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USL Power Rankings - Week 17

By USLSoccer.com Staff, 07/09/18, 5:00PM EDT

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Riverhounds SC ascends to top spot after two-victory week

It’s fair to say there’s never been a season like this one in Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s history, and the new unanimous No. 1 in the USLSoccer.com Power Rankings only adds to the idea that things are very different at Highmark Stadium in what is turning into a historic season for the club.

To put things into some context, Riverhounds SC is already two victories away from tying its most wins in the league’s modern era, and seven points away from its biggest total when it finished fifth in the Eastern Conference in the 2015 season. The Hounds have also recorded 12 shutouts this season, compared to seven goals conceded in 17 games, as Head Coach Bob Lilley’s methodology has quickly translated to the squad assembled this offseason.

But while it might seem this is all defense for the Hounds, the club has done well enough in front of goal to make its hard work pay off. With Neco Brett sitting on eight goals individually, putting him in the hunt for the USL Golden Boot, Pittsburgh is tied for the best goal differential in the league at +14 alongside fellow frontrunner FC Cincinnati. It also currently possesses a 487-minute shutout streak since it conceded to the Richmond Kickers, a game the side still rallied to win back on June 2.

With what Lilley has been able to accomplish previously in the league, what might have been a dark horse contender at the start of the season is now among the frontrunners to host a playoff game at Highmark Stadium for the first time, but also bring home silverware at the end of the season.

The four-person USLSoccer.com voting panel tabulates 16 points for first-place team votes, 15 points to the second-place team and so forth to one point for 16th place. The accrued points among the group determines the final ranking.

Rank

 

Team/Record

Change

Summary

1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
64 pts | (9-1-7)
Week 17: W, 2-0 NC, W, 1-0 @OTT
Week 18: --
2
Last Week: 3
Back-to-back shutout victories, and five consecutive shutouts overall, have moved the Hounds within a point of FC Cincinnati for the Eastern Conference lead with a game in hand.
2 FC Cincinnati
59 pts | (10-3-5)
Week 17: T, 0-0 @NSH
Week 18: TBR

Last Week: 2
FCC made good adjustments at halftime of a tough encounter with Nashville SC on Saturday and could have stolen victory late on if not for two big saves by NSC goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
3 Real Monarchs SLC
54 pts | (12-4-2)
Week 17: L, 0-3 @RNO, T, 0-0 @SAC
Week 18:
SEA
2
Last Week: 1
The Monarchs had a tough time of it on the road last week, and with their games in hand gone on Phoenix need to rebound back on home turf this Saturday night.
4 Phoenix Rising FC
53 pts | (10-3-5)
Week 17: --
Week 18: @FRS

Last Week: 4
On the plus-side, Rising FC saw Real falter while it had the week off, keeping first-place within range. On the other hand, Reno’s winning streak could have Phoenix looking over its shoulder.
5 Louisville City FC
47 pts | (8-3-5)
Week 17: W, 2-1 @TBR
Week 17: @CHS

Last Week: 5
Louisville will need to take advantage of its games in hand to bridge the gap to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but the side seemed close to its best again in a big road victory against Tampa Bay.
6 Reno 1868 FC
44 pts | (9-3-7)
Week 17: W, 3-0 SLC, W, 2-1 SEA
Week 18: @LA
1
Last Week: 7
Even when 1868 FC was down a goal and down a man against Seattle Sounders FC 2 it felt like there was a path back for the visitors, that’s how well Head Coach Ian Russell’s side is playing right now.
7 Swope Park Rangers
38 pts | (9-4-4)
Week 17: W, 2-0 @SEA
Week 18: SAC, @POR
1
Last Week: 8
A solid road victory in Seattle gave the Rangers its fourth victory in the past five outings and maintained a top-four place as the side enters a playoff rematch with Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night.
8 Nashville SC
35 pts | (7-3-6)
Week 17: T, 0-0 CIN
Week 18: @CLT
2
Last Week: 6
Nashville did a lot right against FC Cincinnati, but its inability to polish off a chance in the first half gave the visitors the chance to come away with a point and slip NSC down a couple of pegs in the East.
9 Indy Eleven
31 pts | (8-5-4)
Week 17: L, 0-1 OTT, W, 2-1 CLT
Week 18: @CHS
1
Last Week: 10
An up and down week for Indy still ended with the side in a top-four spot in the Easter Conference standings as Carlyle Mitchell got to play hero against the Independence after his own goal last Wednesday night.
10 Penn FC
26 pts | (6-4-7)
Week 17: W, 3-2 BST
Week 18: RIC, @OTT
2
Last Week: 12
We got the entertainment and goals we were hoping for in Penn’s 3-2 victory against Bethlehem Steel FC on Friday, but the hosts also extended their undefeated streak to six games, their longest since the 2011 season.
11 Sacramento Republic FC
25 pts | (8-5-6)
Week 17: T, 0-0 SLC
Week 18: @SPR, @COS
2
Last Week: 9
What is it with Republic FC and penalty kicks this season? Cameron Iwasa’s shot off the post against Real Monarchs SLC left Sacramento just 2 of 6 from the spot in 2018.
12 Orange County SC
20 pts | (9-6-3)
Week 17: W, 1-0 @COS, L, 0-3 LA
Week 18: SA
1
Last Week: 11
Victory on the road against the Switchbacks followed by defeat at home to the Galaxy II would seem opposite from what you’d expect, but Orange County’s still solidly in the playoff positions.
13 Bethlehem Steel FC
14 pts | (6-6-5)
Week 17: L, 2-3 @PEN
Week 18: @ATL, NC

Last Week: 13
Bethlehem slid below the playoff line after its defeat to Penn on Friday night, but has a good opportunity to rebound with games against Atlanta and North Carolina this week.
14 Charleston Battery
11 pts | (6-3-8)
Week 17: T, 1-1 @NC
Week 18: IND, LOU
1
Last Week: 15
They’re still trying to figure out how the Battery came away unscathed from North Carolina’s last-ditch attack in stoppage time, but a point on the road kept Charleston’s head above the playoff line.
15 Fresno FC
9 pts | (6-7-7)
Week 17: W, 4-2 @POR
Week 18: PHX

Last Week: NR
Two consecutive wins have the Foxes looking friskily at the eighth and final playoff positions, but with 20 games under their belts already there’ll be pressure to keep that winning streak going.
16 New York Red Bulls II
7 pts | (6-5-7)
Week 17: W, 6-1 ATL
Week 18: RIC

Last Week: NR
The Red Bulls II once again put together an attacking romp at home, with ATL UTD 2 the latest to get the treatment. With two more home games coming up, New York will be hopeful of more of the same.

Dropped from Rankings: Portland Timbers 2 (14), Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (16)

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