The Return of the Power Rankings Watch: Week 18

Solomon Asante and company give Rising fans plenty to celebrate.  Photo courtesy of Michael Rincon/Phoenix Rising FC.

Solomon Asante and company give Rising fans plenty to celebrate. Photo courtesy of Michael Rincon/Phoenix Rising FC.

So, after taking a week off from the power rankings, it’s good to be back. Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I know I did: between family and OCSC getting their first road win of the year, it was spectacular.

This week we found how to stop the top two teams from winning, and that is a bye week. While Phoenix Rising’s best player may be described as diminutive, their win streak is anything but: they have won 8 in a row and they have a great chance to make it 9. Indy Eleven have a 10 game unbeaten streak and they too have a great chance of extending that streak. Tampa Bay, who might be first in the East, do look up at the top two because their recent form hasn’t been as good as Indy and Phoenix.

The top five is rounded off with two teams that I think many overlook in North Carolina and Fresno. Frequent readers know how high I have been on Fresno, and they showed up on the road in Sacramento. They have another chance to add to their resume against New Mexico.

The next three teams are Reno, Louisville, and Nashville. The only team that looks to be dropping further is Nashville. They are under performing based on expectations and with some injuries it’ll be a tough go for them to stay in the top 4. They have a bye this week so they will see themselves 6th place as Louisville plays Ottawa, and even with a draw Louisville will hop over Nashville.

Pittsburgh and New York round out the top 10. Pittsburgh is one that I find interesting here. I would put El Paso and Portland ahead of Pittsburgh right now, but they can reestablish themselves against the Rowdies.

14th and 16th, which are New Mexico and Charlotte, are headed in two different directions. New Mexico is crashing down the power rankings as well as the standings. There are reasons, but, when it comes to the power rankings that doesn’t matter. They are not performing on the pitch in the USL right now. Charlotte, on the other hand, is roaring up the standings and the power rankings. They drew at North Carolina and beat Pittsburgh. They are finally looking the team that people thought they might be. They are flying like Geese returning North for the summer.

Teamwork makes the dream work, and the win in Colorado Springs was team work at its finest.  Photo courtesy of Liza Rosales/Orange County SC.

Teamwork makes the dream work, and the win in Colorado Springs was team work at its finest. Photo courtesy of Liza Rosales/Orange County SC.

I don’t have many hot takes, but Saint Louis looks like they are in the same boat as New Mexico. At this point, they are putting their eggs in the Open Cup basket. They are another team that doesn’t look like they are going to get a home game in the playoffs. They are gonna need another good run like they did to finish last season. If they can enter the playoffs hot, they will be a dangerous team, but right now they haven’t won since April.

Orange County sits 26th this week. I think that win was more important to the team and the supporters than their power ranking. It represents a huge 3 points on the road. They looked dangerous and fun in moments, and if they can beat the 21st ranked Austin Bold in Austin, we can start talking playoffs again.