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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 19

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/18/22, 4:00PM EDT


Oakland’s standout Saturday inspires belief, could spark playoff drive for second consecutive year

Welcome back to the USL Championship Power Rankings, where we’re feeling strangely bullish about Oakland Roots SC’s chances of making the postseason field again.

You’ll remember last year, of course, when Oakland made an improbable surge up the standings after sitting in last place midway through the season to earn a playoff place in its first season in the Championship with a 9-5-4 record.

This year, it’s as complicated, but as shown on Saturday night in its 4-0 victory against El Paso Locomotive FC, this Roots SC team feels better than that one, and its underlying numbers bear that out.

The challenge for first-year Head Coach Juan Guerra and his side has primarily been game management. You’ll likely remember the stat that Oakland has scored more goals than any other team (14) in the final 15 minutes or later in games this season. That’s led to Roots SC gaining nine points from losing positions this season.

Here’s the problem – Roots SC has also dropped 16 points from winning positions this campaign. That’s the most of any team in the Championship to this point, and while the club’s plus-minus differential between those two categories isn’t nearly as problematic as someone like Hartford Athletic’s (-11 differential), it’s the thing that could end up sinking Oakland’s chances.

Now, here’s where the optimism comes in, because Roots SC showed on Saturday how capable it can be when it puts everything together. The side’s 4-0 victory against El Paso Locomotive FC was absolutely superb, an indicator of the top-end of Roots SC’s quality. It’s games like that which have Oakland currently ranked fifth in Expected Points this season by American Soccer Analysis at 33.57xP, ahead of teams like San Diego Loyal SC and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.


Should Oakland deliver more of the same down the stretch, it could be one of the dark horses to challenge in the postseason.

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 20: v. ATL

Last Week:
Dayonn Harris came on as a halftime substitute and changed the game for the Rowdies at Loudoun. They’re now undefeated in 10 games and have scored in 14 consecutive games as Leo Fernandes and Jake LaCava continue to click.
2 San Antonio FC
Week 20: @ ELP

Last Week:
Santiago Patino and Samuel Adeniran are looking like a 1-2 punch that can rival anyone in the Championship. They’ve combined for six goals in the past three games after Saturday’s romp against Atlanta.
3 Louisville City FC
Week 20: v. PHX

Last Week:
Brian Ownby’s consecutive two-goal outings have him tied for an individual single-season high with seven goals so far this campaign. You have to go back to 2013 for the prior occasion that occurred, when he was with the Richmond Kickers.
4 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 20: v. TUL
Last Week:
Legion FC needed a little good fortune to come away with victory in Sacramento but becoming the first team to defeat Republic FC on its home turf this year is no small feat.
5 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 20: @ SD
v. CHS
Last Week:
In full flight, there are few teams more entertaining than Colorado Springs. Thirty-two of the club’s 38 non-penalty goals have been assisted, with Hadji Barry now leading the league with eight.
6 Memphis 901 FC
Week 20: @ IND
Last Week:
Memphis went toe-to-toe ably with Louisville, showing they belong in the race for the first place, but that wasn’t the ideal moment to suffer a first loss after scoring first this season. Circle the rematch on September 23.
7 New Mexico United
Week 20: @ DET
Last Week:
A four-point week moved United into a tie for third place in the Western Conference with games in hand on the teams below it still. Getting Romario Williams up to speed and Amando Moreno back from injury soon is also going to help.
8 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 20: @ PHX
Last Week:
Sacramento did enough to earn a draw against Birmingham only for the woodwork and Matt VanOekel to keep the hosts out. After a perfect June, Sacramento’s winless so far this month.
9 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 20: v. COS
v. RGV

Last Week:
SD Loyal’s Monday night clash with Colorado Springs is a must-see for many reasons, but it’s also crucial for the hosts if they’re going to challenge for a top-two finish in the end.
10 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 20: @ HFD
Last Week:
Dane Kelly’s goal against New Mexico on Saturday to earn a draw for the visitors marked the 41st team the Jamaican has scored against in his USL Championship career.
11 Detroit City FC
Week 20: v. NM
Last Week:
Le Rouge have recorded three shutouts in the past four games to remain nicely on track for a postseason berth. This weekend’s game with New Mexico should be an interesting one.
12 Oakland Roots SC
Week 20: v. LV
Last Week:
The first half Roots SC put together against an El Paso side that was undefeated in 10 games showed what this side can be capable of. More of that, and you could see a late-season run into the postseason for a second consecutive season.
13 LA Galaxy II
Week 20: v. OC
Last Week:
Los Dos couldn’t contain Colorado Springs’ attacking options and could quickly come under pressure from teams with games in hand sitting below them in the standings.
14 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 20: v. SA
Last Week:
Ahead of home games against the top teams in either conference over the next two weekends – San Antonio FC on Saturday, Louisville City FC on July 30 – that defeat in Oakland wasn’t what Locomotive FC was looking for.
15 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 20: @ OAK
Last Week:
Lights FC achieved the seemingly impossible on Sunday night, winning while recording only one touch in the opposing penalty area. That’s the first time that’s happened in the Championship since the league’s partnership with Opta in 2017.
16 The Miami FC
Week 20: v. LDN
Last Week:
Miami created separation from the teams below the playoff line with a pair of shutouts and a one-goal win against Charleston, but this still doesn’t feel like a team that’s firing on all cylinders yet.
17 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 20: @ SD
Last Week:
Las Vegas’ Abraham Romero did his part, but the Toros only had themselves to blame for Sunday’s defeat. Chance after chance sent off target and squandered.
18 FC Tulsa
Week 20: @ BHM

Last Week:
Tulsa’s in the tough spot of being tied for the most games played in the East and a gap to make up to the playoff places. They’re going to give this a go, but it’s not looking great right now.
19 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 20: v. NY
Last Week:
Monterey Bay is undefeated in three games and has consecutive shutouts from Antony Siaha in goal. It’s not going to be enough for a playoff place this season but it’s certainly something to build on.
20 Loudoun United FC
Week 20: v. MIA

Last Week:
Loudoun just didn’t have enough answers after the Rowdies found a higher gear on Saturday night. Tough end to a four-game home undefeated streak.
21 Charleston Battery
Week 20: @ COS
Last Week:
Augustine Williams continues to shine brightly for the Battery and was impressive again in the side’s victory against Hartford on Saturday night.
22 Hartford Athletic
Week 20: v. PIT
Last Week:
It’s not definitive, but Saturday’s loss at Charleston brought the potential tipping point for the window closing on a playoff berth into view. Hartford now has 12 points to make up with only 15 games remaining.
23 Atlanta United 2
Week 20: @ TBR
Last Week:
Atlanta got taught a very hard lesson by a top team on Saturday night. We’ll see what they learned on Saturday when they get to visit the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
24 Orange County SC
Week 20: @ LA
Last Week:
Four games without a win, 10 points to make up to the playoff places. Time is running out fast for the defending title holders.
25 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 20: @ LOU
v. SAC
Last Week:
It’s close to now-or-never time for Phoenix. If it can make a statement this week against Louisville City FC and Sacramento Republic FC, there’s a chance for a revival. If it can’t, the path narrows that much more.
26 New York Red Bulls II
Week 20: @ MB
Last Week:
A goal, and a win! Congrats to interim Head Coach Ibrahim Sekagya, whose team was full value for its result on Friday night.
27 Indy Eleven
Week 20: v. MEM
Last Week:
In theory, Indy is still right in the middle of the playoff race. In practice, it’s gone without a goal in 450 minutes. The upcoming three-game homestand against Memphis, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay is going to define this season.

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