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USL Power Rankings – Week 11

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 06/05/17, 4:37PM EDT


Seven-game winning streak moves Monarchs into top spot

As the season had progressed, Real Monarchs SLC patiently racked up win after win to keep pace with San Antonio FC. Now, after a seventh win in a row, the Monarchs are not only top of the Western Conference, but also top of the Power Rankings for the first time this season.

The USL’s leading scorers only needed one goal at the weekend to earn their seventh consecutive win, with Chandler Hoffman’s 38th all-time USL regular-season goal the deciding factor in a 1-0 win against Orange County SC. Real is now a win away from joining the 2014 Orlando City SC squad in recording eight straight Ws, a feat not many who saw that side led by current MLS standout Kevin Molino thought would be soon replicated.

While the Monarchs have continued to hum along victoriously, the swings of form closer to the middle of the USL standings have left the bottom four places in the rankings in very interesting shape. A big riser this week are the Rochester Rhinos, whose five-game undefeated streak and back-to-back wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Cincinnati are getting the 2015 champions into good position.

Wednesday night’s meeting between Reno 1868 FC and Rio Grande Valley FC is also setting up to be a good one, with the No. 6 Toros and No. 9 1868 FC both ready to boost their position in the West. With 16 different teams getting votes this week, though, there’s definitely less clarity on who stands where than at any prior point this season.

The five-person voting panel tabulates 10 points for first-place team votes, nine points to the second-place team and so forth to one point for 10th place. The accrued points among the group determines the final ranking.

Here’s your new Top 10.

1. Real Monarchs SLC (49pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 at Orange County SC
The Monarchs continued their roll with a 55th-second goal by Hoffman, and a six-save shutout by Connor Sparrow that earned the former PDL standout his third clean sheet of the season. Real’s push to the top of the standings has rewritten the club’s record books, but a home game against the Portland Timbers 2 shouldn’t be taken for granted this Saturday as the game that will provide win No. 8.

2. San Antonio FC (46pts)
Last Week: D 0-0 at Swope Park Rangers
San Antonio FC put in a much stronger performance than in its victory against the Swope Park Rangers in Week 10, but only took away a point, illustrating perfectly the ridiculous nature of the game we love. SAFC is still undefeated, but has to get its offense back into shape after being held scoreless in three of its past five games. A visit to OKC Energy FC on Saturday does offer a chance at history, though, as the team goes for its sixth consecutive road victory.

3. Charleston Battery (40pts)
Last Week: D 4-4 vs. Louisville City FC
The Battery were one half of the most entertaining game of the past week, and while they’re probably disappointed to let their lead against Louisville City FC slip at home, a draw by the Tampa Bay Rowdies left Charleston still comfortably on top of the Eastern Conference. A rivalry clash with the Richmond Kickers is up next, which you can probably toss the form book out of the window despite the Battery’s recent upper hand in the rivalry.

4. Louisville City FC (27pts)
Last Week: D 4-4 at Charleston Battery
Louisville almost saw a promising week end in disaster, but the resolve the side showed to earn a point on the road against the Charleston Battery deserves a lot of credit. Brian Ownby’s goal highlighted the quality he brings to the side, and the Louisville Coopers will likely be hoping for more of the same when the Charlotte Independence visit on Wednesday night at Slugger Field.

5. Tampa Bay Rowdies (26pts)
Last Week: D 2-2 at Charlotte Independence
The Rowdies are still firmly in second place in the Eastern Conference, but the recent run of three games without a win, needing a goal inside the last 10 minutes to earn a draw in the past two, is allowing the pack to get closer. The schedule congestion of May gives way to a much more benign slate in June, though, which could help the side get back on track quickly.

6. Rio Grande Valley FC (21pts)
Last Week: D 0-0 at Sacramento Republic FC
The Toros didn’t hold the upper hand statistically against Republic FC, but more than held their own on the road to earn another valuable point and extend their undefeated streak to four games. Rio Grande Valley FC might be the team that can gain the most in the next week, with games against Reno 1868 FC and Seattle Sounders FC 2 on the docket for Week 12.

7. Rochester Rhinos (17pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 vs. FC Cincinnati
The Rhinos are undefeated in their past five outings, including back-to-back wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Cincinnati. As such, they’re very well poised in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, with games in hand on all of the teams sitting above them. This week’s trip to Florida should be an interesting one; get four points from two games, and the Rhinos could be sitting very pretty indeed.

T-8. Swope Park Rangers (11pts)
Last Week: D 0-0 at San Antonio FC
The Swope Park Rangers rebounded solidly despite an altered lineup in the conclusion of their home-and-home series with San Antonio, as SAFC put up a much sterner test at Toyota Field. In fact, the Rangers almost took home all three points, their victory denied as Louis Bennett’s late finish was blocked away by San Antonio defender Stephen McCarthy. Swope Park may sit a place outside the postseason positions now, but a game against Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Sunday provides the opportunity to change that. 

Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC

T-8. Reno 1868 FC (11pts)
Last Week: Bye
Reno got the weekend off, but saw a number of results go its way as it lies in wait just outside the playoff positions. With home games this week against Rio Grande Valley FC and Sacramento Republic FC, a big move up the standings is within reach.

10. Seattle Sounders FC 2 (6pts)
Last Week: W 3-0 vs. LA Galaxy II
Seattle continued to shake off its big defeat to Reno 1868 FC with arguably its most impressive performance of the season on Saturday night. Led by Irvin Parra, S2 is starting to look like a side that’s going to be firmly in the playoff race as the middle third of the season heats up. We’ll know more after its visit to Rio Grande Valley FC this Saturday.

Also receiving votes – Tulsa Roughnecks FC 5, Sacramento Republic FC 5, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3, FC Cincinnati 3, Charlotte Independence 3, Orlando City B 2

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