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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 24

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 08/22/22, 4:00PM EDT


Lights FC has a new-found consistency, and it might just enough to earn a playoff berth

Welcome back to the USL Championship Power Rankings, where Las Vegas Lights FC might be about to make a playoff breakthrough?

First, a caveat – Lights FC did get out of its clash at home to Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night with a win maybe a little fortunately. The visitors at Cashman Field had more shots but were ultimately wasteful before Las Vegas’ Abraham Romero came up with a brilliant late save to preserve the 2-1 victory for Las Vegas.

At the same time, you can’t say Las Vegas doesn’t deserve to be in the position it’s in. As a side, it can be up and down, but not more than any of the other teams currently sitting below them in the Western Conference standings. They’ve tightened up defensively under Head Coach Enrique Duran’s system – after leading the lead with an Expected Goals Against mark of 71.7xGA last year, they’re now at 36.9xGA. It’s not among the best in the league, but certainly better.

That’s been aided by the goalkeeper tandem of Abraham and Tomas (no relation) Romero, with the side’s 31 goals conceded in the top half of the league. While the team has been reliant on Danny Trejo – who on Friday signed officially with Los Angeles FC – and Cal Jennings, it still found a way to win thanks to some of the younger talent in the squad in youth national team players Christian Torres and Daron Eskanderian this weekend.


The first four seasons in Las Vegas have featured some amazing characters, and some great moments and victories. What it’s got this season is different – a team that can be just consistent enough to make the playoffs.

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 Louisville City FC
Week 25: @ MIA

Last Week:
LouCity might have caught a break with its winner in Detroit, but its defense is still locking down opponents. Its Expected Goals Against mark is best in the league at 18.77xGA, and it’s now got shutouts in four of its last five games
2 San Antonio FC
Week 25: @ IND

Last Week:
San Antonio mounted another comeback to earn a result against Rio Grande Valley FC, but that wasn’t a pretty performance by any means.
3 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 25: v. OAK
Last Week:
San Diego showed it quality once again to rebound from last weekend’s defeat. It’s played one more game than San Antonio currently but can raise the pressure with victory at home on Wednesday.
4 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 25: v. NY

Last Week:
Interesting, but ultimately good, week for Legion FC. The loss at home to Detroit City was a letdown, but the response to win on the road against its biggest rival in Memphis was excellent
5 Memphis 901 FC
Week 25:---
Last Week:
901 FC’s midweek win against New Mexico was well-deserved, but it will sting a little to lose in such a manner to Legion FC. With Tampa Bay’s loss, though, Memphis is still in really good shape overall.
6 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 25: v. OC
Last Week:
The Rowdies had scored in 17 consecutive games before being held scoreless the last two weekends. That’s resulted in first place starting to look out of reach in terms of Eastern Conference seeding.
7 Detroit City FC
Week 25: @ CHS
Last Week:
Win against Birmingham, fall narrowly to Louisville, Le Rouge continue to show how competitive they are each week. The next two weekends and games with Charleston and Indy are a chance to close in on a deserved playoff place.
8 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 25: @ ATL
Last Week:
The Hounds should be unhappy about only taking a draw at home to the Red Bulls II. With three more winnable games up next, their top-four candidacy needs maximum points.
9 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 25: v. OAK
Last Week:
Republic FC looked at its best on Wednesday night in sweeping past Colorado Springs. Then the players couldn’t find their shooting boots against Las Vegas on Saturday. Opportunity missed.
10 FC Tulsa
Week 25: v. HFD, v. LDN
Last Week:
Machuca’s late winner after stellar goalkeeping display by Austin Wormell kept Tulsa in the hunt for a late playoff surge. They’ve got to do it twice more against Hartford and Loudoun this week and hope for good results elsewhere.
11 The Miami FC
Week 25: v. LOU
Last Week:
Miami delivered another solid road performance, and Connor Sparrow picked up his 11th shutout of the season. He might be an underrated challenger for Goalkeeper of the Year.
12 New Mexico United
Week 25: @ COS
Last Week:
New Mexico got back into the win column on Saturday, and not a moment too soon. Great all-around performance against a solid Monterey Bay defense after being held at bay by Memphis in midweek.
13 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 25: v. LA
Last Week:
Monterey Bay is still right in the middle of the hunt for the playoffs despite Saturday’s defeat to New Mexico. The margin of error just got a lot slimmer, though.
14 Oakland Roots SC
Week 25: @ SD, @ SAC
Last Week:
Overall, not a bad weekend for Oakland’s playoff chances. Now Roots SC has to get results in a pair of massive games against San Diego Loyal SC and Sacramento Republic FC, though.
15 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 25: v. RGV
Last Week:
Lights FC’s playoff odds just ticked above 50% after being the only team in the bottom eight of the Western Conference to win this weekend. Doing so without Danny Trejo and Cal Jennings was impressive, too.
16 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 25: v. NM

Last Week:
The Switchbacks caught a massive break in the uncalled handball against the Rowdies on Saturday night. A win’s a win, but there are more big tests to come in the next three weekends.
17 Loudoun United FC
Week 25: @ TUL
Last Week:
Loudoun’s Jeremy Garay getting his first professional goal was a nice landmark for a 19-year-old all of you should know now before he hits the next level for club and country – in this case El Salvador.
18 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 25: @ ELP
Last Week:
Phoenix is now tied for the seventh-most available points in the Western Conference after this weekend’s results. This weekend’s visit to El Paso is a proper playoff six-pointer.
19 Orange County SC
Week 25: @ TBR
Last Week:
Orange County needed to take victory against Las Vegas Lights FC last Wednesday night. As it stands, the defending title holders haven’t won back-to-back games all season.
20 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 25: @ LV
Last Week:
The Toros had a two-goal halftime lead and couldn’t put it to bed against San Antonio FC. In a vacuum, taking a point at the conference leader is a good result. In the circumstances, it’s not enough.
21 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 25: v. PHX
Last Week:
In the current standings, El Paso is in seventh place. With only seven games to go and six-game winless streak, the odds are against Locomotive FC being part of the playoff field right now.
22 Charleston Battery
Week 25: v. DET

Last Week:
The Battery got a dazzling performance by Hugo Fauroux in goal, but he couldn’t quite keep out Josh Drack’s free kick to earn the visitors a victory.
23 LA Galaxy II
Week 25: @ MB

Last Week:
Josh Drack is tied with New Mexico United’s Chris Wehan with three goals directly from a free kick this season. Top quality stuff.
24 New York Red Bulls II
Week 25: @ BHM
Last Week:
Big credit to the Red Bulls II on a comeback in Pittsburgh, which staved off elimination from playoff contention for at least one more outing.
25 Hartford Athletic
Week 25: @ TUL
Last Week:
Today’s introduction of Tab Ramos is a massive step for the club. The dividends might not be felt fully until next season on the field, but this is something to really get excited about.
26 Indy Eleven
Week 25: v. SA

Last Week:
Indy Eleven equaled its mark for the most shot on target in a game this season and still couldn’t find a breakthrough. That just seems to be the way it’s going right now for the Boys in Blue.
27 Atlanta United 2
Week 25: v. PIT

Last Week:
Atlanta’s the first team officially eliminated from playoff contention this season after its loss at Loudoun. You can watch that Jackson Conway finish on a loop, though.

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