With week 6 in the books and the season 20% of the way done, the power rankings continue to be in flux. This week we not only improved our formula by allowing a home field advantage of +50 points instead of +100, but we had our first shift at both the top of the bottom of the table since the power rankings started. Without further ado, I present to you the Week 6 Power Rankings for the USL Western Conference
1 (Last Week - 5) - Los Angeles Galaxy II (1120 points)
Last Week: Defeated Rio Grande Valley (2-0)
This Week: vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Wednesday), vs Sacramento Republic (Saturday)
The 2-0 road victory over Rio Grande Valley has put Los Dos on the top of the USL West Power Rankings. A clash of styles awaits the highest-scoring team in the West though (2.0 goals scored), as LA plays two games in a week against the two best defensive teams in the conference (both averaging 0.5 goals allowed).
2 (1) - Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1120)
Last Week: Defeated Swope Park Rangers (2-1), Match against Saint Louis FC postponed
This Week: vs Tulsa Roughnecks (Wednesday)
Vancouver remained undefeated with a solid win at Swope Park, but still dropped to second in the table. A win Wednesday against bottom-of-the-table Tulsa is a must-win if Vancouver wants to stay in the elite team group.
3 (2) - Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1109)
Last Week: Match against Real Monarchs postponed
This Week: @Los Angeles Galaxy II (Wednesday), @Orange County Blues (Sunday)
Colorado Springs had a match cancelled due to weather last week, and now embarks on a southern California road trip against two different teams. First their defense will be put to the test against the West's leading scorers, Los Dos, then comes an offensive challenge at Orange County, which has shut out three straight opponents.
4 (8) - San Antonio FC (1107)
Last Week: Defeated Tulsa Roughnecks (3-1)
This Week: vs Rio Grande Valley Toros (Saturday)
Picking off a reeling Tulsa side has brought San Antonio to the front of the cluttered middle of the table, and they have a chance to move up further against a Rio Grande Valley team that hasn't returned a result against any top-10 Elo sides this season.
5 (6) - Saint Louis FC (1104)
Last Week: Match against Vancouver Whitecaps 2 postponed
This Week: vs Swope Park Rangers (Saturday)
Saint Louis got a weather-assisted bye the previous week, and now travels to a Swope Park side that has allowed at least one goal in every game this season.
6 (12) - Orange County Blues (1101)
Last Week: Defeated Sacramento Republic (1-0)
This Week: vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Sunday)
Orange County continues to plod along, now having scored exactly one goal in five straight matches, and recording three straight clean sheets. A match against a strong Switchbacks side would give Orange County only its third win streak of four games in the last five seasons.
7 (3) - Swope Park Rangers (1100)
Last Week: Lost to Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1-2)
This Week: @Saint Louis FC (Saturday)
Swope Park has now given up a goal in all six games this season, and after a hot start has failed to score more than one goal in any of its previous three matches. A match against a Saint Louis team that has been shut out in half of its matches this season may be the game Swope needs to give its defense confidence moving forward.
8 (10) - Oklahoma City Energy (1100)
Last Week: Drew Seattle Sounders 2 (1-1)
This Week: @Arizona United (Saturday)
A goal deep into stoppage in Seattle kept Oklahoma City where they originally were in the rankings, and the Energy will hope to continue their trend of scoring in every game when they visit Arizona over the weekend.
9 (4) - Rio Grande Valley Toros (1099)
Last Week: Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy II (0-2)
This Week: @San Antonio FC (Saturday)
A tough home loss to Los Angeles sent the Toros crashing back down to earth. They will travel to face only their second team ranked in the top 10 all season in San Antonio, which will be a good measuring stick for how good the Toros are.
10 (7) - Arizona United (1098)
Last Week: Drew Portland Timbers 2 (1-1)
This Week: vs Oklahoma City Energy (Saturday)
After giving up a first-minute goal, Arizona fought back to secure a draw in their home opener to remain undefeated when scoring a goal this season. They hope to net one and continue that trend when they face an Energy side that has given up five goals in four games.
11 (11) - Real Monarchs (1096)
Last Week: Match against Colorado Springs Switchbacks postponed
This Week: @Portland Timbers 2 (Saturday)
A snowy off-week saw the Monarchs stay put in the Power Rankings, as they now travel to face Portland, which has only dropped one of its last four matches.
12 (9) - Sacramento Republic (1094)
Last Week: Lost to Orange County Blues (0-1)
This Week: @Los Angeles Galaxy II (Saturday)
Sacramento has become the first team since the current iteration of the USL began in 2011 to drop three straight matches all 0-1. A trip to a high-scoring Los Angeles team may necessitate scoring at least one goal to stay in the match.
13 (13) - Portland Timbers 2 (1091)
Last Week: Drew Arizona United (1-1)
This Week: vs Real Monarchs (Saturday)
Portland let a win get away late in Arizona, but will now host a Monarchs side that has been shutout in three consecutive matches.
14 (15) - Seattle Sounders 2 (1081)
Last Week: Drew Oklahoma City Energy (1-1)
This Week: vs Tulsa Roughnecks (Sunday)
Finally getting out of the basement, the Sounders also let a win get away late, as Oklahoma City snagged a last-second point. A Sunday match against Tulsa will either allow them to distance themselves from the last spot, or send them right back to where they have been all season.
15 (14) - Tulsa Roughnecks (1080)
Last Week: Lost to San Antonio FC (1-3)
This Week: @Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Wednesday), @Seattle Sounders 2 (Sunday)
After a 2-0 win to start the season against Rio Grande Valley, Tulsa has gone 0-4-1 with only two goals scored. They will have to go into Seattle and get points unless they want to continue to fade away from the rest of the USL at an alarming rate.
Biggest ranking improvement: Orange County Blues (+6)
Biggest ranking fall: Rio Grande Valley (-5)
Week 7 starts with a Wednesday night between #1 Los Angeles Galaxy II and #3 Colorado Switchbacks which will undoubtedly have a major impact on the top level of the power rankings in the upcoming weeks. While the next best match containing two top teams is #6 Orange County hosting #3 Colorado Springs, nearly every match this week is between two teams within 10 Elo points of each other. The only exceptions to that are the matches involving Vancouver or Los Angeles, who, tied in 1st, are at least 11 points from their next closest competitor.
The close matches though can create a chaotic week in the power rankings, where teams can quickly rise or fall if they are part of a big result.
What will happen over the week? Who is overrated? Who is underrated? Let us know in the comments below!