skip navigation

Quarterly Report – How does your team rate at the midway point of the season?

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/07/22, 1:40PM EDT


The contenders and pretenders are starting to emerge as we enter the second half of the campaign

This past Saturday marked the official midway points of the 2022 USL Championship regular season’s 459-game schedule, so that means it’s time for us to look across the league and take stock of what we’ve seen, and where we think each team might be headed in the race for the playoffs.

With three clear contenders at the top of’s predictor model – San Antonio FC leads the way at 21% with Louisville City FC at 19% and the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 16% – here are the numbers and grades for each team at this point of the campaign. 

Record: 4-12-3, 15pts
Goals (xG): 25 (19.22)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 47 (42.39)
Top of the Class: Robbie Mertz (+4.28 G+) Odds: Playoffs <1% / Title <1%
Grade: C-

Outlook: Atlanta still hasn’t figured things out defensively, it’s 47 goals conceded and 42.39xGA marks are both the highest in the league, but they’ve broken out in attack and become a lot more dangerous thanks to Tristan Trager, Robbie Mertz and others. Head Coach Jack Collison’s team isn’t going to make the playoffs, but they could prove more than a bump in the road for those who have that aim.

Record: 7-5-5, 26pts
Goals (xG): 18 (23.67)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 17 (20.45)
Top of the Class: Jonathan Dean (+4.31 G+) Odds: Playoffs 84% / Title 2%
Grade: B-

Outlook: Looking on the positive side, Birmingham looks like a team that should get to the playoffs and could be a tough out when it gets there. The side is strong defensively, has an excellent core up the middle of the field, and Matt VanOekel’s having a second consecutive great campaign. The challenge is going to be finding a way to sharpen up in the attacking third. There are enough chances there, Birmingham ranks in the top half of the league in Expected Goals, but now the side has to start taking more of them to be a serious threat to the top three.

Record: 2-12-3, 9pts
Goals (xG): 18 (22.16)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 36 (26.82)
Top of the Class: Leland Archer (+3.80 G+) Odds: Playoffs <1% / Title <1%
Grade: D-

Outlook: The Battery have found a little more consistency in the second quarter of the season, but it’s still not been enough to pull them into double-digit points as the defense continues to leak goals, and the attack aside from Augustine Williams continues to misfire. A second consecutive season without playoff soccer is coming to Patriots Point.

Record: 12-5-0, 36pts
Goals (xG): 36 (24.22)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 22 (17.9)
Top of the Class: Hadji Barry (+5.27 G+) Odds: Playoffs 97% / Title 5%
Grade: A-

Outlook: There’s so much to like about how the Switchbacks have continued to drive forward this season. Hadji Barry has a chance to be the third player in league history to win both the Golden Boot and Assists Champion awards with 10 goals and six assists so far, but we’re still awaiting that signature win that says this side can get past the biggest obstacles in the postseason. Home losses to San Antonio FC and San Diego Loyal SC in recent weeks have put the side’s top-two position under pressure, and left a gap to SAFC ahead of their rematch in September.

Record: 8-4-6, 30pts
Goals (xG): 25 (24.58)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 18 (21.18)
Top of the Class: Antoine Hoppenot (+4.76 G+) Odds: Playoffs 77% / Title 1%
Grade: B+

Outlook: Steady as she goes here. Le Rouge look very well set for the playoffs in their first season in the Championship thanks to a defense that is outperforming its Expected Goals mark with and an attack that is proving solid enough with a variety of players contributing. Well drilled, well organized, well on the way to success.

Record: 8-6-6, 30pts
Goals (xG): 38 (33.74)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 24 (24.21)
Top of the Class: Dylan Mares (+4.53 G+) Odds: Playoffs 71% / Title 3%
Grade: B

Outlook: Locomotive FC might be the biggest wild card when it comes to the postseason, which it looks well set to reach so far. Defensively, Evan Newton has stepped up his game to bring the side’s Expected Goals Against mark back into line with its actual goals conceded record, and the attack still looks explosive even with the departure of Diego Luna. The question is whether the El Paso side which defeated Sacramento Republic FC at home and Phoenix Rising FC on the road is the true side, or the one that had to scrape a draw on the road against Atlanta United 2?

