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Bolu Akinyode, the USL Championship’s tackling machine | News & Notes

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/15/24, 1:00PM EDT


How the 29-year-old was perfect in his side’s first win of the season, plus a memorable debut for the Hounds’ Gabriel Perrotta

Since the USL Championship's partnership with Opta, no player has recorded or won more tackles than El Paso Locomotive FC's Bolu Akinyode. | Photo courtesy Steve Prakope / Loudoun United FC

El Paso Locomotive FC avoided becoming the latest side to start a season winless in its first 10 games on Friday night with a 2-0 victory at Loudoun United FC.

A big reason why? Bolu Akinyode, who since his debut in the USL Championship for the New York Red Bulls II in 2015 has been an unsung legend in the middle of the park for his clubs.

In this week’s edition of the USL Championship News & Notes we’ll take a look at a remarkable display by the Nigerian, and where it stacks up among the most impressive ball-winning performances since 2017, as well as a debut to remember for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Gabriel Perrotta and LouCity’s continued attacking prowess to start the new campaign.

We’ve also got our regular look at upcoming landmarks for players across the USL Championship, as well as notes on milestones that were hit in the past seven days, and the Week 11 Discipline Report.

Let’s begin.


El Paso Locomotive FC won its first game of the 2024 campaign last Friday night and while central midfielder Bolu Akinyode didn’t appear on the scoresheet, the 29-year-old won 8 of 8 tackles and 14 of 14 duels for his side in a remarkable display. But it wasn’t the most tackles Akinyode had recorded in a single game in the Championship’s history. According to Opta data, Akinyode put together a nine-tackle performance for Nashville SC against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on September 18, 2018 and matched that number the following season against Atlanta United 2 on October 19, 2019.

It did mark the most tackles Akinyode has recorded in a single game without a missed tackle, and he is the first player to record at least eight tackles without a miss in three seasons since Rio Grande Valley FC’s Juan David Cabezas won 9 of 9 tackles against San Antonio FC on June 19, 2021. Cabezas’ mark equaled that of Mouhamed Dabo for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC against Toronto FC II on April 7, 2018.

Most Successful Tackles in a USL Championship Regular Season Contest (2017-present)
9 of 9 – Mouhamed Dabo, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Toronto FC II, 4/7/18
9 of 9 – Juan David Cabezas, Rio Grande Valley FC vs. San Antonio FC, 6/19/21
9 of 10 – Bolu Akinyode, Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United 2, 10/19/19
9 of 10 – Abass Mohammed, Harrisburg City Islanders vs. New York Red Bulls II, 4/5/17
9 of 11 – Bolu Akinyode, Nashville SC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies, 9/8/18
9 of 13 – Ben Newnam, San Antonio FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC, 3/26/17


Gabriel Perrotta’s professional debut for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC against FC Tulsa on Saturday night was more eventful than most. The former Marshall University standout became the first goalkeeper in five seasons to record a pair of penalty kick saves in the same game, and only the sixth overall since Opta’s partnership with the USL at the start of the 2017 season to do so.

The 25-year-old Paraguayan suffered the misfortune of conceding an own goal off one of his saves – in the opening half his save of FC Tulsa forward Phillip Goodrum’s shot caromed off the right post and back into the net off Perrotta for the opening goal of the contest – but in the second half he denied Goodrum again with a clean second save. Perrotta was the first goalkeeper to save two penalty kicks in the same regular season contest since Calle Brown for Loudoun United FC against Hartford Athletic on September 6, 2019.

Goalkeepers to Record Two Penalty Saves in the same USL Championship Regular Season Contest
Gabriel Perrotta, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – vs. FC Tulsa, 5/11/24
Calle Brown, Loudoun United FC – vs. Hartford Athletic, 9/7/19
Justin vom Steeg, LA Galaxy II – vs. Las Vegas Lights FC, 9/8/18
Carl Woszczynski, Phoenix Rising FC – vs. Portland Timbers 2, 8/5/18
Moise Pouaty, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – vs. Portland Timbers 2, 8/5/17
Kendall McIntosh, Portland Timbers 2 – vs. Rio Grande Valley FC, 7/29/17


Louisville City FC continued its stellar attacking play to start the 2024 USL Championship season with a 3-0 victory against Orange County SC on Saturday night at Lynn Family Stadium. LouCity has now recorded at least three goals in all five of its home regular season contests and its one home Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup contest and sits with the most goals in the USL Championship through eight games in a regular season campaign.

