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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 25

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 10/13/21, 12:00PM EDT


Legion FC’s winning streak has it poised for potentially bigger things in the postseason

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

With the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ defeat on Sunday night by Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, the new longest current winning streak in the Championship belongs to Birmingham Legion FC, who on the face of it look like an intriguing dark horse when it comes to this year’s postseason field.

On paper, they check a lot of boxes.

Solid defense: Indeed, Legion FC has only conceded 29 goals in 28 games, which is tied for third-fewest in the Championship this season alongside Phoenix Rising FC.

Consistent main scoring threat: For sure, Neco Brett has been in the top five in scoring for most of the season and currently has 16 goals to his name, which has carried him to 60 regular season goals for his career.

Potential playoff wild cards: Seems so, when you’ve got players like JJ Williams, Bruno Lapa, and Junior Flemmings – say nothing of Eli Crognale, who’s delivered two key game-winners in the past month – then you’ve got players who can step up to the mark at this time of year.

Potential matchups: According to the data over at, both the Charlotte Independence and Miami FC have higher overall grades than Legion FC, but you know who came out on top when they played? You’re right, Legion FC, who even rallied back to take victory against the Independence within its current run.

There might be some lingering questions about how the team has fared in its first two postseasons – especially after last year’s late season nosedive and early elimination by Tampa Bay – but this side might have learned a thing or two from that experience and be poised for something bigger this year.

Here’s how the big picture looks elsewhere. 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 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 26: v. ATX, @ OKC
Last Week:
Neco Brett keeps scoring, Legion FC keeps winning. That’s four in a row for Birmingham as they vie for top spot in the Central Division ahead of a two-game week.
2 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 26: v. COS, @ LA
Last Week:
El Paso’s rally against San Antonio was remarkably impressive last Wednesday night even with the late equalizer by the visitors, and the way the side closed out its road win in Tulsa to follow that was clinical.
3 Louisville City FC
Week 26: @ MEM, @ IND
Last Week:
Cameron Lancaster’s two-goal performance on Saturday put him within reach of becoming only the second player to register two 20-goals seasons in the Championship’s history.
4 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 26: @ OC, @ LV
Last Week:
Rising FC is back in the driver’s seat for the best record in the regular season, and Andre Rawls’ play – which has seen him post an undefeated record so far – could help them stay there over the final four games.
5 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 26: v. NY
Last Week:
The Rowdies’ streak came to an end against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at nine consecutive wins on Sunday. They’re the Atlantic Division title-winner, but they’ve now lost twice to each of Pittsburgh, Miami FC, and the Charlotte Independence.
6 Charlotte Independence
Week 26: v. CHS
Last Week:
The Independence produced more than enough chances to run away from the New York Red Bulls II, and only an inspired performance by New York’s AJ Marcucci denied them from doing so.
7 San Antonio FC
Week 26: v. TUL
Last Week:
San Antonio produced an outstanding first half against El Paso before grabbing a point late, then put together its best attacking performance of the season on Sunday against Memphis. Second place is now there for the taking.
8 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 26: v. NM
Last Week:
SD Loyal’s three-game winning streak coupled with the erratic form of the clubs below them has made the side almost certain of second place in the Pacific Division. Sunday’s game with New Mexico should be a must see.
9 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 26: @ MIA
Last Week:
The Hounds broke the Rowdies’ winning streak and have a serious chance to take second place when it’s all said and done. To get there, they’ll have to overcome their main nemesis this season in Miami FC on Sunday.
10 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 26: @ ELP, v. RGV
Last Week:
Even taking into account the Monarchs’ lineup upgrades, that was a curiously ineffective performance by the Switchbacks on Friday night. Can’t have that against El Paso on Wednesday night and expect to come away with a result.
11 The Miami FC
Week 26: v. PIT
Last Week:
Everything was on course for Miami on Sunday afternoon until it suddenly wasn’t in the final 15 minutes against Loudoun United FC. Now they’ll have to face Pittsburgh this weekend without standout defender Paco Craig.
12 Memphis 901 FC
Week 26: v. LOU, v. ATL

