It seems as though the USL Championship power rankings are starting to make a lot more sense. Teams that were continuously over or under-ranked are now moving into more appropriate positions in the rankings. There are still a few questionable decisions, it’s now a lot easier to accept them based on the play on the field, and it makes the power ranking feel a bit more authentic.
After a tough draw against Indy Eleven, Tampa Bay Rowdies retained the top spot in the power rankings, holding off a New York Red Bulls II that demolished Birmingham Legion FC 5-0. At the bottom of the table, Hartford Athletic was able to move out of the bottom spot after a 1-1 draw at home against Charlotte Independence and thank to the continued slide by Tacoma Defiance, who have lost their last 5 matches by a combined score of 18-1.
Orange County SC was finally able to put together a complete match, and earned a much needed victory over their rivals from Arizona, Phoenix Rising FC. With the win, OC moved to 15th in the USL Championship Power Rankings.
Let’s take a look:
After taking a couple weeks off in protest of Phoenix’s position in the USL power rankings, normalcy has returned somewhat so I guess I can write again. Starting at the top of the rankings, it should be RB2 at the top instead of Tampa Bay. Not because Tampa didn’t play, but a draw against Indy Eleven up a man versus the hottest team in the USL right now there is no doubt who is #1 in my book.
The next couple are fine. New Mexico United is the best team playing in the Western Conference, and to have them only at five seems a little like a snub, but compared to Saint Louis FC or North Carolina FC, 5th seems reasonable. Then the rest of the to ten is okay, but I’d flop Fresno FC for Portland Timbers 2. Timbers fell in the rankings, but in my opinion, not far enough.
Call it East Coast bias, but only having 3 teams in the top 10 and only 6 in the top 15 seems a little problematic, but again, you can’t blame folks for not knowing where to put teams in the West because of inconsistent play and how close everyone is.
With OC, jumping up to 15th seems pretty fair. The play has been great at home and questionable on the road, which hopefully turns around against San Antonio FC. Orange County has won their last three home games, but haven’t found their first road win of the season. If OC decides to pack their home form for the road trip, they can make a further dent into those teams at the top.
Phoenix finally falls out of the top 10 for the first time all season, and it is about time. I think they should be behind Rio Grande Valley FC, who hasn’t lost since the end of March. It’s hard to put them much lower, because Sacramento Republic FC has been terrible as of late as has OKC Energy FC.
It is still way too early to tell where each of the teams in the West are going to be by the end of the season, but it sure is going to be fun to watch the teams bounce up and down the standings in the next couple of weeks.
Outside of Orange County (of course) I’m super interested to see the Rowdies travel to Nashville SC, Charleston Battery take on Saint Louis, Fresno host Sacramento, and how Phoenix handles RGV in Arizona this week. Should be another fun week of USL action! (ed. note - this was written on Monday, May 7, so some of the matches have already been played)
As much as I was excited about the Speedway Soccer power rankings in week 7, it’s a bit disappointing to look at them this week. Speedway Soccer has Orange County 9th in the Western Conference, still behind a Phoenix Rising FC team that they just beat at home, and only have 2 wins on the season. For all the complaining about the USL Championship Power Rankings, I feel they got it right this week, at least when looking at Orange County (and Phoenix).
New Mexico United, who are currently leading the West with 17 points deserve to be in the top spot in the West power rankings. Fresno FC, who have struggled to get any love this season, continue to not loose, after a solid victory in Salt Lake City against Real Monarchs. They are 2nd in the West, and are looking like a real threat.
In the East, Speedway Soccer has New York Red Bulls II as the best team, with Tampa Bay Rowdies just below them at number 2. Although it’s always hard to believe in a “2” team, they are looking like a solid pick in the east.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the power rankings? Who got it right? Let us know in the comments below.