Sacramento Republic FC's Rodrigo Lopez recorded his 40th regular season assist in the Championship in the side's 3-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on August 17. | Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
Welcome to the latest edition of the USL Championship’s News & Notes, our weekly look on notable achievements and potential upcoming landmarks for players and clubs around the league and alumni.
This week, we have two of the league’s longest-standing playmakers reaching a notable landmark in their careers, another upcoming landmark for the Championship’s all-time appearances and goalscoring leader, and spotlight two players who have been lethal from set pieces so far this campaign.
Here’s more on that, and much more, plus the regular look at upcoming landmarks and the Week 25 Discipline Report.
DETROIT’S HOPPENOT, SACRAMENTO’S LOPEZ REACH 40 ASSISTS MILESTONE
Two of the USL Championship’s top all-time playmakers reached 40 regular season assists for their careers last Wednesday night, with Detroit City FC’s Antoine Hoppenot reaching the mark with a two-assist performance in Le Rouge’s 2-1 victory against Birmingham Legion FC, and Lopez joining him later in the night with the assist on Matt LaGrassa’s goal in Republic FC’s 3-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
Hoppenot and Lopez are the fifth and sixth players to record 40 regular season assists in the league’s history and are also only the third and fourth to have recorded at least 30 regular season goals and 40 regular season assists in their careers after Aodhan Quinn and Solomon Asante. Lopez has notched 33 regular season goals, while Hoppenot has 36.
COLORADO SPRINGS’ CALDWELL ON THE SPOT, AGAIN
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell has recorded eight penalty kick saves in the Championship in his career, the most of any goalkeeper since the start of the 2017 season. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchba
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell made the eighth penalty kick save of his career in the USL Championship against Sacramento Republic FC last Wednesday night at Heart Health Park, extending his lead for the most spot kicks saved in the league since the league partnered with Opta in 2017.
Caldwell has saved 8 of 19 penalty kicks he has faced while competing for Memphis 901 FC, Hartford Athletic and the Switchbacks. He leads a group of four players who have all registered five penalty kick saves since the start of the 2017 regular season, including current Miami FC goalkeeper Connor Sparrow.
Most Penalty Kick Saves in the USL Championship Regular Season (2017-Present)
1. Jeff Caldwell – 8 of 19
T-2. Calle Brown – 5 of 13
T-2. Logan Ketterer – 5 of 14
T-2. Connor Sparrow – 5 of 16
T-2. Jake Leeker – 5 of 16
SET PIECE SPECIALTIES FOR NEW MEXICO’S WEHAN, LOS DOS’ DRACK
New Mexico United’s Chris Wehan and the LA Galaxy II’s Josh Drack each recorded their third goals this season directly from a free kick on Saturday night, moving into a tie for third-most in a single USL Championship regular season since the Championship partnered with Opta prior to the 2017 season. The single season record for goals directly from a free kick is five, set by former Ottawa Fury FC defender Carl Haworth in the 2019 season.
Most Direct Free Kick Goals in a USL Championship Regular Season (2017-Present)
1. Carl Haworth, Ottawa Fury FC – 5 (2019)
2. Mauricio Cuevas, LA Galaxy II – 4 (2020)
T-3. Chris Wehan, New Mexico United – 3 (2022)
T-3. Josh Drack, LA Galaxy II – 3 (2022)
T-3. Fabien Garcia, Austin Bold FC – 3 (2021)
T-3. Jorge Hernandez, LA Galaxy II – 3 (2021)
T-3. Juan Pablo Caffa, Fresno FC – 3 (2018)
T-3. Cameron Lancaster, Louisville City FC – 3 (2018)
T-3. Wan Kuzain, Sporting Kansas City II – 3 (2018)
T-3. Didier Drogba, Phoenix Rising FC – 3 (2017)
T-3. Juan Pablo Caffa, FC Tulsa – 3 (2017)
T-3. Justin Portillo, Charleston Battery – 3 (2017)
T-3. Zach Mathers, Tacoma Defiance – 3 (2017)
PITTSBURGH’S DANE KELLY ON VERGE OF 250 REGULAR SEASON APPEARANCES
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC forward Dane Kelly could become the first player in the USL Championship’s history to record 250 regular season appearances on Saturday night when the Hounds visit Atlanta United 2 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
The Jamaican forward became the Championship’s regular season appearance leader earlier this season when he played in his 243rd contest, surpassing former Louisville City FC standout George Davis IV for the all-time lead. The Championship’s all-time regular season leader with 106 goals, Kelly has played in every season of the league’s history.
FORMER CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-LEAGUE SELECTION COHEN SET FOR UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
2018 USL Championship All-League selection Josh Cohen is set to compete in the group stage of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League after qualifying with Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday night. A two-time Israeli Premier League title winner with the club after his transfer from Sacramento Republic FC midway through the 2019 season, Cohen and his current teammates advanced 5-4 on aggregate against Serbian club FK Crvena Zvezda.
The 30-year-old California native made 91 appearances in the USL Championship’s regular season for Orange County SC (2015-16), Phoenix Rising FC (2017) and Sacramento Republic FC (2018-19), and currently sits 12th in Championship history with 279 regular-season saves and tied for 12th in shutouts with 31 prior to his transfer to Haifa.
USL ACADEMY GRADS HONORED BY TOP DRAWER SOCCER
Recent San Diego Loyal SC forward CJ Fodrey is one of five former USL Academy signings named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's All-Freshman Preseason Best XI as he enrolls at San Diego State University. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
The 2022 NCAA Division I season kicks off this week, and ahead of the season’s kickoff five players with prior USL Championship and League One experience have been honored as part of TopDrawerSoccer.com’s All-Freshman Preseason Best XI.
