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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 26

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 09/04/23, 3:00PM EDT


Orange County has chance to equal second-best winning streak in Championship history

Let’s get this out of the way first – it is extremely unlikely that Orange County SC will come within touching distance of Phoenix Rising FC’s still barely-believable 20-game winning streak in 2019.

To do that, the side would need to win its final seven games of this season, and then the first three of the 2024 campaign.

The mark that Head Coach Morten Karlsen’s side has within its reach, though? Ranking tied for the second-longest winning run in the league’s history. It only needs two more wins to join FC Cincinnati’s 2018 side in notching 10 consecutive wins, and OCSC’s next two games seem eminently winnable for a team that is rolling right now.

First, both the club’s next two games are at Championship Soccer Stadium, where the side has won all five of its games since a May 20 setback to Phoenix Rising FC. Second, they’re against teams that while above the playoff line in the Western Conference are currently struggling for form.

Next Saturday’s opponent El Paso Locomotive FC has taken only four points from its past eight games, while Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC has taken only eight points from its last eight games going into this weekend’s game against San Antonio FC.

OCSC has already made history with its current run, sitting tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in the USL Championship’s regular season history alongside 2014’s Orlando City SC squad.

Now it’s got a chance to propel itself even higher up the list, and into the postseason with major momentum.

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 27: v. ELP

Last Week:
Orange County spread the wealth in its first five-goal performance in more than a year. Five different goalscorers in Las Vegas for the club’s eighth consecutive victory.
2 x - Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 27: @ MEM, v. LOU

Last Week:
The Rowdies had to work for their fourth consecutive victory but found a way through to clinch their playoff spot for a fifth consecutive campaign. Now they’ve got a chance to take first place on Wednesday night.
3 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 27: @ CHS
Last Week:
Consecutive wins and eight goals in the past three games have SD Loyal back in strong position for a top-four finish. Tumi Moshobane continues to be superb.
4 x - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 27: v. LDN

Last Week:
The Hounds booked their sixth consecutive postseason berth while getting a break this weekend. Three consecutive games against teams below the playoff line up next in pursuit of the Players’ Shield.
5 Charleston Battery
Week 27: v. SD
Last Week:
The Battery’s away form might be the best indicator of the club’s turnaround. They’ve now recorded more points away from home this season (28) than they did overall in the 2022 campaign (25).
6 Indy Eleven
Week 27: ---
Last Week:
Sebastian Guenzatti is starting to find his groove again. Five goals in the past six games for the Boys in Blue, including three game-winners after Saturday night against Miami.
7 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 27: @ TUL
Last Week:
It’s starting to feel like old times again in Phoenix. Rising FC has its first three-game winning streak in more than a year, while Danny Trejo and Manuel Arteaga are the top-scoring duo in the league.
8 Louisville City FC
Week 27: @ TBR
Last Week:
Carlos Moguel Jr. and Elijah Wynder coming through in LouCity’s win at Colorado Springs was big. The Academy youngsters are fully coming into their own after showing flashes previously.
9 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 27: ---
Last Week:
Take a bow, Carlos Saldana. Huge performance to help stop the downward turn the Republic FC season had taken and regain control of top spot in the Western Conference.
10 San Antonio FC
Week 27: @ COS
Last Week:
Poor week from San Antonio, overall. One point from two games against two teams below the playoff line at kickoff, and the defending champions should be hearing footsteps from Orange County and San Diego.
11 Oakland Roots SC
Week 27: @ LV
Last Week:
Oakland recorded a season-high with 20 shots on Saturday night against Sacramento but couldn’t find a way through. Silver linings to take from the performance, but the wins need to start coming again soon.
12 Memphis 901 FC
Week 27: v. TBR, v. MB
Last Week:
Memphis looked the more likely side to win at Keyworth Stadium, but 901 FC couldn’t find a decisive final moment. This upcoming three-game homestand is going to be very important.
13 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 27: @ MEM
Last Week:
Monterey Bay is back in the playoff picture after a win it had to have in El Paso. Can it push on from here and keep the pressure on Locomotive FC and Colorado Springs?
14 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 27: v. SA
Last Week:
The Switchbacks have only taken eight points from their past eight games. That’s not playoff form, and the pressure’s on to get back in the win column against San Antonio.
15 Detroit City FC
Week 27: v. MIA

Last Week:
The pressure to win against Miami in what was already a high-stakes game is just a little bit higher after FC Tulsa’s win on Sunday night. The battle for the final playoff spot is going to be fierce.
16 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 27: v. NM
Last Week:
Birmingham still has a five-point cushion to the teams below the playoff line, but everyone there knows the performances must be better than Sunday in San Diego.
17 FC Tulsa
Week 27: v. PHX
Last Week:
Tulsa breathed new life into its playoff chances with one of the biggest results of the season on Sunday against San Antonio. Saturday’s trip to Phoenix is another massive test, though.
18 New Mexico United
Week 27: @ BHM
Last Week:
Four points from a four-game homestand doesn’t feel like it’s enough. United has seven games to go, all against teams currently above the playoff line, which doesn’t bode well.
19 Miami FC
Week 27: @ DET
Last Week:
It feels like it’s make-or-break for Miami in Detroit this weekend. Lose at Keyworth and the playoffs might just move out of reach.
20 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 27: @ OC

Last Week:
The model says El Paso is still favored to make the playoffs thanks to its game in hand on Monterey Bay and New Mexico United. The remaining schedule looks very, very difficult, though.
21 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 27: @ HFD
Last Week:
The Toros gave it their all in the second half in Phoenix but couldn’t find a way back. It’s going to be uphill from here with Saturday’s game at Hartford a must-win.
22 Loudoun United FC
Week 27: @ PIT

Last Week:
Loudoun has four consecutive games against the teams currently in the top four of the Eastern Conference up next. They may not make the playoffs, but there’s a chance to be a major spoiler here.
23 Hartford Athletic
Week 27: v. RGV
Last Week:
It wasn’t to be for Hartford in Tampa Bay, but if the side can emulate that sort of performance over the final stretch it should get its reward.
24 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 27: v. OAK
Last Week:
A late collapse against New Mexico in midweek, and then a night in which the doors fell off against Orange County. At least there’s a cornhole tournament this weekend.

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