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USL Power Rankings - Week 16

By USLSoccer.com Staff, 07/02/18, 6:52PM EDT

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Two top-seven matchups set for upcoming week of action

After FC Cincinnati let its lead against Toronto FC II slip last Wednesday night, Real Monarchs SLC returns to its position as the unanimous No. 1 at the top of the USLSoccer.com Power Rankings this week, but both the No. 1 Monarchs and No. 2 FCC face big road tests this week as they look to maintain their respective leads at the top of their conferences.

For the defending USL Regular Season-champion Monarchs there’s a trip to Greater Nevada Field on Tuesday night to face No. 7-ranked Reno 1868 FC, which moved up another two spots this week after its 1-0 victory against the Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday night. With Real boasting the best record in the league and Reno the longest undefeated streak of the season – 13 games and counting – the matchup sets up as one of the more highly-anticipated so far of 2018.

Almost as compelling is FC Cincinnati’s visit to No. 6-ranked Nashville SC on Saturday night as Nissan Stadium opens its doors for the second time this season to NSC and its fans in the first meeting between the two clubs in their history. While some of the shine got taken off the matchup when Nashville lost its undefeated home record last Tuesday night to Indy Eleven, Cincinnati’s arrival with the most away wins in the league so far this season (6) – almost halfway to the league record of 13 set by the New York Red Bulls II in 2016 – should produce a must-see matchup.

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
64 pts | (12-3-1)
Week 16: W, 1-0 FRS
Week 17: @RNO, @SAC

Last Week: 1
The Monarchs have won four of their last five outings, and still have two games in hand on their two nearest rivals at the top of the Western Conference as they head to Reno.
2 FC Cincinnati
59 pts | (10-3-4)
Week 16: T, 3-3 @TOR, W, 2-0 OTT
Week 17: @NSH

Last Week: 2
FCC’s inability to close out last Wednesday’s game in Toronto means Pittsburgh is still in range to draw level at the top of the Eastern Conference, but a nice rebound display against Ottawa kept the pressure on the chasing pack.
3 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
55 pts | (7-1-7)
Week 16: W, 1-0 @LOU
Week 17: NC, @OTT
1
Last Week: 4
Riverhounds SC now looks like it might be the prime challenger to Cincinnati after its victory on the road in Louisville, its third in a four-game undefeated streak for Head Coach Bob Lilley’s side.
4 Phoenix Rising FC
54 pts | (10-3-5)
Week 16: W, 1-0 OC
Week 17: --
1
Last Week: 5
Going the month of June without conceding a goal? Impressive, especially in keeping out a good Orange County side while down to 10 men for more than a half in Friday night’s 1-0 victory.
5 Louisville City FC
48 pts | (7-3-5)
Week 16: L, 0-1 PGH, T, 3-3 NY
Week 17: @TBR
2
Last Week: 3
Magnus Rasmussen’s late heroics meant Louisville got a point from its back-and-forth clash with the Red Bulls II, but as James O’Connor departs, Louisville needs to break a five-game winless streak as it heads to Tampa Bay on Saturday.
6 Nashville SC
39 pts | (7-3-5)
Week 16: L, 0-2 IND, W, 3-0 ATL
Week 17: CIN

Last Week: 6
NSC rebounded strongly with victory against an ATL UTD 2 side it should handle at home after its defeat to Indy, now the question will be whether it can rise to the occasion in the style of its home win against Louisville when Cincinnati comes to call?
7 Reno 1868 FC
38 pts | (7-3-7)
Week 16: W, 1-0 POR
Week 17: SLC, SEA
2
Last Week: 9
The cliché is that good teams find ways to win even when they don’t play well. That applied to 1868 FC on Saturday night, which took a 1-0 win against Portland despite an average performance. Much more will be needed against the Monarchs on Tuesday.
8 Swope Park Rangers
33 pts | (8-4-4)
Week 16: --
Week 15: @SEA
3
Last Week: T-11
Swope Park gets a nice bump despite having the week off, and now has a top-three spot in the West within reach as it heads for a winnable road game against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Thursday.
9 Sacramento Republic FC
32 pts | (8-5-5)
Week 16: L, 0-2 @FRS
Week 17: SLC
2
Last Week: 7
Republic FC is still in the top three in the West, but three games without a win means there’s added pressure when Real Monarchs SLC come to visit this Saturday with the chance the side could have slipped to sixth by the time that game arrives.
10 Indy Eleven
27 pts | (7-4-4)
Week 16: W, 2-0 @NSH, T, 1-1 PEN
Week 17: OTT, CLT
4
Last Week: 14
A road victory against Nashville gets the Eleven a bump into the Top 10 this week, while finding a way to get a point despite being down to 10 men against a hot Penn FC on Saturday was also a nice result.
11 Orange County SC
25 pts | (8-5-3)
Week 16: L, 0-1 @PHX
Week 15: @COS, LA
3
Last Week: 8
Orange County couldn’t quite solve Phoenix’s defense even with a man advantage for 55 minutes, but there’s no time to dwell on that with Tuesday night bringing the conclusion of the road trip in Colorado Springs.
12 Penn FC
22 pts | (5-4-7)
Week 16: T, 1-1 @IND
Week 17: BST
3
Last Week: T-15
Penn keeps moving up as it pushes closer to the playoff positions, and what could be a very fun contest with fellow contender Bethlehem Steel FC on Friday night as it returns home to FNB Field.
13 Bethlehem Steel FC
19 pts | (6-5-5)
Week 16: W, 4-1 CLT
Week 17: @PEN

Last Week: 13
Bethlehem’s attack picked up where it left off against the Red Bulls II on June 20 in its thumping victory against the Charlotte Independence on Saturday night, giving the side a five-game undefeated streak.
14 Portland Timbers 2
10 pts | (8-7-2)
Week 16: L, 0-1 @RNO
Week 17: FRS
4
Last Week: 10
T2 is still in the playoff positions, but it needs to arrest its three-game losing streak when it faces Fresno on Sunday, or else the ninth-place Foxes will be within a point of Portland in the standings.
15 Charleston Battery
8 pts | (6-3-7)
Week 16: W, 4-0 @TOR
Week 17: @NC

Last Week: T-15
The Battery’s attack finally came back to life after just one goal in three games before Sunday’s 4-0 victory on the road in Toronto, a win that was essential to Charleston’s playoff pursuit.
16 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
5 pts | (7-8-3)
Week 16: W, 1-1 SA
Week 17: OC, @OKC

Last Week: NR
The Switchbacks would have much preferred a win against San Antonio FC on Saturday night, but results elsewhere didn’t make the lost lead as disappointing as it might have been.

Also receiving votes: Charlotte Independence 4, OKC Energy FC 2

Dropped from Rankings: Charlotte Independence (12)

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