The postseason-bound Charleston Battery have recorded a 27-point increase from 2022 with five games to go in the regular season, among the biggest increases in league history. | Photo courtesy Henry Taylor / Charleston Battery
The Charleston Battery have gone from a postseason afterthought a season ago to clinching a place in the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs with five games to spare this season.
So where does that rank in terms of the greatest season-to-season turnarounds in the USL Championship’s history?
We’ve got the answer in this week’s edition of the USL Championship News & Notes, as well as a look at how Neco Brett has become the second-leading goalscorer in the USL Championship’s regular season in his career, and where Cal Jennings’ current scoring streak for the Tampa Bay Rowdies ranks in the league’s history.
As always, we’ve also got a look at upcoming milestones for players across the league, and the Week 28 Discipline Report.
Let’s dig in.
CHARLESTON BATTERY CONTENDS FOR BIGGEST SEASON TURNAROUND
The Charleston Battery clinched their return to the USL Championship Playoffs on Saturday night with a 2-1 win against San Diego Loyal SC, taking the side past 50 points in the regular season for the third time in the USL Championship era.
The Battery’s 52 points so far this season marks a 27-point turnaround from last year, when the side only won six times and ended the year with 25 points. With five games to go in the season, the Battery have a chance to surpass the greatest increase in points from one season to the next across full seasons in the USL Championship’s regular season history, with its current mark of +27 tied for third currently.
The two highest marks come from two teams that ended the second season in the sequence on top of their respective conferences. In 2017, Real Monarchs SLC went from 36 points to 67 points to finish top of the Western Conference, while the following year FC Cincinnati went from 46 points to a then-league record 77 points to finish top of the Eastern Conference.
(An honorable mention should go to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, which recorded a 36-point increase in its point total (13pts to 49pts) from the abbreviated 2020 season to the 2021 campaign. With adjustment for games played, the Switchbacks’ equivalent over a full season would have registered at 23 points.)
Largest Season-on-Season Point Increases in USL Championship regular season history
T-1. FC Cincinnati – 31 points (2017 to 2018 season)
T-1. Real Monarchs SLC – 31 points (2016 to 2017 season)
T-3. Charleston Battery – 27 points (2022 to 2023 season)
T-3. FC Tulsa – 27 points (2016 to 2017 season)
T-3. New York Red Bulls II – 27 points (2015 to 2016 season)
6. San Antonio FC – 25 points (2021 to 2022 season)
T-7. Las Vegas Lights FC – 24 points (2021 to 2022 season)
T-7. Phoenix Rising FC – 24 points (2016 to 2017 season)
T-7. San Antonio FC – 24 points (2016 to 2017 season)
* - excludes points differentials from 2020 to 2021 season due to abbreviated campaign
TAMPA BAY’S JENNINGS CONTINUES SCORING STREAK
The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Cal Jennings extended his goalscoring streak to five games on Saturday night with a pair of goals in his side’s 2-1 victory against Louisville City FC at Al Lang Stadium. The streak is the longest of Jennings’ career, surpassing a four-game goalscoring streak that included eight goals in his final four games for Memphis 901 FC at the end of the 2020 USL Championship season.
Jennings is now tied for the 11th-longest goalscoring streak in league history. The longest goalscoring streak in league history is held by 2021 Championship MVP Hadji Barry, who recorded goals in eight consecutive appearances for Sporting Kansas City II during the 2018 season. Jennings has equaled the longest scoring streak by a Tampa Bay Rowdies player since the club joined the USL Championship for the 2017 season, with Sebastian Guenzatti having scored in five consecutive games in the 2021 season.
