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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 5

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 05/26/21, 1:00PM EDT

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Rowdies remain on top as rivalries come to fore in big Saturday night slate

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

With Saturday night’s victory, the Tampa Bay Rowdies are off to not only their best start since joining the Championship in 2017 but are only the sixth team to have made it to four consecutive wins to start a season in league history. As Head Coach Neill Collins’ side goes into a weekend off, though, there’s plenty to keep us distracted as we wait for their pursuit of history next week.

In fact, this Saturday’s slate brings us four rivalries that have not only great histories, but intriguing storylines as they approach.

We start with the Louisville Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest, which if we’re honest has been a little bit one-sided in the last couple of years. Louisville City FC has moved to a 4-1-4 record against Indy Eleven in the regular season, including an undefeated 2-0-3 at home. After winning three of four meetings last season, LouCity has a chance to maintain the upper hand it has held on Saturday night.

Down in Texas, San Antonio FC hosts Rio Grande Valley FC at Toyota Field in a rivalry that seemed to reset when the teams last met earlier this month. The Toros’ 2-1 win on May 16 was only their second in the rivalry since October 2017 but evened the series all-time at six wins apiece. With first place in the Mountain Division on the line, the Toros have a chance to signal that their new chapter is well underway.

Saturday’s game between Orange County SC and the LA Galaxy II, meanwhile, will be the 25th in the regular-season between the sides since they first met in 2014. Los Dos have held the edge overall with 12 wins, including wins in the last two meetings of the season a year ago that proved the difference in sending the Galaxy II to the playoffs and leaving Orange County on the outside looking in.

The last meeting between Sacramento Republic FC and Phoenix Rising FC, meanwhile, was in last season’s playoffs and ended in contentious fashion in extra time. With Rising FC heading to Sacramento on Saturday, the final game of the slate could be the most intriguing as Republic FC looks to maintain its undefeated home record in the series between the clubs.

With that to look forward to, 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 Tampa Bay Rowdies
(4-0-0)
Week 6: --

