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USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 9

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 08/24/20, 2:34PM EDT

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Orange County, Tampa Bay hold steady at the top of this week’s rankings

TAMPA, Fla. – Three undefeated teams remain at the midway point of the 2020 Championship season, so it’s only appropriate that those three teams meet at the top of this week’s Power Rankings.

Perhaps more importantly though, the playoffs are now coming into view as some of the top clubs in each group jostle for postseason positioning. Take for example New Mexico United, which had a great week in Utah to extend its lead to 14 points on the two clubs below the playoff line in Group C. With two victories against the Monarchs, and the continued lack of wins for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, United’s magic number is already down to 14 to clinch its second consecutive playoff berth.

Or how about those Rowdies? Even with Miami FC claiming its first victory of the season on Sunday night, Tampa Bay’s magic number is at 15 with seven games to go in the regular season. There are some playoff races that are going to come down to the wire, for sure, but there are a select group of elite clubs that are already looking like locks.

Here’s where we stand this week. As always, feel free to come and yell at me on Twitter if you’d like (@NJEMurray).

Atlanta United 2 Austin Bold FC Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC
Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven LA Galaxy II Las Vegas Lights FC Loudoun United FC Louisville City FC Memphis 901 FC
The Miami FC New Mexico United New York Red Bulls II North Carolina FC OKC Energy FC Orange County SC Philadelphia Union II
Phoenix Rising FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Portland Timbers 2 Real Monarchs SLC Reno 1868 FC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC
Saint Louis FC San Antonio FC San Diego Loyal SC Sporting KC II Tacoma Defiance Tampa Bay Rowdies FC Tulsa

Biggest Movers

Rank

 

Team

Change

Summary

1 Orange County SC
(4-0-2)
Week 10: @LV, SD

Last Week:
1
A four-game winning streak combined with Phoenix dropping points in Las Vegas means OCSC has the games in hand it needs to claim top spot in Group B. They’ll want to avoid a similar fate to Rising FC in Tuesday’s trip to Las Vegas.
2 Tampa Bay Rowdies
(6-0-3)
Week 10: @CHS

Last Week:
2
The Rowdies continue to roll along in Group H, and with their next two games against Charleston and Miami they could rapidly close in on a postseason berth with the right results.
3 San Antonio FC
(6-0-3)
Week 10: @RGV
2
Last Week:
5
Back-to-back shutout victories against Group D’s two Oklahoma sides has extended SAFC’s cushion to 10 points at the top of the standings, an ideal position with more than half the schedule complete.
4 Indy Eleven
(6-2-1)
Week 10: @LOU

Last Week:
4
Indy’s week off has it set up for two consecutive midweek meetings with Louisville City FC, the first of which arrives on Wednesday night at Lynn Family Stadium.
5 Phoenix Rising FC
(6-1-2)
Week 10: @RNO
2
Last Week:
3
You can quibble about stoppage time, but that wasn’t very convincing defending in a game that should have been wrapped up long before the clock struck 90.
6 New Mexico United
(6-2-1)
Week 10: @COS
2
Last Week:
8
Back-to-back victories on the road against the defending champions was an outstanding week of work, tilting the standings in United’s favor when it comes to the playoffs.
7 Sacramento Republic FC
(5-1-3)
Week 10: --

