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USL Championship News & Notes - Week 22

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 08/03/22, 10:00AM EDT

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San Antonio equals fastest run to half-century, Orange County's Iloski meets long-range goals, Rowdies continue on comeback trails


San Antonio FC reached 50 points in 21 games this regular season on Saturday night, matching the fewest games required to reach the mark in the USL Championship's history. | Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC

Welcome to the USL Championship News & Notes, where in the past week we’ve seen San Antonio FC reach a half-century of points in record-equaling style, the Championship’s Golden Boot leader join illustrious company in goals from long-range, and the Tampa Bay Rowdies continue to weather bumps in the road in their pursuit of a third consecutive season with silverware.

Here’s more on all of those and much more, plus a look at upcoming landmarks for players across the league and the weekly Discipline Report.

NEWS AND NOTES

SAN ANTONIO EQUALS FEWEST GAMES TO 50 POINTS
San Antonio FC became the first team to reach 50 points in its 21st game of the regular season on Saturday night thanks to Shannon Gomez’s stoppage-time equalizer against the LA Galaxy II and equaled the mark for the fewest games to record 50 points in the USL Championship’s regular season history.

SAFC joined the 2012 Orlando City SC side that posted a 15-1-5 record in its first 21 games of the season before going on to claim the best record in the regular season that year. Currently sitting on an average of 2.38 points-per game, San Antonio has a chance to set new highs for the most points and most wins in a regular season, with the side currently on pace for 81 points over a full 34-game season while sitting on 16 wins with 13 games remaining. Both marks are currently held by Phoenix Rising FC’s 2019 squad, which recorded 78 points and 24 victories.

Fewest Games to Reach 50 Points in a USL Championship Regular Season
T-1. San Antonio FC (2022) – 21 Games
T-1. Orlando City SC (2012) – 21 Games
T-3. Phoenix Rising FC (2019) – 22 Games
T-3. Real Monarchs SLC (2017) – 22 Games
T-3. Orlando City SC (2014) – 22 Games
T-6. Phoenix Rising FC (2021) – 23 Games
T-6. New York Red Bulls II (2016) – 23 Games
T-6. Rochester Rhinos (2015) – 23 Games

ROWDIES KEEP RALLYING, RISING UP SINGLE-SEASON LEADERBOARD

For a second consecutive outing this past Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rowdies conceded the opening goal, but subsequently moved to a 3-1 victory, continuing the club’s notable campaign in regard to turning deficits into victories. After first defeating Atlanta United 2 on July 23 at Al Lang Stadium, the Rowdies did the same in their visit to Indy Eleven at Michael A. Carroll Stadium to move to 20 points gained from a losing position this season.
Tampa Bay is now only four points behind the record for point gained from a losing position in a single season set last year by Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, which claimed 24 points after trailing in contests on its way to the playoffs.

Most Points Gained from a Losing Position in a USL Championship Regular Season
1. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (2021) – 24
2. Louisville City FC (2019) – 23
3. New York Red Bulls II (2019) – 22
4. San Antonio FC (2018) – 21
T-5. Tampa Bay Rowdies (2022) – 20*
T-5 Reno 1868 FC (2019) – 20
T-5. New York Red Bulls II (2018) – 20
T-5. Louisville City FC (2016) – 20

* - Active Mark

LONG-RANGE GOALS FOR ORANGE COUNTY’S MILAN ILOSKI

Orange County SC’s Milan Iloski moved into the lead in the race for the 2022 USL Championship Golden Boot on Saturday night with his 15th and 16th goals of the season in OCSC’s clash against San Diego Loyal SC, with his second goal of the night the seventh the 23-year-old has scored from outside the penalty area this campaign.

That puts Iloski only one goal behind former FC Cincinnati standout Emmanuel Ledesma for the most goals from outside the penalty area in a single season, with the 2018 USL Championship MVP having recorded eight goals from outside the box in his award-winning campaign four years ago.

