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USL Power Rankings – Week 10

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/29/17, 1:38PM EDT


San Antonio stays on top, but no longer unanimous

We’ve reached one third of the way through the 2017 USL regular season, although your mileage may vary on the number of games in the played column for some teams. That means that some opinions on teams are now not necessarily being dissuaded by single results, given there’s a strong body of work available.

Take, for example, the Tampa Bay Rowdies. On the face of it, the Rowdies didn’t have a great week. They lost to Rochester on the road on Wednesday night, and then had to battle back for a late draw against Saint Louis at home on Saturday, only the second time they’ve dropped points at home this season. But there they sit, only one place removed from last week.

Then there are the Swope Park Rangers. Look at their form, and the Rangers have lost four of their past five games to move back to .500 on the season. But it’s hard to separate that fact from the manner the team performed against San Antonio FC in defeat on Friday night. As a result, the defending Western Conference champions stick in at No. 7.

Speaking of the lone remaining undefeated team in the USL, they’re still on top of the rankings, but Real Monarchs SLC’s run of six consecutive victories has pushed one first-place vote into the Monarchs’ column. With the styles of both teams coming to the fore, it may be a matter of taste as to which you prefer, but we’re going to have to wait until July to see them square off head-to-head at Toyota Field.

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 (49pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 at Swope Park Rangers
San Antonio FC overcame some sizeable odds to emerge with a victory on the road against Swope Park Rangers on Friday night, and it will be interesting to see if the side is more proactive this Saturday when the teams meet at Toyota Field to conclude their home-and-home series. Before that comes a visit to Tulsa for a meeting with Roughnecks FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, which should also provide an interesting contest for neutrals.

Photo courtesy Chris Ortiz / Swope Park Rangers

2. Real Monarchs SLC (46pts)
Last Week: W 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
The Monarchs continued to roll with a club-record sixth consecutive victory and mathematically a better nine-game start than San Antonio with their one loss being counterbalanced by SAFC’s two draws in that span. Real had to fight off a challenge from Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 late on, and will likely have learned a lesson about finishing off opponents earlier, but the Monarchs are now only two wins from equaling Orlando City SC’s USL record of eight consecutive victories.

3. Charleston Battery (39pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 at Bethlehem Steel FC, L 2-1 at New York Red Bulls II
It was an up-and-down week for the Battery, who earned victory in midweek against Bethlehem Steel FC as Tampa Bay fell, but then was unable to hold a halftime lead as it looked for a second consecutive road win against the New York Red Bulls II. Still, the Battery remain at the top of the Eastern Conference, and will be pleased with the squad rotation it was able to employ ahead of the visit from Louisville City FC on Saturday night.

4. Tampa Bay Rowdies (34pts)
Last Week: L 1-0 at Rochester Rhinos, D 1-1 vs. Saint Louis FC
The Rowdies only drop one place after a tough week, with their six wins this season still counting for something. The side elected to try and rotate its squad through a heavy stretch of games, and it didn’t quite work in the manner hoped for. Going into a week where the side heads first to South Florida in the Open Cup, and then to Charlotte in the league, it will be a challenging seven days for Head Coach Stuart Campbell’s squad.

Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies

5. Louisville City FC (33pts)
Last Week: Bye
Louisville will have been very pleased to see the clubs above it in the East falter, and now with its games in hand could take top spot in relatively short order. A visit to Charleston this Saturday is a clear spotlight game for the side, and a playoff rematch from the past two seasons, but first up comes Wednesday night and a massive U.S. Open Cup clash with FC Cincinnati.

6. Rio Grande Valley FC (21pts)
Last Week: Bye
The Toros had the week off, and will head to Sacramento hoping it can build on a three-game undefeated streak against a Republic FC side that again looked shaky over the weekend, and has a challenging U.S. Open Cup game to deal with against Reno 1868 FC on Wednesday.

7. Swope Park Rangers (15pts)
Last Week: L 1-0 vs. San Antonio FC
The end of Swope Park’s winning streak at Children’s Mercy Victory Field was a tough one, but the manner in which the Rangers performed deserved plaudits. After seeing San Antonio break their streak, the Rangers will certainly want to return the favor in the rematch on Saturday night at Toyota Field.

Photo courtesy Chris Ortiz / Swope Park Rangers

8. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (17pts)
Last Week: D 0-0 at Harrisburg City Islanders
A point on the road was a nice return for Pittsburgh, and moved the Keystone Derby Cup one result away from returning to Highmark Stadium. The big question for the Riverhounds is now how the side copes without Joe Greenspan at the center of defense, with the center back’s loan from Minnesota United FC coming to an end. Orlando City B provides the first test this Saturday.

9. Tulsa Roughnecks FC (8pts)
Last Week: L 4-0 at Reno 1868 FC, W 3-1 vs. Portland Timbers 2
The Roughnecks got some leeway for their loss in Reno, and rebounded in fine fashion on Saturday night with three first-half goals against the Portland Timbers 2 to move into third place in the Western Conference. Tulsa has a tough road ahead of its bye next week, but a home game against San Antonio in the U.S. Open Cup is a chance to draw a line in the sand as to where this club stands.

10. Reno 1868 FC (6pts)
Last Week: W 4-0 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC, D 3-3 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Reno would almost certainly have made a higher entry had it not been for Jordan Burt’s late equalizer for the Switchbacks on Saturday night. As it is, though, 1868 FC is looking mighty dangerous in attack right now and could make some serious noise in the standings in the next two weeks as it welcomes Rio Grande Valley FC and Sacramento to Greater Nevada Field.

Also receiving votes – Sacramento Republic FC 5, Phoenix Rising FC 4, Rochester Rhinos 2, FC Cincinnati 1

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