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Tracking the longest home opener undefeated streaks in the Championship | News & Notes

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 03/08/24, 4:40PM EST


As the new season starts, the mark in Kenardo Forbes’ sight this season; who’ll grab the first goal of the season?

Sacramento Republic FC is undefeated in its last nine home openers as it plays host to Orange County SC on Saturday night to open the new campaign. | Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC

Welcome to the new USL Championship season, and our new weekly series of News & Notes from around the league.

This week, we’ll take a look at the clubs who’ve been dominant on their home turf to open the season in recent years, and give you the list of players that have scored the opening goal of each season in USL Championship history.

Plus, there’s the regular collection of upcoming landmarks and the Week 1 Discipline Report.

Let’s dig in.


Sacramento Republic FC will try to run its undefeated streaks in home openers to 10 games on Saturday night when it plays host to Orange County SC at Heart Health Park (10 p.m. ET | CBS Sports Golazo Network). Sacramento has gone undefeated in its last nine home openers – including a 1-1 draw with the Charleston Battery a season ago – since falling 2-1 to the Harrisburg City Islanders in its inaugural home opener at Hughes Stadium in 2014.

Two clubs closely behind Sacramento have yet to lose their home openers since joining the league. San Antonio FC is undefeated in its eight curtain raisers at Toyota Field, including a four-game winning streak entering Saturday’s contest with Loudoun United FC. The Tampa Bay Rowdies, meanwhile, are on a seven-game undefeated streak at Al Lang Stadium ahead of their game with San Antonio in Week 2.

Elsewhere of note, New Mexico United has gone undefeated in its four home openers at Isotopes Park – excluding the 2020 season which was played away from home due to COVID-19 restrictions – while Monterey Bay F.C. has won each of its first two home openers at Cardinale Stadium.

Longest Active Home Opener Undefeated Streaks
Sacramento Republic FC – Nine games (6-0-3)
2. San Antonio FC – Eight games (6-0-2)
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies – Seven games (6-0-1)
4. Phoenix Rising FC – Six games (4-0-2)


Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC's Kenardo Forbes could become the USL Championship's all-time leader in regular season appearances this season, entering the campaign 15 behind Yann Ekra. | Photo courtesy Mallory Neil / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

The USL Championship offseason has seen some of the league’s longest-serving players depart the league. Following the retirement of New Mexico United’s Josh Suggs and Haiti international Mechack Jérôme’s move to USL League One club Union Omaha, this will be the first season in which there are no players from the league’s inaugural 2011 campaign active in the Championship.

That means there is the potential for another of the league’s all-time greats to cement his place in the league’s history this year. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s midfielder Kenardo Forbes enters the season not only as the Championship’s all-time leader in regular season assists (65) but is also the only active player in the top five of the league’s regular season appearances list (262). Sitting 15 appearances behind former Tampa Bay Rowdies midfielder Yann Ekra, Forbes could move to the top spot by midseason, and next year would have a chance to become the first player to surpass 300 appearances in the league's regular season.

Most USL Championship Regular Season Appearances
1. Yann Ekra – 277
2. Josh Suggs – 264
T-3. Kenardo Forbes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – 262*
T-3. Hugh Roberts – 262
5. Paolo DelPiccolo – 256
T-6. Aodhan Quinn, Indy Eleven – 251*
T-6. Dane Kelly – 251
T-6. Alex Dixon, Monterey Bay F.C. – 251*
T-9. George Davis IV – 242
T-9. Kyle Greig – 242

* - Active Player


Loudoun United FC's Tommy Williamson scored the first goal of the 2023 USL Championship season. | Photo courtesy Loudoun United FC

With two early kickoffs on the opening day of the USL Championship season, the players from Memphis 901 FC, Las Vegas Lights FC, New Mexico United and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will get first chance to score the first goal of the season.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC is the lone side of the four to have had a player achieve that feat previously thanks to Mike Seth in the 2012 season. Last season, meanwhile, Memphis was the first team to concede a goal in the campaign as Tommy Williamson of Loudoun United FC struck in just the eighth minute at AutoZone Park to add his name to the list.

