of the season to San Antonio on Saturday night, and things aren’t going to get any easier with Colorado Springs and El Paso on the schedule for this week. That’s life in the Mountain Division.
23 New Mexico United
Week 16: --
Last Week:
New Mexico hasn’t scored a goal in three consecutive games, and while it’s still in third place at the midway point of the season the club’s playoff position is precarious right now.
24 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 16: v. PHX
Last Week:
Las Vegas gets Phoenix Rising FC at home on Saturday night, which will give us a chance to see how far this side has come since it allowed 19 shots on target when they first met in May.
25 LA Galaxy II
Week 16: @ OC

Last Week:
Los Dos took a step back in its 2-0 loss to San Diego Loyal SC on Sunday evening, and with the way Sacramento and Tacoma are performing they’re going to need to find another gear in the second half of the season.
26 Real Monarchs SLC
Week 16: v. RGV, @ SD
Last Week:
The Monarchs got a lead in El Paso, but holding off the best team in the division was always going to be a big ask from there. They’ll try their luck against Rio Grande Valley FC at home on Wednesday.
27 Indy Eleven
Week 16: @ TUL, @ ATL

Last Week:
The Boys in Blue are winless in five, but still very much in the middle of the playoff race in the Central Division. If the quality this side possesses on paper shows up on the field, it could be interesting.
28 Sporting Kansas City II
Week 16: @ LOU
Last Week:
Sporting absorbed back-to-back home defeats to remain rooted to the bottom of the Central Division last week, and that loss to Memphis was a bad one for its postseason hopes.
29 New York Red Bulls II
Week 16: v. TBR
Last Week:
Jeremy Rafanello’s long-range strike was one of the best of the season so far, but the Red Bulls II needed to be more clinical to have a chance to take something home from Sacramento.
30 Oakland Roots SC
Week 16: v. PHX, @ TAC

Last Week:
The good news is Oakland finally gets to play at Laney Stadium on Wednesday night. The bad news is Phoenix Rising FC is the visitor. It’s going to take something special for Roots SC to pull something out here.
31 Loudoun United FC
Week 16: v. CLT

Last Week:
You’ll not believe this, but Loudoun had a higher Expected Goals mark than Colorado Springs (2.69xG vs. 2.37xG) in its 3-1 loss on Saturday. No, wait, you would actually believe that.

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