USL Rankings – 16 Apr 2015

It has been a fun seven days in USL. Some teams earned their first victories. Others picked up their first losses. One team managed to do both. Two candidates for Goal of the Year were produced. It resulted in a shake up in the standings and in the Scratching the Pitch weekly rankings, which are back by popular demand.

USL Eastern Conference

CharlestonBattery_100E1. Charleston Battery

Last Week StP Rank: 1

USL Standings: 1 | Record: 3-0-0


Charleston has not played since the last rankings were published.

Up Next This Week: The Battery will play host to Red Bulls II on Saturday.


RochesterRhinos_100E2. Rochester Rhinos

Last Week StP Rank: 2

USL Standings: 2 | Record: 2-0-2


Rochester has started recent seasons with several games on the road without much success. Coach Lilley’s team has found a way to turn it around so far this season. Most recently, the Rhinos dismantled Montreal by a score of 3-0 and tied Louisville 1-1.

Jonny Mendoza got Rochester on the scoreboard in the first half at Montreal. Christian Volesky broke the opposition’s spirit in the second half. Montreal went down to 10 men following a straight red card in the 64th minute. Volesky promptly scored two goals in less than two minutes.

The Rhinos fell behind in the first half in Louisville, but continued to battle and preserved the undefeated record.

Up Next This Week: The Rhinos will travel to face Saint Louis on Saturday in the second game of a three-day road trip.


RichmondKickers_100E3. Richmond Kickers

Last Week StP Rank: 7

USL Standings: 3 | Record: 1-0-2


Richmond dominated Wilmington in a 3-0 victory to kick-start the USL weekend. The highlight of the match was volley off the foot of Jason Yeisley that found its way into the net in the 4th minute. The Kickers carried the momentum from that moment through the rest of the first half and then coasted to victory.

Up Next This Week: Charlotte comes calling at City Stadium on Saturday.


LouisvilleCityFC_100E4. Louisville City FC

Last Week StP Rank: 4

USL Standings: 4 | Record: 1-0-2


This was the second straight week that LCFC competed against one of the traditional USL powers, and it was the second week that the expansion side finished level at 1-1. Juan Guzman scored the goal for Louisville, but Kadeem Dacres provided most of the flash.

Up Next This Week: Louisville travels to Pittsburgh for a match on Sunday.


SaintLouisFC_100E5. Saint Louis FC

Last Week StP Rank: 6

USL Standings: 8 | Record: 1-1-1


A draw in the inaugural home-opener might not have been the way the Louligans would have drawn it up, but it could have been a lot worse.

If you don’t already know about Brandon Barklage, you soon will. Not only does Barklage keep the midfield on lockdown for Saint Louis, he also provided the first goal for the club at the Soccer Park when he redirected a corner late in the first half against Pittsburgh.

Up Next This Week: The good times continue in Saint Louis on Saturday when Rochester rolls into town.


PittsburghRiverhounds_100E6. Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Last Week StP Rank: 5

USL Standings: 6 | Record: 1-1-1


The Riverhounds did well to snag a point on the road in front of a rambunctious crowd in Saint Louis. An unassisted goal from Dantas Vinicius in the 73rd minute secured the draw for Pittsburgh in its first contest away from Highmark Stadium.

Up Next This Week: Pittsburgh returns to Highmark to take on Louisville on Sunday.


WilmingtonHammerheadsFC_100E7. Wilmington Hammerheads FC

Last Week StP Rank: 8

USL Standings: 5 | Record: 1-1-2


It was the worst of times. The Hammerheads travelled to Richmond and put on a lackluster display in a 3-0 loss last Friday.

It was the best of times. Wilmington flipped the script and the score line in New York on Sunday, defeating NYRBII 3-0. Andre Rawls was a brick wall between the sticks, making 10 saves. The Hammerheads were aided by the return of Sunny Jane and an influx of loanees from NYCFC, but Nick Zimmerman and his two goals stole the spotlight.

