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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 6

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/15/24, 4:30PM EDT


Monterey Bay’s cohesiveness, creativity shows a side that fits together smartly

Going into the season, we weren’t feeling that optimistic about Monterey Bay F.C.

There were some nice pieces in the squad – led by the return of veteran midfielder Rafael Baca – but it didn’t immediately jump off the page as a side that has taken the step forward some of the other clubs in the Western Conference had during the offseason.

Well, as it turns out, it’s how you fit things together that might matter most.

Monterey Bay’s 3-1 win against Las Vegas Lights FC earned the side its third win in six games to start the season, and with only one defeat – a hard-fought one on the road at San Antonio at that – Head Coach Frank Yallop’s side is looking like one that can contend for a first postseason berth.

That was on display against Las Vegas. It was an entertaining contest at Cardinale Stadium where the Lights showed why they’ve been on a positive run of late, but the invention Monterey Bay showed carried the day, most notably in Tristan Trager’s cleverly taken third goal of the season.

“I felt both teams tried to play the right way and it was an intense match,” said Yallop. “They are a very good side and proved that tonight possession-wise and chances, they had some good ones. But we stood strong defensively and took our chances when they came along. Tristan [Trager]’s goal was great, Miguel [Guerrero] does really well on the other play and then Carlos [Guzmán]’s cross to Micheal [Gonzalez] to score his first goal for us.

“Really good night and really excited about the future. The young guys did well, and I was happy. It was a great experience for everybody.”

There’s still room for Monterey Bay to grow, but while this offseason saw some notable departures, the cohesiveness this side has shown is more than making up for it.

Pitch those preseason predictions, Monterey Bay is well worth watching.

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 Loudoun United FC Louisville City FC Memphis 901 FC The Miami FC Monterey Bay F.C. New Mexico United
North Carolina FC Oakland Roots SC Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC
San Antonio FC Tampa Bay Rowdies FC Tulsa

On The Move






1 Charleston Battery
Week 7: @ TUL
Last Week:
The Battery have an air of confidence about them that is producing some outstanding soccer. Conceding four times is a slight concern, but this team continues to find great finishing.
2 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 7: @ OC

Last Week:
If you give Sacramento the same chances as it created against Tulsa another nine times, it probably wins nine times. Just an off night in the final third, but no big damage done.
3 Detroit City FC
Week 7: v. OAK
Last Week:
Le Rouge had the weekend off before a big week ahead at Keyworth Stadium. They’re now the last perfect record standing in the league.
4 Louisville City FC
Week 7: @ LDN
Last Week:
LouCity’s undefeated start is over, and it has conceded six goals in the past two games. Say this for the side, its games aren’t boring.
5 Orange County SC
Week 7: v. SAC

Last Week:
Duran Ferree showed how much he’s matured from his last visit to San Antonio with a shutout performance. Good work by the United States youth international.
6 Hartford Athletic
Week 7: v. SA

Last Week:
Hartford had the weekend off. It’s home game against San Antonio FC on Saturday evening should be an interesting one.
7 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 7: v. ELP

Last Week:
That was much more like the Rowdies attack we’ve been expecting on Thursday night. The high defensive line is still a balancing act, though.
8 San Antonio FC
Week 7: @ HFD

Last Week:
On balance, San Antonio was the more likely to win than Orange County on Saturday but couldn’t find a way through. It can’t fall into the trap of too many home draws again this season.
9 New Mexico United
Week 7: @ NC

Last Week:
New Mexico had a bye week but gets Cristian Nava back this week after more than a year out due to injury. The sound the fans will make when he gets his first goal this season will be immense.
10 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 7: @ MEM

Last Week:
That was a nice win by Monterey Bay against Las Vegas with Tristan Trager leading the attacking line impressively. This looks like a postseason contender.
11 FC Tulsa
Week 7: v. CHS
Last Week:
Going on the road and salvaging a point despite being down a man – for a foolish moment by Edwin Laszo – in Sacramento takes backbone. Tulsa still hasn’t defeated Republic FC, but this will do.
12 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 7: v. PIT
Last Week:
Rising still isn’t lighting things up in attack but it was comfortably better than the Switchbacks on Saturday. That counts for something.
13 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 7: v. RI
Last Week:
Las Vegas’ winning streak came to an end, but it still kept at it in Monterey Bay. The red card to Emrah Klimenta leaves a gap to fill against Rhode Island on Saturday.
14 Loudoun United FC
Week 7: v. LOU
Last Week:
Winning at home against Memphis was exactly the result Loudoun needed, and it was deserved. Is this the moment the side comes into its own?
15 North Carolina FC
Week 7: v. NM
Last Week:
Ezra Armstrong has been tremendous fun to watch this season and Sunday was no exception. Quick feet, good attacking sense, great addition so far for NCFC.
16 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 7: @ MIA

Last Week:
Legion looked comfortable despite going behind early against North Carolina on Sunday, earned a draw at a bit of a stroll. A bit more urgency wouldn’t go amiss, though.
17 Indy Eleven
Week 7: @ COS
Last Week:
Nine goals conceded in the last two games – even against arguably the top two teams in the Eastern Conference – is not a good sign for the Boys in Blue. Big week ahead on the road.
18 Oakland Roots SC
Week 7: @ DET
Last Week:
What did we say last week about Johnny Rodriguez. What a strike to pull Oakland level before his confident game-winner from the penalty spot to get Roots back in the win column.
19 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 7: @ PHX
Last Week:
The Hounds might have stolen all three points on the road against Rhode Island if not for Jackson Lee’s second-half saves. Another shutout is useful, but a win is needed soon.
20 Rhode Island FC
Week 7: @ LV
Last Week:
Four draws in five games to open your inaugural season isn’t bad, but RIFC needs someone to step up alongside Albert Dikwa in the attacking third after its early promise.
21 Memphis 901 FC
Week 7: v. MB
Last Week:
Memphis’ defense keeps leaking goals – eight conceded and no shutouts in five games after Saturday’s loss to Loudoun United. That’s not ideal.
22 Miami FC
Week 7: v. BHM
Last Week:
Allen Gavilanes continues to shine for Miami, but Tampa Bay was consistently ahead of the game and could have scored more than five on Thursday night.
23 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 7: v. IND

Last Week:
The Switchbacks were better defensively than a week ago, but the attacking edge is still lacking. One goal in five games is startling.
24 El Paso Locomotive
Week 7: @ TBR

Last Week:
El Paso has already dropped eight points from winning positions this season after losing against Oakland Roots SC on Saturday. The pressure’s on in the Open Cup against Omaha.

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