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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 23

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 08/14/23, 4:30PM EDT


San Antonio’s ability to strike early has put it in position for consecutive league titles

Officially, Rida Zouhir’s goal after just 108 seconds on Saturday night for San Antonio FC was the earliest the defending USL Championship title holders have scored this season.

In the big picture, though, it was a continuation of the overwhelming force of nature that has cemented SAFC as a serious contender to become only the second team to earn consecutive league titles in the Championship’s history.

San Antonio FC has now scored 11 goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this season, the most in the league. It’s also tied for first in goals between the 16th and 30th minutes alongside Memphis 901 FC with seven, meaning almost 40 percent of the goals the side has scored this season occurred in the opening half-hour.

When you’ve got an undefeated streak that now stretches more than two-and-a-half seasons when scoring the opening goal – a streak that’s currently at 57 games – that’s a long road for any team aiming to mount a comeback.

This week sees two more challengers head to Toyota Field to take on Head Coach Alen Marcina’s men, with Rio Grande Valley FC’s visit for a Copa Tejas rivalry clash on Wednesday night getting the national television spotlight on ESPN2.

All we can say is, be in your seat by kickoff. The fireworks could very well start early.

Here’s how this week’s rankings look.

Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Detroit City FC El Paso Locomotive FC Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven Las Vegas Lights FC
Loudoun United FC Louisville City FC Memphis 901 FC The Miami FC Monterey Bay F.C. New Mexico United 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 Orange County SC
Week 24: v. PIT, v. CHS

Last Week:
Home contests this week against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference should give us an idea of how far OCSC’s turnaround has come.
2 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 24: @ OC

Last Week:
The storms that rolled through Highmark Stadium early on Saturday evening couldn’t throw the Hounds off their game. Another comfortable home win.
3 San Antonio FC
Week 24: v. RGV, v. MB

Last Week:
With a game in hand, San Antonio is in position to jump into first place on Wednesday night if it can get past South Texas Derby rival Rio Grande Valley FC on ESPN2.
4 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 24: @LDN

Last Week:
Republic FC Head Coach Mark Briggs was disappointed not to come away with a win in Birmingham, and that’s put added pressure on his side in the race for first place.
5 Oakland Roots SC
Week 24: v. COS

Last Week:
Roots SC still sits in third in the West after its bye week. Saturday’s game against the Switchbacks should be a good one.
6 Charleston Battery
Week 24: @ OC

Last Week:
A four-point week for the Battery kept them in touch within sight of the Hounds at the top of the standings. Another season with double-digit goals for Augustine Williams is a nice milestone, too
7 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 24: @ TUL

Last Week:
The Rowdies cruised to victory in the end against Monterey Bay. Now we need to see this form carried on the road, where it’s been much harder sledding of late.
8 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 24: @ NM

Last Week:
SD Loyal pulled one win out of the fire against Loudoun United on Wednesday, but then ran into a hot goalkeeper against Memphis. Missed opportunity.
9 Louisville City FC
Week 24: @ BHM
Last Week:
Letting points slip after holding the lead at home isn’t what LouCity needed out of this week. The side has got to start defending set pieces more cleanly.
10 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 24: @ OAK
Last Week:
The Switchbacks deserved their point on Wednesday night against Tulsa, which continued to solidify the side’s place above the playoff line.
11 Memphis 901 FC
Week 24: --
Last Week:
That was a spectacular display by Drew Romig in goal. You can’t win that way every week, most likely, but it’s great when it happens.
12 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 24: @ RGV
Last Week:
When Phoenix is on its game, it can be devastating. We just need to see that sort of display more often moving forward.
13 Indy Eleven
Week 24: @ ELP
Last Week:
What a difference a week makes. Six points, two shutouts and landmarks for Solomon Asante and Aodhan Quinn have pushed the Boys in Blue up to sixth place in the standings.
14 Miami FC
Week 24: @ HFD
Last Week:
A disappointing end to Miami’s winning streak where the attack just never quite got into gear. That’s amped up the pressure on the club’s final 10 games.
15 FC Tulsa
Week 24: v. TBR
Last Week:
Tulsa managed to right the ship somewhat in Colorado Springs, now it’s got to make the most of hosting four of its next five contests, starting with Tampa Bay on Friday night.
16 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 24: v. LOU
Last Week:
Wednesday’s defeat was troubling to say the least. Legion FC needs to take inspiration from those now above it in the standings – a turnaround can be just a game away.
17 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 24: @ SA, v. PHX
Last Week:
The Toros did extremely well to take a point from its trip to Louisville City FC, but it’s got to start putting together wins. Easier said than done in San Antonio, mind.
18 New Mexico United
Week 24: @ SD
Last Week:
New Mexico committed the cardinal sin in games against San Antonio – you can’t give up an early goal against a team that good.
19 Detroit City FC
Week 24: v. LV
Last Week:
The playoffs are starting to slip away for Le Rouge after Saturday’s defeat. Ten games to make up a five-point gap is going to be a big challenge.
20 Hartford Athletic
Week 24: v. MIA
Last Week:
The gulf between the top and bottom of the Eastern Conference was evident on Saturday night. Hartford has a lot of work to do to get to that level.
21 Loudoun United FC
Week 24: v. SAC
Last Week:
Tip of the hat to Dane Jacomen, whose penalty kick save – which crucial – wasn’t even the best stop he made in Saturday’s victory in Las Vegas.
22 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 24: @ DET
Last Week:
Another night of missed opportunities for Lights FC on Saturday. That’s just the way this season has seemed to go.
23 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 24: v. IND
Last Week:
Four consecutive losses is one thing, but conceding 17 goals in that span? Brutal stuff.
24 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 24: @ SA
Last Week:
This is the first time Monterey Bay has experienced a five-game losing streak in its short history. Now a playoff berth seems a long way off.

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