Do we even need to do this anymore? Right now its Phoenix and then the rest of the league. Say what you will, we are watching history in the making. They have won nine in a row, and can tie the record at home against Austin, and you guessed it, its $1 beer night…So two streaks can continue. They also just signed a defender from the best team in Europe right now in Corey Whelan. So not only are they strong offensively, they are getting better on the back end. This team has a chance to be the best team USL has ever seen.
Hey, remember Fresno? Yeah, if it wasn’t for Phoenix, the Foxes would be the best team in the west for sure. The only team with a better points per game in the last 5 games is the afore mentioned Rising. To be fair, Reno is only 1 point behind that form for Fresno. These three teams are in the top 4 for the power rankings this week with only the East’s Rowdies in the 2nd spot to break up a clean western sweep of the top three.
Speaking of great streaks, Indy Eleven’s came to an end to Hartford. Yes you heard that right. 10 games unbeaten and then lose on the road to Hartford. That might seem like a shock, but Hartford can play a team tough if they want. They came up just short against Nashville a few weeks ago.
Speaking of Nashville, they are having a tough time of late, but have a chance to move back into a home playoff spot, but currently they are 9th in the power rankings and 6th in the East. They only have one point in their last three games. They quickly have found themselves out of touch with the top of the East. I think they should be further down, but who am I?
The team heading the other direction the fastest still has to be #13 Charlotte Independence. Their win over Saint Louis was great and their last 5 are better than every other team in the East, only tied with Tampa Bay. They have found their way back into the playoff picture, although everyone below them have at least a game in hand, some have as many as 6. They need to keep playing well to maintain that hold on a playoff position.
The other teams in the West that are interesting are Sacramento, Timbers 2, and New Mexico. The Republic did beat Portland at home and continue to confuse everyone. Is Sacramento good, or bad, or? Timbers failed to score for the first time all season, and have lost three of the last four. They can find themselves drop down into the play-in games, and their stock continue to drop down the power rankings just like NMU.
Orange County still finds themselves in the 26th position in the power rankings. They are behind Loudoun, San Antonio, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. They did themselves no favors by not closing out the draw on the road, and are miles off the pace they set for themselves last season. It was nice to see Alvarado get on the board, but the defensive problems are glaring. They have three home games coming up and they need to win at least two of them. They need to take 3 off of San Antonio and Sacramento. If they can stun Reno and get 3 off of them too, that would be an impressive home stand. Orange County is running out of games, and in current form, don’t really look like a playoff team week in and week out. They also need to realize that the only home game they might get is in the play in round, so they need to figure out how to win on the road.
Check out the full USL Championship Power Rankings here.