With a week of draws near the top end of the table, the turbulent times came at the bubble area of the pack. With Arizona scoring a key win over Orange County, there appear to still be twelve teams squarely in the playoff race as we are into the final third and approach the final quarter of the season.
Below are our updated Elo rankings. Remember as always in our ranks, 1100 is considered an average team.
1 (Last Week - 1) Oklahoma City Energy (1131)
Last Week: Lost to Sacramento Republic (0-1), Drew Rio Grande Valley (0-0)
This Week: vs Los Angeles Galaxy II (Saturday)
OKC Energy gave up Elo points but held on to the top spot this week. They have now gone three games without scoring a goal and they are still missing quality wins. OKC will have another chance to take down a big team as they play host to Los Dos this week in a game to try to hold the top Elo spot in the west.
2 (2) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1126)
Last Week: Lost Portland Timbers 2 (3-4)
This Week: @Oklahoma City Energy (Saturday)
Despite taking a 3-0 lead into the half, LA Galaxy II came away from last week's game with a loss. An early second half red card marked the beginning of the end and Los Dos gave up four unanswered goals for their second back-to-back loss of the season. They will need to quickly right the ship in this critical time of the season.
3 (3) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1121)
Last Week: Lost to Arizona United (2-3), Drew Seattle Sounders 2 (1-1)
This Week: vs Orange County Blues (Wednesday)
Whitecaps 2 wasted an early lead against Arizona early in the week, and then were unable to put much together against a surging Sounders 2 team. Vancouver, who have now won only 3 of their last 10, will try to get back on track against Orange County this week.
4 (4) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1119)
Last Week: Drew Portland Timbers 2 (1-1)
This Week: @Real Monarchs (Monday), vs Tulsa Roughnecks (Thursday)
Thanks to the heroics of the Timbers 2 keeper Wade Hamilton, who tallied 10 saves, the Switchbacks were only able to manage a draw against Portland. They have now failed to score multiple goals for eleven straight games. Two matches against bottom-table teams this week might be able to help them knock off the cobwebs
5 (6) Sacramento Republic (1115)
Last Week: Defeated Oklahoma City Energy (1-0), Drew San Antonio FC (1-1)
This Week: @Saint Louis FC (Saturday)
Sacramento has still yet to lose a game outside of the months of April and July this season. On Tuesday the Republic became only the third team to score a second half goal on Oklahoma City all season. Then, on Saturday, a late game penalty undid a very impressive performance by San Antonio keeper Josh Ford to give the Republic four points on the week. A trip to fellow playoff hopeful Saint Louis is up this week.
6 (5) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1112)
Last Week: Drew Oklahoma City Energy (0-0)
This Week: vs Seattle Sounders 2 (Saturday)
The Toros are suddenly playing strong defense and have now shutout five straight opponents. However, they have only won one of those matches. After starting the season struggling on defense while scoring at will, they have turned into the complete opposite team. A visit from a surging Seattle is up this week.
7 (7) San Antonio FC (1105)
Last Week: Drew Sacramento Republic (1-1)
This Week: @Arizona United (Saturday)
A stoppage time penalty stopped San Antonio taking all three points, but they still walked away from Bonney Field with a point thanks to some great play by goalkeeper Josh Ford. This week's trip to Arizona will be the first game in the last five for San Antonio against a team that is not likely playoff bound.
8 (8) Swope Park Rangers (1102)
Last Week: Drew Saint Louis FC (1-1), Tulsa Roughnecks (Postponed)
This Week: @Real Monarchs (Saturday)
Swope Park Rangers is now 1-1-1 against Saint Louis this season after a game in which the two sides combined to take 30 shots. As SPR continues to hold on at the right side of the playoff bubble, they will want to take all three points from the Monarchs before a difficult run of games late in August.
9 (10) Arizona United (1102)
Last Week: Defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (3-2), Defeated Orange County Blues (3-1)
This Week: vs San Antonio FC (Saturday)
In a week where Arizona United was in desperate need of points, they picked up six out of six with wins over Whitecaps 2 and OC Blues thanks to an offense that is suddenly on fire. After now having scored twelve total goals in their last five matches, Arizona sets their sight on a solid San Antonio defense.
10 (9) Saint Louis FC (1099)
Last Week: Drew Swope Park Rangers (1-1)
This Week: vs Sacramento Republic (Saturday)
Saint Louis came back to get a draw against a regional rival, but now have only one win in their last seven games. With the remainder of their schedule this season being against teams that are either solidly in the playoffs or at least well in the hunt, they need to start taking three points soon.
11 (13) Seattle Sounders 2 (1083)
Last Week: Defeated Real Monarchs (4-1), Drew Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1-1)
This Week: @Rio Grande Valley Toros (Saturday)
Seattle continues to be one of the more dangerous teams in the past few weeks, and after blowing out the Monarchs and taking a point from Vancouver, they are back in the playoff conversation. With a game against a Toros team on the right side of the playoff bubble this week, a win can shake up the bottom of the West.
12 (11) Orange County Blues (1081)
Last Week: Defeated Tulsa Roughnecks (2-1), Lost to Arizona United (1-3)
This Week: @Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Wednesday), @Portland Timbers 2 (Sunday)
After surviving against Tulsa, Orange County fell apart in the second half against Arizona as the fight for the final playoff spot continues to become even more interesting every week. Two games this coming week will provide opportunity for Orange County to climb back to the top of the pack.
13 (14) Portland Timbers 2 (1074)
Last Week: Drew Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1-1), Drew Los Angeles Galaxy II (4-3)
This Week: vs Orange County Blues (Sunday)
The Timbers responded very well after multiple weeks of on-field struggles. After one of the best performances of the season by goalkeeper Wade Hamilton let T2 to take a point against the Switchbacks, Portland took advantage of a man advantage in the second half to dig themselves out of a deep hole against Los Dos.
14 (12) Real Monarchs (1068)
Last Week: Lost to Seattle Sounders 2 (1-4)
This Week: vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Monday), vs Swope Park Rangers (Saturday)
The Monarchs have now dropped seven of their past ten matches and are starting to look forward to next season. With games against likely playoff teams Colorado Springs and Swope Park this week, the Monarchs may not be able to reach the playoffs, but they can very well impact them.
15 (15) Tulsa Roughnecks (1057)
Last Week: Lost to Orange County Blues (1-2), Swope Park Rangers (Postponed)
This Week: @Colorado Springs Switchbacks (Thursday)
The Roughnecks kept it close with Orange County but were ultimately unable to secure a point, Their match against Swope Park then got rained out. A road trip to a slumping Colorado Springs can provide the Roughnecks a chance to cause some mid table havoc.
Biggest Rise: Seattle Sounders 2 (+2)
Biggest Fall: Real Monarchs (-2)
The first game you have to look for this week is the game between the top two teams in our rankings when Oklahoma City plays host to Los Angeles Galaxy II. While OKC has done a great job at being able to defeat the teams that they are supposed to beat, they have not been able to consistently take points from the top teams. Los Dos have struggled as of late, but can rebound well. Anything can happen here.
The match between a Rio Grande Valley team that is proving nearly impossible to score on and Seattle Sounders 2, who are one of the hottest teams in the entire USL, will also provide an interesting match. With the Toros on the correct side of the bubble with breathing room, a loss to a Seattle team who is suddenly knocking on the playoff door can add both teams to the mess that is the fight to claim the final USL West playoff spots.
What games are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.