USL Championship Power Rankings Watch: Week 16

Phoenix Rising FC players acknowledge their supporters after their win over Orange County SC. |  Photo courtesy of Michael Rincon/

Phoenix Rising FC players acknowledge their supporters after their win over Orange County SC. | Photo courtesy of Michael Rincon/

There are two really hot teams lately. No surprise one was Phoenix Rising FC, but the other that has been heating up is Indy Eleven. We played a guessing game on Saturday, and it went like this: Phoenix goes down a man in the 29th minute, guess the score…nobody guess 4-1. Phoenix is so good right now that they can beat you down a man. It’s stupid! Hopefully they peaked too early?

The biggest issue with the top three is Nashville SC. They drew at home, and gave up the lead, but somehow stay a top North Carolina FC who drew on the road against Saint Louis FC. I would have at least swapped those two. I had a debate over whether Nashville is under performing, and my answer was yes. They are good, but 4th or 5th in the East is not where they should be.

New Mexico United has stopped the free fall, but with the Open Cup going on and the lack of depth, it will most likely continue. It is clear that their focus isn’t on the league right now. I don’t blame them. All they have to do is get into the playoffs and they will be dangerous. El Paso Locomotive FC, on the other hand, had their first bump in the road. I’m not sure I’d put NMU over El Paso this week, but fair enough.

Speaking of hiccups, New York Red Bulls II dropped points on the road against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, who jumped 8 spots to 9th, while New York fell 5 spots to 11th. They have a tough road trip this week. A road win against Nashville will see their stock rise again.

Other west teams that are high in the power rankings are Sacramento Republic FC at 10th, Fresno FC at 13th, and Reno 1868 FC at 14th. Fresno is back on the rise with a win against San Antonio FC, and with El Paso on the horizon we will know exactly where The Foxes are next week.  Reno, who got drummed by Phoenix last week, has a double whammy this week traveling to Portland Timbers 2 (who hasn’t been shut out all year) and Sacramento. Reno can very well establish themselves as a contender for a home match in the playoffs, or they can drop some big points this coming week.

Austin Bold FC at 17th, Real Monarchs at 19, and Las Vegas Lights FC at 20th are the Western Conference teams that round out the top twenty. Las Vegas is a good home team and a rough team on the road. They travel to 21st ranked OKC Energy FC next week, so probably not a lot of movement on the horizon for either team.

Orange County finds themselves in 24th, one spot back from RGV FC. That is also where they find themselves in the standings. OCSC keeps treading water right below the playoff line and they keep bouncing up and down in the mid 20s. They peaked at 14 in week 6, but this hasn’t been the lowest, which was 25th. Not scoring in a couple matches is problematic, but they do have an opportunity to get back on track next week against Los Dos.  On a positive note, at least we aren’t Tacoma Defiance fans.

Check out the full USL Championship Week 16 Power Rankings here.