Last Week:
1
With four consecutive wins, the Rowdies are now only two back of the longest winning streaks to start a Championship season. After a week off, they’ll visit the Red Bulls II and Independence next week.
2 El Paso Locomotive FC
(1-0-1)
Week 6: @ SKC
1
Last Week:
3
El Paso sucked the life out of Rio Grande Valley’s attack after grabbing its early lead through Luis Solignac in one of the more dominant performances of the season so far defensively.
3 Phoenix Rising FC
(3-1-0)
Week 6: @ SAC
2
Last Week:
5
That was a record-setting return to the win column for Rising FC against Las Vegas, and it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Phoenix is now 7-0-1 in games after suffering defeat since the start of the 2019 regular season.
4 Louisville City FC
(2-0-1)
Week 6: v. IND
2
Last Week:
6
Kyle Greig getting on the scoresheet in his debut was a feel-good story coming out of Saturday win against San Diego, but Cameron Lancaster’s bright performance was the more important one.
5 New Mexico United
(2-1-1)
Week 6: v. LDN
3
Last Week:
8
New Mexico is starting to click into gear in attack after back-to-back three-goal performances. It certainly looks like Head Coach Troy Lesesne’s side has taken another step forward.
6 Rio Grande Valley FC
(3-1-0)
Week 6: @ SA
2
Last Week:
4
The Toros just couldn’t figure out a way through El Paso’s defense when they got on the ball in west Texas. Now they’ll need to respond in a quick rematch with San Antonio this weekend.
7 Indy Eleven
(2-1-0)
Week 6: @ LOU
2
Last Week:
9
Gordon Wild had about as dominant an attacking performance as you can have without finding the back of the net on Saturday night, and Indy’s attack shone as a result. Now they get to try and do that against LouCity.
8 San Antonio FC
(2-1-1)
Week 6: v. RGV
2
Last Week:
10
SAFC got back into the win column against Birmingham Legion FC, now they’ll look to turn the tables on Rio Grande Valley FC and vault into first place in the division on Saturday.
9 FC Tulsa
(3-1-0)
Week 6: --
7
Last Week:
2
I’m guessing no-one saw that performance against Atlanta United 2 coming, there’s going to have to be a lot of good sessions this week before Tulsa gets back to action against Sporting KC II next Wednesday to get back on track.
10 Orange County SC
(1-1-0)
Week 6: v. LA
6
Last Week:
16
You couldn’t have written a better story than Chris Wehan scoring the winner in his first home game for his hometown club, but OCSC is going to miss the long-term presence of Adam Jahn and Seth Casiple.
11 Sacramento Republic FC
(2-1-0)
Week 6: v. PHX
4
Last Week:
7
Republic FC put in a strong effort to try and find an equalizer against Orange County but came up short. They’ll need a strong response back at home against Phoenix on Saturday.
12 Hartford Athletic
(2-0-1)
Week 6: v. SLC
1
Last Week:
11
The Athletic can continue their undefeated start when they host a Real Monarchs SLC side that is going to be in action on Wednesday night, a fast start could go a long way toward a third win.
13 Charlotte Independence
(2-1-0)
Week 6: @ MIA
4
Last Week:
17
Goalkeeper Brandon Miller’s landmark 40th regular-season shutout is great, and so is taking back-to-back road wins against two fellow playoff contenders in the Atlantic ahead of Saturday’s visit to Miami.
14 Tacoma Defiance
(2-0-1)
Week 6: @ ATX
1
Last Week:
15
The Defiance start a four-game road trip on Sunday night against Austin Bold FC which could tell us just how serious this side’s early playoff contention might be.
15 Atlanta United 2
(2-1-2)
Week 6: v. BHM
10
Last Week:
25
Atlanta’s not only on a four-game undefeated streak after last week’s performances, but it’s shown an impressive resilience to twice notch late equalizers as part of its run.
16 Birmingham Legion FC
(1-2-1)
Week 6: v. OKC, @ ATL
4
Last Week:
12
Birmingham’s finishing wasn’t as sharp as it needed to be, but this still looks like a strong side in the long-run. Getting a good response on Wednesday against Energy FC is needed.
17 The Miami FC
(2-2-0)
Week 6: v. CLT
4
Last Week:
13
Miami gave the Rowdies a good run, but the finishing is still an issue. The side currently has a -2.76 differential between its Expected Goals (5.76) and goals (3) this season.
18 Oakland Roots SC
(1-1-0)
Week 6: --
6
Last Week:
24
First wins don’t come much more memorably than Oakland’s against the LA Galaxy II, three consecutive games against Sacramento and Orange County starting next Wednesday should give us a bit more insight on where this team is overall.
19 LA Galaxy II
(2-2-1)
Week 6: @ OC
5
Last Week:
14
The Galaxy II took one point from two games, including letting a pair of leads slip at home to Oakland Roots SC on Sunday evening. That makes Saturday’s visit to Orange County all-the-more important
20 New York Red Bulls II
(1-2-2)
Week 6: v. PIT
2
Last Week:
22
The Red Bulls II produced an impressive comeback to earn a point again in Charleston on Sunday to give them four points from the past two games. We’ll see if they can maintain that momentum back home on Friday against Pittsburgh.
21 Charleston Battery
(0-1-2)
Week 6: --
3
Last Week:
18
The Battery had a great chance to earn their first home victory against the New York Red Bulls II and let a two-goal lead slip. The last time Charleston was winless after three games was in 2014, they’ll look to regroup this week.
22 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
(0-2-1)
Week 6: @ NY
2
Last Week:
20
The Hounds did everything but score against the Independence on Saturday night. You figure a breakthrough is coming, will it happen on Friday night against the Red Bulls II?
23 Austin Bold FC
(0-1-1)
Week 6: v. SLC, v. TAC
2
Last Week:
21
Austin rallied to earn a draw against the Monarchs on Friday night, now it will try to claim a third consecutive home opener victory against the same side on Wednesday night.
24 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
(1-2-0)
Week 6: --
5
Last Week:
19
Everything was going perfectly early for the Switchbacks until New Mexico spoiled the party. Still, there’s a lot of room for optimism here as the side goes into its weekend off.
25 Memphis 901 FC
(0-1-1)
Week 6: @ OKC
2
Last Week:
23
First point is in the bag for 901 FC after Sunday’s game in Atlanta, but the visitors will likely have come away thinking it should have had all three. It’s good to see Kadeem Dacres looking sharp, though.
26 Real Monarchs SLC
(0-1-2)
Week 6: @ ATX, @ HFD
1
Last Week:
27
The Monarchs got a point from their first meeting with Austin, but still haven’t quite restored their home mojo. Wednesday night’s return fixture starts a busy week that also sees the side head to Hartford.
27 Loudoun United FC
(0-2-0)
Week 6: @ NM
1
Last Week:
28
Loudoun is going to have its hands full in Saturday night’s trip to face New Mexico United, if it can come away with a point it would be a successful trip.
28 OKC Energy FC
(0-2-2)
Week 6: @ BHM, v. MEM
1
Last Week:
29
It might be winless so far, but at least Energy FC has picked up points in its last two games as it heads for a first meeting with Birmingham Legion FC.
29 Sporting Kansas City II
(0-3-2)
Week 6: v. ELP
1
Last Week:
30
Sporting stayed undefeated in midweek against the Galaxy II before being stifled in attack by Indy Eleven. Still a long way to go to contend here.
30 San Diego Loyal SC
(0-4-0)
Week 6: v. LV
4
Last Week:
26
San Diego’s defensive struggles continued to show up against Louisville, which could have had a healthier lead before Jack Blake’s late blast. According to American Soccer Analysis, SD Loyal’s Expected Goals Against is second-highest in the league at 9.80.
31 Las Vegas Lights FC
(0-3-0)
Week 6: @ SD

Last Week:
31
The only team with a higher Expected Goals Against mark than San Diego? You guessed it, Lights FC at 10.07. They meet on Saturday night, where someone’s got to get their first point of the season.

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