Last Week:
7
Don’t look now, but Sacramento is on a four-game winning streak, even if it did have to come from behind against Portland on Saturday night.
8 Birmingham Legion FC
(5-1-3)
Week 10: @CLT
2
Last Week:
6
Grabbing a point at the death against Memphis was a nice late boost, especially when the group’s other two sides suffered defeats of their own.
9 Reno 1868 FC
(6-2-0)
Week 10: PHX
2
Last Week:
11
Reno is starting to roll in attack again, and it’s going to need to in order to hold onto first place with the way Sacramento is going right now.
10 Hartford Athletic
(5-1-1)
Week 10: PIT
1
Last Week:
9
Welcome to the Championship, Markus Naglestad. What a way to introduce yourself to the Dillon Stadium fans to get a point on the board against Loudoun.
11 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
(5-3-1)
Week 10: @HFD
1
Last Week:
10
One of Hounds Head Coach Bob Lilley’s former charges in Wal Fall came back to haunt him on Saturday, but thanks to Hartford’s draw there’s no real damage done for the Hounds.
12 Saint Louis FC
(4-3-2)
Week 10: LOU
1
Last Week:
13
Rallying back to earn a point on the road in Pittsburgh was a strong result for STLFC, but now it’s got to come through against LouCity again if it’s going to hold onto second place in Group E.
13 Charleston Battery
(4-2-2)
Week 10: MIA, TBR
4
Last Week:
17
There’s nothing like handing a thumping to one of your biggest rivals to boost the confidence. The Battery are going to need it, too, ahead of a two-game week against Miami and Tampa Bay.
14 Austin Bold FC
(3-2-2)
Week 10: @COS, @OKC
5
Last Week:
19
Austin first rallied back for a point against Tulsa and then moved into second place with victory on the road against Rio Grande Valley FC. It feels like the pieces are starting to fit together for Head Coach Marcelo Serrano.
15 Louisville City FC
(4-3-1)
Week 10: IND, @STL
3
Last Week:
18
Back-to-back victories have LouCity back into position to claim a playoff spot, but the big litmus test comes this week with games against rivals Indy Eleven (Wednesday) and Saint Louis FC (Saturday).
16 FC Tulsa
(2-1-4)
Week 10: SKC
4
Last Week:
12
FC Tulsa let its lead slip twice against Austin, and then suffered defeat to San Antonio to see its undefeated record come to an end. Three games without a win, a visit from Sporting Kansas City II is going to be no picnic either.
17 El Paso Locomotive FC
(3-2-3)
Week 10: SLC
3
Last Week:
14
Dour might be an understatement for that performance by El Paso, but it got the job done in maintaining distance from the two teams below the playoff line in Group C.
18 San Diego Loyal SC
(3-4-2)
Week 10: @OC
3
Last Week:
15
At least the scoreless streak came to an end against Reno, but 1868 FC showed their hosts what it means to be clinical in front of goal to hand SD Loyal its third consecutive loss.
19 Sporting KC II
(3-5-1)
Week 10: @TUL
3
Last Week:
22
SKC II’s playoff chances were reduced further by its midweek loss in Louisville, but you’ve got to love the response to come home and hand out a 3-0 pasting to OKC Energy FC on Saturday night.
20 North Carolina FC
(2-3-1)
Week 10: @CLT, MEM
4
Last Week:
16
The bad news for NCFC? No Southern Derby Cup for you this season. The good news, no-one else in the group took victory, so there’s opportunity at hand in its meeting with Charlotte on Wednesday.
21 Charlotte Independence
(2-2-3)
Week 10: NC, BHM
1
Last Week:
20
The Independence would have loved to hold on in Miami, but this week the fates weren’t with them. At least that loss was out of the group, because Wednesday’s game with NCFC is going to be a crucial one.
22 The Miami FC
(1-3-2)
Week 10: @CHS
9
Last Week:
31
There might have been an element of good fortune about how it arrived, but Miami’s finally in the win column and is on a three-game undefeated streak. Wednesday in Charleston, the playoff push must continue.
23 Las Vegas Lights FC
(1-3-2)
Week 10: OC, @LA
9
Last Week:
32
It’s probably too late to salvage the playoff hopes of Lights FC, but Blake Frischknecht sure has made a quick impact up front in a four-point week for Las Vegas.
24 Real Monarchs SLC
(1-5-1)
Week 10: @ELP
1
Last Week:
23
That was by far the worst-case scenario for the Monarchs against New Mexico. Now the defending champion has to make up eight points to second-placed El Paso in nine remaining games.
25 Memphis 901 FC
(1-4-3)
Week 10: @NC
2
Last Week:
27
If you’d offered Memphis a point in Birmingham before the game began, it might have taken it. To lose out on all three in the manner it did was a really tough blow.
26 LA Galaxy II
(3-3-0)
Week 10: @POR, LV
5
Last Week:
21
Defeats to the top two teams in the group were a serious blow to Los Dos’ playoff aspirations. They’re going to need to come back stronger Wednesday night against the winless Timbers 2.
27 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
(1-4-2)
Week 10: ATX, NM
1
Last Week:
26
The Switchbacks just didn’t quite produce enough to earn a victory against El Paso on Saturday night, which means the uphill climb to the playoffs got a fraction steeper in the process.
28 Tacoma Defiance
(2-5-1)
Week 10: @POR
4
Last Week:
24
Losing against Las Vegas while seeing both Reno and Sacramento take victory might have ended Defiance’s hopes of a playoff place. There’s still a lot of potential entertainment to come from these guys, though.
29 Philadelphia Union II
(1-4-1)
Week 10: --
1
Last Week:
28
The Union II already had seven games slated between September 2 and October 3. They’re going to be even more busy in the final month of the season now.
30 Loudoun United FC
(1-4-2)
Week 10: NY

Last Week:
30
Loudoun was on its way to becoming the first team to win at Dillon Stadium this year until two late, great goals ended those hopes. Still, there were positives to build on at least.
31 OKC Energy FC
(1-5-3)
Week 10: ATX
6
Last Week:
25
Two defeats, seven goals conceded, numerous chances missed. What a rotten week for Energy FC.
32 Atlanta United 2
(1-7-3)
Week 10: --
3
Last Week:
29
Tampa Bay’s win on Saturday effectively put the Rowdies out of reach of Atlanta with five games to go. They’re going to have to hope for a lot of draws between Miami and Charleston to have a shot at the second playoff place.
33 New York Red Bulls II
(2-6-0)
Week 10: @LDN

Last Week:
33
The Red Bulls II’s next three games could define their season. If they don’t find a way to win two out of three against Loudoun, Hartford and Pittsburgh, the playoff streak is likely over.
34 Rio Grande Valley FC
(0-6-3)
Week 10: SA

Last Week:
34
The Toros battled back valiantly against Austin, but it still wasn’t enough to earn a first victory of the season.
35 Portland Timbers 2
(0-7-0)
Week 10: LA, TAC

Last Week:
35
There was hope for a while when T2 took the lead in Sacramento. Then Republic FC responded with a pair of goals, and Portland remained empty-handed this season.

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