Most Goals from Outside the Penalty Area in a USL Championship Regular Season (2017-present)
1. Emmanuel Ledesma, FC Cincinnati (2018) – 8
T-2. Milan Iloski, Orange County SC (2022) – 7*
T-2. Cameron Lancaster, Louisville City FC (2018) – 7
T-4. Jorge Hernandez, LA Galaxy II (2021) – 5
T-4. Jack Barmby, San Antonio FC (2019) – 5
T-4. Carl Haworth, Ottawa Fury FC (2019) – 5 

* - Active Mark

LEGION FC’S VANOEKEL PASSES 300 SAVE MILESTONE


Birmingham Legion FC goalkeeper Matt VanOekel became the ninth goalkeeper to pass 300 regular-season saves in league history this past Saturday during his six-save shutout against Hartford Athletic. | Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic

Birmingham Legion FC’s Matt VanOekel became the ninth goalkeeper in the USL Championship’s history to surpass 300 regular-season saves on Saturday night as he recorded a six-save shutout in the Three Sparks’ 1-0 victory against Hartford Athletic at Trinity Health Stadium.

VanOekel moved into a tie for seventh place all-time with former OKC Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi with his 36th regular-season shutout of his career. With his next shutout, VanOekel would jump into a tie for fourth in the league’s regular season alongside Matt Pickens, Tomas Gomez and current New Mexico United goalkeeper Alex Tambakis.

TOROS SET SEASON-HIGH IN SHOTS, BUT DRAW BLANK

Last Wednesday night, Birmingham Legion FC set a single-game high for the 2022 USL Championship season with 30 total shots in their victory against Loudoun United FC, which also saw Bruno Lapa record the first hat trick in Legion FC history. That mark lasted approximately one hour before it was surpassed by Rio Grande Valley FC, which recorded 32 shots in its contest against Hartford Athletic at H-E-B Park.

Unfortunately for the Toros, for a second consecutive home game they were stymied by an eight-save shutout as Hartford’s Yannik Oettl matched the performance by Las Vegas Lights FC’s Abraham Romero on July 17. The contest marked the first time in the Championship’s regular season a team had recorded at least 30 shots while being held without a goal since Louisville City FC recorded 35 shots in a 1-0 defeat against the Philadelphia Union II on July 20, 2019, and only the third time overall since the start of the 2017 season.

Upcoming Player Milestones


Haiti international Christiano Francois can make his 150th regular season appearance in the USL Championship on Saturday when El Paso Locomotive FC visit Monterey Bay F.C. at Cardinale Stadium. | Photo courtesy Ivan Pierre Aguirre / El Paso Locomotive FC

Appearances
Approaching 200 regular-season appearances

Brian Ownby (LOU) – 197

Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Christiano Francois (ELP) – 149
Jack Metcalf (SD) – 149
Leo Fernandes (TBR) – 148
Jason Johnson (MB) – 148
Oscar Jimenez (LOU) – 147  

Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
Sebastian Velasquez (ELP) – 99
Tyler Gibson (LOU) – 99
Mekeil Williams (PIT) – 98
Joe Kuzminsky (CHS) – 97
Arun Basuljevic (MB) – 97
Jake Areman (TBR) – 97

Minutes
Approaching 15,000 regular-season minutes

Sean Totsch (LOU) – 14,891
Emrah Klimenta (OAK) – 14,771
Phanuel Kavita (BHM) – 14,728
Kyle Greig (TBR) – 14,716

Approaching 10,000 regular-season minutes
Mechack Jerome (IND) – 9,960
Jack Metcalf (SD) – 9,922
Thomas Vancaeyezeele (TBR) – 9,905
Chris Cortez (MB) – 9,867
Amadou Dia (LOU) – 9,781
Malik Johnson (COS) – 9,777

Goals
Approaching 75 regular season goals

Cameron Lancaster (LOU) – 73

Approaching 50 regular season goals
Kyle Murphy (MIA) – 48
Alex Dixon (PIT) – 48
Augustine Williams (CHS) – 48
Christian Volesky (MB) – 47
Chris Wehan (NM) – 47

