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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 16

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/24/24, 4:30PM EDT


New Mexico’s streak survives, pushing the side forward in the Western Conference

Sitting on top of the Western Conference, New Mexico United Head Coach Eric Quill knows what’s coming.

“Everybody is [going to give us their best shot],” said Quill on Saturday night. “We’re not taking anybody by surprise. And so that’s what I'm most proud of – [Colorado Springs is] a hot team, and we took care of business.”

New Mexico is doing more than taking care of business. It’s achieving what every club in every league aspires to.

To quote the cliché, United has made its home a fortress.

Thanks to Talen Maples’ moment of redemption on Saturday night that lifted New Mexico to a 1-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Isotopes Park, the side now sits with the fifth-longest home winning streak in the USL Championship’s regular season all-time.

New Mexico’s nine consecutive victories at the Lab date back to last September 15 when the side took a 3-2 victory against Indy Eleven when another late penalty kick by Justin Portillo proved the difference. Portillo is no longer with United, now at Sacramento Republic FC, its closest rival for top spot in the West, but the group that Quill has brought together continues to grow in stature each week.

There aren’t many star names here – Alex Tambakis has been in the league long enough to rank second all-time in saves and clean sheets, but he’s never been an All-League selection – while other key players like Maples and Marco Micaletto are in their first seasons in the Championship.

Quill has brought it all together and so far produced a team that achieves beyond the sum of its theoretical parts.

With the club’s Somos Unidos ethos, that might be the perfect blend in a time and place where New Mexico is for the first time a serious contender for silverware.

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Here’s how the rest of 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 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 17: @ LDN
Last Week:
The Rowdies have won five of their last six in the league, and that’s pushed them within reach of second place after the rest of the upper echelon in the East stumbled this weekend.
2 New Mexico United
Week 17: @ SA
Last Week:
What’s stronger right now? New Mexico’s overall voodoo magic at home – nine consecutive wins at the Lab dating to last season – or its hold over the Switchbacks’ – 6-0-0 at home all time vs. Colorado Springs.
3 Indy Eleven
Week 17: ---
Last Week:
Indy probably did enough to get a draw against Orange County SC, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. A week off should do the side good to reset for July and the Open Cup Quarterfinals.
4 Memphis 901 FC
Week 17: v. PHX
Last Week:
901 FC is undefeated in four games but has drawn three of those to slip a little in the West. Need to start stringing wins together.
5 Louisville City FC
Week 17: @ BHM
Last Week:
Remember when LouCity shipped five goals in Sacramento last season? It came back with consecutive wins against Detroit City and San Antonio to get back on track. No big concerns here.
6 Detroit City FC
Week 17: v. BHM, @ MIA
Last Week:
Exhibition wins don’t count here, but Le Rouge certainly looked better by comparison after some of the results this weekend.
7 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 17: v. MB
Last Week:
The Switchbacks did well to grab a point in Las Vegas and put in a strong performance in New Mexico only to let a late lapse cost them. Still in solid position overall
8 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 17: v. HFD

Last Week:
Sacramento created a lot of half-chances, but nothing that Trevor Amann, Kieran Phillips et al. could sink their teeth into in Tulsa. Still a bit underwhelming, if we’re honest.
9 Charleston Battery
Week 17: v. NC

Last Week:
The Battery didn’t score, again, as Nick Markanich hit the woodwork, again. We miss Pedro the Raccoon, but it takes goals to make him dance.
10 Loudoun United FC
Week 17: v. TBR

Last Week:
Abdellatif Aboukoura only scores bangers, but Loudoun will be disappointed it didn’t come away from Miami with all three points. Not much harm done with results elsewhere.
11 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 17: @ DET, v. LOU
Last Week:
We know the state of San Antonio right now, but Legion still looked very good in dissecting their visitors on Wednesday night. This week’s game with Detroit should be fun.
12 Oakland Roots SC
Week 17: @ OC
Last Week:
Oakland went one up with victory at home and one down with defeat in Monterey Bay F.C. That loss still felt like progress was being made, though.
13 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 17: @ MEM

Last Week:
Alejandro Fuenmayor’s second-half chance against Charleston was graded a 0.948 Expected Goal. Unfortunately, the finish sat on the 0.052 side of the equation.
14 North Carolina FC
Week 17: @ CHS
Last Week:
Yes, Ezra Armstrong hit the woodwork, but only seven shots and none officially on target isn’t what we were hoping for from NCFC on home turf.
15 Orange County SC
Week 17: v. OAK
Last Week:
If not for Rhode Island FC, Orange County’s win against Indy would have been the result of the weekend. Still, solidly in the playoff positions.
16 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 17: @ COS
Last Week:
Halfway through its season, Monterey Bay has a negative goal differential, more losses than wins, and sits fourth in the West. Go figure.
17 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 17: v. PIT
Last Week:
The Lights keep moving closer to being a solid outfit. Two results at home against teams that began the week in the top four of the West is decent.
18 FC Tulsa
Week 17: ---
Last Week:
Tulsa have snuck up into the playoff race with seven points from their last three games. With games in hand, there’s potential here for a surprise.
19 Hartford Athletic
Week 17: @ SAC
Last Week:
Hartford wasn’t faring badly against Tampa Bay before Beverly Makangila’s red card, but just couldn’t hold on after allowing 19 second-half shots. One step forward, one step back.
20 San Antonio FC
Week 17: v. NM
Last Week:
San Antonio’s fourth consecutive loss has it in 11th place in the West. We don’t think this is going to last, but as the saying goes, you are what your record says you are.
21 Rhode Island FC
Week 17: v. ELP
Last Week:
Bangers galore for Rhode Island’s second win in club history. We’d like to see a performance that’s got the potential to be a bit more sustainable, though.
22 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 17: @ RI
Last Week:
Locomotive couldn’t really have any complaints about its defeat in Oakland. Time to pick yourselves up and start again in Rhode Island.
23 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 17: @ LV
Last Week:
The Hounds are starting to feel a little bit cursed, which explains the paper bags on heads for a couple of visiting fans in the stands in North Carolina on the weekend.
24 Miami FC
Week 17: v. DET

Last Week:
Miami almost blew a pair of leads in the space of four days. Thank goodness for Felipe Rodriguez’s penalty save against Loudoun United.

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