Weekend Recap: Riqui Puig is the real deal, NWSL tiers, Louisville’s formula, and more

Quick Hits
  • MLS: The MLS Surprise-O-Meter is here to help us sort through the latest in MLS
  • NWSL: Contenders, flops, and more NWSL tiers
  • USL: The best teams in the USL Championship are built on defined tactical styles

We’re back with another edition of the Weekend Recap. Every Monday, we make it easier for you to keep up with the most interesting and important things in American soccer.

Today, we’re taking you through some of the past weekend’s key storylines, including teams bowing out of playoff contention in MLS, an updated set of NWSL tiers, and USL contenders showing the importance of tactics.

MLS

Lowery: The MLS Surprise-O-Meter is here to help us sort through the latest in MLS

I’m confused. I blinked sometime back in May and now all of a sudden it’s less than a month away until Decision Day in MLS? I really don’t know what happened, but I do know that things are happening fast. 

And frankly, when things are spinning all around me and I’m reeling from simply existing in this new reality where FC Cincinnati are the ones collecting 6-0 wins instead of things being the other way around, I turn to the MLS Surprise-O-Meter. It’s our trusty companion that makes sense of the chaos even when we can’t.

It’s a fairly self-explanatory concept, but just to make sure we’re all on the same page: the Surprise-O-Meter is a very fancy and very technologically sophisticated tool that we have here at Backheeled that displays how surprised something should make us. Its readings cannot be questioned...[Subscribe]

NWSL

Cascone: Contenders, flops, and more NWSL tiers

After this weekend’s slate of games, most NWSL teams have only four games remaining in the 2022 regular season. There are only five points separating the league’s top six teams, so playoff positions are still in flux, even if some clubs have officially been ruled out of postseason contention. 

Now that the pressure’s on and the playoff push has officially begun, it’s time to revisit the NWSL tiers I created after the first quarter of the regular season. We have a “Real contenders” tier, an “I’m intrigued tier”, which holds the teams that have caught my eye this year, for better or for worse, and a “Maybe next year?” tier. Not every team is included in these tiers, but there’s still a little something for everyone.

Let’s get to it...[Subscribe]

USL

Morrissey: The best teams in the USL Championship are built on defined tactical styles

San Antonio FC and Louisville City FC are both having exceptional seasons in the USL Championship right now. They’re both on top of their respective conferences, they’ve both clinched playoff spots, and they both lead their conferences in goal differential.

The clubs have each allowed 22 goals this season, which is best in the league by far. Impressively enough, both also have MVP candidates at center back: Mitchell Taintor (San Antonio) and Sean Totsch (Louisville) anchor elite defenses and have also added eight and five goals apiece. Despite these surface-level similarities, San Antonio and Louisville play two of the least similar tactical systems in the second division.

Let’s dive into how these two teams approach – and win – games...[Subscribe]

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