The Football Forge Power Rankings: Week 18

Lots of movement this week

The heat of summer is beginning to make itself felt as results have teams moving around all over the place. Some of the moves are not a shock, some are, and some shouldn’t really have happened at all, including most obviously the top spot. But you play the cards you’re dealt. Or rather, the cards the other team are dealt.

Rank Team Previous Change Record Forge Factor Notes
1 LA Galaxy II 7 +6 9-8-3 8.20 The 5-0 win over San Diego was one of 3 games that ended 10 v 10 this week, but this one shouldn’t have. An early and incorrect Loyal red card gave Los Dos a huge advantage and they made the most of it. 4 wins in 5 now.
2 Tampa Bay Rowdies 4 +2 10-3-6 7.59 Three straight wins for the Rowdies but they should feel very, very lucky to get the 3-2 win over Hartford thanks to a poor refereeing decision. Still, they are piling up goals at a prodigious rate: 13 in the last 5 games.
3 Louisville City 2 -1 12-3-3 6.67 A 6-0 win over the Baby Bulls (including an Enoch Mushagalusa hat-trick and a Brian Ownby brace) gets you a drop in the rankings. That’s just they way it works. 4 straight wins, but a big test against Memphis coming up.
4 Pittsburgh Riverhounds 21 +17 10-6-3 5.90 The Hounds didn’t exactly dominate Indy Eleven in a 1-0 win midweek but manhandled The Miami FC 4-1 at the weekend, both at home. That was enough for a big jump in the rankings.
5 San Antonio 5 0 13-3-1 5.54 San Antonio were on a bye this week.
6 Detroit City 12 +6 9-4-6 4.56 Detroit heavily outshot Hartford but traded blooperish goals on the way to a 1-1 draw and then beat Indy 1-0 at the weekend, benefitting from the latter’s inability to score.
7 Memphis 901 9 +2 12-4-2 4.54 Area Code FC keep the pressure on Louisville with a solid 3-1 win over Phoenix, and it could have been more lopsided. This week’s game for top spot in the East will be a can’t-miss event.
8 Las Vegas Lights 8 0 7-7-4 4.35 Las Vegas Lights were on a bye this week.
9 Hartford Athletic 6 -3 4-10-4 4.33 Hartford should feel very angry. After battling Detroit to a 1-1 draw they played Tampa Bay evenly as well, losing 2-3 on a last second penalty that was clearly a fair tackle. The Athletic are a better team than their record suggests.
10 Monterey Bay Union 23 +13 5-11-1 3.68 2 shots on goals is not usually considered a good performance, but the Union converted both of them. Then again, it was against Orange County in a bottom of the table clash. Monterey still trails OC by 2 points but has 2 games in hand.
11 Colorado Springs Switchbacks 16 +5 12-6-0 3.48 Michee Ngalina will be kicking himself all week for failing to convert a 1v1 on El Paso’s Evan Newton in the 0-1 loss. That’s 4 losses in the last 5 now, and the Switchbacks are looking very vulnerable.
12 El Paso Locomotive 13 +1 9-6-6 3.38 The Locomotive won a strange one over the Switchbacks 1-0, although they could have made it more. Both teams ended with 10 men as well as El Paso keeps hanging on to a home playoff spot.
13 Birmingham Legion 3 -10 8-5-8 3.29 A disappointing draw in Atlanta followed by a comprehensive win in Charleston were not enough to stop the Three Sparks from a big fall. It’s all about the opponents (the USL rankings have the Legion rising from #7 to #5 though).
14 San Diego Loyal 1 -13 10-5-4 2.95 The Loyal were basically screwed by a horrible red card to Eric Adams (since rescinded) in the 11th minute and couldn’t recover. Still, 0-5 is embarrassing for a team this strong. But is Landon Donovan on his way out?
15 New Mexico United 19 +4 8-3-6 2.90 United played Rio Grande Valley twice at home this week, winning 1-0 and drawing 1-1. They were not very convincing in either game and look to be slipping off the pace a bit.
16 Rio Grande Valley Toros 10 -6 7-9-3 2.85 RGV nearly took 2 points from New Mexico in a weird double-header, losing the first game only a dumb late penalty. They are well adrift of the playoff spots now in a fairly poor season overall.
17 Oakland Roots 15 -2 5-6-10 2.46 The Roots really needed to get all 3 points in Sacramento and nearly did so, but gave up the win late. They continue to be very erratic and are barely in the playoff hunt, having played more games than anyone except El Paso.
18 FC Tulsa 17 -1 6-10-4 2.39 Tulsa’s 2-1 win over Atlanta (which ended 10v10) could have been more comprehensive if not for the woodwork. Losing left back Ronald Rodriguez for this week’s matchup against New Mexico could be a problem.
19 Sacramento Republic 11 -8 8-4-5 2.32 In what was probably the week’s most entertaining game, the Republic drew with Oakland  3-3, but needed a last gasp goal from Felipe to do it. A big game against the evenly matched Legion coming up this week.
20 Atlanta United 2 20 0 4-13-3 1.89 Twonited got a stoppage time equalizer against the Legion and nearly got another one in Tulsa. Say what you want about this team, but they never give up. They do need to learn how to play defense though.
21 Loudoun United 22 +1 4-10-3 1.62 Loudoun United were on a bye this week.
22 The Miami FC 18 -4 6-7-6 1.50 The South Floridians didn’t have a shot on goal until second half stoppage time in the 1-4 loss to Pittsburgh, and it took two shots to get the consolation goal. A poor run of results has them barely hanging on to 7th place.
23 Phoenix Rising 24 +1 7-10-1 1.03 The Rising continue to post poor results. This week’s 1-3 loss in Memphis, together with a red card that could well get an extended suspension, was bad. Phoenix has just 1 point in its last 5 games, and that against Orange County.
24 Indy Eleven 25 +1 6-9-3 0.84 Indy lost 0-1 twice this week to Pittsburgh and Detroit. Close games both, but scoring is a big problem. They have lost 5 straight now, and not scored in the last 4. OC gives them a boost in the rankings anyway.
25 Orange County 14 -11 4-9-6 0.42 Orange County couldn’t get it done against Monterey Bay, losing 0-2. This could be a first to worst season as the team continues to struggle to find solutions.
26 Charleston Battery 26 0 2-13-3 -0.46 The Battery were, frankly, completely inept in the thorough 0-3 home loss to Birmingham. 4 straight losses is currently not the league’s worst streak, but it’s hardly good.
27 New York Red Bulls II 27 0 1-14-3 -1.98 New York got just one shot on goal in the 0-6 thrashing by Louisville. It’s hard to think how it might get worse for this team, but it could.

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