USL Championship – First Goalscorer of the Regular Season
– Stanley Nyazamba, Richmond Kickers
2012 – Mike Seth, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
2013 – George Davis IV, Orange County SC
2014 – Jose Cuevas, Charleston Battery
2015 – Jordan Hamilton, Toronto FC II
2016 – Fabian Herbers, Bethlehem Steel FC
2017 – Florian Valot, New York Red Bulls II
2018 – Pablo Aguilar, Rio Grande Valley FC
2019 – Alec Diaz, Tacoma Defiance
2020 – Chris Hegardt, Tacoma Defiance
2021 – Paolo DelPiccolo, Louisville City FC
2022 – Kimarni Smith, San Antonio FC
2023 – Tommy Williamson, Loudoun United FC

Upcoming Player Milestones

North Carolina FC new boy Rodrigo Da Costa could make his 150th regular season appearance in the USL Champioship on Saturday night against the Charleston Battery on CBS Sports Golazo Network.

Approaching 200 regular-season appearances

Neco Brett (MEM) – 199
Seth Casiple (OC) – 196

Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Rodrigo Da Costa (NC) – 149
Nick Hinds (ELP) – 149  
Matt Sheldon (DET) – 148
Will Seymore (NM) – 148
Albert Dikwa (RI) – 148
Kevon Lambert (SA) – 147
Tyler Pasher (BHM) – 146

Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
James Murphy (DET) – 99
Yuma (ELP) – 99
AJ Paterson (BHM) – 99
Grant Stoneman (RI) – 99
Aedan Stanley (IND) – 98
Younes Boudadi (IND) – 98
Ben Ofeimu (MIA) – 98
Conor McGlynn (RI) – 98
Prince Saydee (RI) – 98
Harry Swartz (NM) – 97
Maxi Rodriguez (DET) – 97
Tommy McCabe (LDN) – 97

Approaching 15,000 regular season minutes
Aaron Guillen (TBR) – 14,983

Approaching 10,000 regular season minutes
Prosper Kasim (BHM) – 9,695
Robbie Mertz (PIT) – 9,644
Albert Dikwa (RI) – 9,613

Approaching 70 regular season goals
Enzo Martinez (BHM) – 69
Augustine Williams (IND) – 66

Approaching 60 regular season goals
Romario Williams (HFD) – 56
Russell Cicerone (SAC) – 56

Approaching 50 regular season goals
Wilson Harris (LOU) – 49
Rodrigo Da Costa (NC) – 47

Approaching 50 regular season assists
Brian Ownby (LOU) – 46
Rodrigo Lopez (SAC) – 46

Approaching 40 regular season assists
Christiano Francois (LDN) – 38

Approaching 30 regular season assists
Niall McCabe (LOU) – 28
Rodrigo Da Costa (NC) – 28
Cam Lindley (IND) – 27

Approaching 400 regular season saves

Matt VanOekel (BHM) – 393

Approaching 300 regular season saves
Paul Blanchette (OAK) – 279
Kendall McIntosh (SA) – 278

Approaching 200 regular season saves
Christian Herrera (COS) – 199
Rocco Rios Novo (PHX) – 183
Nate Steinwascher (DET) – 181 

Discipline Report – Week 1

TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 1 of the 2024 USL Championship season:

Sacramento Republic FC’s Russell Cicerone has been suspended for one game following his red card for abusive language in the Western Conference Final of the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs. Cicerone will be unavailable for selection in Sacramento’s contest against Orange County SC on Saturday night.

New Mexico United Nanan Houssou has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses while playing for Loudoun United FC against Rio Grande Valley FC on October 14, 2023. Houssou will be unavailable for selection in New Mexico’s contest against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday afternoon.

Oakland Roots SC’s Memo Diaz has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against El Paso Locomotive FC on October 15, 2023. Diaz will be unavailable for selection in Oakland’s contest against Indy Eleven on Saturday night.

Louisville City FC’s Carlos Moguel Jr. has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against the Charleston Battery in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs. Moguel will be unavailable for selection in Louisville’s opening game of the season against El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday, March 16.

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