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USL Power Rankings: Rhode Island FC debut, expansion to Brooklyn, and more from Week 2

After two weeks of USL Championship action, we're ranking every team in the league.

22 min read
Rhode Island FC

On Thursday, the USL Championship made it official: Brooklyn FC will be joining the league in 2025. 

They’ll debut this fall their women’s team in the upstart USL Super League, which received Division I sanctioning earlier this year. Indeed, competing in the first tier on the women’s side encouraged Brooklyn FC to renege on plans to join USL League One on the men’s side and opt for the higher level instead.

The new club will play their matches at Maimonides Park in Coney Island, the former home of the New York Cosmos. After Queensboro FC failed to get off the ground under the ownership of former Spanish international David Villa, the new Brooklyn-based side is the culmination of a longstanding goal on the USL’s part to access the New York City market. New York Red Bulls II never held an appeal in the same way, and they played in New Jersey, anyway. FC New York, based out of Queens, lasted just one season back in the USL Pro, third-division era.

Can Brooklyn FC make a dent in the media capital of the world? It remains to be seen. 

The USL’s CBS and ESPN deals will help the men’s team draw eyeballs and lend an air of legitimacy, and the Super League team will be able to claim that they’re the only first-division women’s club properly in New York City. Still, even if Brooklyn provides USL Championship-level salaries, they’re at a deficit against the NWLS’s Gotham FC in terms of star power and brand equity.

That Maimonides Park, Brooklyn FC’s home stadium, only holds 7,000 fans and is more than an hour away from Manhattan won’t help the cause. Yes, it’s an edge on the New Jersey-based competitors, but NYCFC looms large. Their 2027-dated stadium project at Willets Point in Queens will be more accessible and will host higher-level competition than Brooklyn. A cheaper, more community-centric atmosphere must be the point of differentiation if this club wants to be a boon for the USL.

Beyond expansion, what storylines defined the second weekend of USL action on the field? Let’s dig in.

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