SBI USSF Division 2 Power Rankings: Week 16

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By TRAVIS CLARK

Mid-week USSF Division 2 provided a rather surprising result in the Midwest, shaking up this week's version of the power rankings.

Struggling A.C. St. Louis beat Portland Wednesday evening rather emphatically, winning 3-0 behind a Mike Ambersley hat trick. Other mid-week action saw Rochester defeat Carolina 1-0 on Tuesday, while the Vancouver Whitecaps squeaked past Montreal by a 1-0 score.

Austin keeps hold of the top spot, two points ahead of Vancouver and the Rochester Rhinos, but with three games in hand. St. Louis had one of its best weeks of the season — winning two games in a row to jump up a couple of spots.

Here's a look at this week's power rankings:

1. Austin Aztex (10-2-5)

 Aztexlog

Last Match- Won 2-0 vs. A.C. St. Louis on July 17.

Next Match- vs. Miami FC on Saturday, July 31.

Outlook: Austin had a week off and still owns a commanding lead at the top of the table. Two more games at home give the Aztex a chance to open up the distance between them and Rochester.

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2. Rochester Rhinos (9-5-6)

Rhinos New Logo

Last Match- Won 1-0 at Carolina Railhawks on July 27.

Next Match- vs. Portland on Wednesday, August 4.

Outlook: A win at Carolina ended a hectic stretch of three games in six days — and to come away with six points from that is impressive. Rochester only scored twice, but proved their defensive capabilities by keeping a clean sheet and winning twice.

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3. Vancouver Whitecaps (8-3-9)

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Last Match- Won 1-0 vs. Montreal Impact on July 28.

Next Match- at Carolina on Saturday, July 31.

Outlook: A win over Canadian rival Montreal Wednesday evening was by a typical score of 1-0, but kept Vancouver ahead of Carolina in the conference standings. Having short rest will be a challenge, one that Vancouver is equipped to overcome.

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4. Portland Timbers (7-6-5)

Timbers

Last Match- Lost 3-0 at A.C. St. Louis on July 28.

Next Match- at FC Tampa Bay on Saturday, July 31.

Outlook: Road trips can be difficult for USSF D2 sides, and this one took a turn south against St. Louis. Another expansion side, Tampa Bay, is a chance to end the road swing on a high note.

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5. Carolina Railhawks (6-4-6)

Railhawks

Last Match- Lost 1-0 vs. Rochester Rhinos on July 27.

Next Match- vs. Vancouver Saturday, July 31.

Outlook: Carolina could only find the back of their own net against Rochester. The top two defenses go at each other when the Whitecaps visit. A win would pull the Railhawks closer to the top of the NASL Conference — they've played four less games than the Whitecaps.

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6. Montreal Impact (6-8-5)

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Last Match- Lost 1-0 vs. Vancouver on July 28.

Next Match- at Crystal Palace on Saturday, July 31.

Outlook: A Wednesday night home defeat must have been tough to take, particularly against Vancouver. Baltimore offers a chance to bounce back on short rest and steady the Impact's standing.

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7. NSC Minnesota Stars (7-9-5)

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Last Match- Tied 1-1 at Vancouver on July 25.

Next Match- at A.C. St. Louis on Sunday, August 1.

Outlook: Minnesota needs to win this one against A.C. St. Louis to preserve their spot in the playoffs. They've played 21 games — most in the league — and can't afford any let hiccups.

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8. FC Tampa Bay Rowdies (6-7-5)
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Last Match- Won 2-0 vs. Miami FC on July 25.

Next Match- vs. Rochester on Thursday, July 22.

Outlook: A win against Coastal Cup rivals was just what Tampa Bay needed. Can newcomer Jonny Steele transition quickly and cure Tampa's offensive woes?

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9. Puerto Rico Islanders (6-7-5)

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Last Match- vs. Rochester Rhinos on July 24.

Next Match- vs. Miami FC on Saturday, August 7.