Assists
Approaching 40 regular season assists

Antoine Hoppenot (DET) – 37
Rodrigo Lopez (SAC) – 37

Approaching 30 regular season assists
Santi Moar (PHX) – 29
Oscar Jimenez (LOU) – 29
Lewis Hilton (TBR) – 27
Niall McCabe (LOU) – 27
Justin Portillo (NM) – 27

Saves
Approaching 300 regular season saves

CJ Cochran (TBR) – 288

Shutouts
Approaching 60 regular-season shutouts

Evan Newton (ELP) – 58

Approaching 40 regular-season shutouts
Alex Tambakis (NM) – 37

Approaching 30 regular-season shutouts
Kyle Morton (LOU) – 29
Joe Kuzminsky (CHS) – 29
CJ Cochran (TBR) – 28

Discipline Report – Week 22

TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 22 of the 2022 USL Championship season:

The LA Galaxy II’s Carlos Harvey has been suspended for two games following the review of an incident by the Independent Discipline Panel in his side’s contest against San Antonio FC. Harvey will be unavailable for LA’s contests against Loudoun United FC on Saturday night, and New Mexico United on August 14.

San Antonio FC’s Santiago Patiño has been suspended for one game following his red card for violent conduct against the LA Galaxy II on July 30. Patiño will be unavailable for selection in San Antonio’s contest against San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday night.

Atlanta United 2’s Nelson Orji has been suspended for one game following his red card for denial of a goalscoring opportunity against Las Vegas Lights FC on July 30. Orji will be unavailable for selection in Atlanta’s contest against Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday night.

The New York Red Bulls II’s Hassan Ndam has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against New Mexico United on July 31. Ndam will be unavailable for selection in New York’s contest against Memphis 901 FC on Wednesday night.

Sacramento Republic FC assistant coach Danny Dichio has been suspended for one game following his red card for delaying a restart during the club’s contest against the Charleston Battery on July 30. Dichio will serve his suspension during Sacramento’s contest against New Mexico United on Wednesday night.

The LA Galaxy II’s Preston Judd has been suspended for two games following his 11th yellow card of the season during his side’s contest against San Antonio FC on July 30. Judd will be unavailable for LA’s contests against Loudoun United FC on Saturday night, and New Mexico United on August 14.

Indy Eleven’s Raul Aguilera has been suspended for one game following his eighth yellow card of the season during his side’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on July 30. Aguilera will be unavailable for selection in Indy’s contest against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday night.

Loudoun United FC’s Houssou Landry was suspended for one game following his red card for denial of a goalscoring opportunity against Birmingham Legion FC on July 27. Landry served his suspension in Loudoun’s contest against Monterey Bay F.C. on July 30.

Phoenix Rising FC’s Irakoze Donasiyano was suspended for one game following his red card for violent conduct against Oakland Roots SC on July 27. Donasiyano served his suspension in Phoenix’s contest against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on July 30.

The following players enter the upcoming matches one caution away from a yellow card accumulation suspension for their eighth yellow card of the season. Here is the breakdown per club:

  • Birmingham Legion FC (1): Marlon

  • Charleston Battery (1): Tristan Weber

  • El Paso Locomotive FC (2): Eder Borelli, Yuma

  • Indy Eleven (1): Sam Brown

  • Las Vegas Lights FC (1): Alex Lara

  • Memphis 901 FC (1): Phillip Goodrum

  • San Antonio FC (2): Mitchell Taintor, PC

  • Tampa Bay Rowdies (1): Laurence Wyke

  • FC Tulsa (1): Gabriel Torres

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  • USL Championship News & Notes - Week 22

  • By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com 08/03/2022, 10:00am EDT
  • San Antonio equals fastest run to half-century, Orange County's Iloski meets long-range goals, Rowdies continue on comeback trails
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