7 top storylines we took away from the USL Championship weekend | Talking Points

7 top storylines we took away from the USL Championship weekend | Talking Points

It looked a good chance that Orange County SC was going to find a goal and earn a result against Phoenix Rising FC for most of Saturday night’s game at Championship Soccer Stadium. A sterling display in goal by Rising FC’s Rocco Rios Novo, however, and some near-misses by the hosts left Manuel Arteaga’s goal for Phoenix as the difference-maker, and left OCSC interim Head Coach Morten Karlsen to take the silver linings from the contest.

“For tonight, and for the last couple of games, I take quite a lot,” said Karlsen. “I think for some aspects we look solid, but we still have that final finesse to work on and definitely our fitness, we need to be more competitive. I’m not unhappy with today, but I just feel there’s a little bit more for us to give. In terms of players, yes, we’re thin, but hopefully we’ll have some players back this week and it’s going to be a tough week for the boys.”

Thanks to the side’s victory against Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday night, this is a week that Orange County can probably look at as a step forward. Certainly, they seemed to have the greater attacking threat in both halves against Phoenix, but weren’t able to find a decisive finish.

With the season one-third of the way through, though, the 2021 Championship title winners can’t let the teams ahead of them open too big a gap in the next few weeks.

Here are some other things we took away from the weekend’s action…

– If Aaron Molloy and Jeremy Kelly can boss the midfield consistently the way they did in Tulsa on Friday night, 901 FC is going to keep rising in the standings.

– Your current league-leader in Goals Prevented according to American Soccer Analysis? Phoenix Rising FC’s Rocco Rios Novo. 20-year-old is living up to his pedigree.

– Charlie Dennis has goals in four consecutive games, but Ryan Spaulding has picked up an assist in three consecutive games for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He’s been an ideal fit on the left side.

– There’s no reason for San Antonio FC fans to be concerned after missing out in Detroit. That Champions Kit hasn’t proven too lucky yet, though, has it?

– On paper, it feels like Birmingham Legion FC should be better than the number of goals it is currently leaking, right?

– One home game in the next five outings for Las Vegas Lights FC. We want to believe there’s a win coming, soon.

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