Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC has matched the best nine-game start to a season in the USL Championship's history with eight wins from nine games. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Welcome back to our weekly look around the USL Championship and its clubs, where in the past week we’ve seen the best nine-game start to a regular season be equaled, and one of the league’s all-time greats reach another significant landmark.
Find out more about those, the exclusive group San Antonio FC can join in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night, and upcoming landmarks for players in the USL Championship.
Let’s dig in.
COLORADO SPRINGS EQUALS BEST START THROUGH NINE GAMES
With its win against Rio Grande Valley FC last Thursday night, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC is in rare company with 24 points through the first nine games of the season. The Switchbacks are only the second team in the Championship’s history to record as many points through nine games, matching the total of the 2017 Real Monarchs SLC side that claimed the best record at the end of the regular season that campaign.
If the Switchbacks are to surpass the Monarchs to take sole possession of the best start to a season in the Championship’s history, they’re going to have to keep winning, however. From 8-1-0 through nine games, the Monarchs reeled off another four victories in a row – part of their nine-game winning streak which currently sits tied for third all-time in the league’s history – to get to 12-1-0 and 36 points through 13 contests.
Most Points through Nine Games in a USL Championship Regular Season
24 – Real Monarchs SLC, 2017
24 – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, 2022*
23 – San Antonio FC, 2017
23 – Orlando City SC, 2012
21 – San Antonio FC, 2022*
21 – Orlando City SC, 2014
21 – Rochester Rhinos, 2015
21 – Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, 2016
SAN ANTONIO GOES FOR SECOND GIANTKILLING IN OPEN CUP
San Antonio FC will try to defeat another club from Major League Soccer on Wednesday after knocking Austin FC out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last month. | Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
On Wednesday night, San Antonio FC can join a small group of clubs in the USL Championship era to defeat multiple clubs from Major League Soccer in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when they visit Houston Dynamo FC in the Round of 32 at PNC Stadium. Having previously taken a 2-1 victory against Austin FC at Toyota Field last month, San Antonio would become the seventh team since the 2011 edition of the tournament to achieve the feat in one tournament.
USL Championship Teams with multiple wins vs. MLS in an Open Cup run (2011-present)
2011 – Richmond Kickers (Columbus Crew, Sporting Kansas City)
2012 – Harrisburg City Islanders (New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls)
2013 – Orlando City SC (Colorado Rapids, Sporting Kansas City)
2017 – FC Cincinnati (Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire)
2019 – Saint Louis FC (Chicago Fire, FC Cincinnati)
2019 – New Mexico United (Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas)
Of the prior giantkillers, the Richmond Kickers in 2011 and New Mexico United in 2019 stand out having taken both victories on the road, with the Kickers famously becoming the first visiting team to take victory at Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park as they reached the tournament’s Semifinals in 2011. Orlando City SC in 2013 was the lone other side to advance with a road victory against Sporting Kansas City in the Round of 16.
FC TULSA’S SEAN LEWIS GETS SECOND GOALIE ASSIST OF 2022
FC Tulsa’s Sean Lewis became the second goalkeeper to record an assist in the USL Championship this season on Saturday night against Detroit City FC, picking up the helper on Joaquin Rivas’ first goal of the game, and the 18th goalkeeper since the start of the 2014 season to accomplish the feat. Lewis followed Louisville City FC’s Kyle Morton, who recorded an assist on Brian Ownby’s goal in second-half stoppage time against San Diego Loyal SC on April 16.
Currently, only one goalkeeper in the Championship has recorded two assists in his career with Tomas Gomez having recorded one for Saint Louis FC in the 2019 season, and one for Sacramento Republic FC in the 2021 season.
USL Championship Goalkeeper Assists (2021-22)
Sean Lewis, FC Tulsa – vs. Detroit City FC, 5-7-22
Kyle Morton, Louisville City FC – at San Diego Loyal SC, 4-16-22
Joe Kuzminsky, Charleston Battery – vs. Charlotte Independence, 7-23-21
Tomas Gomez, Sacramento Republic FC – at Las Vegas Lights FC, 7-14-21
Matt VanOekel, Birmingham Legion FC – vs. Memphis 901 FC, 5-15-21
EVAN NEWTON REACHES 500 REGULAR-SEASON SAVES
El Paso Locomotive FC's Evan Newton became the first goalkeeper to record 500 saves in the USL Championship's regular season after a six-save shutout against the LA Galaxy II on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
Previously the first goalkeeper in the USL Championship’s history to record 50 shutouts in the regular season, El Paso Locomotive FC’s Evan Newton this past Saturday became the first to record 500 regular season saves in the league’s history. The 34-year-old veteran posted a six-save shutout – the 52nd of his career – in a 4-0 win against the LA Galaxy II to reach 501 saves overall.
Newton is now 84 saves ahead of former Championship standout Brandon Miller, who currently holds second place in the all-time list on 414 regular season saves, with New Mexico United shot-stopper Alex Tambakis sitting third on 411 regular-season saves for his career in the Championship so far.
