SBI USSF Division 2 Power Rankings: Week 17

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By TRAVIS CLARK

Miami FC finally managed a win. The often maligned Blues grabbed a 1-0 victory on the road against fellow stragglers Crystal Palace Baltimore.

More movement seems to occur on the bottom of the Power Rankings than the top these days, and the same was true this week. Once again, the high-flying Aztex are holding the top spot, while Rochester solidified its number two status with a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday.

The Rhinos and Aztex, along with the Vancouver Whitecaps are the three sides closet to clinching a playoff spot — going off the assumption at least 35-40 points will be the cutoff.

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

1. Austin Aztex (11-2-5)

 Aztexlog

Last Match- Won 3-1 vs. Miami FC on July 31.

Next Match- vs. Tampa Bay on Saturday, August 7.

Outlook: The striker-rich Aztex got even richer with the addition of Randi Patterson this past week. Between him, Jamie Watson, Maxwell Griffin and Eddie Johnson, Austin is going to be a tough beat in the playoffs. They should be able to handle Tampa's visit this weekend at House Park.

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2. Rochester Rhinos (10-5-6)

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Last Match- Won 1-0 vs. Portland on August 4.

Next Match- at Carolina Railhawks on Wednesday, August 11.

Outlook: The Rhinos survived a road trip and keep eking out 1-0 wins. Their victory Wednesday was the third time they've done that this season. Carrying and maintaining this form into the playoffs has to be their focus.

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3. Vancouver Whitecaps (8-3-10)

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Last Match- Tied 2-2 at Carolina Railhawks on July 31.

Next Match- at A.C. St. Louis on Friday, August 6.

Outlook: Vancouver needs a win to keep pace with Austin. The strong defense continues to carry the load, though had a letdown last weekend against Carolina, blowing an early lead.

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4. Portland Timbers (7-6-5)

Timbers

Last Match- Lost 1-0 at Rochester Rhinos on August 4.

Next Match- vs. NSC Minnesota on Wednesday, August 11.

Outlook: A roller coaster season continued this week. The Timbers couldn't find a way to win on the road in Rochester, but are looking good for the playoffs. A weekend off ahead of hosting Minnesota give them a chance to sort things out.

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5. Carolina Railhawks (6-4-7)

Railhawks

Last Match- Tied 2-2 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on July 31.

Next Match- vs. Montreal on Saturday, August 7.

Outlook: The Railhawks showed real fight to recover and tie against Vancouver. Encouraging signs from the offense, though shipping the Whitecaps two goals in the early stages isn't good.

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6. Montreal Impact (6-8-6)

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Last Match- Tied 1-1 at Baltimore on July 31.

Next Match- at Carolina on Saturday, August 7.

Outlook: The Impact needed some luck to avoid defeat against one of the league's worst teams last weekend. They also suspended forward Peter Byers for violating team rules, a development that won't help a club struggling to score.

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7. NSC Minnesota Stars (7-9-6)

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Last Match- Tied 2-2 at A.C. St. Louis on August 1.

Next Match- at Portland on Wednesday, August 11.

Outlook: Minnesota currently holds the title of "best expansion side" and can hold onto that during a trip to Portland next week. With 10 days off, the Stars have a chance to creep closer towards a playoff spot.

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8. FC Tampa Bay Rowdies (6-7-6)
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Last Match- Tied 2-2 vs. Portland Timbers on July 31.

Next Match- at Austin on Saturday, August 7.

Outlook: Can Tampa Bay continue to bounce back? They righted the ship against Miami and tied against Portland — though conceded another late goal in the process. The Rowdies are right on the brink, and have a tough challenge ahead of them.

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

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Last Match- Won 3-1 vs. Rochester Rhinos on July 24.

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

Outlook: Puerto Rico has advanced to the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League, but at what cost? The two legs with the Galaxy allowed for the Islanders to rest, and a home game against Miami is a favorable matchup.

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

ACSTL

Last Match- Tied 2-2 vs. NSC Minnesota on August 1.

Next Match- vs. Vancouver on Friday, August 6.

Outlook: An entertaining match against Minnesota ended in disappointment. Luke Kreamalmeyer's second appeared to be enough for a winner, but a late goal erased hopes of three points. A win over Vancouver this weekend would be a morale-boosting result.

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11. Miami FC (3-8-9)

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Last Match- Won 1-0 at Crystal Palace Baltimore on Wednesday, August 4.

Next Match- at Puerto Rico on August 7.

Outlook: Miami's win in Maryland was just their third of the year. It's not too late to think playoffs, but it would be wise to go one game at a time. A trip to Puerto Rico is a tough challenge, and anything shy of three points every time on the field for Miami does them no good.

