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USL Power Rankings - Week 14

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 06/18/18, 7:22PM EDT

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Monarchs take over at top as Hounds, Rising FC shift upward

Real Monarchs SLC had to battle for its league-leading 11th win of the 2018 regular season, but that result and Louisville City FC’s draw with Penn FC on Saturday night meant that the defending USL Regular Season champions took sole possession of top spot in the USLSoccer.com Power Rankings after Week 14’s action.

Louisville’s second consecutive draw saw it slide to No. 2, where it sits in a tie with FC Cincinnati after FCC extended its lead at the top of the Eastern Conference to six points after its best performance of the season led to a 4-0 victory against the Richmond Kickers on Saturday but sitting just behind both the River Cities Cup rivals are two sides who made big impressions over the past seven days.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC is up to No. 4 for the first time this season after its 3-0 victory against fellow playoff contender the New York Red Bulls II. Head Coach Bob Lilley’s side now sports the second-best goal differential in the Eastern Conference as Neco Brett’s breakout season has already seen the Jamaican forward set a single-season high with eight goals this year.

Phoenix Rising FC, meanwhile, checks in at No. 5 after taking back-to-back victories by a 7-0 margin that has also pushed the side into sole possession of second place in the West. With a +18 goal differential that is the best in the league, Rising FC has four games to remain in touch with the Monarchs at the top of the standings before the two sides face in what looks like it will be a must-see game on July 28.

The four-person USLSoccer.com voting panel tabulates 16 points for first-place team votes, 15 points to the second-place team and so forth to one point for 16th place. The accrued points among the group determines the final ranking.

Rank

 

Team/Record

Change

Summary

1 Real Monarchs SLC
63 pts | (11-3-1)
Week 14: L, 2-3 @SPR, W, 1-0 @STL
Week 15: --

Last Week: T-1
The Monarchs rebounded to do enough against Saint Louis FC for a 1-0 win after its midweek loss, but the next three games against Fresno, Reno and Sacramento could be tricky to navigate.
T-2 FC Cincinnati
58 pts | (9-3-3)
Week 14: T, 2-2 BST, W, 4-0 RIC
Week 15: --
1
Last Week: 3
FCC had its own letdown last Wednesday night after gaining a second-half lead against Bethlehem, but Saturday’s victory showed just what FCC can be capable of when it’s all clicking.
T-2 Louisville City FC
58 pts | (7-2-3)
Week 14: T, 3-3 PEN
Week 15: @NC
1
Last Week: T-1
It’s unlikely anyone except for the most ardent Penn FC fan saw Saturday’s capitulation from Louisville coming, but now the side’s margin of error to regain top spot has narrowed again.
4 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
53 pts | (6-1-6)
Week 14: W, 3-0 NY
Week 15: @CHS
2
Last Week: 6
Riverhounds SC sent home a season-high attendance very happy thanks to Neco Brett and Romeo Parks, and with its two games in hand is within range of Cincinnati at the top.
5 Phoenix Rising FC
49 pts | (9-3-4)
Week 14: W, 4-0 LV, W, 3-0 TUL
Week 15: @RGV
2
Last Week: 7
Rising FC got the flash from Jason Johnson in each of its two victories in the past week, but the cumulative effort that produced a pair of emphatic wins should have made everyone sit up and take notice.
T-6 Nashville SC
41 pts | (6-2-5)
Week 14: W, 1-0 NC
Week 15: --
2
Last Week: 8
Last-gasp heroics by Ropapa Mensah gave Nashville a victory it probably deserved against North Carolina FC, and now the undefeated streak is at 11 games in all competitions ahead of Wednesday’s Open Cup clash with Louisville.
T-6 Sacramento Republic FC
41 pts | (8-4-4)
Week 14: W, 1-0 @FRS, L, 0-1 @SA
Week 15: STL
2
Last Week: 4
A good midweek win against Fresno FC was followed by a remarkable Saturday defeat in San Antonio that left Sacramento exactly where it was in its pursuit of the Monarchs.
8 Orange County SC
32 pts | (7-4-3)
Week 14: T, 2-2 RNO
Week 15: TUL
1
Last Week: 9
Orange County trailed, then led, then settled for a draw in a compelling contest with fellow Western contender Reno and is still sitting solidly in the playoff positions as a result.
T-9 Portland Timbers 2
31 pts | (8-6-2)
Week 14: L, 1-2 OKC, L, 1-4 COS
Week 15: --
4
Last Week: 5
Portland takes a tumble down the list after back-to-back defeats, including a second-half collapse against Colorado Springs on Sunday. T2 is still in good position, but not quite looking in as good shape as a couple of weeks ago.
T-9 Reno 1868 FC
31 pts | (5-3-7)
Week 14: T, 2-2 @OC
Week 15: @SA
2
Last Week: 11
Reno’s undefeated streak is now at 11 games, but after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Orange County the side is 2-0-3 in its last five and could do with getting back in the win column to solidify its playoff position.
T-11 Charlotte Independence
18 pts | (6-4-4)
Week 14: T, 1-1 @ATL, T, 1-1 CHS
Week 15: @RIC
1
Last Week: 12
A remarkable goal by Mutaya Mwape earned the Independence a valuable home point against the Charleston Battery, but the side could do with a good run as tight as the Eastern Conference’s top 11 positions currently are.
T-11 Swope Park Rangers
18 pts | (7-4-4)
Week 14: W, 3-2 SLC, L, 1-4 @FRS
Week 15: LV
2
Last Week: 13
Going from defeating the conference leader at home in midweek to falling heavily on the road to a side sitting outside the playoff positions made for an odd week for the Rangers, but they’re still in solid position overall.
13 Bethlehem Steel FC
14 pts | (5-5-4)
Week 14: T, 2-2 CIN
Week 15: NY
2
Last Week: 15
Earning a point on the road in Cincinnati after letting a lead slip and going down to 10 men is no mean feat, and Bethlehem now get the chance to move back into the top eight when it hosts New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday.
14 New York Red Bulls II
13 pts | (5-4-5)
Week 14: L, 0-3 @PGH
Week 15: @BST, OTT
4
Last Week: 10
The contrast between the Red Bulls II at home and away continued in defeat against Riverhounds SC, and with a place in the top eight on the line on Wednesday in Bethlehem, New York will need to be better.
15 Indy Eleven
10 pts | (6-4-3)
Week 14: W, 3-1 @TOR
Week 15: --

Last Week: NR
Indy’s second consecutive victory saw Justin Braun get on the scoreboard for the first time this season, a nice boost for the club’s so far middling attack.
16 Charleston Battery
9 pts | (5-3-6)
Week 14: T, 2-2 @CLT
Week 15: PGH
2
Last Week: 14
The Battery probably should have put victory away before they conceded an equalizer to the Independence on Saturday, and as a result their playoff position is still somewhat precarious.

Also receiving votes: Ottawa Fury FC 4, Penn FC 1, San Antonio FC 1

Dropped from rankings: Saint Louis FC (15)

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