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.
|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|
|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|
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.
|Louisville City FC||19||42|
|New York Red Bulls II||17||38|
|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|
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?
|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|
|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!