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USL Power Rankings – Week 27

By USLSoccer.com Staff, 09/17/18, 5:00PM EDT

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Three-horse race for first sees Orange County, Phoenix hitting stride out West

FC Cincinnati went on a helter-skelter ride to extend its winning streak to seven games on Sunday evening as it continued to close in on the 2018 USL Regular Season Championship and remained once again in the No. 1 slot in Week 27’s USLSoccer.com Power Rankings. The battle for first place in the Western Conference, though, is shaping into a major battle, with the teams sitting 1-2 going into the new week appearing ready to go toe-to-toe down the stretch.

Sitting at No. 2 this week is Phoenix Rising FC, which rebounded well from the end of its previous four-game winning streak with victory against Seattle Sounders FC 2 thanks to Chris Cortez. Rising FC claimed top spot on Saturday night thanks to the win, the first time in its history its has sat alone at the top of the standings.

That piece of club history was relatively short-lived as 23 hours later Orange County SC – which comes in at No. 3 this week – regained the lead by a point thanks to its late victory against Fresno FC. Orange County has gone 8-1-3 since the middle of June to put itself in with a chance to finish top of the Western Conference for the second time in its history, the first having happened in 2015.

With Orange County set to play host to third-place Real Monarchs SLC – which itself is looking for a serious turnaround in its road form to keep its hopes of a second consecutive first-place finish alive – this Wednesday night at Champions Soccer Stadium in the final meeting between the current top three, each team will then forge its own path to the top. It should make for compelling viewing the rest of the regular season.

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 | (20-3-6)
Week 27: W, 1-0 @LOU, W, 4-3 TOR
Week 28: @PEN

Last Week: 1
Cincinnati’s winning streak just continued despite a remarkable road display by Toronto, and now the side is within three wins of surpassing Real Monarchs SLC’s record of nine consecutive victories.
2 Phoenix Rising FC
57 pts | (17-7-5)
Week 27: W, 1-0 @SEA
Week 28: @COS
3
Last Week: 5
Phoenix will have a very keen eye on Wednesday’s game between Orange County and Real Monarchs SLC before it heads to Colorado Springs this weekend to take on the Switchbacks.
3 Orange County SC
56 pts | (17-7-6)
Week 27: W, 1-0 @FRS
Week 28: SLC

Last Week: T-3
Noah Powder’s late winner in Fresno kept Orange County on top to start the week, if the side can win its two home games against Real Monarchs SLC and the LA Galaxy II this week it would put pressure on Phoenix to keep up.
4 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
54 pts | (13-4-11)
Week 27: T, 2-2 LOU
Week 28: IND
2
Last Week: 2
Given the pressure they’d applied throughout Saturday’s game it felt like the Hounds deserved their point and to retain second place in the East, but the schedule doesn’t ease off now with Indy Eleven the next visitor to Highmark Stadium.
5 Charleston Battery
44 pts | (12-4-12)
Week 27: --
Week 28: CLT, @NSH
2
Last Week: T-3
Charleston gets back to action on Wednesday night very pleased to see Pittsburgh and Louisville end all square, which helped the Battery’s chances at a second consecutive top-two finish down the stretch.
T-6 Louisville City FC
41 pts | (13-6-9)
Week 27: L, 0-1 CIN, T, 2-2 @PGH
Week 28: @PEN, OTT
2
Last Week: 8
Unable to find a comeback against Cincinnati and unable of holding off Pittsburgh late, it was another tough week for Louisville, even if it slid up to third for the time being in the standings.
T-6 Sacramento Republic FC
41 pts | (14-7-7)
Week 27: --
Week 28: @TUL, @OKC
1
Last Week: 7
Sacramento got pushed out of the top four in the West thanks to Portland, which added a little extra pressure to produce in its two-game trip to Oklahoma this week to regain its previous position.
8 Real Monarchs SLC
37 pts | (17-9-3)
Week 27: T, 1-1 STL
Week 28: @OC, @LA
2
Last Week: 6
Winless in their last four overall after a draw with Saint Louis last week, the Monarchs would return to the top of the conference on Wednesday with victory against Orange County. To do that, they will need to snap a six-game road winless streak.
9 Portland Timbers 2
36 pts | (16-11-3)
Week 27: W, 2-1 @LV
Week 28: @FRS
2
Last Week: 11
Portland has claimed three consecutive victories and six in the last seven to move it close to clinching the first USL Cup Playoffs berth in club history.
10 Swope Park Rangers
26 pts | (13-10-7)
Week 27: L, 3-4 STL
Week 28: SA, @TUL
1
Last Week: 9
The Rangers couldn’t quite complete their comeback against Saint Louis on Saturday evening, which means added pressure for their game Wednesday night against San Antonio.
11 Saint Louis FC
23 pts | (12-8-10)
Week 27: T, 1-1 @SLC, W, 4-3 @SPR
Week 28: SA
4
Last Week: T-15
Four points from two games on the road was a really good haul for STLFC, which now awaits San Antonio FC on Saturday night with a chance to continue a five-game home winning streak at Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis.
12 Indy Eleven
18 pts | (12-8-9)
Week 27: L, 0-1 @PEN
Week 28: @PGH
2
Last Week: 10
A road defeat brought an end to the Eleven’s nine-game undefeated run, and while the side is probably safe for a playoff berth this Saturday’s trip to Pittsburgh is going to be a high-intensity affair.
13 New York Red Bulls II
11 pts | (10-8-11)
Week 27: T, 3-3 TOR
Week 28: @CLT

Last Week: 13
Missing out on three points at home has amped up the pressure on the Red Bulls II to find points on the road to preserve its playoff streak, starting this Saturday night against the Charlotte Independence.
14 Reno 1868 FC
9 pts | (12-7-9)
Week 27: W, 1-0 LA
Week 28: LV

Last Week: NR
Getting back in the win column – and into the top eight in the Western Conference – was a good start to the club’s four-game homestand and more of the same will be expected this Saturday against Las Vegas Lights FC.
15 Bethlehem Steel FC
7 pts | (12-12-6)
Week 27: --
Week 28: TOR
1
Last Week: 14
Ottawa’s victory against Richmond wasn’t great for Bethlehem’s playoff chance and taking victory at home against Toronto FC II isn’t looking like that simple a task after recent outings.
16 San Antonio FC
6 pts | (12-10-7)
Week 27: L, 1-2 @TUL
Week 28: @SPR, @STL
4
Last Week: 12
San Antonio added pressure to its trip this week with defeat against Tulsa Roughnecks FC, making at least one win against Swope Park or Saint Louis over the next seven days important.

Dropped from rankings: Nashville SC (T-15)

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