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USL Power Rankings – Week 8

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/16/16, 4:39PM EDT


Undefeated Whitecaps FC 2 move top for first time this season

Photo courtesy Bob Frid / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2

After comeback victories in each of their past two wins, the message from Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 Coach Alan Koch ahead of his side’s showdown with the LA Galaxy II was clearly for his side to get out to a fast start.

While the side had to hold on late to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory, the win against Los Dos not only allowed WFC2 to maintain its undefeated start to the season, but also moved it into first place in the USL Power Rankings this week.

Also on the move are FC Cincinnati, which looks more and more dangerous in attack as each week passes, while Sacramento Republic FC returns to the Top 10 after rediscovering its attacking form.

Here’s the new Top 10.

1. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (Previous: 2)
Last Week: W 4-3 vs. LA Galaxy II
Last week, mention was made of WFC2 maybe needing to tighten up defensively. Well, if the team’s attack is going to carry on in the manner it did against Los Dos, which had never conceded more than three goals in a game prior to Sunday’s game, that might not be quite as a pressing concern. Kyle Greig remains in outstanding form, while Alphonso Davies becoming the youngest player to score in the USL’s history was arguably the on-field story of the weekend.

2. Louisville City FC (Previous: 3)
Last Week: W 2-0 vs. Saint Louis FC
Louisville maintained its hold at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with an impressive display against its King’s Cup rival, and is now undefeated in seven games. While Chandler Hoffman hasn’t found the net in the club’s past two victories, George Davis IV picked up the baton admirably on Saturday, and if he gets going, Louisville is going to be a very tough team to beat.

3. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (Previous 5)
Last Week: W 1-0 vs. Portland Timbers 2
Since coming up just short in their efforts to rally back against the Galaxy II on May 4, the Switchbacks have taken back-to-back wins against teams that entered the respective contests in solid form. Friday’s win against Portland saw the side do enough to earn all three points, and move to 3-0-0 at Switchbacks Stadium this season.

4. Charlotte Independence (Previous: 1)
Last Week: D Wilmington Hammerheads 1-1; D Rochester Rhinos 0-0
The Independence didn’t lose in the past week, but a pair of draws allowed Louisville to open a three-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with their win against Saint Louis. The Independence won’t be too disappointed with two points on the road, but will be hoping to pick things up again when they return to Ramblewood Stadium on Saturday to face the next team on this list.

5. FC Cincinnati (Previous: 10)
Last Week: W 1-0 vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Cincinnati’s undefeated streak reached five games on Saturday night thanks to Jimmy McLaughlin’s goal against Pittsburgh, but it was only a dazzling display by Riverhounds goalkeeper Mauricio Vargas that kept the final margin of victory being wide for Coach John Harkes’ side. Cincinnati is looking in very good form, and with a 3-1-1 record away from home so far this season will take plenty of confidence into Charlotte this Saturday night.

6. Sacramento Republic FC (Previous: NR)
Last Week: W 2-0 vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2
Two weeks ago, the pressure was definitely on Sacramento Republic FC’s attack to start clicking. Goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek even told the Sacramento Bee’s Bill Paterson “Just give us one darn goal.” Well, in the past two weeks, the attack has delivered, and the defense has remained resolute as Republic FC has vaulted back into the top four in the West with back-to-back victories. With its next three games on home turf, Sacramento has a chance to go higher with a strong run of form.

7. New York Red Bulls II (Previous: 6)
Last Week: D 1-1 vs. Richmond Kickers
The Red Bulls II were so close to their second home win of the season, only for the Richmond Kickers’ 90th-minute equalizer to steal a point at Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening. New York certainly had enough chances to win, but is now a surprising 1-1-3 at home in comparison to 3-0-0 on the road. With a trip to Montreal next on the schedule this Saturday, Coach John Wolyniec’s side will have a chance to wash away the bitter taste of two points dropped.

8. LA Galaxy II (Previous: 4)
Last Week: L 4-3 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Two consecutive defeats after an eight-game undefeated streak to start the season isn’t ideal, particularly now that the four draws the Galaxy II accumulated in the undefeated run left the door open for the teams below them to gain ground. If there was a positive for Coach Curt Onalfo, it was that his side fought back admirably against WFC2, and in the long run this bump in the road might be just what the side needs to refocus its efforts.

9. Rochester Rhinos (Previous: 7)
Last Week: D 0-0 vs. Charlotte Independence
The Rhinos finished their four-game home stand with 10 points out of 12, certainly a good return, but would have liked to end its run on a high note. Instead, it was a little fortunate not to see the Independence grab victory as David Estrada’s shot came back off the crossbar in the second half. The Rhinos will definitely take the point, though, and head to Florida this Sunday sitting solidly in sixth place with the chance to move up.

10. Richmond Kickers (Previous: 9)
Last Week: D 1-1 at New York Red Bulls II
Richmond became the first side to score in the second half against the Red Bulls II this season, and Brian Ownby’s goal couldn’t have come at a more opportune time as the side stole a point on the road after the hosts proved wasteful in front of goal. Another big test comes next, with Louisville City FC coming to City Stadium on Saturday night in what should be one of the more compelling games in Week 9.

Best of the Rest: Charleston Battery, Saint Louis FC, Bethlehem Steel FC, Rio Grande Valley FC, Orange County Blues FC