USL Championship Power Rankings Watch: Week 5

Saint Louis FC captain Sam Fink celebrates with teammates. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis FC

Saint Louis FC captain Sam Fink celebrates with teammates. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis FC

Editors note: The power rankings discussed in this article were released prior to Orange County SC’s win over Tacoma Defiance on Wednesday. As a result, we will hold off on discussing that victory until the next power rankings are released.

Saint Louis FC continued their early season success with an easy 2-0 victory over Atlanta United 2, and thus remain on top of the USL Championship Power Rankings. Their 13 points lead the league, and there is no questioning their spot in the rankings.

Orange County SC finally won a game this season with a win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC this past Saturday, and as a result, moved up seven spots in the power rankings to number 18. The win was something the team needed after some frustrating results in the first few weeks of the season, and Orange County is hoping that it will be the start of a good run.

The bigger news of the power rankings this week is Phoenix Rising FC, who despite being winless in the young season somehow remain in the top 10 at number seven. The fact that the next highest winless team, Swope Park Rangers, are sitting at number 30 has raised some eyebrows. There is no denying that Phoenix is a talented team that should finish in the top half of the standings, but as of now, their results have been very disappointing.

Our Thoughts:


Orange County SC’s Harry Forrester chases down Tacoma Defiance midfielder Joel Rydstrand | Photo courtesy of Orange County SC

Orange County SC’s Harry Forrester chases down Tacoma Defiance midfielder Joel Rydstrand | Photo courtesy of Orange County SC

Well, the USL must look favorably on Sacramento after the Seattle Sounders beat them last Monday. 
They re-branded to Tacoma Defiance? I hadn’t noticed. 

Phoenix? Shouldn’t be in the top 10. That is all. We can talk about this forever. They’re playing horribly. 

OKC is already in their mid season form, rightfully dropping eight places after blowing a three goal lead. So at least some teams are rightfully punished for bad performances. 

Elsewhere, OC picked up three points against Colorado, and jumped up to 18th. It’s a start, though beating a team that was in the playoff places means that OC should probably be in front of Louisville. 

I still don’t really trust the USL’s judgement, for one obvious reason. But we’ll get there.


Charleston, New York, Real Monarchs, Portland, OKC, Colorado, New Mexico, Pittsburgh, Fresno, Louisville, Orange County, El Paso, Reno, Bethlehem, Los Dos, Ottawa, Tulsa, Austin, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Tacoma.

Do you know what all of those teams have in common? Yes, you are correct…all of those teams have more wins that Phoenix yet sit below them on the power rankings.  Yes, that Phoenix. The one that couldn’t get a single goal against a 10 man Fresno team…AT HOME! A Fresno team that currently sits at 16…Phoenix was up a man for over an entire half and managed 2 shots on target…2 (out of 23, 17 coming from inside the box)!

I cannot fathom how a team that hasn’t won a game in four tries, and who can’t get a goal at home against Fresno can be ranked 7th! Even the description is “No side until Rising FC had recorded four consecutive draws to start a regular season in the Championship’s history.” Not sure if that team should be that high in the power rankings. Powerful teams win games at home when up a man.

Rant Over!

Most of the power rankings seem pretty fair. If we are leaving out Phoenix, the top 15 are pretty solid and good teams. OKC drops 4 to 12 after blowing a 3 goal lead at home to Portland, but Tulsa drops 12 to 24 after loosing to Los Dos. I don’t think Tulsa deserved that much of a drop. I think they are still middle of the pack, not top of the bottom third.

Orange County found themselves up 7 spots to 18 after a pretty dominant performance. Yes, they could’ve given up a couple, but Patrick McLain was strong. Also, OC could’ve ended up with a few more as well. The offense looked much more comfortable, and I will eat my words from an earlier podcast and say Walker Hume looked good. Made a couple of great plays to beat players to the ball and even a perfectly timed tackle later in the game. I am not sure how much they are going to move up after Wednesday’s match, but Orange County looked fun to watch again!


I have absolutely no idea how Phoenix is still in the top 10, let alone number 7. What is even more confusing is the fact that, even though they only got one point against a Fresno FC team that was shorthanded for most of the match, they didn’t move down even one spot. That’s right. After a sub-par performance, the league felt that they still deserve to be thought of as the 7th best team in the league right now. I know they are under performing, and will eventually begin to win games, but as of right now, they are nowhere near one of the top 10 teams in the league.

Do you want to know something else? 12 teams below Phoenix in the power rankings have 2 or more wins, including three with 3 wins (Portland Timbers 2, LA Galaxy II, Tulsa Roughnecks FC). How is a team that has yet to win a match better than any team that has 2 or 3 wins right now? Another thing: every winless team other than Phoenix is ranked 30th or lower. It just makes now sense.

Saint Louis FC fan group St. Louligans at a recent match | Photo courtesy of Twitter (@SaintLouisFC)

Saint Louis FC fan group St. Louligans at a recent match | Photo courtesy of Twitter (@SaintLouisFC)

Looking past the ridiculousness of Phoenix at number 7, Saint Louis FC has been the dominant team early on, and are well deserving of the top spot. Until someone is able to knock them off, they should remain there (although I’m sure the league will move Phoenix to number 1 if they win this weekend, regardless of how the other 6 teams in front of them do).

I have no problems with the other top 10 teams, although I do feel that Portland (11) deserves to be in there. Looking further down the list, I feel that Tulsa’s 12 spot drop to number 24 is uncalled for, as their loss this week was to another 3 win team, LA Galaxy II. I don’t quite understand how a team can drop so far after losing to a team that has been performing well early on.

Fresno somehow got punished for earning a point against a team the league feels is a top 10 team, despite playing short most of the match. It doesn’t make sense that they would stay at number 16 if that was the case. A shorthanded draw against a top team should result in movement up the list, but I guess not.

Orange County finally saw some movement upward, and although they are still lower than I’d like to see them, it was a pretty big jump. Hopefully they will continue their movement up the power rankings and standings in the coming weeks, as they become the team we expected before the season started.

You can view the entire week 5 power rankings here.

What are your thoughts on this week’s power rankings? Let us know in the comments below.