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USL Western Conference Power Rankings, Week 18

Another week in the Power Rankings saw very little movement throughout the table, but many gaps either closed or widened.

Very few rank changes occurred this week in the Power Rankings, but LA Galaxy II still appear to be the team to beat as they have only lost Elo points in one of their last nine matches to date.  The pack around the 8 seed has closed considerably, while a big gap now has appeared at the split between #10 and #11.  As we enter the final third of the season, some teams will need to act quickly to stay in the playoff hunt.

Rankings:

1 (Last Week - 1) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1141)

Last Week: Defeated San Antonio FC (3-2)

This Week: @Orange County Blues (Saturday)

After giving up a goal in the opening minutes, Los Dos controlled all aspects of the game. A late scare saw a final score line much closer than the flow of the game suggested, but all three points on the road keeps the Galaxy at the top of the Power Rankings for another week as they become the first team in the West to top the 1140 Elo mark.

2 (2) Oklahoma City Energy (1137)

Last Week: Defeated Tulsa Roughnecks (3-0)

This Week: @Saint Louis FC (Saturday)

The Energy are still the best team in the league at consistently beating teams they are supposed to, once again taking down a Tulsa side who unraveled late in the game.  This week they start a run of difficult opponents with a game against a Saint Louis team that they must make a statement with, since they are 1-2-5 against the rest of the top 8 in the Power Rankings

3 (4) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1122)

Last Week: Defeated Sacramento Republic (2-1)

This Week: @Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Friday)

Vancouver responded well to last week's pair of shutout losses to earn a home win against a Sacramento Republic side that has struggled through the month of July.  A trip to face a Colorado Springs team that has only dropped one home game all season is next.

4 (3) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1120)

Last Week: Drew Swope Park (1-1), Lost to Saint Louis FC (1-2)

This Week: vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Friday)

It was a tough week for Colorado Springs, who had to settle for a draw early in the week after allowing a stoppage time equalizer, and then were unable to dig themselves out of a first half hole in Saint Louis.  They welcome a swingy Whitecaps 2 side this week.

5 (5) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1113)

Last Week: Bye Week

This Week: vs Sacramento Republic (Saturday)

The Toros sat on the sidelines of what was an otherwise busy week in USL. They now have a chance to get revenge over a Sacramento side who handed them a 2-3 loss on the road earlier in the season.

6 (6) Sacramento Republic (1109)

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

This Week: @Rio Grande Valley Toros (Saturday)

Yet another late game collapse lost the Republic some much needed points in Vancouver. The Republic has now lost six games all season, each by only a single goal.  A trip to face a Rio Grande Valley team who they have already beat once this season is next on what has proven to be a very demanding road trip.

7 (7) San Antonio FC (1107)

Last Week: Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy II (2-3)

This Week: @Swope Park Rangers (Saturday)

San Antonio's defense was unable to slow down Galaxy II's potent offense and they were on the back foot for most of the game.  However, a very early and a very late goal still helps provide hope for San Antonio moving forward as they are still able to score consistently, something which they could not do early in the season.

8 (8) Saint Louis FC (1100)

Last Week: Defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks (2-1)

This Week: vs Oklahoma City Energy (Saturday)

Saint Louis continues to be able to bounce back from defeat well, improving to 5-1-1 on the season following being shut out.  They must string these types of strong results together if they want to hold off the teams chasing them.

9 (9) Swope Park Rangers (1097)

Last Week: Drew Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1-1), Defeated Orange County Blues (3-0)

This Week: vs San Antonio FC (Saturday)

Two great results for Swope Park Rangers left them squarely in the playoff hunt out West.  Earning a draw against a big dog and then dispatching another chase team may have them as a favorite to sneak in and cause a ruckus. Next they face a tough San Antonio side as they look to make a statement that they belong.

10 (11) Arizona United (1094)

Last Week: Defeated Real Monarchs (3-0)

This Week: vs Tulsa Roughnecks (Saturday)

A commanding win over Real Monarchs has kept Arizona United hanging around as a possible playoff team.  If they can keep their best-in- USL streak of 11 games with at least one goal scored going, they can be a threat to any team.

11 (10) Real Monarchs (1076)

Last Week: Lost to Arizona United (0-3)

This Week: Bye Week

A very tough loss to Arizona United has the Monarchs trying to hang on to the possibility of playoffs, but hopes are quickly fading away.  A week off to prepare for a Switchbacks team who they have split with so far awaits.

12 (12) Orange County Blues (1076)

Last Week: Lost to Swope Park Rangers (0-3)

This Week: vs Los Angeles Galaxy II (Saturday)

The offensive success of Orange County took a nosedive this past week, as Swope Park picked them apart in a shutout loss. They will need points from rivals Los Dos if they want to stay in the playoff hunt.

13 (14) Seattle Sounders 2 (1074)

Last Week: Defeated Portland Timbers 2 (1-0)

This Week: Bye Week

It took a late game penalty kick to knock off Timbers 2, but Seattle has now got out of the bottom two spots in the Power Rankings.  They will finish July with an impressive 3-1-1 record and look to continue that run of good form in August.

14 (13) Portland Timbers 2 (1067)

Last Week: Lost to Seattle Sounders 2 (0-1)

This Week: Bye Week

Now with only one win in their past seven games, Portland has dropped to a new team low in the Power Rankings.  They now have a week off to prepare for next week's pair of difficult games against the Switchbacks and Los Dos.

15 (15) Tulsa Roughnecks (1052)

Last Week: Lost to Oklahoma City Energy (0-3)

This Week: @Arizona United (Saturday)

After hanging around for most of the first 45 minutes, a questionable penalty just before the half seemed to take the wind out of Tulsa's sails against OKC. Going down a man in the second half just added to their struggles.  While playoffs may be a distant hope at this point, the Roughnecks will have plenty of chances to play spoiler to teams moving forward, starting with a United team trying to stay in the playoff race.

Notable:

Biggest Rise: Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Arizona United, Seattle Sounders 2 (+1)

Biggest Fall: Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Real Monarchs, Portland Timbers 2 (-1)

Lots of big games occur at the top of the table this week.  We have #3 Vancouver visiting #4 Colorado Springs, #6 Sacramento visiting #5 Rio Grande Valley, #2 Oklahoma City visiting #8 Saint Louis, and #7 San Antonio traveling to #9 Swope Park.

Anything can happen in a week where there are this many games involving top tier teams, and the only thing that is assured is that the playoff picture will be shaken up once again following this week of USL action.

What teams do you think are going to pull ahead?  Who is in danger of dropping off the pace? Let us know in the comments below.