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USL Western Conference Strength of Schedule Points Predictions - Week 23

A new number three rises as the fight for playoffs continues

Vancouver Whitecaps II v Phoenix Rising FC Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

It was a wild week in the West with quite a few upsets all over the table. This week saw every team that entered ranked between 3rd and 12th place moving rakings, as the season is down to about one month to play. The big battle is still the fight for the 3rd seed, as Reno has now passed Swope Park thanks to an opening minute PK victory. Avoiding playing a Real Monarch’s side for as long as possible looks to be a key to success.

Near the middle of the pack, the tables were turned as Phoenix broke out of a slump and Orange County continued to struggle, sliding down the table.

1 (Last Week – 1) Real Monarchs SLC (73.6)

2 (2) San Antonio FC (63.9)

3 (4) Reno 1868 FC (60.5)

4 (3) Swope Park Rangers (56.3)

5 (7) Phoenix Rising (50.7)

6 (5) Tulsa Roughnecks (49.5)

7 (6) Sacramento Republic (48.4)

8 (9) Oklahoma City Energy (44.8)

9 (10) Colorado Springs Switchbacks (42.0)

10 (8) Orange County SC (40.9)

11 (12) Seattle Sounders 2 (37.5)

12 (11) Rio Grande Valley Toros (37.2)

13 (13) Los Angeles Galaxy II (31.5)

14 (14) Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (30.0)

15 (15) Portland Timbers 2 (12.8)

After Reno managed to hunt down Swope Park thanks to a head to head victory the Nevada side will also look to catch San Antonio. This would be a major turning point in the playoff battle due to the two teams having a combined 14-1-10 at home. Two home games will be huge for either club.

With the hunt for the final playoff spots heating up, upcoming schedule is looming for most teams. Orange County takes home the most difficult end to the season out of the entire league. Meanwhile, Phoenix and Tulsa are looking forward to some of the easiest finishes to the season.

Hardest average opponent finish to season (West teams only):

Orange County SC (1.568 points gained/game)

Los Angeles Galaxy II (1.519 points gained/game)

Seattle Sounders 2 (1.500 points gained/game)

Easiest average opponent finish to season (West teams only):

Phoenix Rising (1.190 points gained/game)

Tulsa Roughnecks (1.192 points gained/game)

Reno 1868 FC (1.278 points gained/game)

Will anyone be able to take advantage of an easy finish to the season? Will any clubs break under the pressure of a tough ending to the season or will the rise to the challenge? Let us know your predictions in the comments!