A busy week in the Eastern Conference sees two top-three clubs lose, and lots of movement in the middle of the pack. With June approaching, many clubs are positioning themselves for sustained successful runs through the summer.
Below are the rankings through May 28th, 2017 (last week’s ranking is in parentheses).
1 (Last Week- 1). Charleston Battery (1133)
Despite seeing their seven match unbeaten run end after a loss to NYRB II on Sunday, the Battery still sit in commanding lead atop the conference.
2 (2). Tampa Bay Rowdies (1122)
Neill Collins scored in 87th minute to rescue a point for the Rowdies vs Saint Louis FC. Tampa Bay travel north to face the red hot Charlotte Independence on Sunday.
3 (3). Louisville City (1118)
A bye week will have stood to benefit Louisville, who take a crucial road trip to face the conference leaders, Charleston Battery, in a match that could shift power at the top.
4 (4). Rochester Rhinos (1108)
A big shutout win over Tampa Bay sees Rochester maintain their fourth spot in our rankings. The Rhinos put their four match unbeaten streak on the line as FC Cincinnati takes a trip to Western New York this weekend.
5 (8). Charlotte Independence (1106)
Charlotte has scored opponents 8-2 in the past two matches. An argument can be made that this is one of the hottest clubs in the East over the past couple matches. A true litmus awaits this week as the Rowdies visit Eagle Field on Sunday.
6 (8). Ottawa Fury FC (1103)
After only one win in the first seven matches, Ottawa has notched two consecutive wins. Fury have scored nine goals in the past two victories, more goals than they had scored in those first seven matches.
T7 (6). Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1099)
After a nil-nil midweek draw against Keystone Cup rival, Harrisburg, the Riverhounds have gone two matches in a row without a goal, after finding the back of the net in each of the past seven matches. Pittsburgh will look to jump-start their offense with a bout versus Orlando City B on Saturday.
T7 (6). Saint Louis FC (1099)
A late Rowdies goal robbed Saint Louis of three points on Saturday, has the Missouri club’s winless streak grows to a fifth straight match. A fixture against Toronto FC II provides the perfect chance to help turnaround in recent misfortunes.
9 (11). FC Cincinnati (1098)
Danni Konig scored his third goal with FC Cincinnati this year, as FCC went on to defeat Toronto FC II, 1-0, on Saturday. Riding a two match win streak, Cincinnati will look to extend that streak with a match against Rochester this weekend.
10 (4). Orlando City B (1095)
Orlando City B take the biggest fall of the Eastern Conference this week, dropping six spots, and below the average rating. After scoring first, the Baby Lions gave up three goals to Charlotte en route to a home loss. A trip to Pittsburgh awaits Orlando City B this weekend.
11 (13). New York Red Bulls II (1092)
After win over the conference leaders, Charleston, on Sunday, New York Red Bulls II halted a three match losing run. An Eastern Conference finals rematch versus Louisville City looms in two weeks.
12 (12). Bethlehem Steel FC (1089)
A shutout loss to Charleston Thursday afternoon, coupled with a 3-1 win over Harrisburg on Sunday make a for a busy week for Bethlehem. Steel finish out a three match, hosting Ottawa Fury on Sunday.
13 (10). Harrisburg City Islanders (1088)
A break could not have come at better time for Harrisburg, who are in the middle of a seven match winless run. The City Islanders should use this week to regroup, before embarking on a two match road trip.
14 (14). Richmond Kickers (1082)
Despite a hat trick from Alhaji Kamara, Richmond fell 5-3 on the road to Ottawa this week. The Kickers have now gone over a month (April 22nd vs Pittsburgh) since their last win.
15 (15). Toronto FC II (1069)
Toronto FC II have now failed to score in eight of their last eleven matches, including four of their last five. TFC II appear to be in free fall, as they sit far behind the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Week Eleven Matches
Friday June 2, 2017
#7 Saint Louis FC (1099) v #15 Toronto FC II (1069)
Saturday June 3, 2017
#4 Rochester Rhinos (1108) v #9 FC Cincinnati (1098)
#1 Charleston Battery (1133) v #3 Louisville City (1118)
#7 Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1099) v #10 Orlando City B (1095)
#14 Richmond Kickers (1082) v #11 New York Red Bulls II (1092)
Sunday June 4, 2017
#12 Bethlehem Steel FC (1089) v #6 Ottawa Fury FC (1103)
#5 Charlotte Independence (1106) v #2 Tampa Bay Rowdies (1122)
Bye Week: Harrisburg City Islanders (1088)
Charleston and Tampa Bay both maintain their top two spots in the rankings despite their losses this week. Charlotte and Ottawa have the biggest gains of the week, as the East continues to be increasingly top heavy, with only six clubs find themselves above the average.
Orlando City B dropped six spots this week, showing how close together the clubs in the middle of the pack are, making each win that more important. Only 11 rating points separate the 7th and 13th clubs in the rankings, with lots of movement possible from just a few results.
With May drawing to a close, what are your thoughts on the Eastern Conference? What clubs are you watching through the summer months? Let us know in the comments below!