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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 9

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/09/22, 4:00PM EDT


El Paso is starting to look like its old self in a shift up the standings, and rankings

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the Championship’s Power Rankings, where El Paso Locomotive FC is starting to make a move.

It’s a needed move, too, because let’s face facts – it had been a rough old go of it for the first few weeks of the regular season for Locomotive FC and the talent within its squad. Defensive challenges of the sort that hadn’t really been seen before at Southwest University Park had left the two-time Western Conference Final participant with only one win and five defeats in its first six games.

The past four games, though, have offered a sign that things are starting to move in the right direction. Starting with its 1-1 draw against Oakland Roots SC on April 23, El Paso has recorded 11 goals and conceded only three, with its shutout of the LA Galaxy II on Saturday the second of the campaign so far.

More than that, the club’s numbers are all pointing in a position direction. El Paso has outshot its opponents 62-37 over its past two games and produced a 29-14 edge in shots on goal. Its Expected Goals Against mark of 3.38xGA is in line with the three goals it has allowed, while it has also recorded the highest Expected Goals mark in the league at 8.75xG in the past three-and-a-half weeks.

El Paso still has bigger challenges to come, starting with Saturday’s trip to Eastern Conference contender Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which is perfect at Highmark Stadium this season. With the side now back above the playoff line in the West, though, the Locomotive FC ship appears to have righted its course.

Atlanta United 2 Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Detroit City 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 Monterey Bay F.C. New Mexico United
New York Red Bulls II Oakland Roots SC Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC San Antonio FC
San Diego Loyal SC Tampa Bay Rowdies FC Tulsa

Biggest Movers






1 Louisville City FC
Week 10: @ LA

Last Week:
LouCity’s 10-game undefeated streak is only the ninth in the Championship’s history to start a campaign. Still got a way to go to challenge the all-time record of 22 by the Richmond Kickers in 2013, but with the way this group is playing, why not?
2 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 10: @ SD
Last Week:
The Switchbacks continue to roll with eight wins out of nine, although there were some nervous moments late on after the Toros tried to rally. Those were the first two goals from corner kicks Colorado Springs had allowed this season.
3 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 10: v. TBR
Last Week:
Phoenix took its chances – including a beauty for Greg Hurst’s second – and held off San Antonio to take a season sweep of their series. That could prove really important further down the line with head-to-head the first tiebreaker.
4 San Antonio FC
Week 10: @ MIA
Last Week:
San Antonio had its chances, but either missed the target or was denied by Phoenix’s Ben Lundt. Now they know how opponents had been feeling going up against Jordan Farr recently.
5 The Miami FC
Week 10: v. SA

Last Week:
Miami did enough to get a point from its trip to Birmingham last Wednesday night as its defense remains solid, but the attack needs to start putting more chances on target consistently.
6 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 10: ---

Last Week:
On one hand, Sacramento keeps finding ways to get things done late in games. On the other, when the chance doesn’t get taken – as in last Wednesday’s draw with New Mexico – it illustrates how narrowly the side is squeaking by.
7 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 10: v. COS

Last Week:
SD Loyal couldn’t withstand the pressure from New Mexico to hold on for victory on Saturday afternoon. Still, that’s a decent road point to keep the squad in touch with the Western Conference leaders.
8 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 10: v. ELP
Last Week:
The Hounds bounced back impressively against Birmingham and might have had more goals on another night. Danny Griffin’s first goal of the season was enough this time.
9 Detroit City FC
Week 10: v. LDN
Last Week:
A setback on the road at Tulsa brought DCFC’s undefeated run to an end in the absence of Maxi Rodriguez and Antoine Hoppenot from the lineup. The depth could start to get challenged to step up soon.
10 New Mexico United
Week 10: @ CHS

Last Week:
United could have lost on Wednesday night but was reprieved by Sacramento’s penalty miss, but it earned its equalizer against San Diego Loyal SC. The attack could be this close to igniting properly after Harry Swartz’s spark.
11 Memphis 901 FC
Week 10: v. IND
Last Week:
Memphis looked impressive again on the road against Charleston to take a solid 2-0 victory. The upward progress continues for Head Coach Ben Pirmann’s side.
12 Indy Eleven
Week 10: @ MEM
Last Week:
Indy got the week off ahead of its visit to Memphis this weekend. With the way these two teams like to get after it, this should be a good one to tune into.
13 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 10: @ PIT
Last Week:
Ten goals in the past three games, and only two conceded? That’s a recipe for success for anyone, and Lucho Solignac is now officially on a tear with five of those goals on his own.
14 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 10: @ PHX
Last Week:
The Rowdies got the chance to recuperate in the past week ahead of a massive game on the road against Phoenix on Sunday. You’d better believe they want to put on a show for the national television audience.
15 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 10: v. OAK
Last Week:
Lights FC is winless in its last three after defeat in Monterey Bay. It’s not time to panic yet, but that attack is going to need to regain its form again soon to avoid dipping out of the playoff positions.
16 Orange County SC
Week 10: v. TUL

Last Week:
Orange County staked itself to a two-goal lead against Oakland Roots SC and then managed to not record a shot over the final 50 minutes of the game. That’s not the sort of display that will win many games, and Roots SC’s late equalizer ensured it didn’t.
17 FC Tulsa
Week 10: @ OC
Last Week:
Joaquin Rivas’ two goals and a 3-1 win against Detroit City FC reminded everyone how good Tulsa can be when it’s on its game. That’s got to start happening more frequently.
18 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 10: ---
Last Week:
Back-to-back scoreless games, including a trip to Pittsburgh that saw the Three Sparks fail to register a shot on target, is a real bummer going into a bye week.
19 Oakland Roots SC
Week 10: v. LV
Last Week:
At this point, Roots SC fans know to not leave or turn off their stream before the final whistle. They could use turning those late goals into victories instead of draws, though.
20 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 10: @ MB
Last Week:
The Toros produced a furious comeback on the road at Colorado Springs, but it’s always going to be hard to dig out of a three-goal deficit on the road. Key three-game stretch starts at Monterey Bay on Saturday.
21 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 10: v. RGV
Last Week:
What a home opened for MBFC and Walmer Martinez. Keep delivering that sort of performance and the crowds will keep coming back and help push the side up the standings.
22 LA Galaxy II
Week 10: v. LOU
Last Week:
Los Dos were Dr. Jeckyll against Phoenix Rising FC last weekend, and then Mr. Hyde this past Saturday in El Paso. We’ll see what they have in store when Louisville visits on Friday night.
23 Hartford Athletic
Week 10: v. NY
Last Week:
The Athletic finally have their first league win of the season thanks to Corey Hertzog and Joel Johnson and the chance for another as the last-placed New York Red Bulls II visit on Saturday.
24 Loudoun United FC
Week 10: @ DET
Last Week:
Loudoun’s slide is now at six consecutive defeats after falling to Hartford on Saturday. It’s a shame considering how well the side began the campaign, but that feels like a long time ago now.
25 New York Red Bulls II
Week 10: @ HFD
Last Week:
The Red Bulls II paid for their high defensive line to concede late against Sacramento Republic FC on Sunday, letting another potential result slip away in the closing stages after Week 8’s defeat in Detroit.
26 Charleston Battery
Week 10: v. NM
Last Week:
The Battery are the only team in the Championship that have yet to record a goal in the second half, which means going behind to a team as solid as Memphis was always going to spell trouble.
27 Atlanta United 2
Week 10: v. ---

Last Week:
Atlanta has lost three of its last four outings by a 4-0 score line after Louisville’s impressive trip to Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

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