May 21, 2007

USL First Division Power Rankings - I'm Moving To Canada

Without a doubt, the Canadian teams remain the class of the league right now, as both Vancouver and Montreal are pulling away from the field. Those teams that proudly fly the Stars and Stripes are muddled in the pack with up and down results, making this one of the most difficult editions of your Power Rankings.

1. Vancouver Whitecaps - Two games, two wins, both by 3-1 margins. That's what good teams do (Silverbacks, are you paying attention?), they win the road games they're supposed to. Granted, it was California, but heading back north on Sunday they owned Rochester again.

2. Montreal Impact - It's turning into a two-team race early on, and this is despite the fact that the Impact have only played one home game. I've got to hand it to the Impact fans, who turned out in droves despite the rain on Sunday. They grinded out a 2-0 win over Seattle, something that is reminiscent of the strong Impact teams of the past.

3. Atlanta Silverbacks - Do they deserve to be this high? No, it's just that the rest of the league isn't playing well at the moment. When we were all ready to sing their praises after coming from behind twice to pull out a 3-2 victory at Puerto Rico on Friday, they have to break our hearts in front of 17 people in the Orange Bowl on Sunday. They move on the Charleston on Saturday in a game that a win will be necessary to stay close to the league leaders.

4. Portland Timbers - They didn't play this weekend, and that might have been the best thing for them, considering the way everyone else keeps getting stuck in the mud. Two home games this weekend against Carolina and California will go a long way in telling if this team is for real.

5. Carolina RailHawks - It's two-straight wins for the expansion side, as the ground out a 1-0 victory over Charleston at home, thanks to a penalty kick. Another week, another fight for the RailHawks, as they're quickly becoming the most hated team in the league. Then again, with fans like this, it's kind of easy to see why.

6. Miami FC - Two games, two wins. I'm still not happy about putting this team so high, and with the team in general. They're not that good and this franchise stinks all around. I DO like the GolTV ads on the jerseys, but I really wish this team would fold. It seriously didn't look like there were even 50 people in the Orange Bowl on Sunday. Does this team have a future and how do they have the money to keep operating?

7. Rochester Raging Rhinos - Yikes. I really wish this team wasn't as bad as this, and I'm not really used to it. One point in their last three matches, and only 5 out of their last 5, all on the road. They get Miami in a home and away in the next two weeks, let's see who comes out the better in this series.

8. Puerto Rico Islanders - Ugh. This is where things get bad. The once formidable Juan Ramon Loubriel is no longer so, as Atlanta and a very bad Minnesota team both went down there and won this weekend. If you would have told me that they'd get just 1 point from three-straight home games, I wouldn't have believed you. Especially when that point came against Montreal.

9. Minnesota Thunder - They're only this high because they won on Sunday. I'm not seeing anything to separate the last 4-5 teams in the league. They're all pretty bad. But you've got to give the Thunder credit, pulling out a win away from home being a man down. Now they host two games in a row, two games they need results in to make any noise this season.

10. Seattle Sounders - They need something after tieing Rochester at home and losing at Montreal. How has this team fallen so far after winning the championship just two seasons ago? Games against Carolina at home and California away are two games they need results from. Come on Sounders, you're better than this.

11. Charleston Battery - And Charleston is better than this too. But they didn't do anything to move up this weekend, losing 1-0 at Carolina. I like the Battery, I think they deserve much better. It's always a big game when Atlanta comes to town, and this one is just as big, even if it's not a Southern Derby match. I hope to make it to Charleston on Saturday for this one.

12. California Victory - I wish the USL First Division would just move to 10 teams. Fold Miami and California. Sure, they're two markets that deserve to have some kind of soccer, but not this way. I really can't see this team doing much this season, something that won't help attendance and getting the team's name out there. Even though they've only played 3 games, they're still the only winless team in the league. A back-to-back home and away awaits them as they travel to Portland on Friday before hosting Seattle on Saturday.


Adam said...

I'm pretty sure it's a little early to be stereotyping Carolina fans.

Longshoe said...

I wouldn't compare all Carolina fans to that clown. He sure doesn't help the cause though...

I have to give Carolina a lot of credit. I don't think the roster is all that great, but Schweitzer gets everything out of those guys. I could do without the constant bitching and moaning out of them that they did in the Atlanta games (dropping the f-bomb repeatedly is always classy), but they're a tough team to play against.