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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 30

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 10/02/23, 3:00PM EDT


Hounds’ home proving a fortress ahead of key road clash with Rowdies

Every season, you can hear the same cliché across every league.

“We want to make our home a fortress.”

Well, in Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s case, job accomplished in this regular season.

The Hounds equaled the Championship’s record for the most home wins in a regular season on Saturday night with their 3-2 victory against FC Tulsa, a result that secured a top-two finish in the Eastern Conference with two games to spare and left the side with a 13-1-3 record over the campaign.

What’s more, it did so in front of club record crowds at Highmark Stadium. For the first time in the Hounds’ history, the side averaged more than 5,000 fans per game. They also set a regular-season record for attendance on Saturday night of 6,045, and an overall record of 6,107 fans for the club’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory against Columbus Crew SC in May.

In all facets, this is a club on the rise, and now it gets a chance to ensure the road to the USL Championship Final goes through Highmark. Saturday’s trip to face the second-placed Tampa Bay Rowdies is going to be one of the most anticipated regular season games in league history with Pittsburgh knowing a win would lock up the Players’ Shield and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

And from Saturday night’s postgame that seems exactly what they’re going to aim to do.

“The mission this week was to take care of this game [against Tulsa], and there would be less variables, and we’d have a clearer picture what we have to do in Tampa Bay,” said Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley. “Our mindset has to be go close the door.”

Buckle up, this is going to be good.

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 31: @ TBR

Last Week:
Four consecutive wins for the Hounds to maintain their edge over the Rowdies in the East. Don’t expect them to let off the gas at Al Lang Stadium either.
2 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 31: @ LV
Last Week:
The Switchbacks were so close to four consecutive wins, but this recent run of form – including a positive midweek victory against Detroit City FC – has all-but locked up their playoff spot.
3 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 31: v. PIT
Last Week:
The Rowdies got two wins they had to have against the bottom two teams in the conference. They’ll need a step up in level against Pittsburgh on Saturday, and we’d expect it to happen.
4 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 31: v. NM
Last Week:
Undefeated in eight games, Phoenix is on its longest run without defeat since 2021. Three consecutive draws might mean a road playoff game to open, though.
5 San Antonio FC
Week 31: @ OC
Last Week:
Credit for the comeback in Oakland, but these individual errors feel destined to get punished in the playoffs. About as un-San Antonio as it gets defensively in the opening half against Roots SC.
6 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 31: @ RGV
Last Week:
A comprehensive win in the end – so much so that Da’vian Kimbrough got his first run-out in a depressurized environment – and now Republic FC is firmly in control at the top of the West.
7 Charleston Battery
Week 31: v. MIA
Last Week:
The Battery clinched a top-three finish thanks to Memphis and LouCity both falling, but they’ll be disappointed to have let a second-half lead slip, even against a team fighting as hard as El Paso for a playoff position
8 San Diego Loyal SC
Week 31: @ ELP, v. OAK
Last Week:
That’s more like the SD Loyal we know, and Ronaldo Damus scoring the second hat trick in club history – and his first in the Championship – means second place isn’t completely out of the question
9 Memphis 901 FC
Week 31: v. ELP
Last Week:
Apparently, Legion FC just has Memphis’ number right now. Five consecutive games without a victory across all competitions in Southern Harm for 901 FC, and this one after it led at halftime. At least LouCity also lost.
10 Orange County SC
Week 31: v. OAK, v. SA

Last Week:
In fairness to OCSC, it did a lot right in Phoenix, you just can’t account for a piece of brilliance like Emile Cuello’s equalizer for Rising FC. Holding on would have taken some pressure off this massive week ahead, though
11 Indy Eleven
Week 31: @ TUL
Last Week:
It’s been too long since Indy was in the USL Championship Playoffs, so getting a spot wrapped up with two games to spare – and in impressive fashion against Detroit City FC – will feel good.
12 Miami FC
Week 31: @ CHS
Last Week:
Three consecutive wins have Miami above the playoff line. Now to stay there, all they need to do is win on the road against the Charleston Battery and Sacramento Republic FC. Easy-peasy. Ha.
13 Rio Grande Valley FC
Week 31: @ HFD, v. SAC
Last Week:
Another night in which Taylor Davila’s brilliance saves a point for the Toros. They’ve got to win on Wednesday night at Hartford, though, before Sacramento Republic FC comes to H-E-B Park.
14 Louisville City FC
Week 31: v. HFD
Last Week:
The numbers said that was a pretty even game LouCity played in New Mexico. The postgame comments from Head Coach Danny Cruz told you what you really needed to know. No bueno.
15 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 31: v. MB
Last Week:
Legion FC fans might be justified at this point in asking if they can play Memphis every week? Diba Nwegbo coming on and changing the game was impressive.
16 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 31: v. SD, @ MEM
Last Week:
That comeback win felt like the Locomotive FC of old at a rocking Southwest University Park. El Paso is now fully in control of its playoff fate.
17 New Mexico United
Week 31: @ PHX
Last Week:
New Mexico did what it had to do and beat LouCity. Now it’s going to have an intense night of scoreboard watching on Wednesday as El Paso and Oakland make up their game in hand.
18 Detroit City FC
Week 31: @ LDN
Last Week:
Just a disaster week for Le Rouge, but all is not lost. Win at Loudoun United FC on Saturday and who knows what might happen?
19 FC Tulsa
Week 31: v. IND
Last Week:
Tulsa just wasn’t quite good enough to match the Hounds on Saturday night, which makes their home finale against Indy a must-win.
20 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 31: @ BHM
Last Week:
It’s all slipping out of Monterey Bay’s control with two difficult games to come. What can this group find as a last-gasp effort?
21 Oakland Roots SC
Week 31: @ OC, @ SD

Last Week:
Roots SC is winless in six games for the second time this season, and somehow still above the playoff line. That’s the magic of Oakland?
22 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 31: v. COS

Last Week:
Same old story for Lights FC. Seemed to have the right plan, but just ended up overmatched by a stronger side and succumbed in the end to a pair of well-created finishes.
23 Loudoun United FC
Week 31: v. DET

Last Week:
All Loudoun has left to play for is to screw up someone else’s season. They just didn’t quite have enough to give the Rowdies big problems.
24 Hartford Athletic
Week 31: v. RGV, @ LOU

Last Week:
Hartford seems jinxed at this point. Losing a game 2-0 on two own goals is the latest manifestation of that..

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