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USL Western Conference Power Rankings, Week 9

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You want to know how the USL teams objectively stack up? That's why we're here.

Steve Aibel/LittleOrcaSports.com

A gap has begun to form in the top of the league, with Vancouver and Colorado Springs breaking away from the pack. At the same time, the gap between 7th and 8th has now grown to 13 points.  Is this the start of the playoff picture forming?

Rankings

1 (Last Week - 1) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1136)

Last Week: Defeated Portland Timbers 2 (3-1)

This Week: @Saint Louis FC (Wednesday), vs Real Monarchs (Sunday)

The Whitecaps have extended their undefeated streak to eight games and have now scored at least two goals in five consecutive matches.  A match against an up-and-down Saint Louis side, who not only managed to score five goals up a man but concede two in the process, can end in many ways.

2 (2) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1127)

Last Week: Defeated Arizona United (3-1)

This Week: vs Orange County Blues (Friday)

The Switchbacks continue to quietly be one of the best teams in the USL after a third consecutive victory.  A trip to a struggling Blues side may continue the steady rise of the Switchbacks up the ranking table.

3 (5) Saint Louis FC (1114)

Last Week: Defeated Tulsa Roughnecks (5-2)

This Week: vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Wednesday), vs Rio Grande Valley Toros (Sunday)

The good: A five-goal road performance.  The bad: Conceding two goals while up a man.  Saint Louis continues to beat poor teams, posting a 3-1-2 record against teams out of the top-5 Elo ratings, but can show they are able to take down strong teams with at least one victory this coming week, as they have taken only three points from three games against top-5 squads

4 (8) Oklahoma City Energy (1112)

Last Week: Defeated San Antonio FC (1-0), Defeated Real Monarchs (3-1)

This Week: No USL matches

The Energy picked up a pair of wins, but lack of quality results is still a concern for a team who is 1-1-1 against current top -8 Elo teams.  The Energy have a week off now.

5 (3) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1111)

Last Week: Drew Seattle Sounders 2 (1-1)

This Week: vs Arizona United (Saturday)

A road draw down a man may cost Los Dos a couple spots in the rankings, but they still did manage to salvage a point by scoring a short-handed goal, late in Seattle.  They will look to bounce back against Arizona who is winless in their last four games.

6 (6) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1111)

Last Week: Defeated Swope Park Rangers (4-1)

This Week: @San Antonio FC (Wednesday), @Saint Louis FC (Sunday)

A few late goals made their win look better than it was, but since an opening day loss to Tulsa, the Toros haven't turned in any truly bad results.  Two decent rivals will be up next, as the Toros hope to keep their ranking.

7 (4) Sacramento Republic (1109)

Last Week: No USL matches

This Week: vs Swope Park Rangers (Saturday)

Sacramento took home an Open Cup and Friendly victory this past week, but a lack of USL games saw them passed by teams who took home a win.  They host a Swope Park team this week who still is struggling to play defense.

8 (7) San Antonio FC (1096)

Last Week: Lost to Oklahoma City Energy (0-1)

This Week: vs Rio Grande Valley FC (Wednesday)

A loss to the Energy is a red flag for San Antonio.  With their only wins coming against the bottom two teams in the West, the best result for San Antonio is arguably a draw on the road against Los Dos.  A revenge match against a Toros side who beat them deep into stoppage is up next.

9 (13) Real Monarchs (1090)

Last Week: Defeated Orange County Blues (3-1), Lost to Oklahoma City Energy (1-3)

This Week: @Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Sunday)

The Monarchs continue to be a team that looks like they will be on the playoff bubble.  Each week they seem capable of putting up any result. Now they look to put in a strong performance over the weekend while visiting the top team in the West.

10 (9) Arizona United (1090)

Last Week: Lost to Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1-3)

This Week: @Los Angeles Galaxy II (Saturday)

Arizona had their first major defensive lapse of the year against a tough Switchbacks team, and could be in store for a difficult matchup against a Los Dos side that has scored almost at will, but hasn't been able to keep anyone out of the back of the net.

11 (10) Swope Park Rangers (1090)

Last Week: Lost to Rio Grande Valley Toros (1-4)

This Week: @Sacramento Republic (Saturday)

Swope Park has now allowed a goal in all eight matches this season, and has now allowed eleven goals in their last four matches.  A trip to Sacramento, who seems to be turning the corner into a competent offensive team, might extend that defensive issue.

12 (11) Portland Timbers 2 (1086)

Last Week: Lost to Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1-3)

This Week: vs Seattle Sounders 2 (Thursday)

Portland has had a tough start to the year with a very difficult slate of opponents, and a visit from Seattle may be exactly what they need to gain some much needed points.

13 (12) Orange County Blues (1084)

Last Week: Lost to Real Monarchs (1-3)

This Week: @Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Friday)

After posting three straight shutouts, Orange County has now allowed three goals in two of their last three matches.  Hosting a very good Switchbacks side this week will likely see the Blues continue their slide down the table.

14 (14) Tulsa Roughnecks (1069)

Last Week: Lost to Saint Louis FC (2-5)

This Week: No USL matches

Down a man to Saint Louis, the Roughnecks held strong and even took a lead into the half.  Then they seemed to give up after the lead disappeared.  Something needs to change in Tulsa, and change fast, because what was on the field was not a team that looked like they had a will to win.

15 (15) Seattle Sounders 2 (1069)

Last Week: Drew Los Angeles Galaxy II (1-1)

This Week: @Portland Timbers 2 (Thursday)

Seattle got a point, but should have taken three.  Giving up a late goal while up a man will likely stick with the Sounders for a long time.  They need to look forward to a winnable game at Portland first however.

Notable:

Biggest rise: Real Monarchs, Oklahoma City Energy (+4)

Biggest fall: Sacramento Republic (-3)

This week there are many games that are must-watch.  First we have the Wednesday night matchup between #1 Vancouver Whitecaps and #3 Saint Louis FC.  We also get a rematch of one of the most entertaining games of the season to date as Rio Grande Valley plays host to San Antonio, where the first game was a 3-2 result to the Toros decided in second half stoppage time.

Are there any games that you are looking forward too?  Are there any teams that are overrated?  Underrated?  Let us know!