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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 12

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 07/14/21, 5:00PM EDT

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San Diego, Orange County matchup offers tasty Top Five midweek clash

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the Championship’s Power Rankings.

With one-third of the season gone, the direction of the season has started to take shape across each division in the Championship, but none more so than the Pacific Division, where the divide between the contenders and the teams that are going to be in a battle has become marked.

That’s a decent explanation for why three of the Pacific’s teams are in the top five of this week’s Power Rankings. No. 2 Phoenix Rising FC, No. 3 San Diego Loyal SC and No. 5 Orange County SC have each put together impressive runs of form this campaign, with San Diego and Orange County now both on eight-game undefeated streaks.

Those two sides meet at Torero Stadium on Wednesday night (10:30 p.m. ET | ESPN+), and while we could get a repeat of the 1-1 draw the sides played to last month, we get the feeling that the streaks and the positions each side now holds could give this go-around a bit more edge than the last.

For Orange County, there’s the chance to move into first place in the Pacific past Phoenix as its defense and goalkeepers Patrick Rakovsky and Abraham Romero have stepped to the fore with shutouts in three consecutive games. For San Diego, there’s a chance to move even with Orange County on points as it looks to build on four wins out of five on home turf.

With the midway point of the season coming soon, the time for settling is coming to an end, and the time to win – especially against your biggest rivals – is arriving.

Here’s how the big picture looks today. As always, feel free to come and yell at me on Twitter (@NJEMurray).

Atlanta United 2 Austin Bold FC Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC
Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven LA Galaxy II Las Vegas Lights FC Loudoun United FC Louisville City FC Memphis 901 FC
The Miami FC New Mexico United New York Red Bulls II Oakland Roots SC OKC Energy FC Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Real Monarchs SLC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC San Antonio FC San Diego Loyal SC Sporting KC II
Tacoma Defiance Tampa Bay Rowdies FC Tulsa

Biggest Movers

Rank

 

Team

Change

Summary

1 El Paso Locomotive FC
(6-1-3)
Week 13: v. LV
2
Last Week:
3
The “Power Rankings for Dummies” book someone gifted me this offseason says to move up to top spot, you must have won your most recent game. El Paso’s got two in a row after defeating the Monarchs last Friday night.
2 Phoenix Rising FC
(7-2-2)
Week 13: v. LA

Last Week:
2
Phoenix has made two trips to the Eastern Time Zone this season and has returned home with one point in total. That should illustrate the importance of getting homefield advantage over any Eastern rival it might face in a Championship Final
3 San Diego Loyal SC
(5-4-3)
Week 13: v. OC
1
Last Week:
4
SD Loyal hosts one of the biggest games of the month on Wednesday night and could use a win to pull level on points with Orange County SC at Torero Stadium. Make sure to tune i
4 Louisville City FC
(6-3-2)
Week 13: v. OKC, v. ATL
3
Last Week:
1
LouCity’s attack continues to look impressive, but it’s worth mentioning it has also now conceded 10 goals in the past four games. That makes for big entertainment, but that back line is used to being much better.
5 Orange County SC
(6-2-3)
Week 13: @ SD, v. RGV
3
Last Week:
8
Orange County made it three wins from three against Sacramento this season on Saturday night to set up a huge game on Wednesday in San Diego. Two eight-game undefeated streaks enter, will one emerge with a victory?
6 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
(6-4-3)
Week 13: v. LDN

Last Week:
6
The Hounds’ performance was worthy of a point in Charleston, and Tuesday night’s win for Hartford kept the Rowdies in sight at the top of the Atlantic Division as well.
7 FC Tulsa
(6-4-1)
Week 13: v. OKC
5
Last Week:
12
Tulsa’s Rodrigo da Costa has five goals and three assists in seven games since the start of June and has helped pull the side back within sight of first place in the Central Division after Saturday’s win against Louisville.
8 Hartford Athletic
(6-2-2)
Week 13: v. TBR(W), @ CHS
3
Last Week:
11
Hartford showed its resilience in both Saturday’s 2-2 draw with the Red Bulls II and Tuesday’s 1-0 win against Tampa Bay. With games in hand on everyone around them, the Athletic are in a strong position heading to Charleston.
9 Rio Grande Valley FC
(6-3-3)
Week 13: @ OC

