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USL Power Rankings – Week 9

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/22/17, 2:57PM EDT


San Antonio stays on top, with the Monarchs in hot pursuit

San Antonio FC has been a unanimous No. 1 in the Power Rankings since Week 5’s poll. Until now, though, there hadn’t been a consensus No. 2 sitting behind it. With five consecutive victories, that distinction now goes to Real Monarchs SLC, which moved up into the second position after another emphatic performance on Saturday night.

The Monarchs have now won eight of their first nine games this season, and with their win against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Rio Tinto Stadium earned revenge for the only loss they have suffered this year. Real is also one win away from equaling its total number of wins a season ago, while its 25 goals in nine games have it on a record-setting pace.

As clustered as the remainder of the Western Conference remains, particularly after Seattle and Colorado Springs’ defeats this past weekend, the top two could be setting up a duel in the second half of the season as not only who finishes at the top of the standings, but as to which club might write itself into the USL record book in the process.

The five-person voting panel tabulates 10 points for first-place team votes, nine points to the second-place team and so forth to one point for 10th place. The accrued points among the group determines the final ranking.

Here’s your new Top 10.

1. San Antonio FC (50pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 vs. Phoenix Rising FC
San Antonio FC is still undefeated, and has now recorded seven shutouts in 10 games this season after edging out Phoenix Rising FC in front of 7,414 fans at Toyota Field on Saturday night. With a home-and-home series against the Swope Park Rangers coming next, that undefeated record will get another challenge, but Head Coach Darren Powell’s side is looking ready to fight off all-comers as it maintains its hold on the top spot.

2. Real Monarchs SLC (45pts)
Last Week: W 5-2 vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
The Monarchs are on an absolute tear right now, with 12 goals scored in their past three games. The attacking quartet of Chandler Hoffman, Sebastian Velasquez, Daniel Haber and Charlie Adams continued to be irresistible on Saturday night, and has the club primed for a first postseason berth later this season, if not much more.

3. Tampa Bay Rowdies (38pts)
Last Week: W 3-1 at Toronto FC II
The Rowdies had to work for their victory against Toronto, but three goals in the second half helped pick up three points with Darwin Jones and Joe Cole both coming through with a goal and assist. Tampa Bay has achieved the results it should have so far this season, and will again get the chance to put the pressure on Charleston to match it when the Rowdies visit Rochester on Wednesday night for the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3.

4. Charleston Battery (36pts)
Last Week: D 2-2 at Harrisburg City Islanders
The Battery were this close to picking up another three points to open their three-game trip to the northeast until the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday night. The full effect of the result might not be felt until Thursday’s clash in Bethlehem, though, where the side is set to be without Forrest Lasso (accumulation) and Tah Brian Anunga (red card) for its game against Steel FC. A win isn’t out of the question there, but Steel FC has proven hardy on home turf this year.

5. Louisville City FC (30pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 at Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Louisville came through its road test against the Riverhounds thanks to Luke Spencer’s early goal at Highmark Stadium, and now the club gets to rest up before a massive trip to face the Battery on June 3. City has the games in hand to overtake both Charleston and Tampa Bay, and a victory at MUSC Health Stadium could propel the side forward very nicely.

6. Rio Grande Valley FC (22pts)
Last Week: D 1-1 vs. LA Galaxy II
The Toros were hoping another first-half goal would lead to another win, but were pegged back by the Galaxy II in the second half in front of 7,788 fans at H-E-B Park. With those in the middle of the Western Conference standings falling down around them, though, Rio Grande Valley still moved into the conference’s top three – the first of four teams with 13 points in the middle of the playoff race – and continues to move in the right direction in terms of its performance.

7. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (17pts)
Last Week: L 1-0 vs. Louisville City FC
The Riverhounds’ three-game winning streak came to an end, but the second-half performance against Louisville should leave fans hopeful it’s just a bump in the road to greater success. Pittsburgh gets a great opportunity to bounce back immediately in the second Keystone Derby Cup clash of the season on Wednesday night on the road in Harrisburg, and will be looking to convert some of the chances that just went astray on Saturday.

8. Swope Park Rangers (15pts)
Last Week: Bye
Tulsa Roughnecks FC’s loss was the Rangers’ gain as they shuffled up one spot in the rankings during their bye week. The challenge of a home-and-home series against San Antonio FC is up next, but the Rangers will be defending a nine-game winning streak at Children’s Mercy Victory Field on Friday night and could have the firepower to test SAFC’s stellar defense.

9. FC Cincinnati (8pts)
Last Week: W 2-1 vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Cincinnati moves back into the Power Rankings this week after finally breaking their winless run thanks to Danni König’s first two goals for the club. It’s still a decent way to catch the top two in the conference, but if FCC can continue to provide its new regal addition with the type of supply he got on Saturday – and the odds are it can – Cincinnati could make a strong move forward.

Photo courtesy FC Cincinnati

10. Tulsa Roughnecks FC (6pts)
Last Week: L 3-2 at Sacramento Republic FC
The Roughnecks couldn’t quite translate their home form on the road, although there was plenty good about their performance against Sacramento on Saturday night. They hold onto a place in the Top 10, and in the West’s playoff positions, but will need to be careful not to become the next victim for Reno 1868 FC on Wednesday night.

Also receiving votes – Orlando City B 5, Sacramento Republic FC 3

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