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2017 USL Western Conference Elo Power Rankings — Week 6

After a month of play, the Elo rankings return to the scene.

orange ball podium Steve Aibel/ LittleOrcaSports.com

Welcome back to the Indomitable City Soccer Elo Power Rankings!

Elo points are a way to give a numerical ranking to teams based off results in an attempt to assign an accurate way of rating all of the teams. As teams play more games, the ranking will in theory become more accurate as the sample size increases.

To balance the home field advantage, the home team will be awarded an additional 50 points for the match. Unless the road team is more than 50 points behind the home team in our rankings, the home team will be a minor favorite. As an example using the current rankings, Portland Timbers 2 hosting Real Monarchs would be considered a pure coin flip.

As is typical given our methodology, a team who is considered average will have a rating of 1100.

In the event of a tie, the first tie-breaker goes to whichever team has played more games, as the team with more games has a bigger sample size and a more accurate ranking. In the event the first tie-breaker does not resolve the problem, standard USL tiebreakers will kick in.

Below are is the ranking at the end of April. I have decided to use the pre-forfeit result of the Week One Tulsa Roughnecks and Colorado Springs game as the result on the field is the best way to accurately rank the two teams.

1 - San Antonio FC (1139)

San Antonio has caught fire early in the season thanks to an MVP caliber start from Billy Forbes in attack and the Matt Cardone’s play between the posts. This week they’ll host Sacramento Republic and go for their first ever five-game winning streak.

2 - Real Monarchs SLC (1125)

After many promising but ultimately disappointing seasons, the Monarchs team seems to be the real deal and have won five of six to open up the season. The Monarchs will have a chance to rest up before they face off against two California clubs in Sacramento and Los Angeles the following week.

3 - Tulsa Roughnecks (1111)

The Roughnecks have not had many games so far this season — only four. Despite a loss to Sacramento at home, they have edged out two wins against regional rival Rio Grande Valley and look nothing like the team we saw at in 2016.

4 - Orange County SC (1107)

Despite suffering a 0-4 loss in Sacramento, Orange County have done pretty well for themselves. They’ve managed to snatch seven points in four straight road games to start the season. Orange County looks to have returned the style of play that saw them reach the playoffs and make a run at the Western Conference title last season.

5 - Swope Park Rangers (1105)

The reigning USL Cup runners up opened the season with three straight wins, but stumbled a bit at the end of April with two losses. Hosting Vancouver this week will give Swope Park a great chance to jump back on track.

6 - Sacramento Republic (1103)

The Republic opened the season with three straight wins, but since have faltered and have failed to score in four straight matches. The offense will hope to get back on track against a tough San Antonio side this coming week.

7 - Rio Grande Valley Toros (1103)

The Toros have had an up-and-down start to the season. They’ve suffered three 0-1 losses in their first six games, but have won their other three games by a combined 7-1 score line. The Toros will have a bye this week before hosting Swope Park in a battle of recently under-performing sides with powerhouse potential.

8 - Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1101)

The Whitecaps failed to match their hot start from 2016 this time around, but still have managed to remain relevant in the West early on. A 2-2-2 record with positive goal differential early has kept the side (barely) above the 1100 average mark.

9 - Phoenix Rising (1097)

After a slow start, Phoenix has turned into a must-watch team that averages over three total goals for and against in matches this season. As questions of when Drogba will play persist, they host another team that has shown flashes of amazing offense and questionable defense in Reno this week.

10 - Seattle Sounders 2 (1089)

An up-and-down season has left plenty of questions in Seattle, but Sounders 2 have proven that when they are playing well they are difficult to contain. A second game against Timbers 2 is up this week. Now we wait to see which version of S2 will show up.

11 - Los Angeles Galaxy II (1089)

Los Dos have yet again started the season slowly, with only four points from their first five matches. A second game in a row against Orange County can help provide an opportunity for the Galaxy to return to the form we have seen from them in the past few seasons.

12 - Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1087)

Still reeling from the departure of 2016 USL Goalkeeper of the Year finalist, Devala Gorrick, the Switchbacks, a strong defensive team in 2016, have yet to record a shutout. They will play Tulsa this week in an attempt to get back on pace to make the playoffs.

13 - Oklahoma City Energy (1087)

The Energy have not taken well to a difficult start to the season. Five games into the season they have played five 2016 playoff teams and only managed to take one victory. They’ll need the rest they get from their bye week for next week’s game against a much improved Phoenix team, which will be a big test to see where the Energy really are this season.

14 - Reno 1868 (1076)

The only team in the USL that has yet to record a win, Reno needs to shore up their defense that has allowed nearly three goals per game on average. They will travel to Phoenix for their next match in an attempt to right the ship and live up to preseason expectations.

15 - Portland Timbers 2 (1075)

Portland has lost five of six games to start the season, but have at least kept the vast majority of them close. A game against the Monarchs is up next, as the Timbers try to tweak their lineup to get over that hump.

Week Seven Western Conference Games

Friday, May 5

Vancouver (1101) @ Swope Park (1105)

Tulsa (1111) @ Colorado Springs (1087)

Portland (1075) @ Seattle (1089)

Saturday, May 6

Los Angeles (1089) @ Orange County (1107)

Sacramento (1103) @ San Antonio (1139)

Reno (1076) @ Phoenix (1097)

Bye Week: Real Monarchs (1125), Rio Grande Valley (1103), Oklahoma City (1087)

Thoughts

It may sound cliché, but the only thing that has been predictable in the West so far this season has been a sense of unpredictability from game to game. A large group of teams have started and maintained an above-average ranking with Orange County, Real Monarchs, Sacramento, San Antonio, Swope Park and Tulsa never dropping below the 1100 ranking so far this season.

What teams do you see continuing to climb up the table? Which teams are overrated or underrated by this metric? Let us know in the comments below!