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USL Western Conference Power Rankings - Week 16

An exciting week of USL action led to some fun movement in our rankings today.

This week started with an absolute blowout for Reno that set the pace for a very entertaining week of soccer. Colorado Springs came back from a 0-2 deficit at the half, Drogba had a stunning last-minute game winner, Swope Park and the Monarchs continued to roll, and in the final match Los Dos came from behind 0-2 to win. All that excitement caused the Power Ranking stayed very fluid near the middle of the table.

1 (Last Week – 1) Real Monarchs SLC (1167)

Coming off of a loss, the Monarchs returned to their regular dominant form taking home six points this week. If this is the form that the Monarchs will keep for the rest of the year, they will be virtually impossible to catch.

2 (2) San Antonio FC (1150)

A bye week saw San Antonio lose ground to the Monarchs, but they now have to deal with the surging Swope Park and Reno sides that are gunning for the second place spot.

3 (3) Swope Park Rangers (1131)

Don’t look now, but last year’s Western Conference playoff winners are back. They have won four in a row and are undefeated in their last seven matches. With two matches in the upcoming week, the Rangers have potential to challenge for a top two spot.

4 (4) Reno 1868 FC (1125)

A record setting dismantling of Los Dos was yet another high point for Reno. A team of constant ups and downs, they have either scored or allowed at least four goals in six of fifteen matches this season. If they have straightened out, they should easily hold a top four spot for the remainder of the season

5 (5) Sacramento Republic (1109)

It was a bye week, but it will feel like a loss as Sacramento lost one of their top players in Danny Barrera for at least 12 weeks after surgery on a foot fracture. This week is yet another bye week and Paul Buckle will likely need to spend it figuring out how to move forward without his team’s captain.

6 (7) Tulsa Roughnecks (1107)

The Roughnecks followed up an upset win against the Monarchs with a win against regional rival Oklahoma City, who swept them over three games last season. If this is the Tulsa squad we will see for the remainder of the season, they will likely earn their first playoff berth.

7 (8) Orange County SC (1098)

It was a shorthanded squad due to some suspensions, but Orange County almost became the first team to take all the points from a Phoenix team fielding Drogba. OC will need to hold steady through this run of games down critical players if they want to have a shot at playoffs.

8 (6) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1094)

The Toros continue to struggle after getting blown out by Swope Park for their seventh loss of the season, which equals their total number of losses from their 2016 campaign where they burst onto the scene. They need to right the ship quickly or they will fade from the playoff picture entirely.

9 (11) Phoenix Rising (1094)

A goal in the dying moments saved a point for a Phoenix team that has yet to lose in a match that Drogba plays. That being said, they have only won one of those five matches. A statement win is needed soon to prove that Phoenix is a major threat.

10 (9) Seattle Sounders 2 (1090)

Seattle has now allowed three or more goals in seven of seventeen matches this year. If they can improve their back line they could be a dangerous club as they have only been shut out three times on the season.

11 (12) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1085)

The Switchbacks pulled off a come from behind draw to salvage a point in the final game of their home stand, but consistency is a major problem for this team. If the Switchbacks can play more like the team who beat the Monarchs and San Antonio, they will go far. If they don’t, they will need luck to make playoffs.

12 (10) Oklahoma City Energy (1085)

The Energy, now winless in their last four games with ten goals conceded, look like a shell of their 2016 selves at this point. The team which allowed only one goal per game last season is giving up 1.56 per match this season, and it is causing massive problems.

13 (13) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1080)

The Whitecaps were hoping to replicate their early 2016 play which saw them rocket to the top of the table, but they are looking more like the club who limped into the post season. Without a point buffer to build on, it will mean doom for the Canadian club unless things get better soon.

14 (14) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1058)

After suffering a stunningly bad 0-9 loss in Reno, Los Dos quickly fell behind in Portland before recovering to win 4-3. The season seems to be a loss at this point, but there is enough talent for Los Dos to play spoiler for some playoff hopefuls.

15 (15) Portland Timbers 2 (1032)

It looked like the Timbers were on their way to a second win after going up 2-0 in the first third of the match against Los Dos, but then the Timbers side we have seen time and time again showed up and they allowed four unanswered goals to drop another game.

Next Week:

#13 Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1080) v #3 Swope Park Rangers (1131)

#14 Los Angeles Galaxy II (1058) v #6 Tulsa Roughnecks (1107)

#2 San Antonio FC (1150) v #11 Oklahoma City Energy (1085)

#13 Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1080) v #4 Reno 1868 FC (1125)

#9 Phoenix Rising (1094) v #12 Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1085)

#15 Portland Timbers 2 (1032) v #3 Swope Park Rangers (1131)

#10 Seattle Sounders 2 (1090) v #7 Orange County SC (1098)

Bye Week: #1 Real Monarchs SLC (1167), #5 Sacramento Republic (1109), #8 Rio Grande Valley Toros (1094)

Thoughts:

Although there’s a lot of interesting stuff here, the top of the rankings is particularly intriguing. While the Monarchs start to pull away, a red hot Swope Park and Reno have the potential to challenge San Antonio for the second Elo ranking, especially if San Antonio stumbles at any point down the road.

Another point of interest if Phoenix still having problems gaining ground in the Elo ranks, despite playing well and having no disastrous results. This is likely a symptom of draws against the top teams, which do not have a large impact on Elo rankings. The following weeks will be a good chance for them to make a run to the top teams in the Elo table.

Do you think one of the up and coming teams will catch San Antonio? Who will be the next team to break out of the middle of the table pack? Let us know in the comments!