Outlook: Puerto Rico will look to its emphatic win against Los Angeles to boost what has been a season of struggle in league play. However, the Islanders remain within striking distance of a playoff spot and can't be counted out.

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10. A.C. St. Louis (5-10-4)

ACSTL

Last Match- Won 3-0 vs. Portland Timbers on July 28.

Next Match- vs. NSC Minnesota on Sunday, August 1.

Outlook: A great week for A.C. St. Louis saw the club win two games in the span of five days. If Mike Ambersley could replicate the scoring form that he shows against Portland when playing all other teams, St. Louis would be in better shape.

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11. Crystal Palace Baltimore (5-9-4)

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Last Match- Lost 1-0 vs. A.C. St. Louis on July 24.

Next Match- vs. Montreal on Saturday, July 31.

Outlook: Losing to St. Louis at home was a huge blow, and Montreal coming to town is an important one. Baltimore lies in striking distance of the playoffs, but needs to come up with some wins during this home stand.

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12. Miami FC (2-7-9)

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Last Match- Lost 2-0 at FC Tampa Bay Rowdies on Sunday, July 25.

Next Match- at Austin on Saturday, July 31.

Outlook: A bad season continues to get worse as Miami just can't seem to find a win. A trip to league-leading Austin won't help turn things around.

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10 Responses to SBI USSF Division 2 Power Rankings: Week 16

  1. ERic says:

    I haven’t done the analysis for the other teams, but even as an Austin fan, I think us being ranked #1 based on our top-in-the-league standing might be out of place.

    If you look at our pod (the teams we play 4 times) plus the other team we play 4 times, you’ll notice that those four teams were the last place teams in each conference (before St. Louis won last night).

    9 of our 17 games so far have been against those teams. 7 of our remaining 13 will be against them. Unless those teams find something new, we are very likely to finish right where we are… and crash out in the playoffs early, having drawn someone other than those four.

    Doing a similar analysis of the other teams’ pod+1 might suggest a slightly different Power Ranking.

  2. Dlewis says:

    Come on Baltimore, let’s make the playoffs.

  3. Rodney says:

    Agreed, but does USSF-2 warrant that much of Ivan’s time?! Maybe one for the comments panel of experts.

  4. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Rowdies playing with a very young team right now. Avg age of field players vs. Miami was 23. Missing 5 starters with injuries. I think those factors have clearly played into the recent draws and losses and lack of goals, but it’s nice to have youngsters who a good enough to hold down the fort. Things should improve with the return of the starters.

  5. paul says:

    Thanks for the D-2 coverage! Things are finally looking up for the Rowdies. Hopefully they put on a good showing against Portland on Saturday! Eighth place is just about right. Hopefully they can make the playoff cut and have a good postseason run!

  6. ERic says:

    Who’s Ivan?

  7. DemonJuice says:

    Ivan, or Ives for that matter, doesn’t do these. Check the byline.

  8. jts says:

    Sort of the “quandry” of crime going down and prison populations increasing, the corollary is that those teams lose more because they have to play the Aztex more often.

  9. DrewROC says:

    Love the coverage, BUT we could we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE switch the Rhinos logo to what is currently used and is behind the clubs history? Thanks!

    link to rhinossoccer.com

  10. ERic says:

    Going to have to think about that one. I still think there’s something to it. The teams that are in last play the Aztex more… but only four times a season.

    A complete analogy to the situation would be where the bottom teams in the league were playing four games a piece against the top teams in the league. But that’s not the case. Miami, Tampa Bay and Puerto Rico are in our pod. They play four games each against the Aztex and each other. So eight of their other games are against a couple of the worst teams in the league. Now, maybe their ‘outside the pod’ 4-times opponents are also top teams. I haven’t looked at that yet. If so, then you have something there. I guess I’m getting talked into looking into it more deeply.

    But, looking more closely, I guess that could clarify why Tampa and Puerto Rico are 8 points ahead of Miami.

    Man, Miami is crap this season.

    We’d better not lose to them tomorrow night.