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Western Conference Power Rankings: Week 15

No big changes this week, but the haves and the have-nots are getting farther apart.

Steve Aibel/LittleOrcaSports.com

The gap is starting to form between the top five teams, and those in the chase for the final playoff spots.  San Antonio has continued their hot streak thanks to a sudden talent for finding the back of the net, and has joined the second tier back with Saint Louis and Rio Grande Valley.  At the same time Swope Park starts to pull away from the rest of the chase pack with back-to-back wins.

Rankings

1 (Last Week - 1) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1135)

Last Week: Defeated Real Monarchs (2-1)

This Week: Bye Week

The Whitecaps went tit-for-tat with the Monarchs.  Just weeks after being handed their first loss of the year by the Monarchs on a stoppage time goal on the final play of the game, the Whitecaps pulled off the same move with a 90+ game winner on the road.

2 (2) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1127)

Last Week: Defeated Orange County Blues (2-1)

This Week: Bye Week

As has become increasingly common, Los Dos was able to handle the Blues.  While the Galaxy has been having a hard time winning games this season, they have been a tough team to bump off.  After 17 games played, Los Dos have only suffered two losses.  That talent is keeping them higher in the Elo table than the USL table, but makes them a team no one wants to play

3 (3) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1127)

Last Week: Defeated Real Monarchs (1-0)

This Week: @Portland Timbers 2 (Thursday), @Seattle Sounders 2 (Sunday)

The second team in the top three Elo who took revenge over the Monarchs this week, the Switchbacks responded nicely to a slump, but will need to start picking up goals.  Last year's West-leading goal scoring unit is seven goal back of their pace last season.  Two games against porous defenses can help them get back on track this week.

4 (4) Sacramento Republic (1123)

Last Week: Defeated Seattle Sounders 2 (2-1)

This Week:  vs Real Monarchs (Wednesday), @Orange County Blues (Sunday)

Sacramento will be happy with three points, but disappointed with only a one-goal win.  They look ahead to a two-game week against below average, yet very dangerous teams with a defense that is fighting injuries and card accumulation.

5 (5) Oklahoma City Energy (1118)

Last Week: Drew Rio Grande Valley Toros (0-0)

This Week: @San Antonio FC (Saturday), @Swope Park Rangers (Tuesday)

The 0-0 result at home is the definition of being disappointed with a draw.  The Energy dominated for much of the game and were up a man for a significant portion of the second half, but were unable to convert any chances.  The two missed PKs by one of the most talented players in the league, Danni Konig, will haunt them the most.

6 (6) Saint Louis FC (1109)

Last Week: Lost to Swope Park Rangers (0-1)

This Week: vs Seattle Sounders 2 (Wednesday), vs FC Cincinnati (Saturday)

Saint Louis needs to concentrate on consistency.  At this point, they have been shut out seven times this season, over 40% of their games.  Two teams not known for their defense are up next, but with the way that Saint Louis has played, anything can happen.

7 (7) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1106)

Last Week: Drew Oklahoma City Energy (0-0)

This Week: vs Tulsa Roughnecks (Sunday)

After going down a man and surviving Oklahoma City putting two PKs off target, the Toros were able to hold strong and escape with a draw to hold onto their place in the Elo table.  This week they host a Tulsa side who has been able to score as of late, but has also had significant defensive problems.

8 (8) San Antonio FC (1106)

Last Week: Defeated Tulsa Roughnecks (2-1)

This Week: @Oklahoma City Energy (Saturday)

After only winning two of twelve to start their USL career, San Antonio has strung together three straight wins.  A win in Oklahoma City this weekend would set a new highest Elo ranking record for San Antonio.

9 (11) Swope Park Rangers (1091)

Last Week: Defeated Saint Louis FC (1-0)

This Week: @Arizona United (Saturday), vs Oklahoma City Energy (Tuesday)

Swope Park has now won three of their last four games at home, but start off the week on the road where they have lost three of their past five.  With two very winnable games, Swope Park can join the playoff hunt with some success.

10 (9) Arizona United (1091)

Last Week: Lost to Tulsa Roughnecks (2-3)

This Week: vs Swope Park Rangers (Saturday)

A disappointing first half hour left Arizona in a hole they were not able to crawl out of, despite turning it around and putting Tulsa on their back foot.  A chance for revenge hosting a Swope side who has allowed a goal in eight of nine road games this season might get Arizona back on the right path.

11 (10) Orange County Blues (1089)

Last Week: Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy II (1-2)

This Week: vs Sacramento Republic (Sunday)

Orange County has varied between a win and a loss for the past six games.  If that pattern holds, they will be the first team to hand Sacramento two losses this Sunday as they look to build on an early season 1-0 win.

12 (12) Real Monarchs (1087)

Last Week: Lost to Colorado Springs Switchbacks (0-1), Lost to Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1-2)

This Week: @Sacramento Republic (Wednesday)

The Monarchs lost their sixth and seventh one-goal game of the season this past week.  They were kryptonite to Sacramento all of last season, and will look to bounce back against the Republic in a mid-week bout.

13 (13) Portland Timbers 2 (1080)

Last Week: Bye Week

This Week: vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Thursday)

Portland has had a week to rest and regroup.  They will need to fix a defense who has struggled to keep their opponent out of the back of the net this season though as they play host to Colorado Springs.

14 (14) Seattle Sounders 2 (1058)

Last Week: Lost to Sacramento Republic (1-2)

This Week: @Saint Louis FC (Wednesday), vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Sunday)

After looking like they may be coming back to life, the Sounders 2 have dropped two more games.  While still being able to score now, having recorded eight goals in their past five games, their defense has not shown up as their streak of conceding is now at ten games.

(15) Tulsa Roughnecks (1048)

Last Week: Defeated Arizona United (3-2), Lost to San Antonio FC (1-2)

This Week: @Rio Grande Valley Toros (Sunday)

A great start gave the Roughnecks their first win in six games, but they almost gave up a hot start against Arizona, before dropping to a hot San Antonio team later in the week.  A very up-and-down Rio Grande Valley team that Tulsa beat to start the season may get them moving in the correct direction one more time.

Notable:

Biggest Rise: Swope Park Rangers (+2)

Biggest Fall: Arizona United, Orange County Blues (-1)

It was a very quiet week in the Elo standings as only three teams changed their positioning, but for the first time new gaps are forming.  Two major games that can help close these gaps or exacerbate the distance between them are #5 Oklahoma City @ #8 San Antonio, as the Energy tries to hold onto the top tier, and #9 Swope Park Rangers @ #10 Arizona United in a battle between two teams who are trying to stay on playoff pace.