Halfway through May, we have reached the 1/4th mark of the 2017 USL Season. Let us revisit the Eastern Conference Elo Power Rankings. Remember, 1100 is considered an average rating, with any tie-breakers going to which club has played more matches.
Below are the rankings as May 14th, 2017 (last week’s ranking in parentheses):
1 (Last week- 1). Charleston Battery (1130)
The Battery have scored in each of their eight matches to start the year, and deservedly remain atop our rankings for another week. Looking to extend their unbeaten to run to a sixth consecutive match, Charleston travel to Harrisburg this weekend.
2 (3). Tampa Bay Rowdies (1118)
Tampa posted a 2-0 win against a fellow top three club, Louisville, this past weekend. Leading the East in clean sheets (6), the Rowdies face Toronto FC II in Ontario this weekend.
3 (2). Louisville City (1112)
Despite seeing their unbeaten run to start the year end, Louisville remain a part of the lead pack in the Eastern Conference. A top five bout with Pittsburgh awaits this weekend.
4 (5). Rochester Rhinos (1105)
After a postponed match last week, Rochester open a three-match home stand this weekend against Richmond. An important fixture vs Tampa Bay looms in two weeks.
T5 (8). Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1104)
The Riverhounds stretched their clean sheet streak to three this week, with another 1-0 win, this time against Ottawa. Louisville visits Highmark Stadium this weekend for what could be a high-scoring match. After all, a combined seven goals were scored in the two matches between these two last year.
T5 (10). Orlando City B (1104)
Earning a third straight clean sheet win with a 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B have made the quick climb from tenth in last week’s rankings, to a spot in our top five.
7 (6). Saint Louis FC (1098)
Despite having 60% possession against the Eastern Conference leaders, Saint Louis were unable to find the back of the net in Charleston on Saturday. Saint Louis have a bye this week, but continue their two match road trip to Tampa Bay at the end of the month.
8 (12). Charlotte Independence (1097)
Charlotte has found their statement win of 2017, so far, as they ran riot over NYRB II in a 5-1 rout. In that one match, the Independence scored more goals (5) than they had in their previous five matches to begin the year.
9 (10). Harrisburg City Islanders (1096)
Halting a two match skid with a draw vs Richmond, the City Islanders move up a spot in the rankings. Harrisburg are gearing up to host the East’s top club, Charleston, this Saturday.
10 (4). New York Red Bulls II (1094)
This past week has not been kind to the league’s reigning champs, as they have lost two matches by a combined scoreline of 7-2. In both matches, NYRBII scored first, then conceded goals, five of which were scored in the second half. The Baby Bulls host a struggling Ottawa Fury this weekend and will attempt to reverse the fortunes of this past week.
11 (14). Bethlehem Steel FC (1093)
A goal from Cory Burke in the eighth minute lifted Bethlehem to a 1-0 win over Toronto FC II on Saturday. All of Steel’s wins this year has been in the form of clean sheets.
12 (9). Ottawa Fury FC (1091)
Only Richmond and Toronto FC II have scored fewer goals than Ottawa this year. Fury were held goalless for the fourth time this season in a 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
13 (7). FC Cincinnati (1090)
The sluggish start to the season for FC Cincinnati continues, as they fall 2-0 to Orlando City B at home. That result marks the first time in FC Cincinnati’s history that they have been shutout at Nippert Stadium in USL play.
14 (14). Richmond Kickers (1086)
A nil-nil draw against Harrisburg sees Richmond climb out of last place this week. A crucial three match road trip to Rochester and the Canadian clubs over the next two weeks will put the Kickers to the test.
15 (12). Toronto FC II (1083)
Suffering a fifth straight goalless match this past week, Toronto FC II has struggled to find wins. With nearly two months elapsed since their last win (1-0 vs Phoenix Rising FC on March 25th), the Ontario outfit will continue to languish in the cellar unless they can start scoring.
Week Nine Matches
Friday, May 19th
#12 Toronto FC II (1083) v #2 Tampa Bay Rowdies (1118)
Saturday, May 20th
#10 New York Red Bulls II (1094) v #12 Ottawa Fury FC (1091)
#13 FC Cincinnati (1090) v #11 Bethlehem Steel FC (1093)
#10 Harrisburg City Islanders (1096) v #1 Charleston Battery (1130)
#5 Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1104) v #3 Louisville City (1112)
Sunday, May 20th
#4 Rochester Rhinos (1105) v #14 Richmond Kickers (1086)
Bye Week: Orlando City B (1104), Saint Louis FC (1098), Charlotte Independence (1097)
Orlando B, Pittsburgh, and Charlotte earn the biggest gains this week, each taking a crucial victory to move up in our rankings. At the other end, FC Cincinnati, Toronto FC II, NYRB II and Ottawa all faced a drops in ratings. With more clubs suffering drops in rankings, the gap from the leaders continues to grow with each passing week.
Charleston spend another week in #1 of our rankings, as Tampa and Louisville switch places behind them. The lead pack of the East continues to exert their dominance over the rest of the conference, can anyone outside the top three potentially crash the party?
With a quarter of the season completed, which club has had the best start to the season? Which club has had the most disappointing start? Is there any club that you think is over or underrated? Let us know in the comments below!