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12. Crystal Palace Baltimore (5-10-5)

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Last Match- Lost 1-0 vs. Miami FC on August 4.

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

Outlook: Crystal Palace appear to be a mess, both on and off the field. Financially, problems in the background influenced the sale of Randi Patterson to Austin. Then, Baltimore couldn't get the better of Miami. There have been some bright spots this year, but those are quickly becoming distant memories as Baltimore heads toward the bottom of the league.

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16 Responses to SBI USSF Division 2 Power Rankings: Week 17

  1. B-Dub says:

    USSF -D2 is a fraud league. Games are boring as most teams just sit back and play tight defense until the counter opens. It might result in wins for teams like Rochester and Carolina but as a fan the games are horrible to watch.

  2. doktoramor says:

    I wish the Rhinos still played at

    Frontier Field.

  3. paul says:

    We’ve very glad to have soccer back in Tampa! Last week’s 2-2 draw against Portland was anything but boring. This league boasts three future MLS teams and very solid clubs like Puerto Rico and Rochester. Could some things be done differently? Sure. But right now, the action on the field is very comparable to MLS.

  4. Ricx says:

    The league doesn’t boast *any* future MLS teams, Paul. You do realize that the teams which will play in Portland, Vancouver and Montreal will be completely different than the squads they have now. The players who now play on those teams will, by and large, move on to other USSF D-2 teams, and only 1 or 2 per team might make it up to the MLS at some point.

  5. paul says:

    I believe both Portland and Vancouver are bring a few along and believe Montreal has already announced they will be bringing some of their players with them. With that said, the organization and fanbase are the same.

  6. RK says:

    Where’s DCU in this list?

  7. john.q says:

    nice

  8. yankiboy says:

    How ironic. I know a lot of people who call MLS a fraud league and say that they can’t bare to watch it. Personally I enjoy both leagues. Just kind of funny. I always consdiered myself a “fan”.

  9. yankiboy says:

    Ricx, I thought that the SOunders took about 6 guys with them. Maybe I missed something. If there is carry over with the management and a few guys go with the team on up, is it “completely” different?

  10. yankiboy says:

    Harsh. Very harsh. DC will bounce back one day. Us DC fans just don’t know when that day will come (maybe when Payne and Kasper are gone and ownership holds the Front Office to a higher level of accountability).

  11. yankiboy says:

    Baltimore has it hard but they are not rolling over. Which I respect, especially as a season ticket holder (even though venue and time changes are pummelling me and I am not able to make it to many games this season).

  12. yankiboy says:

    Maybe Puerto Rico is turning things around (yeah, I know that I wrote the same thing last week).

  13. yankiboy says:

    Those were the days, huh? Big crowds and a corner of the field sans grass because it was the on the dirt of the basepath.

    As a visiting fan, Frontier had more atmosphere than Marina/PAETEK/Rhinos Stadium.

  14. Ivan says:

    The 2nd division is very much needed; the way I look at it, bad live soccer is better than no live soccer. As Paul wrote earlier, we in Tampa are very appreciative of having a professional team in town.

    I have seen all but 2 of the Rowdies’ home games this season. Maybe w/ the exception of the Rochester home game, the rest of the games have been quite enjoyable and the quality of play has been decent.

    I hope the whole NASL/USL situation is resolved b/f the start of next season…long term, these are the teams that would be fighting for promotion to MLS assuming that promotion/relegation is implemented in US soccer w/in the next decade or so.

    As a European immigrant, and after all these years here, the concept of rewarding mediocrity by not having promotion/relegation is still very disturbing to me…if DC United are so god damn awful this season, they need to go down a division. It’s that simple! It’s not my problem that the owners will lose $; they should have thought about it b/f the season started when they brought Onalfo as a coach, alongside such misunderstandings like Allsop.

  15. Justin says:

    Great reward for Aztex fans who decided to support soccer in Austin this season. Its also great to see that we’ve added depth heading into the home stretch.
    I too hope that the USL/NASL situation gets resolved in a way that can promote 2nd division soccer in the US. Div 2 can provide a solid base for American soccer. The Aztex have a lot of young talent training with the club, and I fully expect that someone like F Jamie Watson (24) or F Maxwell Griffin (22) will get some looks from MLS and abroad. We’ve also given lots of playing time to Galaxy reserve defender Yohance Marshall (24). Go Aztex!

  16. Alejo says:

    @ Justin

    Here here hermano

    MON THE RAW!!!!!!!

    COME ON YOU AZTEX!!!!!

    LEAGUE DOUBLE HERE WE COME!!!!!