May 28, 2007

USL First Division Power Rankings

Another week and a few surprise results, but things have relatively stayed the same at the top and bottom. It's the middle of the table that's going to give us rankers trouble all season long. Last week's rank in parentheses. You know how we roll.

1. Montreal Impact (+1) - Still solid, and now the only undefeated team in the league. Two wins through two of their six-game homestand. Friday's match against Vancouver is the early game of the season and will probably determine next week's #1 team in the rankings.

2. Vancouver Whitecaps (-1) - Their 16-game unbeaten streak going back to last year ended shockingly at home to Carolina. Not a good result with a trip to Montreal coming up, but I'm still certain they can give the Impact a good game. Pretty soon, we at Cupcakes will be issuing an APB for Jason McLaughlin. Use him or lose him, Whitecaps.

3. Carolina RailHawks (+2) - I'm really starting to hate this team, not because of their style of play, but because on paper, they shouldn't be this good. But they pulled off the upset of the season so far, winning in Vancouver. They just keep hanging around, picking up points, and now they don't leave Cary for the entire month of June.

4. Rochester Raging Rhinos (+3) - The reason I'm moving this team up is because I looked at their schedule. Look closely, only 2 of their first 12 games are at home, and the Rhinos have managed to keep it together. I could look like a fool as they have the tricky Miami/Puerto Rico trip on the books this weekend.

5. Portland Timbers (-1) - I'm still not sold on this team, mainly because they've played 5 of their 6 games at home. And beating California is nothing to stop the presses for. The Montreal/Rochester trip (on consecutive days, nonetheless) doesn't bode well for them.

6. Seattle Sounders (+4) - Hey, two wins are two wins. Granted, one was against California, but they figured out Carolina and held on despite Eylander's momentary loss of composure. I've done the same before, and my team hung on to win also. Come to think of it, maybe I should lose my cool, start yelling at the other team and get a yellow card more often.

7. Charleston Battery (+4) - I can't justify keeping them behind Atlanta, even though I think Atlanta is still the better team. They took it to the Silverbacks and took advantage of a night off for the 'Backs. I really don't want them to pick up two results against California and Minnesota this week, as that will throw the middle of the table into more disarray.

8. Atlanta Silverbacks (-5) - A disastrous game in Charleston on Saturday. I'm not dropping them this far because I'm upset for the way they played after making the long trip out there, I'm dropping them because they looked terrible. They looked like they had no heart and after Jarun lost Alvarez and let in the first goal, they just died. They better take care of Miami on Saturday or they're in trouble.

9. Puerto Rico Islanders (-1) - Got their revenge in Minnesota on Saturday, avenging their loss at home to the Thunder the previous weekend. This Islander team just isn't as good as last year's team, but the up and down nature of the middle of the table could see them into the playoffs again. I'd love to see them take out Rochester on the island on Sunday.

10. Miami FC (-4) - Nearly pulled out a result in Montreal on Friday but looked dead against Rochester on Sunday. I can't figure this team out for the life of me, they're capable of winning some games, but sometimes look mediocre.

11. Minnesota Thunder (-2) - Yuck. Come on guys, give the home fans something to cheer about. How 'bout a win over Charleston this weekend?

12. California Victory (-) - Sigh. Ryan Suarez is not the answer.

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