The Football Forge Power Rankings: Week 25

A less chaotic week in the Forge Rankings

Both conference leaders lost this week, along with a few other surprise results. All of that makes for some interesting reading in the Power Rankings.

Rank Team Previous Change Record Forge Factor Notes
1 The Miami FC 10 9 12-8-7 6.31 The Miami FC took a 4th minute lead over Louisville, then relied on a solid defense and a 5-save performance from Connor Sparrow to hold off the visitors. They now have to protect a 3-game win streak against the Legion.
2 Rio Grande Valley Toros 13 11 8-11-6 5.92 It took RGV 28 minutes to score, but then the dam broke and they cruised to a 5-0 blowout win in Las Vegas. The Toros are now on a 4-game unbeaten streak and are edging closer to a possible playoff spot.
3 Detroit City 5 2 11-6-9 5.56 Detroit continues to defy everyone (including yours truly) who said their roster wasn’t deep enough for the long USLC season. The 3-0 win in Charleston wasn’t that close.
4 Memphis 901 2 -2 16-6-3 5.55 Memphis 901 were on a bye this week.
5 Louisville City 1 -4 17-4-4 4.93 Lou City couldn’t penetrate Miami’s back line despite 68% possession and 19 shots. The 4-game win streak and 11-game unbeaten streak both end and the Eastern Conference title race tightens up.
6 Birmingham Legion 3 -3 15-7-5 4.67 The Legion should have beaten New York Red Bulls II by 4 or more goals in a hugely dominant performance, but ended just 3-1 winners. Next up is a road trip to very much in-form Miami. #1 in the USL’s own rankings, but that big win over San Diego is out of the Forge’s calculations now.
7 Sacramento Republic 18 11 12-7-7 4.50 SacRep kept firing at the Oakland goal but Paul Blanchette and hiss woodwork mostly kept them out. Except once, and that’s all they needed. The win sees them into the home playoff spots with a game in hand.
8 Oakland Roots 22 14 7-8-12 4.27 Oakland Roots lost their head coach Juan Guerra to Phoenix and immediately won 3-1 in San Diego but couldn’t repeat that in Sacramento, losing 0-1. In both games though they survived a barrage of shots. Still with an outside chance at the playoffs.
9 Colorado Springs Switchbacks 16 7 15-9-3 3.92 The Switchbacks and New Mexico United combined for just 4 shots on goal in a dreary contest. Only Hadji Barry’s found the net and Colorado Springs now looks to be back in winning form.
10 Hartford Athletic 21 11 6-15-5 3.44 Hartford put on a show for their incoming head coach Tab Ramos, winning 2-1 in Tulsa. They lost the lead in the 80th minute but got it back just 2 minutes later and held off a brutal attack for the eventual win.
11 LA Galaxy II 25 14 10-11-6 3.36 Los Dos continued their bid to be the last remaining MLS 2 team in the USL as they kept up the pressure on the teams in playoff position, wining fairly easily in Monterey 2-0.
12 El Paso Locomotive 24 12 10-11-7 3.22 El Paso scored twice with a man flat on the deck on its way to a comprehensive 3-1 win over Phoenix in a typically high-scoring Locomotive game. However, they are clinging to a playoff spot by their fingernails.
13 Tampa Bay Rowdies 12 -1 15-5-6 3.12 Tampa Bay played a man down for 34 minutes but were already 2-0 up and split goals to finish 3-1 over Orange County and looked in control the whole game. Even so, 2 losses in the last 3 games and the East is now very tight at the top.
14 San Diego Loyal 4 -10 16-7-4 2.83 The Loyal scored first but then allowed 3 unanswered goals to lose 1-3 to leaderless Oakland at home. 2 losses in their last 3 games and San Diego are suddenly looking a bit shaky.
15 San Antonio 6 -9 18-5-3 2.63 San Antonio followed up a 2-2 draw with RGV with a 0-1 loss in Indy. 7 points in their least 5 games is a very poor run of form by this team’s standards. The Loyal also lost, so they maintain their 5-point lead.
16 Orange County 11 -5 6-11-9 2.62 Orange County immediately scored after Tampa’s Yann Ekra was sent off, but couldn’t add to it and even gave up a short-handed goal in the 1-3 loss which sees them still mired at the bottom of the West.
17 FC Tulsa 7 -10 10-13-4 2.62 A mixed week for Tulsa’s fading playoff hopes. The 1-2 loss to Hartford was not exactly impressive and the 2-1 come-from-behind win over Loudoun wasn’t either. Both games were at home too. They trail Detroit by 8 points and have played 1 more game.
18 New Mexico United 14 -4 11-7-9 2.50 New Mexico United looked impotent in attack in Colorado and as a result ended up 0-1 losers. They also fell out of the home playoff spots.
19 Charleston Battery 17 -2 4-17-5 2.19 After 2 good results the Battery reverted to form losing 0-3 at home to Detroit, including a silly own goal (that oddly may have been offside). They have the dubious honor of being the first non-MLS 2 team eliminated from the playoffs.
20 Indy Eleven 26 6 7-14-4 2.10 Indy didn’t score quite as early as Miami did, but they too went ahead 1-0 over a Conference leader – San Antonio this time – and held off the visitors with monumental defense, including a 6-save outing for Tim Trilk.
21 Loudoun United 8 -13 6-16-3 1.99 Loudoun United’s 2-1 loss in Tulsa edges them closer to playoff elimination. The consolation in this one was a great solo goal by Kristian Fletcher.
22 Pittsburgh Riverhounds 20 -2 14-7-5 1.70 The Riverhounds’ 2-1 victory in Atlanta was their best result over the past 3 games. Obviously, that’s not saying very much. This week they finish a 4-game stretch against the 4 worst teams in the league and have to get points to stay in touch with the Legion.
23 Monterey Bay Union 19 -4 9-14-2 1.66 The Union continue to be unpredictable. This time it was a 0-2 home loss to LA, and never really looked to be in the game. Still, they are not by any means out of the playoffs yet, but they will need some help.
24 Las Vegas Lights 15 -9 10-10-7 1.12 The Lights were utterly inept at home this week, getting blitzed 0-5 by Rio Grande. Going down a man after 14 minutes is no excuse. They are in the last playoff spot in the West, but could easily see it slip out of their hands if they don’t improve their current bad form.
25 New York Red Bulls II 23 -2 3-19-4 0.59 The Baby Bulls went to bed Saturday evening already out of the playoffs and could have played spoiler to the Legion’s plans. They didn’t. Now it’s just a slow exit from the USL.
26 Phoenix Rising 9 -17 8-12-5 0.53 Juan Guerra leaves Oakland for Phoenix. Oakland wins 3-1, Phoenix loses 1-3. Coincidence? You make the call.
27 Atlanta United 2 27 0 4-20-4 -0.30 Twonited were the first team eliminated from playoff contention but put up a decent showing against Pittsburgh, ultimately losing 1-2. Still, a very painful season.

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