Longest Scoring Streaks in USL Championship Regular Season History
1. Hadji Barry (SKC) – 8 (Aug. 19 - Sept. 23, 2018)
T-2. Hadji Barry (COS) – 7 (May 14 - June 25, 2021)
T-2. Santi Moar (PHX) – 7 (Oct. 3, 2020 - June 5, 2021)
T-2. Foster Langsdorf (RNO) – 7 (Aug. 15 - Sept. 20, 2020)
T-2. Solomon Asante (PHX) – 7 (May 18 - June 29, 2019)
T-6. Santi Moar (PHX) – 6 (Aug. 28 - Sept. 25, 2021)
T-6. Kyle Murphy (MEM) – 6 (July 24 - Aug. 25, 2021)
T-6. Ronaldo Damus (OC) – 6 (June 5 - July 24, 2021)
T.6 Luis Solignac (SA) – 6 (Aug. 19 - Sept. 16, 2020)
T.6 Dane Kelly (RNO) – 6 (May 7 - June 11, 2017)
BIRMINGHAM’S NECO BRETT MOVES INTO SECOND IN GOALSCORING CHART
Birmingham Legion FC's Neco Brett moved into sole possession of second place in the USL Championship'shistory with his 80th regular season goal on Sunday evening. | Photo courtesy Ron Potts / Birmingham Legion FC
Neco Brett recorded his 11th goal of the season for Birmingham Legion FC on Sunday night to lift the side to a 1-0 victory against New Mexico United. The goal was Brett’s 80th regular season goal in the USL Championship, moving him into sole possession of second place in league history ahead of current Louisville City FC forward Cameron Lancaster and Hadji Barry, both of whom sit on 79.
Brett has been one of the most consistent forwards in the USL Championship since arriving in the league with the Portland Timbers 2 in the 2016 season. The Jamaican has recorded four seasons with double-digit goals, putting him in elite company in delivering consistently throughout his career.
Most Seasons with Double-Digit Goals in USL Championship History
1. Dane Kelly – 7
T-2. Neco Brett – 4
T-2. Hadji Barry – 4
T-2. Chandler Hoffman – 4
T-2. Jorge Herrera – 4
- The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Connor Sparrow became the 21st goalkeeper in the USL Championship’s history to record a regular season assist last Wednesday night on Charlie Dennis’ first-half goal. Sparrow is the third goalkeeper to record an assist this season, following El Paso Locomotive FC’s Benny Diaz and Detroit City FC’s Nathan Steinwascher, and the second to record an assist and save a penalty in the same game all-time after Joe Kuzminsky for the Charleston Battery in the 2021 season.
- Orange County SC’s winning streak ended at eight games on Saturday night following a 0-0 draw with El Paso Locomotive FC at Championship Soccer Stadium. The active nine-game undefeated streak is also an Orange County SC record, however, surpassing three prior eight-game undefeated runs in club history.
- The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Cal Jennings has now recorded 45 goals in 84 games, putting him in position to potentially be the fastest player to record a half-century of goals in the USL Championship’s history. The current record is held by Chandler Hoffman, who recorded 50 goals in 100 games to start his career in the league.
- Monterey Bay F.C.’s Alex Dixon became the eighth player in the USL Championship’s history to surpass 18,000 regular season minutes on Saturday night against Memphis 901 FC, and his game-winning goal moved him into a tie for 15th in the league’s regular season history with 59 goals alongside former Sacramento Republic FC standout Cameron Iwasa.
- El Paso Locomotive FC recorded the 17th instance of a team failing to record a shot on target in a game this season against Orange County SC on Saturday. It also marked the first time Locomotive FC had failed to record a shot on target since facing Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on August 22, 2020.
- Memphis 901 FC’s 27 total shots in its 1-0 defeat against Monterey Bay F.C. on Saturday night were the most taken by a team in a game this season without it recording a goal. It surpassed Las Vegas Lights FC’s 25 shots without a goal in its 2-0 defeat to Hartford Athletic on July 22.
