New Memphis 901 FC is the latest former United States Men's National Team player to call the USL Championship home this season.
You can now officially say there are a handful of former United States Men’s National Team players competing in the USL Championship and League One.
Welcome to the weekly News & Notes, where we’ve got more on the players that new Memphis 901 FC signing Bill Hamid joined this week, the players Alex Dixon and Albert Dikwa could join after notching their first hat tricks of the season, and why this weekend makes for a big test for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Las Vegas Lights FC.
On top of that we’ve got the players approaching notable landmarks, and the Championship Discipline Report for Week 3 of the season.
Let’s dig in.
BILL HAMID JOINS USL’S EX-USMNT CONTINGENT
Memphis 901 FC Sporting Director Tim Howard welcomes his former United States teammate Bill Hamid to the club on Monday. | Photo courtesy Memphis 901 FC
Two-time Concacaf Gold Cup winner Bill Hamid joined Memphis 901 FC this week and in turn became the fifth player currently in the USL Championship or USL League One to have previously represented the United States Men’s National Team. The 32-year-old – who also claimed Major League Soccer’s Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2014 – joins San Diego Loyal SC’s Joe Corona, Birmingham Legion FC’s Juan Agudelo and Rio Grande Valley FC’s Jose Francisco Torres in the Championship, while Miguel Ibarra is currently competing in League One for the Charlotte Independence.
Former United States Men’s National Team Players in the USL Championship & League One
Juan Agudelo, Birmingham Legion FC – 28 USMNT appearances
Jose Francisco Torres, Rio Grande Valley FC – 26 appearances
Joe Corona, San Diego Loyal SC – 23 USMNT appearances
Bill Hamid, Memphis 901 FC – 8 USMNT appearances
Miguel Ibarra, Charlotte Independence – 3 USMNT appearances
Hamid’s arrival sets a new season-high in representation in the USL among players who have competed for the United States. Last season, four ex-USMNT players were active in the USL Championship and League One, with Agudelo, Torres and Ibarra being joined by former Orange County SC defender Michael Orozco.
DIXON, DIKWA BEGIN HAT TRICK RUN
With hat tricks in the opening two weeks of the 2023 USL Championship season, Monterey Bay F.C.’s Alex Dixon and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Albert Dikwa have made a strong start to the campaign. There’s still a long way to go for the USL Championship overall to challenge its record for the most hat tricks in a season, which came in the 2019 campaign when it was led by two players who delivered memorable seasons.
Former New Mexico United forward Kevaughn Frater and then-Real Monarchs SLC forward Douglas Martinez Jr. – who recently joined Indy Eleven – both notched a pair of hat tricks and were among 20 overall three-goal performances during the regular season. That mark topped 2018’s total of 18, when the LA Galaxy II duo of Ethan Zubak and Efrain Alvarez – who was honored with the Championship’s Young Player of the Year award that season – led the way.
Frater and Martinez are the most recent players to record multiple hat tricks in a single USL Championship season. Former Louisville City FC striker Matt Fondy holds the all-time single-season mark with three hat tricks in the 2015 season when he was voted Most Valuable Player.
Most Individual Hat Tricks in a USL Championship Season
3 - Matt Fondy, Louisville City FC (2015)
2 – Lucky Mkosana, Harrisburg City Islanders (2013)
2 – Kevin Molino, Orlando City SC (2014)
2 – Irvin Herrera, Saint Louis FC (2016)
2 – Dane Kelly, Reno 1868 FC (2017)
2 – Efrain Alvarez, LA Galaxy II (2018)
2 – Ethan Zubak, LA Galaxy II (2018)
2 – Kevaughn Frater, New Mexico United (2019)
2 – Douglas Martinez Jr., Real Monarchs SLC (2019)
SWITCHBACKS, LIGHTS FC LOOK TO BREAK AN AWAY DUCK
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will try to claim its first victory all-time at Toyota Field on Saturday in a rematch of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs. | Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Las Vegas Lights FC will get a major challenge this weekend when they visit San Antonio FC and Orange County SC respectively hoping to claim their first away wins in the all-time series between the teams.
