A wild week in the West saw the Monarchs and San Antonio fail to take home wins, a wild game with three red cards in the final minutes, and a new number three team in the rankings.
1 (Last Week – 1) Real Monarchs SLC (1156)
The undefeated win for the Monarchs came to a halt this week as did their streak of scoring in each of their first fourteen matches. They return home this week for two games as they try to get back on track.
2 (2) San Antonio FC (1150)
San Antonio played to a draw in Sacramento to keep a hold on their spot as the second best team in the Elo rankings. They will need to wait a week to get another chance of passing the Monarchs without help from other teams, but they also must keep an eye on the surging Rangers.
3 (4) Swope Park Rangers (1124)
Swope Park grabbed two wins early in the week and are now on a six game undefeated run, including three straight victories. If the Rangers are back in their late 2016 form, everyone in the West should look out.
4 (3) Reno 1868 FC (1116)
Reno held Phoenix to scoreless for the first time since the addition of Drogba, but were unable to take home the victory, earning only a point at home. They will need to return to producing strong results in order to catch back up to the Rangers.
5 (5) Sacramento Republic (1109)
Only getting a home draw against San Antonio will feel disappointing after sending a large number of shots off target, but it leaves Republic a top five Elo side as they start a three week run with no USL play.
6 (9) Rio Grande Valley Toros (1101)
A second half PK was enough to propel the Toros to their first road win in four matches as they also ended a streak of five games where they allowed a goal. A visit to Swope Park will be a major measuring stick for if they have turned the corner.
7 (7) Tulsa Roughnecks (1101)
Tulsa dropped an early week game to Swope Park, but put together an impressive performance as they became the first team in the 2017 season to beat the Monarchs. If Tulsa can consistently play with that form they will work their way back in playoff contention.
8 (6) Orange County SC (1099)
In a chaotic endgame, Orange County managed to salvage a draw against Portland, but the draw still sent them back below the 1100 mark. The southern California team continues to have an up and down season, making them an unpredictable element.
9 (13) Seattle Sounders 2 (1096)
Seattle is clicking offensively as they now have multiple goals in five of their last six matches. If their defense can step up and play as they did against Vancouver, they will turn into a more consistent threat in the West.
10 (8) Oklahoma City Energy (1096)
In a wild week, the Energy got a break from action. Unfortunately for them, they got passed by multiple teams in the table after a week of upsets.
11 (11) Phoenix Rising (1093)
Phoenix ended the four game unbeaten run of Reno in a shutout draw as they have taken three straight draws against teams all in the top four of the Elo rankings. With a run of games against the middle of the pack up next, Phoenix will have a chance at moving up the table.
12 (10) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1086)
The Switchbacks were shut out for only the second time this season as they fell at home on a late PK. They will need to get back on track by avenging an early season loss to Vancouver or they will risk dropping out of the playoff picture.
13 (12) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1079)
The winless streak for Vancouver extended to four games as they were shutout by Seattle at home. Time is starting to run out for Vancouver to have any chance to make the playoffs — barring a run like the one they had to start the 2016 season.
14 (14) Los Angeles Galaxy II (1062)
Los Dos didn’t look horrible, but they dropped another game and have now lost five of six matches. Unless something changes soon, the Galaxy will miss the USL playoffs for the first time in team history.
15 (15) Portland Timbers 2 (1035)
The losing streak ended at six matches, but this will feel like points lost as Portland squandered a one goal lead with a 10v9 player advantage late. At this point T2’s only chance to impact the playoffs is how they perform against the teams on the playoff bubble.
#4 Reno 1868 FC (1116) v #14 Los Angeles Galaxy II (1062)
#1 Real Monarchs SLC (1156) v #10 Oklahoma City Energy (1096)
#12 Colorado Springs Switchbacks (1086) v #13 Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (1079)
#8 Orange County SC (1099) v #11 Phoenix Rising (1093)
#10 Oklahoma City Energy (1096) v #7 Tulsa Roughnecks (1101)
#3 Swope Park Rangers (1124) v #6 Rio Grande Valley Toros (1101)
#1 Real Monarchs SLC (1156) v #9 Seattle Sounders 2 (1096)
#15 Portland Timbers 2 (1037) v #14 Los Angeles Galaxy II (1062)
Bye Week: #2 San Antonio FC (1150), #5 Sacramento Republic (1109)
With missteps at the very top of the table, Swope Park appears to be making a run at catching the lead pack as both the Monarchs and San Antonio are slowing down a bit after a start for both teams which will likely remain in their record books for seasons to come.
At the middle of the table, everything continues to change each week as teams are rising and falling on a weekly basis, with no clear sign of it coming to a close any time soon. With half of the season done for some teams, nearly any squad could make a run to compete in the top five if they get hot, but the end of the season is starting to loom.
Which teams do you think will continue their run? Let us know in the comments below!