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USL Eastern Conference Power Rankings - Week 13

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There’s a new leader at the top as the top four clubs break away from the rest of the conference.

A new leader tops our power rankings, and with June drawing to a close, it is key for clubs to start building their playoff runs now. The top four continue to build a gap from the rest of the conference, leaving many spots up in the air for the rest of the East.

You can find last week’s rankings here, and an explanation of the methodology here.

Below are the rankings as of June 18th, 2017 (last week’s rating is in parentheses).

East Rankings

1 (Last Week- 2). Louisville City (1140)

After four shutout wins in its last five matches, Louisville have made a strong case as the hottest club in the East and have earned the top spot in our rankings this week. Having outscored opponents 12-4 in the last five matches, Louisville look like the club to beat in the Eastern Conference.

2 (1). Charleston Battery (1137)

The Battery stretched its scoring streak to a fourteenth match after a 2-2 draw against FC Cincinnati. Having lost its rankings lead, the Battery are faced with a big three match home stand that features Louisville and Tampa both making trips to MUSC Health Stadium.

3 (3). Tampa Bay Rowdies (1123)

After a fourth consecutive draw, this week against Richmond, have the Rowdies hot start cooled off? Tampa begin a two match road trip this week, with a massive match against fellow top four club, Charleston Battery, looming in July.

4 (4). Rochester Rhinos (1118)

An eighth straight match unbeaten for the Rhinos, with three shutouts in that time. After losing 5-0 at Charleston in April, Rochester have gone on a run in the past two months, making them a strong competitor for being among the best clubs in the conference.

5 (6). Charlotte Independence (1108)

After many weeks, Charlotte finally opened their new stadium at Matthews Sportsplex in impressive fashion, posting a 2-0 win over Harrisburg. The Independence have now earned points in five of their last six matches.

6 (5). Ottawa Fury FC (1104)

Their neighbors across the border might have ended their four match unbeaten streak, but Fury remain a very tough club in the Eastern Conference. Two home matches against struggling clubs might see another unbeaten run begin for Ottawa.

7 (9). Bethlehem Steel FC (1103)

After posting their first win in club history over NYRB II, Bethlehem’s Elo rating has moved above the average for the first time this season. Steel will finish their three match road trip with an in-state battle versus Harrisburg on Tuesday night.

8 (8). Saint Louis FC (1099)

Saint Louis FC hold on to the eighth spot in our power rankings after a bye week. The Missouri club will take a trip to Nippert Stadium this week, looking to avenge their last loss, which saw Cincinnati’s Djiby Fall score four goals.

9 (7). Orlando City B (1096)

A matinee match in Canada sees Orlando City B fall to rankings cellar dweller, Toronto FC II. With two matches in four days this week, it is crucial for the Baby Lions to regain momentum and post good results against top half clubs, Rochester and Ottawa.

10 (11). FC Cincinnati (1092)

A draw with then conference leaders Charleston this past weekend has confidence rising for FC Cincinnati. With the combined pairing of Djiby Fall and Danni Konig up front responsible for 10 of the club’s 15 goals, things are looking up for the Ohio side.

11 (9). Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1087)

A tough outing this week in a match that was dominated by their opponents, as Pittsburgh’s winless streak stretched to a fifth straight match, with only two goals in that time. The Riverhounds host two top five opponents, Tampa and Charlotte, to close out the month.

12 (12). New York Red Bulls II (1079)

While we’ve established that this year has seen a regression for the defending champs, but being in the bottom four of the conference is worse than expected. NYRB II was shutout for the third time this season on Friday as they lost to Bethlehem for the first time in club history. Last year’s champion Baby Bulls were only shutout twice all last season.

13 (13). Harrisburg City Islanders (1078)

Harrisburg was shutout for the second week in a row, the first time it’s happened in consecutive matches. Without a win since April, the City Islanders will look to take advantage of being at home for the rest of June to earn three points.

14 (14). Richmond Kickers (1072)

The Kickers ended a three match losing skid with a surprising draw with top four club Tampa Bay. In his first appearance, it was Franck Tayou with the goal in stoppage time that rescued a point for Richmond.

15 (15). Toronto FC II (1066)

In a midweek bout vs Orlando City B, Toronto FC II recorded their first win since March 25th, and have now scored a goal in consecutive matches for the first time this season.

Week Fourteen Matches

Tuesday, June 20

#6 Ottawa Fury FC (1104) v #9 Orlando City B (1096)

#13 Harrisburg City Islanders (1078) v #7 Bethlehem Steel FC (1103)

Thursday, June 22

#11 Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1087) v #3 Tampa Bay Rowdies (1123)

Friday, June 23

#4 Rochester Rhinos (1118) v #9 Orlando City B (1096)

Saturday, June 24

#6 Ottawa Fury FC (1104) v #12 New York Red Bulls II (1079)

#2 Charleston Battery (1137) v #15 Toronto FC II (1066)

#10 FC Cincinnati (1092) v #8 Saint Louis FC (1099)

#13 Harrisburg City Islanders (1078) v #1 Louisville City (1140)

#14 Richmond Kickers (1072) v #5 Charlotte Independence (1108)

Thoughts

Louisville’s recent form of good matches has paid off with the top spot in our rankings this week. Averaging 2.4 goals over their last five matches, Louisville appears ready for another trip to playoffs and beyond. Charleston remains hot the leaders’ heels, making the race for the top a competitive one for the coming weeks.

Tampa Bay and Rochester round out the top four and have grown a gap from the rest of the conference. Last year saw three clubs breakaway from the pack, is the Eastern Conference falling back into their top heavy ways with the current top four clubs?

What are your thoughts on this week’s rankings? Will it be Louisville or Charleston sit atop our rankings at the end of the year, or will another team crash the party at the top? Let us know in the comments below!