Leston Paul could become the first player in Memphis 901 FC history to record 100 regular season appearances for the club on Saturday when 901 FC hosts Hartford Athletic. | Photo courtesy Ryan Beatty / Memphis 901 FC
Approaching 250 regular-season appearances
Alex Dixon (MB) – 246
Approaching 200 regular-season appearances
Kai Greene (MB) – 197
Santi Moar (NM) – 196
Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Chris Wehan (NM) – 148
Kyle Adams (LOU) – 148
Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
Yuma (ELP) – 99
Ray Serrano (LOU) – 99
Leston Paul (MEM) – 99
Andrew Carleton (LV) – 98
Trey Muse (CHS) – 98
Brian Iloski (OC) – 98
Conner Antley (TBR) – 98
Elvis Amoh (HFD) – 97
Danny Barbir (OAK) – 97
AJ Paterson (CHS) – 97
Steven Echevarria (COS) – 97
Dani Rovira (PIT) – 97
Approaching 15,000 regular season minutes
Antoine Hoppenot (HFD) – 14,830
Aaron Guillen (TBR) – 14,803
Approaching 10,000 regular season minutes
Jose Hernandez (PHX) – 9,957
Tyler Pasher (BHM) – 9,875
Jack Blake (IND) – 9,659
Approaching 50 regular season goals
Lucky Mkosana (TBR) – 48
Wilson Harris (LOU) – 46
Approaching 40 regular season assists
Christiano Francois (RGV) – 37
Approaching 30 regular season assists
Charlie Adams (SD) – 28
Niall McCabe (LOU) – 27
Rodrigo Da Costa (MEM) – 27
Approaching 400 regular season saves
Matt VanOekel (BHM) – 383
Approaching 350 regular season saves
Connor Sparrow (TBR) – 342
Approaching 200 regular season saves
Tyler Deric (RGV) – 196
Adrian Zendejas (MIA) – 190
Jake McGuire (MIA) – 188
Kyle Morton (LOU) – 187
Approaching 40 regular-season shutouts
Connor Sparrow (TBR) – 38
Approaching 30 regular-season shutouts
Joe Kuzminsky (COS) – 29
Danny Vitiello (SAC) – 29
TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 28 of the 2023 USL Championship season:
Orange County SC’s Kyle Scott has been suspended for one game for caution accumulation after receiving his eighth yellow card of the season against El Paso Locomotive FC on September 9. Scott will be unavailable for selection in Orange County’s contest against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay Rowdies assistant coach Stuart Dobson was suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against Memphis 901 FC on September 6. Dobson served his suspension during Tampa Bay’s contest against Louisville City FC on September 9.
Las Vegas Lights FC’s Andres Jimenez is no longer on caution accumulation warning having had one caution removed under the USL’s Good Behavior incentive to place him on six cautions for the season
The following players enter the upcoming matches one caution away from a one-game yellow card accumulation suspension for their eighth yellow card of the season. Here is the breakdown per club:
Birmingham Legion FC (2) – Anderson Asiedu, Moses Mensah
Charleston Battery (1) – Nick Markanich
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (1) – Steven Echevarria
El Paso Locomotive FC (1) – Eder Borelli
Hartford Athletic (1) – Antoine Hoppenot
Indy Eleven (1) – Douglas Martinez Jr.
Monterey Bay F.C. (1) – Mobi Fehr
New Mexico United (2) – Justin Portillo, Will Seymore
Orange County SC (1) – Kevin Partida
Rio Grande Valley FC (1) – Taylor Davila
San Antonio FC (1) – Mitchell Taintor
San Diego Loyal SC (1) – Collin Martin
FC Tulsa (2) – Phillip Goodrum, Milo Yosef
The following players enter the upcoming matches one caution away from a two-game yellow card accumulation suspension for their 11th yellow card of the season. Here is the breakdown per club:
Memphis 901 FC (1) – Graham Smith
Phoenix Rising FC (1) – Renzo Zambrano
San Antonio FC (1) – Lamar Batista
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 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 San Diego Loyal SC Miami FC Oakland Roots SC Detroit City FC Monterey Bay F.C.