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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 8

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/29/24, 4:30PM EDT


Attacking exploits have powered Battery, LouCity to the top of the Eastern Conference

To paraphrase Dan Patrick – kids, ask your parents – you cannot stop the Charleston Battery and Louisville City FC, you can only hope to contain them.

The clubs that contested last year’s Eastern Conference Final have brought the goals this season with this past Saturday being the grandest outing for either club so far.

You want individual excellence? Here’s Charleston’s Nick Markanich. His four goals and one assist performance was only the second on record in the USL Championship era after Danny Musovski did the same thing for Reno 1868 FC in 2019.

(Where was Musovski this weekend? Starting for Seattle Sounders FC, that’s where.)

The 24-year-old has 11 goals in nine games, matching his overall goal total across the regular season and playoff last year, and there’s still more to come.

“Nick just keeps getting better. As a footballer, a human being, and mentality-wise, he's becoming more and more dominant,” said Battery Head Coach Ben Pirmann on Saturday. “Head down, he's always working with momentum going forward.”

How about all-around success? LouCity had six different players find the net in its victory against Hartford Athletic, scoring three in each half as players were queuing up for their chance to add to the tally. The two-time Championship title winners have now scored at least five goals in each of their last three home league games, previously putting up five-spots against Birmingham Legion FC and Indy Eleven. 

“It’s so fun when everyone gets to score and everybody gets a piece of the dub,” said LouCity forward Adrien Perez.

“It’s an amazing feeling, and you can see it from the fans to the players, just the atmosphere. Our group had a fun time.”

Charleston (24) and Louisville (23) lead the league in goals. They also sit 1-2 in the league in Expected Goals, the Battery at 17.67xG and LouCity at 13.99xG.

It’s going to take a lot to slow them down.

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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 9: v. HFD

Last Week:
Nick Markanich cannot be stopped at the best of times right now. Give him the sort of chances Las Vegas did and this is the sort of performance you get. Staggering.
2 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 9: @ PHX

Last Week:
Republic FC got a test from Loudoun but pulled another win out of the fire thanks to newcomer Kieran Phillips. There’s a little clear water between this side and the rest of the West now.
3 Louisville City FC
Week 9: ---
Last Week:
What were we saying about ominous signs last week? LouCity has won all four home games this season and scored 19 goals in the process. That’s outstanding.
4 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 9: @ MEM
Last Week:
Cal Jennings (6 goals) and Manuel Arteaga (5 goals) are getting on like a house on fire, and that’s very bad news for opposing defenses.
5 Orange County SC
Week 9: ---
Last Week:
There were – rightly – some serious words said at halftime by OCSC Head Coach Morten Karlsen. His side responded and got a good home win against a solid Monterey Bay outfit.
6 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 9: v. MIA
Last Week:
When they’ve found themselves, the Hounds will always find a way to look more than the sum of their parts. That was impressive work against Detroit.
7 Detroit City FC
Week 9: @ LDN
Last Week:
DCFC got out-game-planned and outworked by Pittsburgh on Saturday night. That’s a tough one, but we get the sense this side will react positively to it.
8 San Antonio FC
Week 9: v. OAK
Last Week:
Who would have known that Miami FC would end up being the team San Antonio couldn’t solve? Last year the home undefeated streak, this year the undefeated run when scoring first, both gone.
9 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 9: v. IND
Last Week:
We’re still shaking our heads at the fact that Monterey Bay didn’t find an equalizer against Orange County in Saturday’s first half. That might have changed the outcome.
10 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 9: v. SAC
Last Week:
Much better energy from Phoenix in Rhode Island, and Rocco Ríos Novo continues to be a game-changer. That’s two penalty saves on three faced this season. Just, speed it up late on next week, OK?.
11 FC Tulsa
Week 9: @ BHM
Last Week:
There wasn’t a lot of shine in Tulsa’s win on the road in El Paso. After the loss the side experienced against Charleston, though, making the most of your moment and taking three points is a big plus.
12 New Mexico United
Week 9: @ LV
Last Week:
There are a few teams you simply cannot come out flat against in this league. New Mexico did in Tampa Bay and paid the price dearly.
13 Indy Eleven
Week 9: @ MB
Last Week:
That’s the result everyone needed after the last week off the field. Great set-piece execution to set it up, too.
14 Loudoun United FC
Week 9: v. DET
Last Week:
Once again, there were things to like about Loudoun United’s performance in Sacramento, especially after going behind. Another big test awaits against Detroit City, though.
15 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 9: v. TUL
Last Week:
Of all the teams to lay an egg against, your biggest rival is not the one. Disappointing display.
16 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 9: v. ELP
Last Week:
This felt much more like Colorado Springs soccer, and it got its reward with a win. More of this, please.
17 Rhode Island FC
Week 9: @ NC
Last Week:
You can see the promise this side has, but it keeps making the wrong moves in little moments – lapses in concentration particularly.
18 Memphis 901 FC
Week 9: v. TBR
Last Week:
Bruno Lapa, take a bow. It’s remarkable how Southern Harm brings out the best in the Brazilian.
19 Hartford Athletic
Week 9: @ CHS
Last Week:
That was a horror show. Three shots with that attacking unit? Nope, can’t happen, not even against a team as good as Louisville is.
20 Miami FC
Week 9: @ PIT
Last Week:
What a remarkable performance to defeat San Antonio. The defensive discipline was back and it made such a difference all over the rest of the field.
21 North Carolina FC
Week 9: v. RI
Last Week:
NCFC should have a better record than it does, but it’s missing out on the key moments too regularly right now and suffering as a result.
22 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 9: v. NM
Last Week:
Well, that was a disasterclass. Dust yourselves off, get back on the horse, try again.
23 Oakland Roots SC
Week 9: @ SA
Last Week:
Oakland’s loss triggered the first coaching change of the season with Noah Delgado departing. The numbers weren’t terrible, but Roots wants to be up where its NorCal rivals are right now.
24 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 9: @ COS
Last Week:
Another step back with a defeat at home. This doesn’t feel like it’s a tenable situation for much longer.

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