It’s time to take a look at the USL Championship Power Rankings, and this week (and going forward) we will include another voice. We will still look at the official USL Championship power rankings, but will now include the rankings from our BGN friends Speedway Soccer. Enjoy:
There is a new team on top of the power rankings this week, with Indy Eleven having moved up 6 spots after 2 big week 7 road wins (3-1 vs. Swope Park Rangers and 3-0 vs. Bethlehem Steel FC). The victories helped them move ahead of a Tampa Bay Rowdies team that didn’t play in week 7, and thus were penalized, dropping down to the second spot in the rankings. Saint Louis FC, who had enjoyed a run in the top spot for a few weeks, remain in the number three spot after a 0-0 draw against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
In other news, Phoenix Rising FC, even after destroying Tacoma Defiance 4-0 (who doesn’t destroy them these days), dropped three spots to number seven after a disappointing loss to Austin Bold FC, who must have scared their opponents with a barrage of farm animal noises thanks to their Las Vegas Lights like promotion. Phoenix should still feel lucky that they are in the top 10 still despite having just 2 wins on the season.
Orange County SC dropped 3 points on the road in Oklahoma City against OKC Energy FC, despite a solid performance. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way. With the loss, their 2 match winning streak came to an end, and they dropped in the power rankings to number 20.
If anyone needed proof that Thomas Enevoldsen is really good at soccer, there's Indy Eleven at the top of the power rankings. They had a shocking opener to 2019, but quickly moved on from it, with the help of a couple bye weeks. Their attack clicked despite having a lot of ego. They've played well, thoroughly dismantling teams, meaning that they're at the top of the rankings... what a concept.
Highest place team from the Bestern Conference is Portland Timbers 2, which is a little weird because they drew against the Switchbacks and went up four places as a result. Also, they've only beat one quality team so far. And loss to Los Dos three weeks ago. So are they the most deserving team in the West? Maybe. But the West is officially a bloodbath this year, and that's representative of it. They could make a big claim that they are the best team in the West thus far when they take on New Mexico this weekend.
Dropped all the points to Geriatric Farm Animals FC and then slaughtered some high school seniors? Pick up five yellow cards while doing so? Don't worry, here's seventh place in the rankings for you, even if 19th is what you really deserve. -John Arlia to Phoenix Rising FC, probably. We can't even publish the words I want to use about how I feel here. They're not in that kind of form. That's a fact.
Dropping six spots in the power rankings after narrowly losing away is kind of a gut punch. But it's okay, right? It wasn't a great performance, but it wasn't the steam rolling that Tulsa dished out. There were attacks, what should have been a penalty, narrowly missed shots. The team still tried until the end. So we have that, to hopefully earn us three points on Friday in Fresno. The team needs how to win away. No more losses to average sides.
Another week of power rankings, and another week of scratching one’s head commences. Well, I guess I should clarify, the head scratching only involves a couple teams. The most noticeable Phoenix and how high they are when their only wins have come against El Paso and Tacoma. The only explanation is the “holiday” last Saturday. They have a talented roster, but when you can’t win at home and you beat bad teams does that really matter?
The other one is how low Fresno is on the rankings. I would have them in the top four of the west without question. Currently Fresno has zero losses, and one of those draws came against Phoenix when they were down to 10 men for over a half. Fresno has only conceded three times in five games, which is very impressive and that deserves some more recognition. Don’t be fooled by their place in the standings, because they have the potential to be top of the league right now.
For my rankings I would at least swap Fresno at 12 and Phoenix at 7. New Mexico also deserves a higher spot that 14. They lost their first game to Reno and dropped 8 to 14. Phoenix loses a game and goes from 3 to 7. I thought for sure they would be out of the top 10.
I think, for the most part, the teams ranked 16-25 are so close that any of those teams can go on a run and wind up as a top 10 team easily. This is especially true in the Western Conference where 9th through last place are only separated by 3 points. Also, 1st through 10th (the last playoff spot) is separated by 5 points.
Meanwhile in the East, the last place team is already 10 points behind the playoff spot. Indy 11 also has two games in hand on first place Saint Louis, so they could end up with 18 points by the time they hit 7 games. That means the difference between last and first in the East would be 18 points, where 7 games in the West first to last spread could be 9 points at the most.
Again, with how close everything is in the West, it means that nobody really knows much about who the teams are and where they should end up. Orange County does has a tough road game against Fresno. I think if they can at least get a draw on the road we can see a decent size jump from OC before another big one against Phoenix on the 4th.
Check out the full USL Championship week 7 power rankings here.
The Speedway Soccer power rankings work a bit differently than the USL power rankings. They chose to do two separate rankings, one for each conference. So although it’s not a like for like, we can still get an idea of where Orange County is in their minds.
The Speedway Soccer power rankings seem to be a little more realistic, although I am not that happy with OC’s place in the Western Conference. It makes sense though, as their power rankings are based off of points per game, strength of schedule, and goal differential. Unfortunately, Orange County’s only two wins of the season were against a beatable Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC team, and the Western Conference punching bag, Tacoma Defiance.
The thing that is great about these power rankings is that it seems to avoid the emotional side of power rankings that the USL power rankings seem to have. Indy Eleven, which somehow tops the USL rankings, is number 5 in the Eastern Conference, while North Carolina FC is the team on top. In the west, Reno 1868 FC and New Mexico United get some more love (deservedly), while Sacramento Republic FC and Phoenix Rising FC are in a more realistic position.
Check out the full Speedway Soccer week 7 power rankings here.
Do you agree with either of the power rankings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.