Up Next This Week: After playing two games in three days last week, Wilmington gets a well-deserved bye.


NewYorkRedBullsII_100E8. New York Red Bulls II

Last Week StP Rank: 3

USL Standings: 7 | Record: 1-1-1


It was a tough outing for NYRBII. The MLS-2 side lost 3-0 to Wilmington despite outshooting the Hammerheads 9/4.

Up Next This Week: New York will take to the road for the first time to face USL Eastern Conference leaders, Charleston, on Saturday.


TorontoFCII_100E9. Toronto FC II

Last Week StP Rank: 9

USL Standings: 9 | Record: 1-2-0


Toronto has not played since the last rankings were published.

Up Next This Week: Toronto will travel across Canada to face Vancouver on Sunday.


CharlotteIndependence_100E10. Charlotte Independence

Last Week StP Rank: 10

USL Standings: 10 | Record: 0-1-1


The Independence have not played since the last rankings were published.

Up Next This Week: Charlotte travels to face Richmond on Saturday.


HarrisburgCityIslanders_100E11. (tie) Harrisburg City Islanders

Last Week StP Rank: 12

USL Standings: 11 | Record: 0-2-0


Harrisburg has not played since the last rankings were published.

Up Next This Week: City Islanders host their home-opener against Montreal on Saturday.


FCMontreal_100E11. (tie) FC Montreal

Last Week StP Rank: 11

USL Standings: 12 | Record: 0-2-0


Someone forgot to tell Montreal that the rivalry with Rochester cannot be rekindled until both sides are competitive. Some might tell you that Montreal showed promise. The box score, the replay, and I will tell you otherwise.

Up Next This Week: Montreal will venture away from home this season to play Harrisburg on Saturday in an early season matchup for the USL Eastern Conference wooden spoon.

USL Western Conference

ArizonaUnitedSC_100W1. Arizona United SC

Last Week StP Rank: 2

USL Standings: 2 | Record: 3-0-0


United remained perfect with its third straight win away from home to start the season. Arizona came out of the gates slowly against Austin, but found their stride in the second half. Brad Stisser provided the assist for Long Tan’s second goal of the season in the 49th minute. That was all that United needed for the win.

Up Next This Week: Another road test awaits in Orange County on Saturday.


SeattleSoundersFC2_100W2. Seattle Sounders FC 2

Last Week StP Rank: 1

USL Standings: 1 | Record: 3-1-0


S2 remained perfect on the season with a 2-1 victory at home against Portland. Giuliano Frano opened his account with the game-winner for Seattle in the 88th minute.

Perfection received a blemish last night in Tulsa. S2 dropped three goals on the Roughnecks, including a brace from Qudus Lawal, but the defense couldn’t keep Tulsa from scoring four of their own.

Up Next This Week: Seattle will play its second match in three days in Oklahoma when the club travels to face Energy FC on Saturday.


OKCEnergyFC_100W3. OKC Energy FC

Last Week StP Rank: 4

USL Standings: 6 | Record: 1-0-1


OKC has not played since the last rankings were published.

Up Next This Week: Energy FC will try to become the second Oklahoma club to knock off the Sounders on Saturday at Taft Stadium.


PortlandTimbers2_100W4. Portland Timbers 2

Last Week StP Rank: 3

USL Standings: 4 | Record: 2-1-1


Portland fell from the ranks of the unbeaten against Seattle. T2 took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a goal from Harrison Delbridge, but S2 was too much to handle in the second half.

Up Next This Week: A third consecutive road game is on tap for Portland at Sacramento on Saturday.


OrangeCountyBluesFC_100W5. Orange County Blues FC

Last Week StP Rank: 11

USL Standings: 8 | Record: 1-1-0


Didier Crettenand and Amani Walker scored the goals in a 2-0 win over Vancouver. The Blues did what needed to be done to secure the victory against a side that went down to 10 men in the 34th minute.

Up Next This Week: Orange County hosts Arizona on Saturday in a rematch of the Blues’ home-opener.