Last Week:
9
The Toros earned another point on the road against Austin last Wednesday night and could take advantage of an Orange County SC side that has a massive midweek game before RGVFC visits Championship Stadium on Saturday.
10 The Miami FC
(6-5-2)
Week 13: v. TBR
4
Last Week:
14
Sunday’s victory against Loudoun made it three wins out of four games and a little bit of separation from the teams below the playoff line. This weekend’s rematch with the Rowdies is going to be a must-see.
11 Tampa Bay Rowdies
(8-4-0)
Week 13: v. HFD(L), @ MIA
6
Last Week:
5
The Rowdies did everything but score against Hartford on Tuesday night, and that meant the first back-to-back defeats for the side since 2019. Sebastian Guenzatti and company could want to send a message as it heads back to Miami on Saturday.
12 Birmingham Legion FC
(7-4-1)
Week 13: --
5
Last Week:
7
Legion FC had a golden opportunity to put some distance between itself and Louisville but couldn’t solve Memphis goalkeeper Kyle Morton. Now Birmingham gets a week off to stew over that feeling.
13 New Mexico United
(6-5-2)
Week 13: v. CHS(W)
4
Last Week:
17
New Mexico not only claimed consecutive victories to surge back into contention in the Mountain Division, it did so looking the most dangerous it has in the attacking third all season. More of that, please.
14 OKC Energy FC
(3-4-5)
Week 13: @ LOU, @ TUL
1
Last Week:
13
The last time Energy FC visited Louisville in 2015, it gave up six goals in a rout. A repeat performance would not be welcome on Wednesday night after the positive gains the side had made recently.
15 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
(5-4-2)
Week 13: v. SA
5
Last Week:
10
The Switchbacks maintained their shape and identity even after going down a man in New Mexico. The late loss is going to hurt, but this remains one of the most dangerous sides in the league.
16 Austin Bold FC
(4-3-4)
Week 13: v. SLC
1
Last Week:
15
Austin earned another point against Rio Grande Valley FC last week before squaring off with Liga MX’s Cruz Azul over the weekend at Bold Stadium. With the way the Mountain Division is shaping up, though, a win against the Monarchs is going to be important on Sunday night.
17 Charlotte Independence
(5-6-1)
Week 13: v. NY
1
Last Week:
16
The Independence get a quick rematch with the Red Bulls II on Saturday after New York spoiled the party at Memorial Stadium’s opening. Let’s see what Charlotte learned, because a win is essential.
18 Las Vegas Lights FC
(4-6-1)
Week 13: v. SAC, @ ELP
1
Last Week:
19
Lights FC is starting to look like the side prepared to say “we want that fourth playoff place” in the Pacific Division. If it can pick up a win on Wednesday at home to Sacramento, that belief is only going to grow.
19 Charleston Battery
(3-4-3)
Week 13: @ NM(L), v. HFD
2
Last Week:
17
The Battery are playing well enough, but they’re not getting the results they need consistently. Saturday’s game with Hartford is a big chance to turn that around.
20 Tacoma Defiance
(3-4-4)
Week 13: --

Last Week:
20
The Defiance took a pair of draws on the road in the past week, which is solid enough but has led Las Vegas start to take control of the playoff race in the middle of the division.
21 Indy Eleven
(4-5-3)
Week 13: v. MEM

Last Week:
21
Indy was denied in midweek by Atlanta’s Rocco Rios Novo and then on Saturday by Mother Nature in OKC. The Boys in Blue need to get back in the win column at home and start making The Mike a place to be feared again.
22 Memphis 901 FC
(3-4-3)
Week 13: @ IND
5
Last Week:
27
There’s nothing that will build confidence for a side than a road win against your biggest rival. 901 FC might still be in the basement of the Central, but it’s only a three-point gap to its next opponent, fourth-placed Indy Eleven.
23 Sporting Kansas City II
(3-7-4)
Week 13: --
5
Last Week:
28
SKC II has won two out of three to get into the free-for-all happening around the Central Division’s playoff line right now after beating Atlanta. Now they get a week off before another big game against Energy FC.
24 San Antonio FC
(2-3-6)
Week 13: @ COS

Last Week:
24
San Antonio’s attack showed signs of life in its two exhibitions against LigaMX opposition over the past week. That’s a real positive ahead of Saturday’s nationally-televised game against Colorado Springs.
25 New York Red Bulls II
(3-6-4)
Week 13: @ CLT
5
Last Week:
30
The Red Bulls II spoiled the party for Charlotte at Memorial Stadium’s official opening and were minutes away from a second victory before Hartford denied them with a late equalizer. Still, things are definitely looking up.
26 Atlanta United 2
(3-5-5)
Week 13: @ LOU
4
Last Week:
22
The goals have dried up a bit for Atlanta, which has only four tallies in its past five outings. Saturday’s visit to Louisville isn’t going to provide any respite for the club’s defense, either.
27 Sacramento Republic FC
(2-6-3)
Week 13: @ LV
2
Last Week:
25
Sacramento’s winless streak is at nine games after its draw with Oakland and loss to Orange County SC last week. If it falls again against Las Vegas on Wednesday, it’s going to be seven points out of the playoff positions.
28 Oakland Roots SC
(1-4-3)
Week 13: --
5
Last Week:
23
Roots SC’s attack showed much greater endeavor than in some recent outings against Las Vegas on Saturday, but it still wasn’t enough to get a win.
29 Real Monarchs SLC
(2-7-4)
Week 13: @ ATX
3
Last Week:
26
The Monarchs have suffered consecutive 3-1 defeats after last Friday’s loss to El Paso, and the teams above the playoff line are starting to move further into the distance.
30 LA Galaxy II
(3-6-4)
Week 13: @ PHX
1
Last Week:
31
Los Dos at least managed to get a point out of the past week in its draw with Tacoma, but that’s still six games without a win for a side that was showing serious promise early this season.
31 Loudoun United FC
(2-9-0)
Week 13: @ PIT
2
Last Week:
29
Want to know something crazy? If all things were equal and Loudoun had put away its chances at a reasonable rate, its xG numbers say it would have the fifth-most points in the Atlantic Division. It hasn’t, so it isn’t.

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