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USL Power Rankings – Week 20

By USLSoccer.com Staff, 07/30/18, 5:35PM EDT

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Battery, Monarchs on the rise after weekend victories

With FC Cincinnati on a bye, attention turned this past weekend to the sides that look set to challenge the Eastern Conference-leader for both top spot in the standings and the USL Regular Season Championship in October, and the trio of the Charleston Battery, Real Monarchs SLC and Louisville City FC all stepped up to the mark to rise in the USLSoccer.com Power Rankings.

The Battery’s fourth consecutive victory – a 3-0 effort against the Richmond Kickers – capped off an undefeated month of July that saw the side extend its overall undefeated streak to eight games and move into the No. 2 spot in the rankings. With one of the leading contenders for the USL Golden Boot in Ataulla Guerra and a strong supporting cast, Charleston’s visit to Nippert Stadium on August 18 is looming large in the schedule for the next month.

The Monarchs, meanwhile, are now level on points with Cincinnati after their victory against second-place Phoenix Rising FC, a win that shifted the defending USL Regular Season Champions back up to No. 3 in the rankings, one point back of the Battery. The battle for the first silverware of the season figures to be more intense this season, but with the way the Monarchs are playing at home – 9-0-1 in 2018 – there will likely be plenty of cross-conference attention to come over the next two months.

Louisville, on the other hand, might end up with the best chance of any Eastern Conference side to challenge its River Cities Cup rival for top spot in the Eastern Conference as it sits at No. 4 this week. With two games in hand and a nine-point gap to make up the defending USL Cup champion has to keep winning for it to happen but should it do so the final regular-season meeting between the fierce rivals at Slugger Field could be one for the ages. 

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 FC Cincinnati
64 pts | (13-3-5)
Week 20: --
Week 21: NSH

Last Week: 1
Even with the team on a bye, Emmanuel Ledesma still produced a tremendous strike in FCC’s international exhibition against RCD Espanyol. Saturday’s return fixture with Nashville shapes up as a big one for both sides.
2 Charleston Battery
58 pts | (10-3-8)
Week 20: W, 3-0 RIC
Week 21: @NC
1
Last Week: T-3
The Battery are on their second four-game winning streak of the season and have recorded back-to-back shutouts to sit with the fourth-fewest goals against in the league.
3 Real Monarchs SLC
57 pts | (14-5-2)
Week 20: W, 4-1 PHX
Week 21: --
3
Last Week: 6
The Monarchs again showed there’s little margin for error if a visiting side is to get a result at Zions Banks Stadium with an eighth consecutive win on home turf.
4 Louisville City FC
52 pts | (10-4-5)
Week 20: W, 3-0 @OTT
Week 21: IND
3
Last Week: 7
Three wins out of four has Louisville right back where it believes it should be, not only in the top three but with the potential to push even higher.
5 Phoenix Rising FC
45 pts | (11-5-5)
Week 20: L, 4-1 @SLC
Week 21: @POR

Last Week: 5
Rising FC has conceded four goals in back-to-back road contests, and Portland’s attack is by far from an easy touch. Sunday’s visit to Providence Park could be interesting.
6 Reno 1868 FC
39 pts | (10-4-7)
Week 20: L, 1-2 STL
Week 21: --
4
Last Week: 2
Reno almost held onto its undefeated streak until a stoppage-time goal by Saint Louis brought it to an end at 16 games. The resolve the side showed could go a long way to a bounce-back display against the Monarchs on August 8.
7 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
38 pts | (9-3-7)
Week 20: L, 2-1 @NC
Week 21: RIC, TOR
4
Last Week: T-3
The Hounds have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season but should be capable of a rebound display on Wednesday night as they host the Richmond Kickers.
T-8 Orange County SC
37 pts | (11-6-4)
Week 20: --
Week 21: POR, SPR

Last Week: T-8
Orange County was one of the beneficiaries of losses by Phoenix and Reno that kept the side in third place in the West during its bye week.
T-8 Sacramento Republic FC
37 pts | (10-5-7)
Week 20: --
Week 21: FRS

Last Week: T-8
Republic FC was the other as it remained in the picture for second place when it faces Fresno FC in the Highway 99 Derby this Saturday at Papa Murphy’s Park.
10 New York Red Bulls II
23 pts | (8-6-8)
Week 20: T, 2-2 @TBR
Week 21: PEN

Last Week: 10
New York took a point from its trip to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies and that proved a decent enough return as results elsewhere ensured no-one aside from North Carolina took a big step forward.
11 San Antonio FC
21 pts | (8-5-7)
Week 20: W, 1-0 COS, W, 2-1 @OKC
Week 21: LA

Last Week: NR
Three victories in eight days, capped by a first win in club history against OKC Energy FC, could be the catalyst SAFC needed to ensure a second consecutive trip to the postseason.
12 Fresno FC
20 pts | (7-7-9)
Week 20: T, 0-0 @OKC, T, 1-1 @TUL
Week 21: @SAC
1
Last Week: 11
The Foxes picked up two points on the road to continue their undefeated streak but will be kicking themselves for dropping a late lead in Tulsa in a game they really needed to win.
13 Indy Eleven
15 pts | (9-7-4)
Week 20: W, 1-0 @BST
Week 21: @LOU
1
Last Week: T-14
A late victory against Bethlehem gave the Eleven exactly the boost they were looking for in the standings ahead of Sunday’s trip to face Louisville.
T-14 Swope Park Rangers
8 pts | (9-7-5)
Week 20: --
Week 21: @LA, @OC
1
Last Week: 13
The Rangers’ bye week turned out about as well as they could have hoped as teams like Fresno failed to pick up victories that would have pushed SPR out of the top eight.
T-14 Nashville SC
8 pts | (8-6-6)
Week 20: W, 1-0 ATL, L, 0-2 @TOR
Week 21: @CIN

Last Week: T-14
Yes, there were travel issues surrounding it, but there was much more to it than just that as NSC became the first side to lose to Toronto FC II this season on Saturday.
T-14 Portland Timbers 2
8 pts | (10-9-2)
Week 20: W, 4-3 @LA
Week 21: @OC, PHX

Last Week: NR
Wins in two of the last three games are a big plus for T2’s playoff hopes, but they’ll need to come out far sharper that their last outing when Phoenix visits on Sunday.

Dropped from rankings: Ottawa Fury FC (12), OKC Energy FC (16)

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