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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 13

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com , 07/21/21, 1:45PM EDT

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Rivalry weekend could produce some big changes in the standings, rankings

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

There are some weekends on the USL Championship slate that just set up better than others, and Week 14's over Friday and Saturday night is looking like one of those.

You start on Friday with the Southern Derby between the Charleston Battery and Charlotte Independence at Patriots Point – renewing one of the best inter-city rivalries in the league’s history – and a fascinating interconference clash between Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Louisville City FC at Weidner Field that will see Colorado Springs’ Jimmy Ockford go up against some former teammates.

Then on Saturday we head west for two of the best new rivalries as New Mexico United gets to host El Paso Locomotive FC for the first time in almost two years at Isotopes Park, and San Diego Loyal SC and Phoenix Rising FC close out their regular-season series at Torero Stadium.

That last one could have the biggest spotlight of all, with No. 2 Phoenix and No. 3 San Diego among the hottest teams in the league’s Power Rankings. There’s a lot riding on the game in the big picture, too, with Rising FC holding a five-point lead over SD Loyal as well as a game in hand. If San Diego’s going to have a chance to usurp Phoenix for first place in the Pacific, this feels like a must-win for the hosts.

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
(7-1-3)
Week 14: @ NM

Last Week:
1
Locomotive FC became the second team this season to have shutouts recorded by three different goalkeepers with Ben Beaury’s first career clean sheet on Saturday. The other team? Atlanta United 2.
2 Phoenix Rising FC
(8-2-2)
Week 14: @ SD

Last Week:
2
Solomon Asante has now averaged a goal or assist every 53.7 minutes against the LA Galaxy II in nine games across his career after becoming the third player to notch at least a goal and three assists in a game this season.
3 San Diego Loyal SC
(6-4-3)
Week 14: v. PHX

Last Week:
3
Coming back from a goal down and a man down, even at home, was impressive by SD Loyal as it defeated Orange County. Saturday’s final regular-season meeting with Phoenix is going to be tasty.
4 Louisville City FC
(8-3-2)
Week 14: @ COS

Last Week:
4
A six-point week with wins against Energy FC and Atlanta while getting to rotate key starters? That’s a very good way to take control at the top of the Central Division.
5 The Miami FC
(7-5-2)
Week 14: @ HFD
5
Last Week:
10
Miami is rolling with four wins in its last five games after a second victory against Florida rival the Tampa Bay Rowdies. This team is starting to live up to the preseason potential we thought it had, even without some key internationals.
6 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
(7-4-3)
Week 14: @ NY

Last Week:
6
The Hounds took victory, but Head Coach Bob Lilley wasn’t overly impressed by his side’s performance against Loudoun on Saturday. They’re still in really good shape for a team that’s got room to grow, though.
7 Rio Grande Valley FC
(7-3-3)
Week 14: v. ATX
2
Last Week:
9
The Toros made an impressive statement on the road against Orange County, getting an early lead and then putting the clamps on their hosts to stay right alongside El Paso for first place in the Mountain Division.
8 OKC Energy FC
(4-5-5)
Week 14: v. SKC
6
Last Week:
14
You’re right, this is a big move up after a week that saw Energy FC lose as well as win, but that victory against FC Tulsa could prove cathartic for OKC and in the big picture it has now won four of its last six overall.
9 FC Tulsa
(6-5-1)
Week 14: @ MEM
2
Last Week:
7
Rodrigo da Costa pulled another rabbit out of his hat in the Black Gold Derby that on another night would have earned the side a draw, but that late goal to see a seven-game undefeated run in the Black Gold Derby was a tough one.
10 Orange County SC
(6-4-3)
Week 14: v. SAC
5
Last Week:
5
From losing a lead with a man-advantage to being stifled at home – albeit by a strong opponent – that was not the way Orange County wanted the past week to end up going.
11 Hartford Athletic
(6-3-2)
Week 14: v. MIA
3
Last Week:
8
You can probably say the Athletic ran out of gas a little bit after its exertions in Tampa Bay as it fell in Charleston.
12 Birmingham Legion FC
(7-4-1)
Week 14: @ IND

Last Week:
12
Legion FC gets back to action on Saturday against Indy Eleven now looking to bridge the gap the Louisville at the top of the Central Conference.
13 New Mexico United
(6-5-2)
Week 14: @ SA, v. ELP

