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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 29

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 09/25/23, 3:00PM EDT


Push and pull in Western Conference standings set to provide thrills in final three weeks

One of the beauties of the run-in to the USL Championship Playoffs is it can provide an insight on how everything is inextricably linked wherever you are in the standings.

Going into the final three weeks of the season, we have three teams each sitting on 47 points, with one set to miss out on a home playoff game to kick off the postseason between San Diego Loyal SC, Phoenix Rising FC and Orange County SC.

At the same time, we have three teams separated by a point vying for the final two places in the postseason itself in Oakland Roots SC, Monterey Bay F.C. and El Paso Locomotive FC – and they could be joined by the suddenly surging Rio Grande Valley FC, which somehow is never completely out of it at this time of year under Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera.

So, who does SD Loyal have to face in its final run? Why, it’s all three of Monterey Bay (9/30), El Paso (10/4) and Oakland (10/7).

What about Orange County? In addition to a clash with Phoenix this Saturday, it also has to face Oakland (10/4) and Monterey Bay (10/14).

Phoenix doesn’t have quite that level of integration, although its season-ending game against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC could have major implications depending on how the next two weeks play out. The push and pull of the standings in the Western Conference, however, are going to be well worth paying close attention to as we head toward a decision day that could see almost everything up for grabs.

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 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 30: vs. TUL

Last Week:
The Hounds will end the regular season with the most home points in the league this season, and it looks like the Players’ Shield and No. 1 seed in the playoffs is headed to Highmark Stadium.
2 Charleston Battery
Week 30: @ ELP
Last Week:
Fidel Barajas grabbed the spotlight this weekend and didn’t let go. The Battery have won four games in a five-game undefeated run and can clinch a home playoff game this weekend.
3 San Antonio FC
Week 30: @ OAK
Last Week:
Everything came good for San Antonio on Saturday night, including getting Tani Oluwaseyi back on the scoresheet. Now there’s a fight on for first in the West
4 Memphis 901 FC
Week 30: v. BHM
Last Week:
Memphis should have taken victory in Birmingham in midweek and then did against Tampa Bay on Saturday night. Great first hat trick in the league for Rodrigo Da Costa, too.
5 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 30: v. OC
Last Week:
Rising FC got pegged back in agonizing style on Wednesday night, and then did the same to El Paso on Saturday. With the rest of the weekend’s results, they’re still in contention for third and are undefeated in seven.
6 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 30: @ DET, v. RGV
Last Week:
Consecutive victories against two of the top three teams in the Western Conference have the Switchbacks back in control of their playoff path, and how about Jairo Henriquez’s finish?
7 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 30: @ HFD, v. LDN
Last Week:
The lack of Forrest Lasso and Aaron Guillen in the Rowdies back line was shown up against Memphis. Tampa Bay needs to win in Hartford on Wednesday to get back on track.
8 Louisville City FC
Week 30: @ NM

Last Week:
Wilson Harris is coming through when LouCity needs him most. Four consecutive games with a goal, and Saturday night’s winner at Loudoun United FC was tremendous.
9 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 30: v. LV
Last Week:
Not the week that Sacramento was looking for. Now instead of vying for the Players’ Shield it’s going to have to hold off San Antonio for top spot in the West.
10 Orange County SC
Week 30: @ PHX
Last Week:
Consecutive defeats have brought OCSC back to earth with a bump. How they respond against Phoenix Rising FC next weekend is going to tell us an awful lot.
11 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 30: v. MB
Last Week:
After Wednesday night’s miracle comeback in Monterey Bay, SD Loyal couldn’t find another back at home against Las Vegas. Still, they’re still right there in contention for third place
12 Detroit City FC
Week 30: v. COS, @ IND
Last Week:
Welcome back, Nathan Steinwascher. Clutch performance to lead Le Rouge to a crucial home win, and back into the driver’s seat for the postseason..
13 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 30: @ SD
Last Week:
Monterey Bay F.C. conceded three goals in the 90th minute or later over the past seven days to turn a potential six points into one. That’s a potentially devastating swing.
14 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 30: @ COS
Last Week:
Apparently you can never count out the Toros completely. Consecutive game-winners by Frank Lopez have RGV FC back within range of the top eight
15 Indy Eleven
Week 30: v. DET
Last Week:
The Boys in Blue are still going to make the postseason, but one point from the past three games – and that via a 95th-minute equalizer – is a bit of a comedown.
16 Miami FC
Week 30: v. HFD
Last Week:
This might be the best week in Miami FC’s history since joining the USL Championship. Between the comeback win against Louisville City FC to Jake McGuire’s heroics in Birmingham, incredible stuff.
17 FC Tulsa
Week 30: @ PIT
Last Week:
Tulsa is going to need help to be a postseason side again, starting with rooting for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Wednesday night in Detroit.
18 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 30: @ MEM
Last Week:
Legion FC looked anemic in attack against Memphis on Wednesday night but got a point. Then it did everything but score against Miami, ran into a hot goalkeeper, and lost. That’s how it goes sometimes.
19 New Mexico United
Week 30: v. LOU
Last Week:
If it wasn’t the final stretch of the season, there were positives New Mexico could take from its visits to Sacramento and Pittsburgh. Maybe there still are, but a playoff trip doesn’t seem to be happening this year.
20 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 30: v. CHS
Last Week:
Locomotive FC could have done itself so much good by holding on against Phoenix. El Paso still has control over its playoff path, but it’s not going to be easy.
21 Oakland Roots SC
Week 30: v. SA
Last Week:
Oakland hasn’t won in a month, but it managed to hold onto a top-eight spot thanks to Neveal Hackshaw’s equalizer against Monterey Bay F.C. Massive test next at home to San Antonio.
22 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 30: @ SAC
Last Week:
Danny Rios has five goals and three assists in the past seven games for Las Vegas – not bad for the El Salvador international prospect hoping for a call-up in October.
23 Loudoun United FC
Week 30: @ TBR
Last Week:
Loudoun has conceded 17 goals in the final 15 minutes of games after Saturday’s loss to Louisville City FC. The only team that’s allowed more is the only team below it in the Eastern Conference.
24 Hartford Athletic
Week 30: v. TBR, @ MIA

Last Week:
More challenges defending set pieces for Hartford again – that’s now 21 goals allowed from dead ball situations this season. Whatever happens next season, that must change in 2024.

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