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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 18

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/08/24, 4:30PM EDT


Loudoun United’s evolution has brought it out of the shadows and into playoff contention

Prior to the start of the 2023 season, when Loudoun United FC was acquired by Attain Sports and Entertainment and added supporting owners including professional athletes Yannick Ngakoue (NFL), Tommy Pham (MLB), and Jeff Teague (NBA), it promised a new era.

It’s taken a year, but the new-look Loudoun is now coming into its own.

The side extended its club-record undefeated streak to seven games last Wednesday night with a 3-0 victory against Hartford Athletic – my pick for a breakout performer this season – as it looked every bit the sort of team we were expecting Hartford to be this season.

There’s a good attacking corps led by returning standout Zach Ryan, who with seven goals and three assists is well on the way to a career year midway through the campaign. The additions the side has made this offseason have made a major difference as well with Florian Valot bringing the quality we remember him showing in the league before he got his chance in Major League Soccer.

Loudoun has also made Segra Field a more difficult place to play, with six wins in 10 games and only six goals conceded on home turf. That’s only one win off the club’s all-time best in a season, when it recorded seven home victories in its inaugural season in 2019.

Then you have Head Coach Ryan Martin, long respected among his peers but at times limited by the squad at his disposal. Now United is getting a chance to compete in full, it’s giving Martin a fair shot at showing what he’s capable of.

There’s a long way to go, and Loudoun is still going to have to show it can compete on the road with the majority of its away schedule coming in the second half of the campaign. What we’ve seen so far, though, should have United fans excited about what this new era is offering.

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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 New Mexico United
Week 19: ---

Last Week:
New Mexico has won 10 consecutive home games, putting it within reach the Championship’s all-time record while creating a cushion at the top of the Western Conference.
2 Loudoun United FC
Week 19: @ IND
Last Week:
Loudoun’s club-record undefeated run reached seven games last Wednesday night with a comprehensive win against Hartford Athletic. This team is rolling nicely.
3 Oakland Roots SC
Week 19: @ PIT
Last Week:
In the past six games Oakland has defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Sacramento Republic FC and Louisville City FC. It’s a remarkable run Roots is on.
4 Charleston Battery
Week 19: @ HFD
Last Week:
The Battery looked like their regular selves on Friday night, and then got a helping hand from Oakland on Saturday. The gap to LouCity at the top of the East is back to two points.
5 Louisville City FC
Week 19: ---
Last Week:
LouCity couldn’t find a way through Oakland’s diligent defending and was held scoreless for only the second time this season. Consecutive home games should provide a remedy.
6 Indy Eleven
Week 19: v. LDN
Last Week:
The Boys in Blue are going to want to tighten up their set piece defending on Tuesday night against Atlanta United. Disappointing way to drop points, even on the road.
7 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Week 19: @ BHM

Last Week:
The Switchbacks left it late but found a way through against Tulsa. It’s tight in the middle of the West’s playoff positions, but that defense is looking solid.
8 Memphis 901 FC
Week 19: @ DET
Last Week:
901 FC fell behind early in Orange County and couldn’t recover. Bit of a bump after a good run of form otherwise.
9 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Week 19: v. OC
Last Week:
The Rowdies salvaged a point late against Detroit City but are going to need to start improving their road form if they’re going to get multiple home games in the playoffs.
10 Las Vegas Lights FC
Week 19: @ ELP
Last Week:
A first win in Sacramento in club history is a signature moment for the Lights’ new regime. The progress the side continues to make is impressive.
11 Sacramento Republic FC
Week 19: v. NC
Last Week:
One win in the last four games isn’t the form you’d want going into a massive Open Cup opportunity at home, but we’re expecting a big effort from Republic FC again.
12 Detroit City FC
Week 19: v. MEM

Last Week:
Le Rouge just couldn’t hold on down to 10 players late against Tampa Bay, but the door’s open with their games in hand on Indy and Tampa Bay to make a move.
13 North Carolina FC
Week 19: @ SAC
Last Week:
Evan Conway coming into form is a good sign for NCFC, even if it did come against the league’s leakiest defense.
14 Birmingham Legion FC
Week 19: v. COS
Last Week:
Consecutive defeats against the top two sides in the conference showed Legion where it is right now, and where it needs to get better to contend.
15 Rhode Island FC
Week 19: @ MIA

Last Week:
RIFC is undefeated in four after its comeback against Indy. Now it needs to beat Miami before a crucial run of four games to follow.
16 Orange County SC
Week 19: @ TBR

Last Week:
Defeat in New Mexico, and victory at home to Memphis, OCSC is back in the playoff positions and needs to build on Saturday’s positive momentum.
17 Monterey Bay F.C.
Week 19: v. TUL

Last Week:
Stealing a victory on the road in Pittsburgh could be a defining moment for Monterey Bay’s playoff aspirations, but it’s going to need to be better over 90 minutes to stay in the top eight.
18 San Antonio FC
Week 19: ---
Last Week:
Finally, a win, and not a moment too soon. SAFC’s only four points out of the playoff positions even with everything the side has been through.
19 Phoenix Rising FC
Week 19: ---
Last Week:
Rising had better moments in San Antonio, but it needed to be smarter and let a result slip away. They've got a week off to get it together - will there be a new boss in charge by the end of it?
20 FC Tulsa
Week 19: @ MB
Last Week:
Tulsa almost held on in Colorado Springs, but it didn’t really do enough to challenge the Switchbacks’ defense overall.
21 Hartford Athletic
Week 19: v. CHS
Last Week:
Three consecutive defeats, and three consecutive games without a goal. The bright spot of the win against Pittsburgh is feeling pretty distant.
22 El Paso Locomotive FC
Week 19: v. LV

Last Week:
Locomotive got a week off to get to work with Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera. Let’s see if there’s improvement against Las Vegas on Friday night.
23 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Week 19: v. OAK

Last Week:
There’s not much you can say about the Hounds that hasn’t been said. 573 minutes without a goal is staggering.
24 Miami FC
Week 19: v. RI

Last Week:
Miami took advantage of a defensive mistake to get a lead, and once again let it unravel. 28 goals conceded in second halves, 16 points dropped from winning positions. Not good.

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