Record: 4-9-4, 16pts
Goals (xG): 18 (20.77)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 24 (23.25)
Top of the Class: Andre Lewis (+3.61 G+) Odds: Playoffs 16% / Title <1%
Grade: C-

Outlook: Even after the midseason coaching departure of Harry Watling, Hartford is basically where its numbers say it should be at this point. That means bridging the eight-point gap to the playoffs positions is going to be a major challenge, but the Athletic are more than capable of delivering a result or two that could change scenarios for the teams above them chasing the playoffs and positioning at the top of the standings.

Record: 6-8-3, 21pts
Goals (xG): 22 (17.82)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 27 (20.7)
Top of the Class: Stefano Pinho (+4.76 G+) Odds: Playoffs 35% / Title <1%
Grade: D+

Outlook: The grade here is as much to do with the current trajectory of the side as it is the overall season. Four consecutive defeats, and three consecutive games without a goal have Indy’s season teetering as it heads for a key game at Pittsburgh on Saturday. On the bright side, there should be enough talent for the side to challenge Miami and others for a playoff place, but it’s got to come back together quickly to keep the side above the line in view.

Record: 8-8-3, 27pts
Goals (xG): 29 (25.45)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 34 (29.13)
Top of the Class: Preston Judd (+6.14 G+) Odds: Playoffs 34% / Title <1%
Grade: B-

Outlook: By Goals Added numbers, there has been no more valuable player to his side than Preston Judd to the Galaxy II this season. Now past 25 regular season goals in a little over a season-and-a-half, the 23-year-old forward has maintained his pace from his rookie season last year and is one of the best all-around strikers in the league. Is that going to be enough to get Los Dos into the playoffs? Maybe, given that there’s plenty of talent elsewhere around him. If Head Coach Yoann Damet can just find a way to tighten up the side’s defense, there’s a chance here.

Record: 7-7-4, 25pts
Goals (xG): 23 (18.69)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 24 (23.55)
Top of the Class: Danny Trejo (+5.74 G+) Odds: Playoffs 13% / Title <1%
Grade: B

Outlook: Las Vegas has exceeded expectations after prior years, but it’s clear the playoff chances for the side are going to hinge on the availability of Danny Trejo and Cal Jennings. Lights FC is a different team in the attacking third when those two players are on the field. As solid defensively as Head Coach Enrique Duran’s side has been – and major credit to him for that – Las Vegas’ three biggest contributors in Goals Added after Trejo are full backs Morten Bjorshol and Alvaro Quezada, and center back Alex Lara.

Record: 4-10-3, 15pts
Goals (xG): 18 (20.38)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 32 (26.96)
Top of the Class: Sami Guediri (+3.25 G+) Odds: Playoffs 1% / Title <1%
Grade: C

Outlook: Loudoun continues to be a solid, competitive side, but it’s not quite going to be enough to challenge for a playoff place unless it can find a way to plug its leaks defensively. Last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Tulsa was another example of that, with Loudoun now tied for the second-most goals conceded in the final 15 minutes of games this season at 11 of their 32 overall goals allowed. There is enough here to challenge some contenders, but likely as no more than a spoiler down the stretch.

Record: 11-3-3, 36pts
Goals (xG): 34 (30.59)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 14 (14.69)
Top of the Class: Brian Ownby (+5.39 G+) Odds: Playoffs >99% / Title 19%
Grade: A

Outlook: LouCity is currently atop the Eastern Conference and the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the USL Championship Final at 34 percent chance according to, with its attack and defense both among the best in the league in both actual figures and underlying numbers. The question that currently exists for the side is who steps up if both current leading scorer Wilson Harris and all-time leading scorer Cameron Lancaster are unavailable, but there’s little question Louisville will be among the favorites when the postseason arrives.

Record: 11-4-2, 35pts
Goals (xG): 32 (22.01)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 16 (18.66)
Top of the Class: Phillip Goodrum (+5.25 G+) Odds: Playoffs >99% / Title 6%
Grade: A

Outlook: Memphis has proven plenty over the first half of Head Coach Ben Pirmann’s second full season in charge, taking the next step to becoming a serious contender for top spot in the Eastern Conference after last year’s first postseason berth. The only major question that’s left is whether 901 FC has got enough to take on Louisville City FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies head-to-head when they’re all at their best? If that’s the challenge you’ve got, though, you’ve already accomplished a heck of a lot.

