Power Rankings Week 20

This method of ranking team performance factors in point per game, strength of schedule, and goal difference. This isn't an attempt to predict the final table, but rather a way to measure a team's form. This week, I'll break teams up into tiers based on how they've performed so far.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE ELITE

These sides have separated themselves from the rest of the league, and are almost guaranteed to secure a home playoff spot.


1. Tampa Bay Rowdies (↑1): Beat Saint Louis 4-1 to reclaim the top spot.

2. NYRB II (↓1): Dropped into second after drawing Memphis 2-2 on the road.


CONTENDERS

These sides are not quite at the elite level, but in touching distance.

3. Indy Eleven (↔): Beat Loudoun 2-0 and stay in third place.

4. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (↔): Got a really strong 1-0 win over North Carolina to stay in fourth. They're one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment.

5. Nashville SC (↔): Their 2-0 win in Memphis sees Nashville stay in 5th.

6. North Carolina FC (↔): Beat Loudoun midweek before losing to Pittsburgh at the weekend.

7. Ottawa Fury FC (↔): Beat Swope Park 4-0 to keep up a decent run of form.


BEST OF THE REST

These sides look likely to finish in a playoff spot, but have the potential to drop out.


8. Louisville City FC (↔): After a bit of a resurgence, lost to Bethlehem at home in a result that exposed some serious flaws.

9. Charleston Battery (↔): Went to Hartford an hung on for a 3-2 win. After a strong start to the season, they've begun to look like a fairly average side.


ON THE FRINGE

These sides have the potential to sneak into the play-in round of the playoffs, but could just as easily slip farther down the table.


10. Saint Louis FC (↔): Thrashed by Tampa Bay to extend their winless streak to nine matches. After looking like the best side in the conference to start the year, they've plummeted. In real danger of dropping out of playoff contention.

11. Charlotte Independence (↑1): No match this week, but they've improved after a shaky start to the year and look more than capable of going on a late run.

12. Bethlehem Steel (↑1): Got a strong result in Louisville to keep themselves relevant.

13. Loudoun United FC (↓1): Dropped points to North Carolina, but with a home-heavy back half of the season, they could sneak in.


OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

These sides have had their moments, but look like they'll miss out.


14. Memphis 901 FC (↔): Lost to Nashville midweek, but got a surprising point against New York. Their inability to score and their terrible form at home is holding them back.

15. Birmingham Legion FC (↑1): Beat Atlanta 4-0 to move up a spot, but a win against Atlanta doesn't mean a whole lot at this point.

16. Swope Park Rangers (↓1): Squeaked by Hartford midweek before getting smashed by Ottawa. Haven't shown enough against top sides to be taken seriously.


ALONE AT THE BOTTOM

These sides are just bad.


17. Atlanta United 2 (↔): Gave up four goals to Birmingham to bring their goal difference to -26, the worst in the conference. They've scored the fewest goals in the conference and have shown no signs of improving.

18. Hartford Athletic (↔): Gave up seven goals in two matches this week. They've had moments where they look like a playoff calibre team, but the results just aren't there.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE ELITE

These sides have separated themselves from the rest of the league, and are almost guaranteed to secure a home playoff spot.


1. Phoenix Rising FC (↔): Beat Austin 6-0 to strengthen their stranglehold on first. The best side in USL. Their goal differential is higher 31 USL sides' total goals for.


CONTENDERS

These sides are not quite at the elite level, but in touching distance. (These two sides are tied in the rankings).


T2. Fresno FC (↔): Beat a good Portland side to stay in second.

T2. Reno 1868 FC (↑1): Wins over OKC Energy and LA Galaxy II puts them level with Fresno in the rankings.


BEST OF THE REST

These sides look likely to finish in a playoff spot, but have the potential to drop out.


4. Real Monarchs SLC (↑1): Got a decent point on the road in El Paso to move up a spot. They've made a good run in recent weeks and look like they'll contend for a home playoff spot.

5. Sacramento Republic FC (↓1): A road loss to a pretty poor RGV Toros side drops them into 5th. In contention for a home playoff match, but they've been pretty inconsistent.

6. Portland Timbers 2 (↔): Cooled down a bit after a hot start to the year, losing to Fresno.


ON THE FRINGE

These sides have the potential to sneak into the play-in round of the playoffs, but could just as easily slip farther down the table.


7. New Mexico United (↑1): No match this week, but other results saw them move up a spot. Looked like the best side in the conference to start the year, but their attack has cooled off and their defense is shaky.

8. El Paso Locomotive FC (↓1): Lost to San Antonio and drew Real Monarchs. They've been really impressive for an expansion side, and have the potential to go on a playoff run.

9. San Antonio FC (↑3): They've really improved in recent weeks, beating El Paso and drawing Orange County this week. Look for them to continue working their way up.

10. Las Vegas Lights FC (↔): No match this week. They've shown flashes, but are incredibly inconsistent and have struggled at home.

11. Austin Bold FC (↓2): It's surprising to see a team in fourth on the table this low in the rankings, but they concede a lot of goals and struggle against good sides. Losing 6-0 to Phoenix this week didn't help.

12. Rio Grande Valley FC (↑2): Like a lot of the sides in this section, their performances have been consistently inconsistent. They've had a handful of strong results, but can never string them together consecutively.

13. OKC Energy (↓2): They struggle defensively and don't score enough to make up for it.

14. Orange County SC (↓1): One of the biggest disappointments of the season. After being a nearly unanimous pick to make the playoffs this year, they've been really poor. They've one just five matches this season and their defense is really shaky. It would be a shock if they finished in a playoff spot.


OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

These sides have had their moments, but look like they'll miss out.


15. LA Galaxy II (↔): Lost at home to Reno this week. Started the season well, but have dropped off significantly. They've conceded the second most goals in the conference.

16. Tulsa Roughnecks FC (↔): Like Los Dos, started strong, but didn't have the depth to keep up their early form. Too poor defensively to be a real threat at this stage.

17. CS Switchbacks FC (↔): Beat OKC this week to extend a decent stretch of results, but their poor start has them in a deep hole.


ALONE AT THE BOTTOM

This side is just bad.


18. Tacoma Defiance (↔): 19 games played. Two wins. 14 goals scored. 49 goals conceded. The stats make it clear. This side is one of the worst in the history of the league.


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