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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 18

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/11/22, 4:15PM EDT


LouCity, Memphis victories give us No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup that will be must-see

Welcome back to the USL Championship Power Rankings, where we’re already excited to see the top two teams in the Eastern Conference square off next Saturday night.

The progression of Memphis 901 FC this season from playoff participant to first-place contender has been one of the best stories of the year as the rebuilt squad led by Head Coach Ben Pirmann has proven itself time and again.

This Saturday’s home game against current Eastern Conference leader Louisville City FC, however, looks on paper like the biggest test the side will face so far. After its romp past the New York Red Bulls II on Saturday night, LouCity ranks first in the Championship in both Expected Goals (35.82xG) and Expected Goals Against (15.22xGA), which would seem to confirm its position as maybe the most complete side in the league.

If there’s anything this Memphis side seems to relish, though, it’s a challenge. After splitting its season series with the third-placed Tampa Bay Rowdies, 901 FC was eager for its first chance at the two-time title winners this weekend.

“It’s a huge game,” said Memphis forward Phillip Goodrum, who bagged his 10th goal this season in the side’s 3-1 win against Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday. “They’re coming to our house, and we want this to be our fortress. We’ve just got to come out with that ruthless attacking mindset and be on the front foot the whole game. It’s going to be a huge game and we’re just hopeful the fanbase can get behind us like always.”

Nothing will be decided for certain on Saturday night – that might come on September 23 when the teams meet at Lynn Family Stadium – but in terms of momentum this could give us a similar scenario to the recent No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle in the Western Conference that saw San Antonio FC emerge victorious against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and since solidify its place atop the standings.


If Memphis can find victory, that momentum could equally carry the newcomer to the title contention conversation a very long way.

Now, here’s how the rest of the picture looks across the league.

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 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 19: @ LDN

Last Week:
The Rowdies keep finding a way to earn victories. They’ve now earned 14 points after trailing this season, the most of any team in the Championship.
2 San Antonio FC
Week 19: v. ATL

Last Week:
SAFC had to be thrilled by seeing first San Diego Loyal SC defeat Colorado Springs, and then both teams suffer defeat as it got a week off from the schedule.
3 Louisville City FC
Week 19: @ MEM

Last Week:
LouCity’s 5.23xG mark on Saturday night was the highest in the Championship so far this season and tied for the eighth-highest since the league partnered with Opta before the 2017 season.
4 Memphis 901 FC
Week 19: v. LOU
Last Week:
Memphis’ victory this past Saturday night was another illustration of how cohesive its attack has been this season. Now comes the first of two massive tests against LouCity.
5 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 19: @SAC
Last Week:
Legion FC will have been sorely disappointed after letting two points slip away in Atlanta last Wednesday night. It made sure there were no such concerns in Charleston in a fine display.
6 LA Galaxy II
Week 19: @ COS
Last Week:
Los Dos have won three in a row, have scored 11 goals across that span, and Preston Judd might be the most valuable player to his side in the league. Really impressive work.
7 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 19: v. BHM
Last Week:
Sacramento managed to preserve its undefeated home record thanks to its talismanic duo of Rodrigo Lopez and Luis Felipe Fernandes. That NorCal rivalry is shaping into something great.
8 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 19: @ OAK
Last Week:
Don’t look now, but Locomotive FC is 10 games undefeated after defeating the Switchbacks again on home turf. Even with that run sitting at 5-0-5, that’s a team that’s becoming hard to beat.
9 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 19:---
Last Week:
SD Loyal delivered a brilliant victory on the road against Colorado Springs, but then gave up five goals for a second time this season on home turf. Even with the red card, that’s disappointing.
10 Detroit City FC
Week 19: @ MB

Last Week:
Another solid four-point week for Le Rouge, and Deklan Wynne’s range-finder is in complete working order. It’s going to be a shock if they don’t make the playoffs.
11 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 19: v. LA
Last Week:
Tough week for the Switchbacks, who still can’t figure out the path to victory in El Paso – not that many clubs have recently. Friday night’s game with Los Dos is no picnic, either.
12 New Mexico United
Week 19 v. TUL

Last Week:
New Mexico gained four points this week and is still looking in solid shape overall, but Chris Wehan’s absence in the attacking third was definitely noticeable.
13 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 19: @ NM
Last Week:
The Hounds have upped their intensity, and suddenly it’s as though the rough spell last month is well in the rear-view mirror. Still work to do, but much better now.
14 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 19:@ RGV
Last Week:
Lights FC gets a playoff six-pointer this weekend as it heads to Rio Grande Valley FC. After a week off, it’s got to make sure the top seven don’t get any further out of reach.
15 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 19: v. LV

Last Week:
The Toros managed to salvage a point against New Mexico on Saturday night but winning at home against Las Vegas this week is going to be essential with the gap up to five points to the playoff places.
16 Oakland Roots SC
Week 19: v. ELP
Last Week:
On the glass-half-full side, Oakland is still undefeated in league action against Sacramento in its history. On the glass-half-empty side, it’s got to have been tough to fail to close out the win at Heart Health Park.
17 The Miami FC
Week 19: v. CHS, @ OC
Last Week:
Back to earth with a bump for Miami, which has now conceded 45 percent of the goals it has allowed this season on set pieces after its trip to Pittsburgh. That’s the second-highest rate in the Championship.
18 FC Tulsa
Week 19: v. NM
Last Week:
Tulsa got a valuable win despite being down to 10 men against Atlanta, although you can argue they got let off the hook by their visitors. Still, back in the middle of the battle for seventh place, and that’s what matters most.
19 Hartford Athletic
Week 19: @ CHA
Last Week:
Hartford couldn’t hold on when it mattered most against Tampa Bay, and that’s now 13 points dropped from winning positions this season, in stark contrast to their visitors on Saturday.
20 Loudoun United FC
Week 19: v. TBR

Last Week:
Loudoun got a week off before one of its biggest tests of the season at home to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Can they spring another surprise on home turf?
21 Atlanta United 2
Week 19: @ SA
Last Week:
Atlanta only earned one point this past week, but it continued to show why it’s got the potential to be a major spoiler over the second half of the season.
22 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 19: V. DET
Last Week:
Congratulations to Anthony Siaha on not only backing MBFC to victory on his Championship debut, but notching a shutout as well on the road against Orange County SC.
23 Orange County SC
Week 19: v. MIA
Last Week:
You understand why Orange County is staying optimistic, but a double-digit margin to make up to the playoff places means it’s getting late early at Championship Soccer Stadium.
24 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 19:---
Last Week:
Including its May 1 game against the LA Galaxy II, Phoenix has conceded 30 goals in 11 games. That’s just not going to end up in wins.
25 Indy Eleven
Week 19: @ NY
Last Week:
Indy Eleven had never lost five games in a row since joining the Championship in 2018 until this past recent run. The playoffs are still within reach, somehow, but something’s got to get fixed here fast.
26 Charleston Battery
Week 19: @MIA, v. HFD

Last Week:
Four defeats in a row and 11 goals conceded in that span. The Battery are at the tipping point with 15 points to the playoff positions and only 16 games left to play.
27 New York Red Bulls II
Week 19: V. IND

Last Week:
It’s hard enough to play a Louisville City FC perfectly capable of creating plenty of chances without setting them up yourselves.

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