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Rhode Island’s mindblowing victory, and Week 16’s other key storylines in the USL Championship

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/24/24, 10:45AM EDT


Monterey Bay F.C. closes the loop, Indy reminds us how fickle streaks can be, and much more from the past week

Rhode Island FC claimed its second victory in club history with a historic 5-2 victory away against Louisville City FC on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

In the past weekend in the USL Championship, two major streaks were snapped, one just managed to stay alive, and the three-way NorCal rivalry series closed the circle, resulting in major jumps around the playoff positions in the West as the gaps between the top four in the East continued to shrink.

Here are the three big storylines we took away from the action, our picks for who’s up and who’s down coming out of the weekend, and thoughts on everything else we saw around the league.



Of all the results we saw this weekend – and make no mistake, there were a few big surprises – nothing could top Rhode Island FC’s 5-2 win on the road against Louisville City FC at Lynn Family Stadium on Saturday night.

There were all kinds of staggering numbers you could take away from the game.

  • 5 – Rhode Island’s five goals marked the first time LouCity had conceded five goals in a home game in its USL Championship history.

  • 7 – Rhode Island brought LouCity’s seven-game home winning streak to start the 2024 campaign to an end.

  • 3.33 – Rhode Island posted just an 0.85 Expected Goals mark. It’s Expected Goals on Target mark, measuring the potential value based on where those shots ended up was 3.33xG. Which in layman’s terms means, these were some bangers.

  • +1 – Rhode Island scored more goals in one night in Kentucky than the four goals it has recorded in seven home games at Beirne Stadium this season.

Does this mean there’s a turnaround coming? Not necessarily, and that Expected Goals on Target number is why you could look at this as a one-off. LouCity was easily the more dominant side overall, outshooting its visitors 29-11 and posting a 2.44xG mark as RIFC goalkeeper Jackson Lee pulled off some big saves to keep his side ahead.

Is this a breakthrough moment for a team that desperately needed one?



Orange County SC ended Indy Eleven's eight-game winning streak in the USL Championship on Saturday, handing the side its first loss in all competitions since April 13. | Photo courtesy Matt Schlotzhauer / Indy Eleven

Indy Eleven gave it a heck of a go. It had more chances than Orange County SC, put eight shots on target, and never let up in its bid to keep its eight-game regular season winning streak alive.

In the end, it wasn’t enough. Colin Shutler’s eight-save performance for OCSC held the Boys at Blue at bay, and Ethan Zubak’s sharply-taken header in the first half was enough for Orange County to come away with a 1-0 victory at Michael A. Carroll Stadium.

“I don’t think we were good enough to win the game,” said Indy Head Coach Sean McAuley. “We gave a lot of effort and commitment which in the end you can accept. That’s probably the major part of what you want everybody to do. We just needed a little more quality in the attacking third.”

If there’s anything this result should remind us, it’s how ridiculously hard putting one of these streaks together. Indy is one of only seven teams to get this far in 14 seasons in the USL Championship, and only the second this decade.

It also magnifies how ridiculous’ Phoenix Rising FC’s run of 20 consecutive wins in 2019 was, something I’ll be shocked if we ever see again.

For Indy, there’s a week off from action ahead and a chance to regroup before the next biggest game of their season – July 9 in the Quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against Atlanta United FC.

Opportunity awaits.


I don’t know if our friends in the scheduling department set it up so that Monterey Bay F.C., Oakland Roots SC and Sacramento Republic FC would each meet in three consecutive weekends – I’d like to think they did, so I’m not going to ask them in case they didn’t – but there was a beautiful symmetry as to how it all ended up playing out.

  • June 8 – Sacramento Republic FC 2, Monterey Bay F.C. 0: Sacramento drew first blood with a pair of second-half goals from Kieran Phillips and Cristian Parano.

  • June 15 – Oakland Roots SC 3, Sacramento Republic FC 2: Oakland’s Lindo Mfeka runs the show with a pair of goals to lead Roots to its first win at Heart Health Park.

  • June 22: Monterey Bay F.C. 2, Oakland Roots SC 1: Goals either side of halftime give Monterey Bay a season sweep of Oakland, closing the loop with one win apiece for each club.

With the congestion that’s built up in the middle of the Western Conference standings over the past month, the trio of NorCal rivals are now all in the top four of the standings below leader New Mexico United. Who knows how long that’s going to last, but it speaks to how these games are the sort that every fan should tune into when they get together.

Speaking of which, Oakland Roots SC vs. Sacramento Republic FC, 4 p.m. ET, July 22 on the CBS Television Network. Be there.

Three Up

New Mexico United's Talen Maples celebrates following his game-winning penalty kick against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Eric Lovato / New Mexico United

1. Talen Maples – The New Mexico United center back went from one of the biggest blunders of the season to being the hero from the penalty spot in his side’s 1-0 win against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, extending the club’s home winning streak to nine games.

2. Tampa Bay Rowdies – After winning with a late penalty kick on Saturday night against Hartford Athletic, the Rowdies could hardly have had a better Saturday. Louisville City FC and Indy Eleven losing and the Charleston Battery being held to a draw allowed Tampa Bay to reduce the gap to all three. Second place is now within reach with one fewer game played.

3. Felipe Rodriguez – Miami FC was facing a second consecutive game in Week 16 in which it had led a lead slip away when Loudoun United FC was awarded a penalty kick with eight minutes to go. The 20-year-old goalkeeper instead made a spectacular save to earn Miami a 2-2 draw, its first point since April 27.

Three Down

1. Charleston Battery – The Battery are now scoreless in 363 minutes after their scoreless draw with Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday night, which saw their winless streak run to five games.

2. Beverly Makangila – If you’re on a yellow card, the last thing you should be doing is committing a red-adjacent challenge right before halftime. Hartford Athletic just got overrun by Tampa Bay in the second half down a player and it ended up costing them in the end.

3. San Antonio FC – There are plenty of mitigating circumstances here, but San Antonio has lost four in a row for the first time since 2018. Someone’s going to have to lead the way back, fast.


Las Vegas Lights FC is only one point off its full-season total from 2023 at the midway point of the current campaign after its result against Memphis 901 FC on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Lucas Peltier / Las Vegas Lights FC

- Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Bradley Sample should have had a Goal of the Week contender with five minutes to go against North Carolina FC. That it was brilliantly saved by NCFC’s Jake McGuire shows how things keep running for the Hounds.

- Bruno Lapa, take a bow. A magical finish during a weekend full of brilliant strikes, but Memphis 901 FC will likely be disappointed it didn’t come away with all three points in Las Vegas.

- Halfway through its regular season, Las Vegas Lights FC is one point off its total for the full 2023 season. Earning draws at home to Memphis and Colorado Springs in the past week continued to show the side’s progress.

- Yes, Louisville City FC lost at home, but we loved how hard Head Coach Danny Cruz was willing to push in attack during the second half. That’s the sort of team everyone should be excited to watch.

- Orange County SC continues to be such a curious team. We think they’re good, but they’re going to get tested in the next few weeks after a big road win in Indy.

- Feels like Alejandro Fuenmayor is going to be seeing the header he had to put Phoenix Rising FC ahead against the Battery in his sleep for a while.

- FC Tulsa still isn’t quite on the radar for the playoffs, but picking up seven points from a three-game homestand is a side moving in the right direction. They’ve got a few games in hand, too.

- Shout-out to Isaac Angking, the first Rhode Island native to score for Rhode Island FC. The Puerto Rico international could be a sneakily good addition.

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