USL Championship Power Rankings Watch: Week 14

Phoenix Rising FC’s Junior Flemmings celebrates during their 5-0 victory over Tulsa Roughnecks FC. |  Photo courtesy of   Michael Rincon/PHXRisingFC.com

Phoenix Rising FC’s Junior Flemmings celebrates during their 5-0 victory over Tulsa Roughnecks FC. | Photo courtesy of Michael Rincon/PHXRisingFC.com

There is absolutely no surprise who is the first spot in this week’s power rankings with Phoenix Rising FC remaining perfect on $1 beer nights, but also they have not lost a game since losing to Orange County SC. Tampa Bay Rowdies tumbled down to 4th after their first loss of the year against a good North Carolina FC team who rose to #6.

I think Indy Eleven should be thanking me. Since calling them out, they have won two games scoring 5 goals. Both Indy and Nashville SC have been in great form lately and find themselves in the 2nd and 3rd spot. Both teams are 3-0-2 in their last five and look like the teams everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the season.

The East is starting to separate themselves in a way that we haven’t seen in the West yet. With teams like Louisville City FC and New York Red Bulls II scoring 13 goals in two games between the two teams. Right now there is a clear top 9 in the East and there is a huge gap between 1st and the last playoff spot in 10th. Currently those teams are 16 points apart. Even with Saint Louis FC having a tough time as of late, they still have games in hand and can quickly recover and separate themselves from the bottom playoff teams. In the West that gap is still only 6 points. The distance between 10th and 17th is only 5 more. This is what makes the power rankings so difficult in the West.

With New Mexico United stumbling a little, Portland Timbers 2 and surprising El Paso Locomotive FC are taking advantage of that. Phoenix, Portland, and El Paso all sit only 2 points behind NMU with two games in hand. If all of those teams win those two games, NMU would fall to at least 4th and be back by 4 points. If not for Phoenix, El Paso is the West’s hottest team, and deserve a higher ranking than 10th, but I am not sure who you put them ahead of right now. They have a chance to go for a third win in a row against Tulsa Roughnecks FC, so that is a winnable game. I’m super curious to see when the dust settles if El Paso can hold on to that home playoff game spot or not.

The next five West teams are 13th Reno 1868 FC, 15th Sacramento Republic FC, 16th Fresno FC, 17th Austin Bold FC, and 18th OKC Energy FC. Much like OCSC, these teams have been nothing but inconsistent. I’m not sure who these teams are. Reno and Fresno have had lengthy runs of great play, but then cough up a head scratching loss. Sacramento, on the other hand, looked really good early, but had a rough couple of weeks. They are starting to find their form again and look dangerous again.

OKC and OCSC look very similar as of late. They are drawing a lot of games, which isn’t necessarily bad, but both teams need to put some wins together. OKC has San Antonio FC at home, which they should win, but then plays Phoenix, Las Vegas Light FC on the road, and El Paso. They might find themselves below the playoff line looking up.

Orange County is sitting at 19th, which I think is fair. They have had to play down at least a man down the past two games, and should have won both of those games. It’s tough to be mad a team who hasn’t lost a game in 7 (the same as 11th ranked Ottawa Fury FC) and only lost 1 in their last 10. They lost on March 30th and April 20th and since then they haven’t dropped all three. The issue is so many of those are draws, and they are leaving tons of points on the table. They have been playing well as of late, but they need to start burying their chances to take more than a point at a time. With San Antonio and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC looking like they might break out of a funk, OCSC can easily slip out of a playoff spot and drop down those power rankings.

I know I go to Speedway Soccer a lot, but they also have projected standings for the end of the year, and currently OCSC is projected for 10th place. A good showing in Phoenix is almost necessary as they play Portland in the match after. If they can get a least 4 points from those two games, the schedule gets a little friendlier and they can put together a string of wins and find their way up the rankings and the standings. It will be fun this weekend in Phoenix. I hope to see some of you making the trip out there and I hope you are enjoying the World Cup!

You can check out the full week 14 USL Championship Power Rankings here.

You can check out the Speedway Soccer power rankings and projections here.

What do you think about our analysis? Do you agree with this week’s power rankings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.