Record: 6-6-6, 24ts
Goals (xG): 20 (21.57)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 18 (21.61)
Top of the Class: Joshua Perez (+3.82 G+) Odds: Playoffs 75% / Title 2%
Grade: C-

Outlook: As of now, Miami is in the playoff field, but as is reflected in the club’s grade that feels a bit underwhelming for where expectations were at the start of this season with the new arrivals the side made. The defense has been solid, which is a great foundation to build on for Head Coach Anthony Pulis, but we really need to see more from Kyle Murphy, new arrival Joaquin Rivas and Florian Valot in the attacking third to be convinced this side can challenge the top clubs.

Record: 4-11-1, 13pts
Goals (xG): 21 (13.79)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 38 (22.81)
Top of the Class: Hugh Roberts (+2.86 G+) Odds: Playoffs 3% / Title <1%
Grade: C-

Outlook: In the big picture, Monterey Bay F.C. is having a pretty typical expansion season. Some things are working well – hello there, Chase Boone – and others aren’t quite going so well – hello there, leaky defense. MBFC has shown it’s going to be a potential thorn in the side to contenders higher up the standings, especially at Cardinale Stadium, which looks beautiful, but the second half of this year is going to be spent evaluating who can help this team moving forward and where it needs to strengthen for 2023.

Record: 8-3-5, 29pts
Goals (xG): 25 (17.95)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 13 (17.81)
Top of the Class: Neco Brett (+4.18 G+) Odds: Playoffs 93% / Title 6%
Grade: B-

Outlook: It’s been a curious season so far for New Mexico. The side is outperforming its numbers in attack and defense, putting United in a position to potentially make a run to host a playoff game for the first time in its history. If those numbers start to level off, however, it could leave New Mexico in a battle to reach the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. Watch closely, here.

Record: 1-13-3,6pts
Goals (xG): 9 (13.74)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 33 (30.38)
Top of the Class: Jeremy Rafanello (+3.66 G+) Odds: Playoffs <1% / Title <1%
Grade: D-

Outlook: The past seven days have seen the Red Bulls II’s most famous alumni in Tyler Adams sign for a Premier League club, and the current side let go of Gary Lewis at the midway point of his first season in charge after taking over from John Wolyniec. If you want a picture of how far New York has slipped competitively since that title-winning season six years ago that Adams was part of, this is it.

Record: 5-6-9, 24pts
Goals (xG): 30 (26.24)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 30 (23.19)
Top of the Class: Ottar Magnus Karlsson (+4.20 G+) Odds: Playoffs 22% / Title <1%
Grade: C

Outlook: If you tune into an Oakland Roots SC game, you’re close to guaranteed to get entertainment, especially late in games. Roots SC has scored 14 goals in the final 15 minutes and stoppage time this season, almost half its overall total of 30 goals and easily the most in the league. The problem is it’s usually needed that to salvage a result, having conceded 30 goals as well. The underlying numbers say Roots SC is a better team than its record indicates – it ranks sixth in American Soccer Analysis’ Expected Points metric at 28.57 – but the side isn’t quite delivering and that could result in missing the playoffs.

Record: 4-8-6, 18pts
Goals (xG): 27 (18.66)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 31 (22.83)
Top of the Class: Milan Iloski (+5.32 G+) Odds: Playoffs 13% / Title <1%
Grade: D+

Outlook: This is not the way Orange County SC’s title defense was supposed to go. Defensively, the side that was watertight late last year has sprung leaks all over the place, putting the side in danger of not reaching the postseason to defend its crown. The silver lining has been the attacking pair of Milan Iloski – currently leading the race for the Golden Boot with 12 goals – and Erick “Cubo” Torres, but there’s need of other players stepping up to give OCSC a chance at making a second-half run.

Record: 7-9-1, 22pts
Goals (xG): 28 (23.45)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 36 (27.47)
Top of the Class: Aodhan Quinn (+4.28 G+) Odds: Playoffs 35% / Title <1%
Grade: D

Outlook: As great as Phoenix has been over the past five years, at a certain point you are what your record says you are – thank you, Bill Parcells. Phoenix is doing its usual job of overachieving in the attacking third, but its defense has been disjointed and as a result the side sits tied for the third-most goals conceded in the league this season. When your company is two other sides that aren’t looking playoff bound this year in the Charleston Battery and FC Tulsa, then that’s a massive disappointment.