WEST IS BEST? SO FAR, THAT’S THE CASE
This weekend’s action in the USL Championship brings six interconference contests between Eastern and Western Conference squads, highlighted by Sunday night’s nationally televised contest between Phoenix Rising FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Wild Horse Pass.
A season ago, the initial collection of interconference matches delivered some interesting, but balanced, results. The West took 16 victories, the East took 13 victories, with 15 games ending drawn. This season, the balance of power has shifted westward, with Western Conference teams having posted a 16-6-2 record against their Eastern counterparts through the past weekend. This weekend’s action will see if that trend continues.
Most Wins in Interconference Matchups, 2022 USL Championship Regular Season
Memphis 901 FC – 3-0-0
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – 3-1-0
Sacramento Republic FC – 2-0-0
El Paso Locomotive FC – 2-0-0
Indy Eleven – 2-0-1
Las Vegas Lights FC – 2-1-0
San Diego Loyal SC – 2-2-0
Hartford Athletic's Joel Johnson could make his 150th regular season appearance in the USL Championship on Saturday night when Hartford Athletic hosts the New York Red Bulls II at Trinity Health Stadium. | Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic
Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Sebastian Dalgaard (TBR) – 149
Joel Johnson (HFD) – 149
Malik Johnson (COS) – 148
Matt Bahner (ELP) – 148
Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
Ayoze (IND) – 99
Pierre Da Silva (MIA) – 99
Tobi Adewole (COS) – 98
Mark Segbers (MIA) – 98
Sean McFarlane (MIA) – 98
Zeiko Lewis (SAC) – 97
Matt Sheldon (CHS) – 97
Approaching 15,000 regular-season minutes
Evan Newton (ELP) – 14,716
Yann Ekra (TBR) – 14,659
Approaching 10,000 regular-season minutes
Wesley Charpie (LOU) – 9,932
Leo Fernandes (TBR) – 9,911
Duke Lacroix (SAC) – 9,884
Bradley Bourgeois (TUL) – 9,880
Approaching 75 regular-season goals
Corey Hertzog (HFD) – 73
Cameron Lancaster (LOU) – 71
Approaching 50 regular-season goals
Solomon Asante (IND) – 49
Kyle Murphy (MIA) – 47
Approaching 50 regular-season assists
Kenardo Forbes (PIT) – 49
Approaching 30 regular-season assists
Chris Wehan (NM) – 29
Santi Moar (PHX) – 29
Oscar Jimenez (LOU) – 28
Alex Dixon (PIT) – 27
Approaching 200 regular-season saves
Trey Muse (MEM) – 188
Approaching 30 regular-season shutouts
Joe Kuzminsky (CHS) – 29
Matt VanOekel (BHM) – 29
TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 10 of the 2022 USL Championship season:
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s Triston Hodge has been suspended for one game following his red card for denial of a goalscoring opportunity during his side’s contest against Rio Grande Valley FC on May 5. Hodge will be unavailable for Colorado Springs’ contest against San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday night.
Rio Grande Valley FC assistant coach Gerson Echeverry has been suspended for one game following his red card for entering an opposing technical area in an aggressive and confrontational manner during the club’s contest against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on May 5. Echeverry will serve a touchline suspension during Rio Grande Valley’s contest against Monterey Bay F.C. on Saturday night.
Hartford Athletic assistant coach Jake Davis has been suspended for one game following his red card for abusive language during the club’s contest against Loudoun United FC on May 7. Davis will serve a touchline suspension during Hartford’s contest against the New York Red Bulls II on Saturday night.
Memphis 901 FC’s Niall Logue has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses during his side’s contest against the Charleston Battery on May 6. Logue will be unavailable for selection in Memphis’ contest against Indy Eleven on Saturday night.
San Diego Loyal SC’s Collin Martin has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses during his side’s contest against New Mexico United on May 7. Martin will be unavailable for selection in San Diego’s contest against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday.
Phoenix Rising FC’s Baboucarr Njie has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses during his side’s contest against San Antonio FC on May 7. Njie will be unavailable for selection in Phoenix’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Sunday night.
The New York Red Bulls II’s John Murphy has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses during his side’s contest against Sacramento Republic FC on May 8. Murphy will be unavailable for selection in New York’s contest against Hartford Athletic on Saturday night.
Sacramento Republic FC’s Luther Archimede has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses during his side’s contest against the New York Red Bulls II on May 8. Archimede will be unavailable for selection in Sacramento’s contest against El Paso Locomotive FC on Wednesday, May 18.
Tag(s): Features San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks Phoenix Rising FC Sacramento Republic FC FC Tulsa Charleston Battery Louisville City FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds Tampa Bay Rowdies Las Vegas Lights FC Birmingham Legion FC Indy Eleven Memphis 901 FC El Paso Locomotive FC New Mexico United Hartford Athletic San Diego Loyal SC Miami FC