The Football Forge Power Rankings: Week 0

The Switchbacks lose and everyone gets to shuffle

OK, first off, apologies for the very late post this week.

Also apologies are necessary for a blooper earlier tis season . In last week’s rankings post, we made reference to something called the “Forge Factor”. This we had described in a preseason rankings post, which, it turns out, we never actually published. Obviously, you had no idea what we were talking about.

Well, early in a season, rankings are based largely on subjective opinion. As the season progresses, things begin to get clearer and a bit more reason can get introduced into the rankings. Even so, with a league divided into two almost independent conferences, it’s still difficult. Moreover, in a league that is so widely distributed geographically, home field advantage is significant, such that points on the road are extremely valuable. And then there are the interconference games to take into account, which means teams will not be playing a balanced schedule even when compared to other in their own conference.

With that in mind we will be adding to our subjective opinion what we are calling the Forge Factor, which will take into account road points, strength of schedule, goal differential and a few other things because, well, you know, science. Also, who doesn’t love spreadsheets?

We had originally planned to introduce this in early April, then hoped to get it ready for this week, but unfortunately it’s still not quite ready. Building the database and the algorithms to support it are proving rather harder than we thought. Hopefully next week.

So we’re still depending on our (completely independent) opinions. Here, then, are the Football Forge Power Rankings for Week 6:

Rank Team Previous Change Record Notes
1 Louisville City 3 +2 5-0-2 The 5-2 win in San Diego was a nutso game with 2 penalties and 2 red cards but beating a quality team under any conditions is good. Which Lou City are, as usual.
2 Phoenix Rising 5 +3 4-2-0 The 1-0 win over New Mexico was not short of attacking punch, but was in fact a goalkeeping showcase by Ben Lundt and Cody Mizell. That includes a stoppage time PK stop by Lundt to preserve the win.
3 Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1 -2 5-1-0 The last perfect season falls. The1-2 loss to Memphis was in part due to rare errors by keeper Jeff Caldwell; otherwise this was a very even game.
4 San Antonio 6 +2 5-1-0 Didn’t need their typical bully boy tactics to get the 1-0 win over El Paso, and it wasn’t really that close. Hardly a signature win, but it keeps them well in contention in the West.
5 Tampa Bay Rowdies 7 +2 3-1-3 Pretty much cruised to a 3-1 victory over Tulsa, spoiled only by a missed PK by Sebastian Guenzatti. Their most impressive win of the season so far, whch has been a tad shaky.
6 Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2 -4 4-1-1 Neither team generated much attack in Las Vegas, and the 0-1 loss was due to some terrible defending by Pittsburgh. The Hounds have a strong record, but have had a relatively easy schedule so far.
7 San Diego Loyal 4 -3 5-2-1 Double-game week. Ended 2-2 at Oakland in a wild finish, then got shellacked 5-2 at home by Louisville in another crazy game. Do they deserve top of the West? Maybe not.
8 Memphis 901 15 +7 3-1-1 Winning in Colorado Springs is a big deal these days. Area Code FC are looking like a contender, and have had the 4th toughest schedule to start the season.
9 Detroit City 11 +2 3-1-2 Didn’t dominate the game, but relied on solid defending and excellent goalkeeping by Nate Steinwascher to get the win. And letr’s not forget the Open Cup win over Columbus. Don’t look past this team.
10 Las Vegas Lights 12 +2 4-3-0 Beat the Hounds 1-0 is a game notable mostly for its lack of offense. Still, this was a good win for a team that is looking to have improved considerably over previous incarnations.
11 Sacramento Republic 8 -3 3-1-1 Caught the Orange County defense napping after just 77 seconds, then gave up the lead 24 minutes later with a PK. Then the two teams stymied each other for the remainder of the game.
12 New Mexico United 9 -3 2-1-2 The reason United lost in Phoenix? Ben Lundt. New Mexico were able to pour in the shots but get one past him. This one was an entertaining 1-0 game.
13 FC Tulsa 10 -3 3-4-0 Tulsa were largely manhandled by Tampa in the 1-3 loss, although JJ Williams got another goal. The team is beginning to look very erratic.
14 The Miami FC 16 +2 3-2-1 Had very little trouble earning a2-0 win over Hartford and could have made it worse quite easily. Even so, the win last week over Tampa still looks like a bit of an outlier.
15 Orange County 13 -2 1-2-2 Got the home draw against SacRep despite giving up a very early goal. Cubo Torres did what he doesn’t often do – he scored. He needed a PK to do it though.
16 Birmingham Legion 14 -2 1-3-2 Did they deserve to win? Only if they could find a way to score. A poor performance again and the Legion are looking very much out of sorts. Perhaps they can fix that at Loudoun.
17 Indy Eleven 18 +1 2-2-2 Still no Asante, but they didn’t need him to beat Atlanta 2-1 at home, although they did need stoppage time to do it. Looked strong on the stat sheet but they were not convincing.
18 Loudoun United 17 -1 2-3-1 Were beaten comprehensively 1-4 by Oakland and looked bad in the process. Are they regressing to their mean? Very possibly. This week’s visit by the Legion should shed some more light.
19 LA Galaxy II 23 +4 2-3-1 The 3-1 win over Monterey was actually fairly evenly played, the score being elevated by a red card. Los Dos have the best record of any MLS 2 team right now though.
20 Oakland Roots 24 +4 1-3-3 Double-game week. First, the Roots outscored San Diego 2-1 down a man on their way to a 2-2 draw then hammered Loudoun 4-1 for their first win of the season. Looking rather better.
21 Atlanta United 2 21 0 2-5-0 Hampered by 2 red cards last week and a slew of injuries at their parent club, Twonited were not overwhelmed by Indy. Jackson Conway gets another goal, and his callup to MLS is probably coming.
22 Rio Grande Valley Toros 22 0 2-4-0 A visit to the Baby Bulls is always a tonic for a struggling team. That being said, this was a very uninspiring game from both teams and the 1-0 scoreline reflects the 4 shots on target the teams managed.
23 Hartford Athletic 20 -3 0-4-1 Lost 0-2 in Miami, and ewre saved from a far worse scoreline by the woodwork. Other than winger Ashkanov Apollon, they have no real attacking threat.
24 New York Red Bulls II 25 +1 1-5-0 A bye week didn’t help New York any. A thoroughly tedious 0-1 loss to RGV extends the losing streak to 5, and the team is only out of last place due to Hartford’s poor start.
25 El Paso Locomotive 19 -6 1-5-0 The Locomotive are not bottom of the West thanks only to earning the tiebreakers over Monterey last week. Back to losing this week, and their typical strong offense was also missing.
26 Charleston Battery 26 0 1-4-0 The Battery were on a bye this week after the 1-4 beatdown by the Loyal last week.
27 Monterey Bay 27 0 1-5-0 The Union were not completely dominated despite the 1-3 final score in LA. A bye this week, then a trip to Sn Antonio and then finally a home game.
       

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