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League One Power Rankings - Preseason

By ETHAN TRIEBSCH -, 03/17/23, 4:00PM EDT


Owls, Ibises and Roos top first Power Rankings of the season

The 2023 USL League One season has finally arrived! With a record 31-week, 192-match regular season and two new expansion clubs in One Knoxville SC and Lexington SC, the 2023 League One season promises to be the most exciting edition yet.

From new coaches to returning stars, check out how each team fared in the offseason and what's in store for 2023.

What did we get wrong? What did we get right? Tell us why your club is set to finish atop the table at @USLLeagueOne on Twitter.





1 Union Omaha
Week 1: ---
Let’s not overthink things. Omaha may not have won the league title in 2022 but it certainly won the offseason. Coupling the additions of Steevan Dos Santos, Joe Gallardo, Alexis Souahy, Luca Mastrantonio and Pedro Dolabella (among others) with its core of returning stars, first-year Head Coach Dominic Casciato should have a solid season.
2 South Georgia Tormenta FC
Week 1: @ NC
Until proven otherwise, the defending champs have certainly earned a spot near the top of these rankings. With limited turnover from its title-winning roster from a season ago, Head Coach Ian Cameron and company will hope to become the first two-time champion in League One history. Plus, Kazaiah Sterling is back.
3 Richmond Kickers
Week 1: @ CLT
The Kickers are coming off one of the most prolific seasons in league history but fell just short of claiming its first league title since 2009. Still, the current Players’ Shield holders will be tough to handle with Akira Fitzgerald between the posts and three-time MVP Emiliano Terzaghi up top.
4 Greenville Triumph SC
Week 1: ---
Filling the void of goalkeeper Paul Christensen will be tough, but the 2020 champs and three-time league finalists look to remain a threat with an impressive blend of young talent – Jacob Labovitz, Allen Gavilanes and Devin Boyce – and proven veterans – Brandon Fricke, Aaron Walker and Evan Lee.
5 North Carolina FC
Week 1: v. TRM
Despite back-to-back last place finishes, NCFC is looking scary. The 17-year-old club retained goalscorers Garrett McLaughlin and Oalex Anderson and went out and nabbed 2022 All-League selections Louis Perez, Mikey Maldonado and Daniel Navarro. Don’t be shocked if NCFC turn things around in a big way in ’23.
6 Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
Week 1: ---
Finishing just one win shy of a playoff spot in its inaugural campaign, the Hailstorm seem to be one of the more complete teams heading into 2023. Northern Colorado return All-League selections Arthur Rogers (MVP finalist too!) and Irvin Parra, and will hope for continued production from Johan Peñaranda in goal and Trevor Amann up top.
7 Charlotte Independence
Week 1: v. RIC
The Jacks will look to extend their playoff streak to four consecutive seasons in 2023 – a feat that is most definitely within reach thanks to the retention of Tresor Mbuyu, Khori Bennett and Miguel Ibarra and additions of Dane Kelly, Joel Johnson and Brad Dunwell. The loss of superb goalkeeper Adrían Zendejas will be felt, but that won’t really matter if you can just outscore your opponent, right?
8 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Week 1: ---
New Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski will have a tall task ahead if he aims to replicate the Red Wolves’ 2022 success as Chattanooga navigates the offseason departures of four of its top six goalscorers and three of its four All-League selections. Still, keeping Moe Espinoza, Aaron Lombardi and Carlos Avilez around should help.
9 One Knoxville SC
Week 1: v. LEX
I’m tempted to place One Knox a bit higher in this initial ranking, but I need to see it to believe it. On paper, the expansion side looks like it has a real chance of putting a special 2023 season together. Relying on a combination of USL Championship veterans, proven League One playmakers and rising international talents, Knoxville, Tenn. should have a fun introduction to professional soccer.
10 Forward Madison FC
Week 1: ---
Scoring was a challenge in 2022, so the ‘Mingos went out and nabbed Fuego FC’s leading scorer (out of his hometown, no less!) to help address those concerns. The Madison backline is shaping up to be one of the best in the league, but FMFC will need to see production from its goalkeeping and attacking units to convert that into points.
11 Central Valley Fuego FC
Week 1: ---
Losing their leading scorer (see above), Fuego FC was able to somewhat offset Chaney’s departure with the addition of All-League First Team midfielder José Carrera-García from Chattanooga. Fuego FC will rely heavily on the leadership and veteran presence of talented goalkeeper Ofek Antman and the ever-present scoring threat of Villyan Bijev.
12 Lexington SC
Week 1: @ KNX
It could be a long season for the nation’s newest soccer team, or Lexington SC could see its young squad enjoy similar success to Omaha’s first-year professionals a season ago. You really never know. Still, LSC’s inaugural roster features just one player over the age of 29. Lexington will rely largely on its scouting of a number of unproven stars; it will be interesting to see who steps up to lead the young group. 

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