SacramentoRepublicFC_100W6. Sacramento Republic FC

Last Week StP Rank: 7

USL Standings: 3 | Record: 3-2-0


What a difference it makes to play at home. Bonney Field served as the venue for the shows staged by Emrah Klimenta, David Estrada, and Rodrigo Lopez. Each of the three notched a goal and an assist in a 3-1 romp over Los Dos. For an encore, Lopez tacked on two additional goals, included an amazing 60-yard net-seeking missile, in a 2-0 shutout of Vancouver.

Up Next This Week: Republic FC remains at Bonney on Saturday to face Portland for the second time this season. Portland won the first contest on Merlo Field.


AustinAztex_100W7. Austin Aztex

Last Week StP Rank: 6

USL Standings: 5 | Record: 2-2-0


A loss to Arizona established an interesting pattern of results for the Aztex. Austin shuts out its opponent in one match, only to be shut out itself in the very next match. Coach Dalglish needs to find a way to get his team to perform well on a consistent basis.

Up Next This Week: Austin hits the road to face LA on Saturday.


ColoradoSpringsSwitchbacksFC_100W8. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

Last Week StP Rank: 12

USL Standings: 9 | Record: 1-2-0


The expansion side’s first ever victory came in shutout fashion away from home at Salt Lake City. Mike Seth provided the game’s only goal with a shot from the top of the box in the 29th minute.

Up Next This Week: The Switchbacks host the same Real Monarchs on Friday night.


TulsaRoughnecksFC_100W9. Tulsa Roughnecks FC

Last Week StP Rank: 10

USL Standings: 7 | Record: 1-2-1


Tulsa grabbed its first USL win against previously unbeaten Seattle in a match that more closely resembled a track meet than a soccer game. The teams combined for five goals in the first 25 minutes. After a brief respite from scoring, the ball started going in the net again. At the end, the Roughnecks pulled out a 4-3 victory. Four different players scored for David Irvings’s club.

Up Next This Week: The Roughnecks get the rest of the week off.


VancouverWhitecapsFC2_100W10. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2

Last Week StP Rank: 5

USL Standings: 10 | Record: 1-3-0


It was an ugly few days on the road for Vancouver, who lost consecutive matches at Orange County and Sacramento. Whitecaps FC 2 lost both games 2-0 and were outshot 25/14 by their opponents.

Up Next This Week: UBC Thunderbird Stadium will be the site of Vancouver’s home-opener on Sunday against Toronto.


RealMonarchsSLC_100W11. Real Monarchs SLC

Last Week StP Rank: 8

USL Standings: 11 | Record: 0-2-2


The L in SLC does not stand for lackadaisical or lethargic, but one could not be blamed for thinking that after watching the Monarchs against Colorado Springs. Real suffered a 1-0 loss in a performance that was quite lackluster.

Up Next This Week: The Monarchs get a second chance to get it right against the Switchbacks in Colorado Springs on Friday.


LAGalaxyII_100W12. LA Galaxy II

Last Week StP Rank: 9

USL Standings: 12 | Record: 0-3-1


Los Dos seem to be snake-bitten lately when scheduled to play Sacramento. Ariel Lassiter netted a shot in the 58th minute, but it was too little and too late for LA.

Where has Bradford Jamieson IV been so far this season? The talented attacker has only managed four shots in three appearances.

Up Next This Week: Los Dos play host to Austin on Saturday at the StubHub Center.

Explaining the Rankings

This isn’t the hip, advanced statistical analysis of TSR and PDO (look for that in future posts), but an algorithm has been applied to arrive at the rankings presented here. The four components of the algorithm are:

  • Match Results – Wins, losses, and draws aren’t the only thing, but they are a great place to start.
  • Strength of Opponent – As the cliché goes, you have to beat the best to be the best.
  • Match Location – It is usually more difficult to win on the road, and clubs get credit for that here.
  • Goal Differential – Beating the best is one thing. Beating them into a pulp is even better.

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