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USL Championship News & Notes - Week 23

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 08/10/22, 9:50AM EDT

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Loudoun's Fletcher lands birthday brace, Republic FC legend Lopez moves up assists chart, Monterey Bay shutout streak nears Top 10


Loudoun United FC's Kristian Fletcher became the third-youngest player in the Championship's history to record a multi-goal game as he notched a brace on his 17th birthday this past Saturday. | Photo courtesy Loudoun United FC

Welcome to this week’s edition of the USL Championship’s News and Notes, where a current United States youth international added his name to a notable list to celebrate his birthday on Saturday night, and one of the league’s legends continued his move up the all-time leaderboards in the past week of action.

All of that, and a notable first-year shutout streak, plus a look at upcoming individual landmarks for players across the league and the Week 23 Discipline Report

NEWS AND NOTES

LOUDOUN UNITED FC’S KRISTIAN FLETCHER GETS BIRTHDAY BOOST

Loudoun United FC and United States youth international Kristian Fletcher marked his 17th birthday with a two-goal performance on Saturday night in his club’s 2-0 victory against the LA Galaxy II, making him the third-youngest player in the Championship’s history to record a multi-goal game in the regular season. Only current LA Galaxy forward Efrain Alvarez (15 years, 324 days) and Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola (16 years, 171 days) were younger than Fletcher in achieving the feat, with Alvarez doing so four times overall before his 17th birthday as he claimed the 2018 USL Championship Young Player of the Year award. 

Fletcher was also the second player this season to score on his birthday following Louisville City FC’s Brian Ownby, who marked his 32nd birthday with a two-goal performance against Memphis 901 FC on July 16. The 15-year difference in age between the two players is a new high in a Championship season. The previous margin was 13 years in the 2019 season when 21-year-old Orlando Sinclair of Loudoun United FC and 34-year-old Jemal Johnson of Fresno FC each scored on their respective birthdays.

Youngest to record Multi-Goal Games in the USL Championship Regular Season
1. Efrain Alvarez, LA Galaxy II – 3 goals – 15 years, 324 days
2. Ayo Akinola, Toronto FC II – 2 goals – 16 years, 171 days
3. Kristian Fletcher, Loudoun United FC – 2 goals – 17 years
4. Shaan Hundal, Toronto FC II – 2 goals – 17 years, 16 days
5. Christian Torres, Las Vegas Lights FC – 2 goals – 17 years, 62 days
6. Jack McGlynn, Philadelphia Union II – 2 goals – 17 years, 82 days
7. Caden Clark, New York Red Bulls II – 2 goals – 17 years, 105 days

SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC’S RODRIGO LOPEZ TAKES TOP FIVE ASSISTS BERTH

Sacramento Republic FC playmaker Rodrigo Lopez moved into fifth place in the USL Championship’s all-time regular season assists list after a two-assist performance against New Mexico United last Wednesday night at Isotopes Park. Lopez passed current Real Salt Lake midfielder Maikel Chang to move to 39 assists for his career, placing him 14 behind current all-time leader Kenardo Forbes of Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.

Lopez has averaged an assist every 287 minutes in his Championship career, which places him second in minutes per assist rate to only Solomon Asante, who has averaged an assist every 218.7 minutes during his career so far.

USL Championship All-Time Regular Season Assists Leaders
1. Kenardo Forbes – 53
2. Aodhan Quinn – 46
3. Danny Barrera – 45
4. Solomon Asante – 44
5. Rodrigo Lopez – 39

MONTEREY BAY F.C. SHUTOUT STREAK REACHES 500 MINUTES


Monterey Bay F.C. and goalkeeper Antony Siaha have recorded shutouts in five consecutive games, building an overall shutout streak of 500 minutes. | Photo courtesy Monterey Bay F.C.

Monterey Bay F.C. recorded its fifth consecutive shutout in the USL Championship on Saturday night against El Paso Locomotive FC and moved its overall shutout streak to 500 minutes with the last goal it conceded having come in the 40th minute of the club’s contest against New Mexico United on July 2. It is currently the fourth-longest streak by a club in its inaugural season, with the first-year mark also sitting as the second-longest shutout streak in league history of 759 minutes by Rio Grande Valley FC during the 2016 season.

Longest Shutout Streak in an Inaugural Season in the USL Championship
1. Rio Grande Valley FC (2016) – 759 minutes
2. Birmingham Legion FC (2019) – 624 minutes
3. Antigua Barracuda FC (2011) – 510 minutes
4. Monterey Bay F.C. (2022) – 500 minutes*

* - Active

MBFC’s current streak currently sits 11th overall in the league’s history, with the capability to move up to seventh should it earn a sixth consecutive shutout on Wednesday night against San Diego Loyal SC. Monterey Bay trails the longest shutout streak in the Championship’s regular season by 391 minutes, with the Tampa Bay Rowdies having set the mark of 891 minutes last season as goalkeeper Evan Louro tied a league record with eight consecutive shutouts.