Last Week:
901 FC got the win it had to have in the past week against Sporting Kansas City II on Wednesday night, but there’s still work to be done to ensure that playoff place becomes theirs.
13 Oakland Roots SC
Week 26: v. OC
Last Week:
After a big win against Sacramento on Wednesday, Oakland drew praise from Phoenix Rising FC Head Coach for how far they’ve come this season. That’s nice, but finding an equalizer would have been nicer.
14 FC Tulsa
Week 26: @ TUL

Last Week:
Tulsa’s still in good shape to reach the playoffs, but its winless streak is now at five games after it was held at bay masterfully by El Paso when a second-half comeback could have been brewing.
15 LA Galaxy II
Week 26: @ SAC, v. ELP
Last Week:
Los Dos regained fourth place in the Pacific Division thanks to a solid enough win on the road against Las Vegas. This week is going to be big, especially with a potential playoff preview on Sunday night when El Paso Locomotive FC visits.
16 New Mexico United
Week 26: @ SD

Last Week:
New Mexico is still right in the playoff race even after Saturday’s draw with Rio Grande Valley FC thanks to Austin failing to win on Sunday, but there’s got to be more consistency in attack from game-to-game.
17 Austin Bold FC
Week 26: @ BHM, @ SLC
Last Week:
Bold FC got another late goal to earn a point against OKC Energy FC on Sunday to keep its edge in the Mountain Division, but Wednesday’s game in hand against Birmingham Legion FC is certainly not a gimme.
18 Tacoma Defiance
Week 26: v. LV, @ SAC
Last Week:
The Defiance are back! Samuel Adeniran’s hat trick and Christian Herrera’s nine-save performance on Saturday night were huge for Tacoma’s playoff chances, but now it’s got to follow up against Las Vegas and Sacramento this week.
19 Orange County SC
Week 26: v. PHX, @ OAK
Last Week:
Orange County is still in really good shape for a place in the playoffs. It just might not want to look over its shoulder at the moment.
20 OKC Energy FC
Week 26: v. BHM

Last Week:
That was a major missed opportunity for OKC in Austin on Sunday night. Three points there and the Central Division race could have become a whole lot more interesting.
21 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 26: @ COS

Last Week:
On one hand, taking a point on the road in New Mexico would be seen on its own as a solid result, but it doesn’t feel like it was enough for what the Toros are looking to accomplish here in terms of reaching the playoffs.
22 Charleston Battery
Week 26: @ CLT
Last Week:
The Battery aren’t going to go out without a battle, that’s for sure. That alone should make Saturday’s Southern Derby clash with the Charlotte Independence compelling viewing.
23 Atlanta United 2
Week 26: @ SKC, @ MEM

Last Week:
Atlanta’s still alive, just, as it heads into Wednesday night’s visit to Sporting Kansas City II. It’s got to break a six-game winless streak to stay above water, though.
24 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 26: v. LA, v. TAC
Last Week:
Two defeats in four days to California rivals, and Republic FC’s playoff chances are hanging by a thread again. It’s got to beat the Galaxy II on Wednesday night, or else that might be that.
25 New York Red Bulls II
Week 26: @ TBR
Last Week:
AJ Marcucci had six saves against the Independence on Saturday night. Be honest, it felt like a lot more, didn’t it?
26 Loudoun United FC
Week 26: v. HFD, @ HFD
Last Week:
Loudoun showed once again why you underestimate them at your peril. Put that win on the shelf next to the ones against Indy Eleven and Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
27 Hartford Athletic
Week 26: @ LDN, v. LDN
Last Week:
The Athletic are officially eliminated and won’t have Danny Barrera on Wednesday night against Loudoun. Getting the standout playmaker the Assists Champion award is the big goal now in his final four games.
28 Indy Eleven
Week 26: v. LOU
Last Week:
Indy showed a glimpse of what it might be next season against Birmingham on Sunday, but defeat meant that’s probably it for this year in terms of playoff chances.
29 Sporting Kansas City II
Week 26: v. ATL
Last Week:
SKC II put itself in position to grab a second win in as many seasons at Lynn Family Stadium on Saturday night before LouCity’s massive response. Great goals by Jake Davis and Jamil Roberts, though.
30 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 26: @ TAC, v. PHX
Last Week:
Lights FC still can’t find that elusive victory after Friday night’s defeat to the Galaxy II.
31 Real Monarchs SLC
Week 26: v. ATX
Last Week:
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before – the Monarchs didn’t score. That’s one goal in their last eight games.

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