Most Goals through Eight Regular Season Contests in USL Championship history
26 – Louisville City FC, 2024
25 – Phoenix Rising FC, 2020
23 – Orlando City SC, 2013
22 – Richmond Kickers, 2014
20 – Phoenix Rising FC, 2021; Real Monarchs SLC, 2017

Quick Hits
- Birmingham Legion FC goalkeeper Matt VanOekel moved into third place in the USL Championship’s regular season history with the 44th shutout of his career against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. VanOekel is now the third-oldest goalkeeper to record a shutout in the league’s regular season with his latest coming aged 37 years, 7 months, and 21 days old.

- Birmingham Legion FC’s Enzo Martinez moved into a tie for sixth place in the USL Championship’s regular season goalscoring list with his 72nd goal in the league against the Tampa Bay Rowdies this past Saturday. Martinez joins Indy Eleven’s Sebastian Guenzatti and former Charlotte Independence standout Jorge Herrera on 72 goals.

- Indy Eleven’s Augustine Williams became the ninth player to reach 70 regular season goals in the USL Championship’s history with his two-goal performance against Miami FC on Sunday evening. Williams also set a season-high with nine shots overall, three shy of the Championship’s single-game regular season record.

- North Carolina FC’s Rodrigo Da Costa became the 21st player to record 30 regular season assists in the USL Championship’s as he provided the helper on Ezra Armstrong’s goal against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night.

Upcoming Player Milestones

The Tampa Bay Rowdies' Jordan Farr could make his 100th regular season appearance in the USL Championship on Saturday night when the Rowdies host FC Tulsa. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies

Approaching 250 regular-season appearances

Sean Totsch (LOU) – 246

Approaching 200 regular-season appearances
Conor Donovan (SAC) – 198
Christiano Francois (LDN) – 197
Charlie Adams (LV) – 197
Alex Tambakis (NM) – 196
Paco Craig (NC) – 196
Russell Cicerone (SAC) – 196

Approaching 150 regular-season appearances
Justin Dhillon (ELP) – 149
Lindo Mfeka (OAK) – 148
Matt VanOekel (BHM) – 148
Frank Lopez (MIA) – 148
Jordan Scarlett (HFD) – 146  

Approaching 100 regular-season appearances
Jordan Farr (TBR) – 99
Cal Jennings (TBR) – 99
Robbie Crawford (CHS) – 98
Laurence Wyke (PHX) – 97
Triston Hodge (HFD) – 97
Jeremy Garay (ELP) – 97   

Approaching 20,000 regular season minutes

Sean Totsch (LOU) – 19,661

Approaching 15,000 regular season minutes
Neveal Hackshaw (OAK) – 14,719

Approaching 10,000 regular season minutes
Akeem Ward (MEM) – 9,730
Luis Felipe Fernandes (SAC) – 9,697

Approaching 60 regular season goals

Romario Williams (HFD) – 58
Russell Cicerone (SAC) – 58
Wilson Harris (LOU) – 57

Approaching 50 regular season goals
Rodrigo Da Costa (NC) – 48

Approaching 50 regular season assists

Rodrigo Lopez (SAC) – 46
Brian Ownby (LOU) – 46
Enzo Martinez (BHM) – 46

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

Approaching 30 regular season assists
Niall McCabe (LOU) – 29
Cam Lindley (IND) – 27

Approaching 300 regular season saves

Kendall McIntosh (SA) – 283

Approaching 250 regular season saves
Danny Vitiello (SAC) – 235

Approaching 200 regular season saves
Nathan Steinwascher (DET) – 199

Discipline Report – Week 11

TAMPA, Fla. – The following is the USL Championship’s discipline report for Week 11 of the 2024 USL Championship season:

San Antonio FC’s Jorge Hernandez has been suspended for one game following his red card for two cautionable offenses against Las Vegas Lights FC on May 11. Hernandez will be unavailable for selection in San Antonio’s contest against New Mexico United on Saturday, May 25.

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