Colorado Springs will return to Toyota Field for the first time since last year’s Western Conference Final of the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs to face the defending title holders with San Antonio FC having gone 5-0-2 in their prior seven regular season meetings in the Lone Star State. Las Vegas, meanwhile, has struggled in its prior visits to Championship Soccer Stadium, with Orange County SC boasting a 6-0-1 record against Lights FC on home turf.
Of current series in the Championship, only FC Tulsa and Loudoun United FC have visited an opponent on more occasions without earning a victory, with Tulsa winless in eight prior visits to San Antonio FC, and Loudoun winless in eight prior trips to Hartford Athletic. All-time, the Tacoma Defiance were unable to claim a win in 13 trips to face Sacramento Republic FC at Heart Health Park during their time in the league.
Most Games Without an Away Win in a USL Championship series (Active Series)
8 – Loudoun United FC at Hartford Athletic (0-6-2)
8 – FC Tulsa at San Antonio FC (0-5-3)
7 – Las Vegas Lights FC at Orange County SC (0-6-1)
7 – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at San Antonio FC (0-5-2)
LOUCITY, TULSA RETURN TO HOME COMFORTS
Louisville City FC and FC Tulsa will host their home openers this Saturday night looking to continue their runs of recent success in debuts before their fans from past seasons. LouCity, Tulsa and Las Vegas Lights FC are among the group of USL Championship clubs aiming to extend their home opener winning streaks to three, with all three clubs having won their home debuts in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
One club has already achieved that feat this season with San Diego Loyal SC claiming its third consecutive home opener victory on the opening night of the season against Detroit City FC. All the league’s clubs are currently chasing San Antonio FC, however, with the defending league title holders having won four consecutive home openers dating back to the 2020 season after their 3-1 win against Oakland Roots SC to open the new campaign on March 11.
Approaching 250 regular-season appearances
Yann Ekra (TBR) – 247
Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Sebastian Guenzatti (IND) – 146
Forrest Lasso (TBR) – 146
Eric Bird (TUL) – 146
Cameron Lancaster (LOU) – 146
Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
Sebastian Velasquez (MEM) – 99
Luis Felipe Fernandes (SAC) – 99
Leland Archer (CHS) – 98
Graham Smith (MEM) – 98
Josue Aaron Gomez (ELP) – 98
Joe Kuzminsky (COS) – 97
Approaching 15,000 regular-season minutes
Speedy Williams (COS) – 14,854
Alex Tambakis (NM) – 14,747
Tarek Morad (OAK) – 14,662
James Musa (COS) – 14,639
Approaching 50 regular season goals
Chris Wehan (NM) – 49
Lucky Mkosana (TBR) – 48
Approaching 50 regular season assists
Aodhan Quinn (IND) – 48
Solomon Asante (IND) – 47
Approaching 40 regular season assists
Enzo Martinez (BHM) – 38
Approaching 30 regular season assists
Oscar Jimenez (LOU) – 29
Lewis Hilton (TBR) – 29
Justin Portillo (NM) – 28
Niall McCabe (LOU) – 27
Approaching 250 regular season saves
Trey Muse (CHS) – 244
Approaching 40 regular-season shutouts
Matt VanOekel (BHM) – 38
Approaching 30 regular-season shutouts
Joe Kuzminsky (COS) – 29
TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 3 of the 2023 USL Championship season:
Sacramento Republic FC’s Luis Felipe Fernandes will not serve a suspension following the rescindment of his first yellow card during the club’s contest against the Charleston Battery on March 18 by the Independent Review Panel. As a result, Fernandes will be available for selection in Sacramento’s contest against San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday night.
Loudoun United FC’s Zach Ryan has been suspended for one game following his red card for violent conduct against San Antonio FC on March 19. Ryan will be unavailable for selection in Loudoun’s contest against FC Tulsa on Saturday night.
Louisville City FC’s Brian Ownby has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against Monterey Bay F.C. on March 18. Ownby will be unavailable for selection in Louisville’s contest against El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday afternoon.
Tag(s): Features San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks 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 Indy Eleven Memphis 901 FC El Paso Locomotive FC New Mexico United Loudoun United FC Hartford Athletic San Diego Loyal SC Miami FC Oakland Roots SC Detroit City FC Monterey Bay F.C.