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Western Conference Power Rankings, Week 8

Most teams held steady this time around, but a new top five team has risen.

Steve Aibel/LittleOrcaSports.com

Very little happened in the grand scheme of things over the past week, with seven of the fifteen teams not changing their spot in the power rankings. For the first time this year, however, a top two spot has been taken over by a non-MLS 2 side in a very deserving Colorado Springs Switchbacks.  Elsewhere in the table, things remain very tight with the gap from 5th to 10th being the same as the current gap separating the top two teams.

Remember as always, rankings are calculated with our Elo System where an average team has a score of 1100.

Rankings:

1 (Last Week - 1) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1128)

Last Week: Defeated Los Angeles Galaxy 2 (4-3)
This Week: @Portland Timbers 2 (Friday)

Vancouver managed to hold on after a quick 3-0 start to take a 4-3 home win over Los Dos.  Now undefeated in their first seven matches and averaging more than two goals a match, they travel to Portland who only has two shutouts to date.

2 (3) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1119)

Last Week: Defeated Portland Timbers 2 (1-0)
This Week: @Arizona United (Saturday)

Just like the 2015 season, the Switchbacks are a very under the radar strong team.  Apart from an ugly loss in Los Angeles, Colorado has been very solid on defense and will look to continue that run against an Arizona team that has had problems consistently finding the back of the net.

3 (2) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1111)

Last Week: Lost @ Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (3-4)
This Week: @Seattle Sounders 2 (Sunday)

Saying the bottom has fallen out for the Galaxy defense is an understatement at this point.  After only allowing one goal a game on average in their first seven, the defense has taken a nose dive, allowing eight goals in their last three games.  A trip to up and down Seattle hopefully can get them back on track.

4 (6) Sacramento Republic (1109)

Last Week: Defeated Seattle Sounders 2 (2-0)
This Week: No Games

Sacramento is on pace to set multiple defensive records with only three goals allowed through their first eight matches, and has now scored multiple goals in back to back games for the first time since early September of 2015.  The Republic get the next week off.

5 (4) Saint Louis FC (1105)

Last Week: Lost @ Louisville City FC (0-2)
This Week: @Tulsa Roughnecks (Saturday)

The ref karma gods give and the ref karma gods taketh away. After ending up on the right side of multiple calls against Swope Park, all the breaks went against Saint Louis this week.  A chance to rebound in a rematch of an earlier 0-0 draw against Tulsa awaits Saint Louis this week.

6 (5) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1104)

Last Week: Drew vs Real Monarchs (1-1)
This Week: vs Swope Park Rangers (Saturday)

A disappointing draw against what for the last 10 minutes of the game was a 9 man Monarchs leaves the up and down Toros with many questions about their ability to turn in a consistent roster.  A match against another up and down side, Swope Park Rangers, awaits Rio Grande Valley this week.

7 (7) San Antonio FC (1102)

Last Week: Drew @ Oklahoma City Energy (1-1)
This Week: vs Oklahoma City Energy (Saturday)

What was touted by some to be a top tier defense before the season started has now given up a goal in seven straight games. An immediate rematch at home against an Oklahoma City team that hasn't scored multiple goals since their second game of the year may help fix this.

8 (8) Oklahoma City Energy (1100)

Last Week: Drew vs San Antonio FC (1-1)
This Week: @San Antonio FC (Saturday)

Oklahoma City continues to underwhelm and miss the high octane potential of the 2015 season, with none of their first six games being decided by more than a goal. This week they will hope to further the San Antonio skid of consecutive games without a clean sheet.

9 (10) Arizona United (1098)

Last Week: Drew @ Orange County Blues (1-1)
This Week: vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Saturday)

Arizona is very quietly tied for the 5th best defensive team in the USL based on goals allowed per game, but have been let down by an offense which is only superior to Seattle and Montreal. This week's game against Colorado Springs Switchbacks, another top five defense, should be a low scoring affair.

10 (11) Swope Park Rangers (1097)

Last Week: Defeated Tulsa Roughnecks (2-1)
This Week: @Rio Grande Valley Toros (Saturday)

The Rangers got a win, but have now allowed a goal in their first seven. An up and down Toros team will play host to the Rangers, who will need to hope that the Rio Grande's frustration from being unable to score against a 9 man Monarchs team doesn't result in an offensive explosion.

11 (9) Portland Timbers 2 (1094)

Last Week: Lost @ Colorado Springs Switchbacks (0-1)
This Week: vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Friday)

Portland had a three game unbeaten streak snapped by the high flying Switchbacks, and now move on to play their second consecutive top three ranked opponent in Vancouver. Portland will be thrilled if they can get a point out of this one.

12 (12) Orange County Blues (1090)

Last Week: Drew vs Arizona United (1-1)
This Week: @Real Monarchs (Saturday)

The Blues's early season offensive struggles continue, as they are the only team left in the USL West to not score more than one goal in a game. An defensively up and down Monarchs team could either provide the perfect fix or extend the Blues scoring woes.

13 (13) Real Monarchs (1090)

Last Week: Drew @ Rio Grande Valley Toros (1-1)
This Week: vs Orange County Blues (Saturday)

After taking an early lead on the Toros, the Monarchs gave up a goal, a man, and then another man. Finishing the game with only 9 men and escaping with a point showed the team's potential for both resolve and the team's ability to kill the pace of the game. Hosting the low scoring Blues may allow the Monarchs to break a five game winless streak.

14 (14) Tulsa Roughnecks (1078)

Last Week: Lost @ Swope Park Rangers (1-2)
This Week: vs Saint Louis FC (Saturday)

The Roughnecks are still searching for answers after a sixth loss in their first nine games. Playing against an angry Saint Louis team that has won every game it has scored in may not be the cure for this skid. Tulsa may need defensive answers after giving up 11 goals in their last five games.

15 (15) Seattle Sounders 2 (1069)

Last Week: Lost @ Sacramento Republic (0-2)

Next Week: vs Los Angeles Galaxy II (Sunday)

Seattle has remained at the bottom of the table for another week after an uninspiring performance in Sacramento.  Getting a match against a Los Dos side who almost managed to dig themselves out of a 0-3 hole will likely just continue the Seattle slide.

Notable:

Biggest rise: Sacramento Republic (+2)

Biggest fall: Portland Timbers 2 (-2)

There are no standout matches this week, as the Colorado Springs Switchbacks visiting Arizona United is the only match featuring a top 5 team and a team outside of the bottom 5, but there are a few potential interesting games.

First is the immediate rematch between the Oklahoma City Energy and San Antonio FC. Both teams have been mostly quiet this season and have not turned in any particularly impressive performances. This week's game will give both teams a chance to distance themselves from the middle of the pack and prove that they might be able to stand with the big dogs at the top of the table.

The Rio Grande Valley Toros and the Swope Park Rangers match has potential to be an exciting game as well. With the Rangers failing to record a shutout this season and the Toros continuing to be one of the most unpredictable teams in the league, anything can happen.

Which games are you looking forward to?  Who is poised to make a large jump or a long fall in the Elo rankings?  Sound off in the comments!