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USL Power Rankings – Week 25

By USLSoccer.com Staff, 09/03/18, 1:30PM EDT

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Rangers surge back on the scene after three consecutive victories

FC Cincinnati strengthened its lead in the race for the 2018 USL Regular Season Championship as others around it faltered over the past week of action, keeping the Eastern Conference leader as the unanimous No. 1 selection in the USLSoccer.com Power Rankings once again. Over in the Western Conference, however, a perennial contender made a big move after not receiving a vote a week ago to come in tied for the No. 10 spot in this week’s rankings.

As two-time defending Western Conference champion the Swope Park Rangers saw their playoff chances for this season put in peril during the middle third of this season as they went on an eight-game winless streak to become embroiled in the battle for a place in the playoffs, let alone a strong seed when the USL Cup Playoffs arrive.

In a nine-day span, however, the side has picked up three consecutive victories, including two against teams it was having to fight off for a postseason berth in San Antonio FC on August 25 and OKC Energy FC on Sunday evening. Hadji Barry has clicked into gear, scoring in four consecutive games including both the game-winning goals for the side in the past week, and the Rangers are sitting only three points back of the top four, compared to six points ahead of the teams below the playoff line.

The next three games set up as key for Swope Park as they welcome three teams chasing them to Children’s Mercy Park in the form of Fresno FC (Sept. 9), Saint Louis FC (Sept. 15) and San Antonio FC (Sept. 19), but if the Rangers come through that stretch unscathed they’ll be in position to build on their sterling postseason history.

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 | (18-3-6)
Week 25: W, 2-1 PGH
Week 26: @LOU

Last Week: 1
FCC suffered its closest call yet to its undefeated streak coming to an end, and still rallied for a victory that clinching a place in the USL Cup Playoffs on Saturday night. Now, Louisville awaits.
2 Phoenix Rising FC
60 pts | (15-6-5)
Week 25: --
Week 26: RGV, @SA
2
Last Week: 4
Phoenix’s bye week couldn’t have gone better, and it now starts the week a 35 percent chance to make the USL Cup Final according to fivethirtyeight.com.
3 Real Monarchs SLC
56 pts | (17-7-2)
Week 25: L, 0-1 @COS
Week 26: SA, @RGV
1
Last Week: 2
The Monarchs remain unable to translate their sparkling home form on the road, meaning the gap to FC Cincinnati in the race for the USL Regular Season Championship is now seven points.
4 Louisville City FC
49 pts | (13-5-8)
Week 25: L, 1-4 TOR, T, 2-2 CHS
Week 26: CIN
1
Last Week: 3
That did not go to plan at all. After racking up nine goals in two games the prior week, Louisville shipped six goals in the past seven days, including a surprise home defeat to Toronto.
5 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
45 pts | (12-4-10)
Week 25: T, 2-2 @IND, L, 1-2 @CIN
Week 26: BST

Last Week: T-5
The Hounds were so close to a great week on the road, but two late concessions saw them go from four points claimed to just one in a pair of results that may stick with the side moving forward.
6 Charleston Battery
44 pts | (11-4-12)
Week 25: T, 2-2 @LOU
Week 26: TBR
1
Last Week: 7
Claiming a point on the road against Louisville for the second time in four regular-season visits was good, but the Battery might have been disappointed they were unable to make either of their leads stick.
7 Orange County SC
42 pts | (15-7-6)
Week 25: T, 1-1 @SEA
Week 26: OKC
2
Last Week: T-5
Orange County was a crossbar away from claiming victory late on Sunday against Seattle Sounders FC 2, but a 1-1 draw took a little pressure off Real Monarchs SLC.
8 Sacramento Republic FC
40 pts | (13-7-7)
Week 25: --
Week 26: SEA
1
Last Week: 9
As everyone else fell around them, Sacramento went through its bye week remaining in solid position for a top-four finish at the end of the season.
9 Portland Timbers 2
26 pts | (14-11-3)
Week 25: W, 1-0 STL
Week 26: TUL
2
Last Week: T-11
T2 was pushed hard by Saint Louis on Saturday night but stole all three points thanks to Victor Arboleda in stoppage time to win a big playoff six-pointer at Providence Park.
T-10 Indy Eleven
24 pts | (11-7-9)
Week 25: T, 2-2 PGH, T, 1-1 RIC
Week 26: NY

Last Week: 10
A late equalizer against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and a draw with the Richmond Kickers kept Indy’s undefeated streak alive, but their chances of a top-four finish diminished.
T-10 Swope Park Rangers
24 pts | (12-9-7)
Week 25: W, 2-1 TUL, W, 1-0 OKC
Week 26: FRS

Last Week: NR
The Rangers have three wins on the spin to get reestablished in the West’s playoff positions ahead of an important run of games in the next three weeks.
12 New York Red Bulls II
23 pts | (10-7-10)
Week 25: W, 1-0 OTT
Week 26: @IND
1
Last Week: T-13
The Red Bulls II took a victory they had to have against Ottawa Fury FC on Friday night and did so while holding firm defensively late on rather than outscoring their visitor to MSU Soccer Park.
13 Bethlehem Steel FC
19 pts | (12-11-6)
Week 25: L, 1-3 PEN
Week 26: @PGH
5
Last Week: 8
Bethlehem did everything right in its first 20 minutes against Penn FC, but then lost its way in a disappointing home defeat. Friday’s game at Pittsburgh just became a lot more important.
14 Reno 1868 FC
13 pts | (11-6-9)
Week 25: W, 2-1 LV, T, 1-1 @FRS
Week 26: @STL
2
Last Week: 16
A four-point haul from two tough contests – highlighted by Antoine Hoppenot’s brilliant stoppage-time winner in the Silver State Cup – was a solid boost to 1868 FC’s position.
15 OKC Energy FC
7 pts | (10-13-5)
Week 25: L, 0-1 @SPR
Week 26: @OC
2
Last Week: T-13
Energy FC was unable to avenge its playoff defeat to Swope Park and its defeat on Sunday once again underlined how precarious the club’s position is when it comes to a postseason berth.
T-16 Saint Louis FC
3 pts | (10-8-9)
Week 25: T, 1-1 @SEA, L, 0-1 @POR
Week 26: RNO
5
Last Week: T-11
One point from two games in Cascadia is going to feel disappointing, especially given how the side earned the majority of the chances in its loss to the Portland Timbers 2.
T-16 Nashville SC
3 pts | (10-8-8)
Week 25: W, 4-0 RIC, L, 0-1 @CLT
Week 26: @NC
1
Last Week: 15
Dominant against Richmond, but then sliding to defeat in Charlotte, Nashville’s week wasn’t a bad one, but there’ll be added pressure on Saturday’s trip to North Carolina now.

Also receiving votes: North Carolina FC 1, Penn FC 1

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