MIAMI’S MURPHY REACHES 50-GOAL LANDMARK

Miami FC’s Kyle Murphy became the 18th player to reach 50 regular season goals in the USL Championship’s history on Saturday night with a two-goal performance against Miami FC. The 29-year-old reached the landmark in his 168th regular season appearance and has averaged a goal every 194.3 minutes over that span.

Murphy’s scoring rate places him currently 11th among players to have reached a half-century of regular season goals, narrowly trailing current Monterey Bay F.C. forward Chris Cortez (193.5) and Indy Eleven forward Solomon Asante (192.4).

Upcoming Player Milestones


The Tampa Bay Rowdies' Leo Fernandes is set to make his 150th regular-season appearance in the USL Championship on Saturday night as his side visits Louisville City FC at Lynn Family Stadium. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies

Appearances
Approaching 200 regular-season appearances

Brian Ownby (LOU) – 198

Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Leo Fernandes (TBR) – 149
Jason Johnson (MB) – 148
Oscar Jimenez (LOU) – 147  

Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
Mekeil Williams (PIT) – 99
Kevaughn Frater (NM) – 97
Joe Kuzminsky (CHS) – 97
Arun Basuljevic (MB) – 97
Jake Areman (TBR) – 97

Minutes
Approaching 15,000 regular-season minutes

Sean Totsch (LOU) – 14,981
Phanuel Kavita (BHM) – 14,787
Emrah Klimenta (OAK) – 14,771
Danny Barrera (HFD) – 14,739
Kyle Greig (TBR) – 14,716

Approaching 10,000 regular-season minutes
Jack Metcalf (SD) – 9,932
Thomas Vancaeyezeele (TBR) – 9,905
Amadou Dia (LOU) – 9,871
Chris Cortez (MB) – 9,867
Jimmy Ockford (COS) – 9,794
Malik Johnson (COS) – 9,777

Goals
Approaching 75 regular season goals

Cameron Lancaster (LOU) – 73

Approaching 50 regular season goals
Augustine Williams (CHS) – 49
Alex Dixon (PIT) – 48
Christian Volesky (MB) – 47
Chris Wehan (NM) – 47

Assists
Approaching 40 regular season assists

Rodrigo Lopez (SAC) – 39
Antoine Hoppenot (DET) – 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) – 290

Shutouts
Approaching 60 regular-season shutouts

Evan Newton (ELP) – 58

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

Approaching 30 regular-season shutouts
Kyle Morton (LOU) – 29
Joe Kuzminsky (CHS) – 29
CJ Cochran (TBR) – 29
Connor Sparrow (MIA) – 27 

Discipline Report – Week 23

TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 23 of the 2022 USL Championship season:

The Charleston Battery’s Enock Kwakwa has been suspended for three games following his red card for violent conduct against Louisville City FC on August 6. Kwakwa will be unavailable for selection in Charleston’s contests against the New York Red Bulls II on Friday night, the LA Galaxy II on August 20, and Detroit City FC on August 27.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Marc Ybarra has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against Indy Eleven on August 6. Ybarra will be unavailable for selection in Pittsburgh’s contest against Memphis 901 FC on Saturday night.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Laurence Wyke has been suspended one game for caution accumulation following his eighth yellow card of the season in Tampa Bay’s contest against Detroit City FC on August 6. Wyke will be unavailable for selection in Tampa Bay’s contest against Louisville City FC on Saturday night.

Memphis 901 FC’s Phillip Goodrum was suspended for one game for caution accumulation following his eighth yellow card of the season in Memphis’ contest against the New York Red Bulls II on August 3. Goodrum served his suspension during Memphis’ contest against Hartford Athletic on August 6.

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:

  • Atlanta United 2 (1): Efrain Morales

  • Birmingham Legion FC (1): Marlon

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

  • Indy Eleven (1): Sam Brown

  • Las Vegas Lights FC (1): Alex Lara

  • Memphis 901 FC (1): Leston Paul

  • Monterey Bay F.C. (1): James Murphy

  • New Mexico United (1): Will Seymore

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

  • FC Tulsa (1): Gabriel Torres

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  • USL Championship News & Notes - Week 23

  • By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com 08/10/2022, 9:50am EDT
  • Loudoun's Fletcher lands birthday brace, Republic FC legend Lopez moves up assists chart, Monterey Bay shutout streak nears Top 10
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