Record: 9-6-3, 30pts
Goals (xG): 28 (26.74)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 23 (18.44)
Top of the Class: Alex Dixon (+5.27 G+) Odds: Playoffs 97% / Title 5%
Grade: B-

Outlook: After a six-game winless streak – the longest under Head Coach Bob Lilley since he arrived prior to the 2018 season – the Hounds seem to have got things back on track and remain a solid contender for a postseason berth. The nagging thought is this team doesn’t seem to be equal to the sum of its parts right now. That leaves room for improvement, and the potential the Hounds could be very dangerous this postseason. It also leaves the potential that the side continues to be good, but not quite good enough in the end.

Record: 7-9-2, 23pts
Goals (xG): 23 (22.22)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 25 (19.54)
Top of the Class: Dylan Borczak (+3.14 G+) Odds: Playoffs 34% / Title <1%
Grade: C

Outlook: The Toros have the look of a solid squad that can give anyone a game, but might not quite have what it takes to break through and return to the playoffs for a second consecutive season. Every single game the Toros have played this season that has ended up with a non-draw result has been decided by one goal, hence its -2 goal differential on a 7-9-2 record. If the side can find a way to pick up the pace in attack, that could make all the difference in the final account.

Record: 8-4-4, 28pts
Goals (xG): 19 (21.78)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 15 (16.10)
Top of the Class: Rodrigo Lopez (3.17 G+) Odds: Playoffs 88% / Title 4%
Grade: B

Outlook: If we were going to include Sacramento Republic FC’s exploits in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup here, this would probably be verging toward an A- grade, but as good as Sacramento has been at its best this season there have also been some notable letdowns on the road against El Paso Locomotive FC and more recently Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Republic FC is undefeated at Heart Health Park this season, but to get a home playoff game it’s going to have to pick up the pace on the road as well as at home with the talent and depth it has on offer, especially in the attacking third.

Record: 13-3-1, 40pts
Goals (xG): 28 (24.62)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 14 (17.77)
Top of the Class: Mitchell Taintor (+4.55 G+) Odds: Playoffs >99% / Title 21%
Grade: A+

Outlook: As we noted recently, San Antonio is unlike any serious USL Championship Final contender we’ve seen in the past five years, but the effectiveness of the way the side plays and the results it has delivered so far put it at the top of the class so far this season. The projections say SAFC could be on course for one of the all-time great seasons in league history, and with Mitchell Taintor leading the side at the back and PC powering the midfield, there’s no reason to expect any let-up here.

Record: 10-4-4, 34pts
Goals (xG): 41 (30.22)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 28 (21)
Top of the Class: Kyle Vassell (+5.32 G+) Odds: Playoffs 96% / Title 6%
Grade: A

Outlook: San Diego has delivered some great results so far this season that have put it above 50 percent chance to finish in the top three in the Western Conference, with its road wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at the top of the list. SD Loyal has all the weapons it needs, and if it can find a way to tighten up just a little at the back it might end up as San Antonio FC’s biggest challenger this postseason.

Record: 9-3-6, 33pts
Goals (xG): 34 (31.07)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 18 (14.36)
Top of the Class: Leo Fernandes (+5.70 G+) Odds: Playoffs >99% / Title 16%
Grade: A

Outlook: The Tampa Bay Rowdies rank first in the league in Expected Goals Against at 14.36, narrowly ahead of Louisville City FC, and rank second in the league in Expected Goals at 31.07 behind only El Paso Locomotive FC. Leo Fernandes is having a career season, while Jake LaCava is a Young Player of the Year candidate and the core pieces like Yann Ekra, Lewis Hilton, Aaron Guillen and Laurence Wyke are all producing well. Everything is pointing toward another strong postseason run.

Record: 5-10-4, 19pts
Goals (xG): 24 (19.43)
Goals Conceded (xGA): 36 (31.58)
Top of the Class: JJ Williams (4.63 G+) Odds: Playoffs 14% / Title <1%
Grade: D

Outlook: Tulsa’s decision to part ways with Head Coach Michael Nsien last month was a difficult one given everything he’s done at the club, but it’s been followed by a series of moves aimed at jump-starting a season that still offers a chance at the postseason, even if it’s one that as of now looks narrow. The biggest challenge for interim Head Coach Donovan Ricketts will be to solidify the side defensively – Tulsa currently ranks 26th in Expected Goals Against, trailing even the New York Red Bulls II. If that can be managed, there might be a chance of a revival.

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos