skip navigation

USL Championship Power Rankings – Week 12

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 09/14/20, 5:45PM EDT

Share

Late drama produced key changes in the race to the playoffs throughout the Western Conference

TAMPA, Fla. –  By now, you’ve heard the phrase: “Goals change Games”.

It’s undeniably true. But it’s also true that there are some games where goals change not just games, but also entire playoff pictures in the blink of an eye.

Take El Paso Locomotive FC’s late winner against San Antonio FC, for example. Yes, it was a big moment because it knocked SAFC from the ranks of the undefeated, but it was even bigger because El Paso now still holds a slim edge on New Mexico United in the race for first place in Group C thanks to its game in hand. Now we’ve got a potential winner-takes-all matchup coming on September 26, and who doesn’t love those?

If you want to go even bigger picture, we can go to Reno 1868 FC and its late equalizer against Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night. Yes, thanks to the 3-3 draw, Reno got to stay on top of the Group A standings, and with a game in hand remains favored to finish there in the end. But there was an even bigger element to it as well, because now Reno – not Sacramento – has the most potential points available to it in the Western Conference.

Can 1868 FC make the road to the Western Conference title go through Greater Nevada Field? Thanks to Aidan Apodaca, it’s got that chance.

Here’s where we stand overall 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 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
(9-3-1)
Week 13: @LDN
2
Last Week:
3
The Hounds are the first team in. You can make criticisms of the teams they’re up against in Group F, but not with the efficiency with which Pittsburgh is disposing of them on its way to the group title.
2 Louisville City FC
(7-3-2)
Week 13: @IND, MEM
3
Last Week:
5
We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we? LouCity is undefeated in its last seven (5-0-2) as its late-season afterburners have clicked in. Win on Wednesday against Indy and first place will be close to theirs.
3 Phoenix Rising FC
(8-2-2)
Week 13: SD
3
Last Week:
6
Seeing Reno, Sacramento and San Antonio drop points after taking victory on Friday night was great for Rising FC. They’re now closer to homefield advantage in the Western Conference, and no-one has enjoyed a visit to Casino Arizona Field so far this season.
4 El Paso Locomotive FC
(6-2-3)
Week 13: COS, SLC
5
Last Week:
9
Locomotive FC still just has the inside track on first place in Group C after Saturday’s dramatic victory against San Antonio. It might all come down to its last meeting with New Mexico United next weekend.
5 San Antonio FC
(8-1-3)
Week 13: ATX, OKC
4
Last Week:
1
San Antonio is going to cruise to first place in a group where no-one else apparently wants to win, but it’s going to be gutted to not have held on for a draw in El Paso.
6 Reno 1868 FC
(8-2-1)
Week 13: TAC, @POR
4
Last Week:
2
Reno’s going to be busy with five games in the final three weeks, but the only game it won’t be favored heavily to win is its last meeting with Sacramento on September 26. The top seed is there for the taking.
7 New Mexico United
(7-3-2)
Week 13: COS
3
Last Week:
10
New Mexico looked in control during its third win at Zions Bank Stadium this season, and now it could clinch a playoff spot in front of its “home” fans against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC this weekend.
8 Charleston Battery
(7-2-3)
Week 13: MIA
3
Last Week:
11
The Battery continue to do remarkable things. One win while making the Rowdies look less than great might have been something you could chalk off to a bad night for the visitors. Two of those means the Battery are doing something very good indeed.
9 Charlotte Independence
(6-3-3)
Week 13: @NC
3
Last Week:
12
With three wins in a row the Independence are now arguably favorites to finish on top of Group G. With a visit to North Carolina FC on Saturday, they could quickly move within reach of a playoff return.
10 Tampa Bay Rowdies
(8-2-3)
Week 13: @ATL
6
Last Week:
4
The Rowdies have looked good against most opponents this season, but now they’re under pressure from Charleston for first place after back-to-back losses at Patriots Point. That final meeting at Al Lang Stadium is starting to look huge.
11 Sacramento Republic FC
(7-1-4)
Week 13: TAC
4
Last Week:
7
Sacramento almost had the game put away against Reno until conceding a late equalizer. That could end up costing Republic FC first place in the group, and a likely visit to Phoenix to start the postseason.
12 San Diego Loyal SC
(5-4-4)
Week 13: @PHX
10
Last Week:
22
No-one had a better week than SD Loyal, which beat its two rivals for the second playoff place in Group B in impressive fashion. It might not be enough to end up with a playoff spot in the end, Los Dos have a much easier run-in, but Saturday’s game against Phoenix is now absolutely intriguing.
13 Birmingham Legion FC
(6-3-4)
Week 13: @MIA
5
Last Week:
8
The wobble for Legion FC has started to become a concern. There’s no real question as to whether Birmingham will reach the playoffs, but they’re going to have to pick it up fast if they’re going to make a serious run.
14 Austin Bold FC
(3-2-6)
Week 13: @SA
1
Last Week:
15
Ordinarily a run of four consecutive draws wouldn’t be good for a team’s playoff chances. Austin is fortunately in Group D, where it might just be able to outlast everyone for second place.
15 Indy Eleven
(7-4-1)
Week 13: LOU
4
Last Week:
19
Indy got the win it needed, and without Tyler Pasher on the field which will have been good for everyone else’s confidence. Wednesday’s meeting with LouCity is going to be a must-win in terms of taking first place in the group, though.
16 Real Monarchs SLC
(3-7-1)
Week 13: POR, @ELP
8
Last Week:
24
The Monarchs looked great against Colorado Springs in midweek but couldn’t replicate that performance against New Mexico on the weekend. That means their playoff chances are almost done.
17 FC Tulsa
(3-2-7)
Week 13: @RGV

Last Week:
17
Tulsa has let six points slip through its fingers through squandered leads in its last three games. Think about where it might be in Group D if that wasn’t the case.
18 New York Red Bulls II
(4-7-0)
Week 13: @HFD
10
Last Week:
28
The Red Bulls II looked like their regular selves against the Union II on Wednesday. If they can find a similar display in attack against Hartford on Wednesday, the playoffs will still be within reach.
19 LA Galaxy II
(6-5-0)
Week 13: LV
1
Last Week:
18
There just wasn’t much good to write home about for Los Dos after its defeat to San Diego in midweek, but if there’s a silver lining it's that SD Loyal did the same to Orange County and gave the Galaxy II the inside track to second place in Group B as it hosts Vegas on Tuesday.
20 North Carolina FC
(4-6-1)
Week 13: CLT
3
Last Week:
23
The past four days showed why North Carolina is a side that looks great on paper – when it turns it on, it can be immense fun to watch – but the lack of consistency from half-to-half is the reason why the playoffs are still an outside chance.
21 Orange County SC
(5-4-3)
Week 13: LV
8
Last Week:
13
A three-game losing streak is never good, but when you’re in the middle of a playoff race it’s even worse. Orange County has to snap out of this funk fast if it’s to finish in the top two.
22 Saint Louis FC
(5-4-3)
Week 13: SKC
8
Last Week:
14
Welcome to the complicated world of rivalries in Group E, where Saint Louis now has to root for Louisville City FC against Indy Eleven on Wednesday to keep it in with a chance of reaching the playoffs with two games against Indy left on the schedule.
23 Hartford Athletic
(6-3-1)
Week 13: NY, @PHI
7
Last Week:
16
Once more, Hartford showed it wasn’t in the same class as Pittsburgh, but it can still be a playoff side with a positive result against the Red Bulls II on Wednesday. Can it rebound and get the right result at Dillon Stadium?
24 Memphis 901 FC
(2-6-4)
Week 13: @LOU
3
Last Week:
27
In a similar vein to North Carolina, Memphis showed us over the weekend it can be a very good and entertaining side. It just hasn’t been consistent enough to turn that into a chance at the playoffs.
25 Sporting KC II
(4-7-1)
Week 13: @STL
5
Last Week:
20
How different might the playoff picture in Group E look if Danny Barbir’s stoppage-time goal against Indy had stood? SKC II isn’t completely out of it, but that’s how narrow the margins are now.
26 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
(1-5-5)
Week 13: @ELP, @NM
1
Last Week:
25
The Switchbacks got thumped by the Monarchs last Wednesday, and combined with New Mexico and El Paso’s wins that’s basically curtains for any playoff aspirations Colorado Springs had this season.
27 The Miami FC
(2-5-3)
Week 13: BHM, @CHS
1
Last Week:
26
It’s still technically alive in the playoff race after Saturday’s win against Atlanta United 2, but the final curtain is drawing near for Miami as it gets ready to host Birmingham on Wednesday night.
28 OKC Energy FC
(1-5-6)
Week 13: @SA
3
Last Week:
31
If you’re not going to go to the playoffs yourself, why not do your best to sabotage your biggest rival’s chances? That late goal in Tulsa while down to 10 men had to feel like a win for Energy FC and kept it in with a chance at claiming the wrench on September 30.
29 Las Vegas Lights FC
(2-6-3)
Week 13: @LA, @OC
8
Last Week:
21
Las Vegas is unlikely to be going to the playoffs after its recent downturn, but with two games against Orange County and the Galaxy II in its future, it’s going to play a serious role in which team does emerge from Group B.
30 Portland Timbers 2
(1-10-0)
Week 13: @SLC, RNO
5
Last Week:
35
Finally, everything went right for T2, and against their biggest rival no less. Welcome to the win column, guys.
31 Atlanta United 2
(2-8-3)
Week 13: TBR
2
Last Week:
29
Officially eliminated and now likely to finish bottom of the group, Atlanta’s youngsters will try to find motivation to play out the final three games starting against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
32 Tacoma Defiance
(2-7-1)
Week 13: @RNO, @SAC
2
Last Week:
30
The Defiance might have hit the low-point of their season on Wednesday night in Portland, it’s no fun to be on the receiving end of the sort of drubbing they handed out to T2 earlier this season.
33 Loudoun United FC
(1-7-3)
Week 13: @PHI, PIT

Last Week:
33
It took a record-tying performance from Simon Lefebvre, but United still hung onto a point against the Union II on Saturday. Outstanding work, young man.
34 Philadelphia Union II
(1-7-2)
Week 13: LDN, HFD
2
Last Week:
32
Up a man for 77 minutes and the Union II run into a brick wall in goal to finish with a 1-1 draw. That’s a really disappointing way to see things go.
35 Rio Grande Valley FC
(0-9-3)
Week 13: TUL
1
Last Week:
34
The Toros are the last side without a win this season. They’ve got four games to change that, starting against Tulsa on Saturday at H-E-B Park.

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos

  • Somos Familia – The Lucero Family

  • By USLChampionship.com Staff 01/25/2021, 8:20pm EST
  • New Mexico United’s short documentary follows family whose passionate fandom brought them to Colorado Springs in 2020 season.
  • Read More