Led by former San Diego Loyal SC forward CJ Fodrey – who notched one goal in five appearances as a USL Academy signing in the Championship before joining San Diego State University – the group will be among those to watch out for in the coming season at the college level.
Former USL Academy Signings on TopDrawerSoccer.com All-Freshman Best XI
GK – Mitchell Budler (Philadelphia Union II / Akron)
D – Mitchell Ferguson (Portland Timbers 2 / Notre Dame)
M – Kenan Hot (Hartford Athletic / Duke)
M – Jefferson Amaya (Charlotte Independence / High Point)
F – CJ Fodrey (San Diego Loyal SC / San Diego State)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC's Dane Kelly could make his 250th regular season appearance in the Championship on Saturday night, and would become the first player to reach the mark in league history. | Photo courtesy Chris Cowger / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Approaching 250 regular-season appearances
Dane Kelly (PIT) – 249
Approaching 200 regular-season appearances
Brian Ownby (LOU) – 199
Sean Totsch (LOU) – 196
Lebo Moloto (TUL) – 196
Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Oscar Jimenez (LOU) – 149
Hadji Barry (COS) – 148
Conor Donovan (SAC) – 147
Mikey Lopez (BHM) – 147
Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
Kevaughn Frater (NM) – 99
Alexis Souahy (NM) – 98
Joe Kuzminsky (CHS) – 97
Arun Basuljevic (MB) – 97
Jake Areman (TBR) – 97
Sam Hamilton (NM) – 97
Approaching 15,000 regular-season minutes
Danny Barrera (HFD) – 14,919
Emrah Klimenta (OAK) – 14,861
Kyle Greig (TBR) – 14,809
Lebo Moloto (TUL) – 14,716
Approaching 10,000 regular-season minutes
Chris Cortez (MB) – 9,929
Matt Mahoney (COS) – 9,915
Kyle Adams (SD) – 9,909
Thomas Vancaeyezeele (TBR) – 9,905
Kyle Murphy (MIA) – 9,881
Matt VanOekel (BHM) – 9,862
Seth Casiple (OC) – 9,844
Matt LaGrassa (SAC) – 9,842
Jimmy Ockford (COS) – 9,839
Solomon Asante (IND) – 9,802
Approaching 75 regular season goals
Cameron Lancaster (LOU) – 73
Approaching 50 regular season goals
Alex Dixon (PIT) – 48
Christian Volesky (MB) – 48
Chris Wehan (NM) – 48
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
Approaching 300 regular season saves
CJ Cochran (TBR) – 294
Approaching 60 regular-season shutouts
Evan Newton (ELP) – 58
Approaching 40 regular-season shutouts
Matt VanOekel (BHM) – 38
Alex Tambakis (NM) – 38
Approaching 30 regular-season shutouts
Joe Kuzminsky (CHS) – 29
CJ Cochran (TBR) – 29
Connor Sparrow (MIA) – 29
TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 25 of the 2022 USL Championship season:
Louisville City FC’s Wes Charpie will not serve a suspension following the successful appeal of his red card for denial of a goalscoring opportunity against Detroit City FC on August 20 to the Independent Review Panel. Charpie will be available for selection in Louisville’s contest against Miami FC on Saturday night.
Rio Grande Valley FC’s Robert Coronado has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against San Antonio FC on August 20. Coronado will be unavailable for selection in Rio Grande Valley’s contest against Las Vegas Lights FC on Saturday night.
Louisville City FC’s Wilson Harris has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against Detroit City FC on August 20. Harris will be unavailable for selection in Louisville’s contest against Miami FC on Saturday night.
Birmingham Legion FC’s Mikey Lopez has been suspended for one game for caution accumulation following his eighth yellow card of the season against Memphis 901 FC on August 20. Lopez will be unavailable for selection in Birmingham’s contest against the New York Red Bulls II on Sunday evening.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s Cam Lindley has been suspended for one game for caution accumulation following his eighth yellow card of the season against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on August 20. Lindley will be unavailable for selection in Colorado Springs’ contest against New Mexico United on Saturday night.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s Dennis Erdmann has been suspended for one game for caution accumulation following his eighth yellow card of the season against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on August 20. Erdmann will be unavailable for selection in Colorado Springs’ contest against New Mexico United this Saturday.
New Mexico United’s Will Seymore was suspended for one game for caution accumulation following his eighth yellow card of the season against Memphis 901 FC on August 17. Seymore served his suspension during New Mexico’s contest against Monterey Bay F.C. on August 20.
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
El Paso Locomotive FC (1): Josue Aaron Gomez
Indy Eleven (2): Sam Brown, Neveal Hackshaw
Memphis 901 FC (1): Leston Paul
New York Red Bulls II (1): Curtis Ofori
San Diego Loyal SC (2): Kyle Adams, Alejandro Guido
FC Tulsa (1): Gabriel Torres
The following players enter the upcoming matches one caution away from a yellow card accumulation suspension for their 11th yellow card of the season. Here is the breakdown per club:
Oakland Roots SC (1): Jose Hernandez
Sacramento Republic FC (1): Rodrigo Lopez
FC Tulsa (1): Adrian Diz Pe
Tag(s): Features San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks LA Galaxy II Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC FC Tulsa Charleston Battery Louisville City FC New York Red Bulls II Pittsburgh Riverhounds Tampa Bay Rowdies Las Vegas Lights FC Birmingham Legion FC Atlanta United 2 Indy Eleven Memphis 901 FC El Paso Locomotive FC New Mexico United Loudoun United FC Hartford Athletic San Diego Loyal SC The Miami FC Oakland Roots SC Detroit City FC Monterey Bay F.C.