Last Week:
13
Saturday night is the first game between New Mexico and El Paso at Isotopes Park in 725 days. After their two previous meetings this season, United will be hoping for a repeat of the 3-0 victory it won back on July 31, 2019.
14 Tampa Bay Rowdies
(8-5-0)
Week 14: v. LDN
3
Last Week:
11
The Rowdies – and surprisingly Sebastian Guenzatti – have hit a wall when it comes to their finishing recently. I’m pretty confident that’s not going to last for long.
15 Austin Bold FC
(5-3-4)
Week 14: @ RGV
1
Last Week:
16
Austin’s defense keeps doing stellar work to give their attack some margin for error. Goalkeeper Elliot Panicco is now alone with the league-lead on six shutouts this season as well as holding the lead in the Golden Glove race.
16 Charleston Battery
(4-4-3)
Week 14: v. CLT
3
Last Week:
19
There’s not really such a thing as a must-win game in July, but that 3-1 victory by the Battery on Saturday night against Hartford was right up there in terms of importance. Now they’ve got to solve the Independence on Friday.
17 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
(5-5-2)
Week 14: v. LOU
2
Last Week:
15
Head Coach Brendan Burke admitted to the poorness of Colorado Springs’ first-half performance on Saturday afternoon, and with San Antonio’s Matt Cardone pulling off heroics there wasn’t a way back this time.
18 Charlotte Independence
(5-6-1)
Week 14: @ CHS
1
Last Week:
17
Given its position in the Atlantic, the Independence would have been very happy with Charleston’s win on Saturday against Hartford. Now it can gun for its third win this season against the Battery on Friday.
19 San Antonio FC
(3-3-6)
Week 14: v. NM
5
Last Week:
24
Matt Cardone’s eight-save performance against the Switchbacks was the second-highest in a single game for his career at the club and might have been his finest display ever as SAFC snapped its seven-game winless streak.
20 Sacramento Republic FC
(3-6-3)
Week 14: @ OC
7
Last Week:
27
Was last Wednesday night the start of the turnaround for Sacramento? Victory in Las Vegas got Republic FC back within a point of the playoffs ahead of Saturday’s game with Orange County.
21 Tacoma Defiance
(3-4-4)
Week 14: --
1
Last Week:
20
The Defiance will sit and watch the action around them this week, but then kickoff four consecutive home games that could define their playoff prospects next Thursday against San Diego.
22 Memphis 901 FC
(3-4-4)
Week 14: v. TUL

Last Week:
22
Four points from two trips to Indy’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium this season is a solid return and kept Memphis close enough to the playoff line as it heads home on Saturday night.
23 Las Vegas Lights FC
(4-8-1)
Week 14: @ SLC
5
Last Week:
18
Two narrow defeats for Lights FC, including on the road in El Paso, shows this side’s progression, but it’s got to start putting wins together to stay afloat if Sacramento is getting ready to put in a surge.
24 Indy Eleven
(4-5-4)
Week 14: v. BHM
3
Last Week:
21
Three draws in the past four games has Indy treading water in the middle of the Central and a big test coming this weekend from Legion FC as it looks to get that second home win of the season.
25 Sporting Kansas City II
(3-7-4)
Week 14: @ OKC
2
Last Week:
23
SKC II slipped behind Memphis during its bye week and now gets games with OKC on Saturday night followed by a midweek game with Louisville to follow.
26 New York Red Bulls II
(3-6-4)
Week 14: v. PIT
1
Last Week:
25
The Red Bulls II host Pittsburgh on Friday night in a game that the Hounds are looking at as a potential trap. With New York’s recent attacking improvement, it could be one to watch closely.
27 Atlanta United 2
(3-6-5)
Week 14: --
1
Last Week:
26
It’s seven games without a win for Atlanta now after its loss to Louisville City FC on Saturday night, they get this weekend off before a visit from FC Tulsa on July 28.
28 Oakland Roots SC
(1-4-3)
Week 14: @ LA

Last Week:
28
With everyone treading water above them in the Pacific, but the crunch of games Oakland is going to face in the second half of the season is going to be very hectic and tricky to navigate.
29 Real Monarchs SLC
(2-8-4)
Week 14: v. LV

Last Week:
29
Monarchs 17-year-old goalkeeper Jeffrey Dewsnup kept his side in the game on Sunday night in Austin, but Bold FC’s defense just didn’t give the visitors much opportunity of a result in the end.
30 LA Galaxy II
(3-7-4)
Week 14: v. OAK

Last Week:
30
Los Dos have lost by a combined score of 8-0 in their two trips to Phoenix this season with Solomon Asante putting up two goals and three assists. They can’t be looking forward to their two remaining encounters.
31 Loudoun United FC
(2-10-0)
Week 14: @ TBR

Last Week:
31
Loudoun is now seven points adrift at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, the widest margin of any last-placed side in the four divisions overall, after its loss to Pittsburgh.

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