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USL Recap: Week 17

All the USL news from week 17, all in one place!

Steve Aibel/LittleOrcaSports.com

We've reached the middle of July, where teams begin their push for the playoffs, and with at least one goal scored in all but one match played over the past week, let's look back at the week in the USL action.

East Scores

HOME AWAY
Charleston Battery 0-0 Orlando City B
Bethlehem Steel FC 3-0 Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Pittsburgh RIverhounds 0-2 Richmond Kickers
Rochester Rhinos 3-1 FC Montreal
Charlotte Independence 1-2 New York Red Bulls II
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 1-4 Louisville City
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-2 Harrisburg City Islanders


West Scores

Home Away
Swope Park Rangers 0-2 OKC Energy FC
RGVFC Toros 4-0 Whitecaps 2
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2-0 Saint Louis FC
Timbers 2 1-4 LA Galaxy II
San Antonio FC 2-0 Whitecaps 2
OKC Energy FC 2-1 Orange County Blues
Colorado Springs 1-0 Sacramento Republic FC
Arizona United SC 2-3 Sounders 2


Five Stories

Whitecaps 2 Fall From the Top

Having led the West for the majority of the season, it is surprising to see the Vancouver Whitecaps 2 drop points anywhere. But, it happened twice this week, in embarrassing fashion both times, as the 'Caps suffered consecutive shutouts for the first time this season. First, RGVFC went on a goal-fest Wednesday night, pushing four past Whitecaps 2. Later in the week, San Antonio FC posted 2-0 a home victory over the Canadian side. Having been outscored 6-0 over the past two matches, Whitecaps 2 will look to rebound in a pivotal match against Sacramento Republic.

Baby Bulls Quietly on a Run

Not to be overshadowed by their MLS counterparts, New York Red Bulls II have quietly been building a run entering the season's second half. After posting their seventh road win against Charlotte on Saturday, NYRBII have remained unbeaten on the road, and stretched their current unbeaten streak to 11. With two crucial matches against top-four clubs FC Cincinnati and Charleston over the next week, NYRBII could cement their spot as a contender with good results by next week's end.

Sounders 2 Win Streak

Not much has gone right for the Tukwila-based club, but Sounders 2 have built upon a recent four-match scoring streak to post their fifth win of the year. A pair of goals from Darwin Jones led Sounders 2 in a 3-2 victory over Arizona United SC Saturday night. Sitting at 5-9-5, Sounders 2 are only three points out of a playoff spot, and with Cascadia rivals Timbers 2 and Whitecaps 2 in two of the next three matches, Sounders 2 could be in the hunt for a playoff spot come September.

Louisville and the Many Goals

Looking like the league's best side, Louisville traveled to the Port City this week, defeating Wilmington, 4-1. Chandler Hoffman added to his goal tally, pushing two across. Having opened the scoring in the 12th, Louisville were in control for much of the match, excluding the penalty Wilmington scored in the 87'. The Kentucky club are now at 17 straight unbeaten and are gearing up for another rematch against their Ohio River rivals, FC Cincinnati, this Saturday.

Harrisburg Halt Winless Streak

In the second edition of the Keystone Derby this season, Harrisburg scored two first half goals, and walked away with a victory over Pittsburgh, 2-1. The City Islanders ended their winless streak at nine matches, during which they were outscored 20-6. The last time the club earned all three points came in May with a victory over Toronto FC II. Harrisburg will face fellow Pennsylvania club Bethlehem this upcoming week before hosting three top-five clubs over the four weeks.

East Standings

Club GP PTS
Louisville City FC 19 42
New York Red Bulls II 17 38
FC Cincinnati 17 34
Charleston Battery 18 32
Rochester Rhinos 17 29
Richmond Kickers 18 26
Charlotte Independence 18 25
Bethlehem Steel FC 18 24
Orlando City B 18 24
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 18 23
Toronto FC II 20 19
Harrisburg City Islanders 20 17
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 17 10
FC Montreal 18 7

Louisville have become the first club to reach the 40-point plateau after their win on Sunday. The rest of the top five remain stagnant. With each of the top four clubs facing off against one another over the coming weeks, we could be in for a shake-up of the East's contenders. At the middle of the table, Bethlehem sit at the final playoff spot after a win this week. With places six through ten only separated by three points, it will be a tight race for the playoffs. The bottom of the table sees Toronto FC II and Harrisburg rise as Pittsburgh and FC Montreal sit in the cellar. Could any club in the bottom four catch the rest of the East?

West Standings

Club GP Pts
Whitecaps 2 18 32
LA Galaxy II 18 32
COS Switchbacks FC 17 30
Sacramento Republic FC 18 29
OKC Energy FC 16 28
Rio Grande Valley FC 19 28
San Antonio FC 17 24
Saint Louis FC 19 23
Real Monarchs SLC 19 22
Orange County Blues 18 22
Swope Park Rangers 17 21
Sounders 2 19 20
Timbers 2 18 18
Arizona United SC 18 18
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 18 15

Los Dos join Whitecaps 2 at the top of the table after the longtime leaders lost twice this week. Behind them only two points back, COS Switchbacks moved up to third after their win over the now-fourth-place, Sacramento. The rest of the playoff picture remains the same, with Orange County dropping out of the top eight, and San Antonio FC making an appearance in seventh. At the bottom half of the table, Sounders 2 capitalized off of recent matches to move out of the bottom two spots and to within three points of the final playoff spot. Tulsa brings up the bottom in the west for another week.

What were your thoughts on the recent week of USL action? What stories did we miss? Which clubs can make a push for the playoffs for the coming weeks? Let us know in the comments below!