For a second week we have seen two groups taking form. The top-of-the-table group which is 1st through 7th, and the group that is currently competing for that 8th bubble playoff spot which is comprised of teams ranked 8th to 13th continue to both hold their shape.
1 (Last Week - 1) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1136)
Last Week: Drew Saint Louis (1-1), Drew Real Monarchs (2-2)
This Week: vs Real Monarchs (Saturday)
Vancouver was lucky to escape this week without suffering their first loss, salvaging a point only due to some poor finishing from Saint Louis and the Monarchs. A rematch against the Monarchs can be a way to reestablish the Whitecaps' dominance at the top of the table.
2 (2) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1126)
Last Week: Drew Orange County Blues (1-1)
This Week: vs Saint Louis FC (Saturday)
A very tough draw on a questionable penalty kick cost the Switchbacks all three points and saw them concede their first goal in four home matches. They will look to bounce back against Saint Louis this week with a win.
3 (5) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1118)
Last Week: Defeated Arizona United (4-1)
This Week: @Sacramento Republic (Saturday)
Returning to their high-scoring ways, Los Dos have now scored in 11 of 12 matches this season. A rematch against Sacramento, the lone team to shut them out this season, waits this week.
4 (3) Saint Louis FC (1113)
Last Week: Drew Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1-1), Drew Rio Grande Valley Toros (1-1)
This Week: @Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Saturday)
Two more draws against good opposition gives Saint Louis hope, but they will need to finish in the future as they possess only a 1-2-3 record against the front pack. The play another of the elite West teams this week as they visit the Switchbacks.
5 (6) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1113)
Last Week: Drew San Antonio FC (0-0), Drew Saint Louis FC (1-1)
This Week: vs San Antonio FC (Saturday)
Two draws kept the Toros in the front of the pack, but they remain largely untested having only played twice in their first 10 against the leading group in the West. Even more frightening is that they have returned only one point from those games.
6 (4) Oklahoma City Energy (1112)
Last Week: Bye Week
This Week: @Tulsa Roughnecks (Saturday)
The Energy are quietly on a seven game unbeaten streak and have allowed just three goals in their past six games. This week they hope to get out of the shadows with a big win over a reeling Roughnecks team.
7 (7) Sacramento Republic (1108)
Last Week: Drew Swope Park Rangers (1-1)
This Week: vs Los Angeles Galaxy II (Saturday)
Sacramento continues to prove that they are the elite of the elite on the defensive side of the ball, and struggle on the offensive side. Sacramento did manage to send Swope Park to a ninth straight game allowing at least one goal, however. A rematch against rival Los Dos comes this week.
8 (8) San Antonio FC (1095)
Last Week: Drew Rio Grande Valley Toros (1-1)
This Week: @Rio Grande Valley Toros (Saturday)
San Antonio continues to lead the bubble team pack after getting a draw in a keeper showcase. An immediate rematch awaits them in their first trip to Rio Grande Valley this season.
9 (9) Real Monarchs (1091)
Last Week: Drew Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (2-2)
This Week: @Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Saturday)
The Monarchs remain a mystery - a team that can hang with the best of the league one week, and then get destroyed by a bottom-of-the-table side the next. An immediate rematch against the Whitecaps is in the cards as they try to send Vancouver to their first loss.
10 (11) Swope Park Rangers (1091)
Last Week: Drew Sacramento Republic (1-1)
This Week: @Portland Timbers 2 (Saturday)
Swope Park hung on for a draw, but has now allowed a goal in all nine matches this season. A trip to Boise to face an underrated Timbers 2 will likely continue this streak.
11 (12) Portland Timbers 2 (1090)
Last Week: Defeated Seattle Sounders 2 (1-0)
This Week: vs Swope Park Rangers (Saturday)
While the Timbers are not rising up the table, they have yet to have a very bad result, with four losses coming to teams in the front of the playoff pack. A win against Swope Park could see Portland make the case for being the best of the bubble teams.
12 (13) Orange County Blues (1085)
Last Week: Drew Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1-1)
This Week: vs Seattle Sounders 2 (Saturday)
A lucky call saved the game for Orange County, but they will need to start scoring with urgency. They have yet to record a multiple-goal game this season, but a trip to bottom-of-the-table Seattle may end this scoring drought.
13 (10) Arizona United (1083)
Last Week: Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy II (1-4)
This Week: Bye Week
Arizona has given up seven goals in their past two games, after allowing seven in their first eight games. A much needed bye week to shore up the defense is needed, after which they play scoring-challenged Orange County.
14 (14) Tulsa Roughnecks (1069)
Last Week: Bye Week
This Week: vs Oklahoma City Energy (Saturday)
With any luck, the Roughnecks spent the week off trying to come together as a team, since the last few weeks have looked like a group of players who were not thrilled to be on the pitch together. A game against regional rivals must inspire Tulsa to turn into the late 2015 Roughnecks that I enjoyed watching.
15 (15) Seattle Sounders 2 (1065)
Last Week: Lost to Portland Timbers 2 (0-1)
This Week: @Orange County Blues (Saturday)
Seattle is now averaging only 0.33 points a game if they concede a goal at any point. They host an Orange County team this week that has never had a multi-goal game.
Biggest rise: Los Angeles Galaxy II (+2)
Biggest fall: Arizona United (-3)
In the top eight Elo teams, there are three fixtures this week that feature multiple teams matching up; #4 STL @ #2 COS, #3 LA @ #7 SAC and #8 SA @ #6 RGV. A major upset or a blowout in any of those game can send the entire West standings into disarray. At the same time, the Swope Rangers and the Timbers is equally interesting as a win there can result in one of those sides sneaking into the top 8 if San Antonio stumbles in Rio Grande Valley.