July 2, 2007

USL First Division Power Rankings - The "We're Not #1" edition

It seems that nobody wants to be the top team in the USL First Division. Just take a look at some of the results from the last week of play. Rochester loses to Atlanta at home. Montreal loses to California at home. Vancouver ties Charleston on the road. So it's time for a big mixup in the Rankings. It's going to be a long week in the league, as we'll have games starting on Tuesday and running through Sunday.

1. Portland Timbers (+4) - It only makes sense. Two 1-0 wins, one at California and one at home to Miami. They've got the best points per game average (1.91) in the league. They're the only team unbeaten at home. They have the second-best goal differential behind a team that's played 3 more games. They'd be on top of the table if they had played more up to this point. And now they get to repeat their success at California on Saturday night.

2. Vancouver Whitecaps (-1) - I won't drop them too far, but I just wasn't too impressed with them on Saturday. The big problem right now is that they haven't scored more than 1 goal in a game since May 20. Fortunately for them, they've only lost once in that span. They've still got 3 more games on this 6-game road trip left, with the Carolina/Atlanta trip coming up this week.

3. Seattle Sounders (+3) - So all they did was beat Miami. But they're moving up because I'm so disappointed with the teams just behind them. Now comes the part where their schedule-maker should have been fired. At Rochester, back at home to host Vancouver, then back to Rochester all in less than 3 weeks. Almost as dumb as the Silverbacks' July schedule.

4. California Victory (+3) - I'll forgive them for losing at home to Portland earlier in the week. BECAUSE THEY WON AT FREAKING MONTREAL. Talk about a statement game. Only 14 guys on the roster, including the backup keeper, and they take a 2-0 decision. I must admit I was stunned when I read the scoreline. Add to this the fact that they're in the Final 16 in the US Open Cup, and this team has turned it around. The way this league is looking right now, the playoffs are not out of the picture.

5. Carolina RailHawks (-1) - These teams with weeks off really kill me because I have to fill this space somehow. Sure, I do these rankings mainly based on recent results, so it's hard to come up with stuff to say and to rank these teams when they don't play. That'll change this week, as they host Vancouver tomorrow before a date on FSC in Rochester on Friday. Two big games for the expansion side.

6. Rochester Raging Rhinos (-4) - Couldn't do what every other team in the league has done this season, which is figure out the Silverbacks. They just didn't look very good at all, which is surprising coming from the defending runners-up. John Ball is better than this. They better look better this week, as they're on TV again.

7. Montreal Impact (-4) - I feel your pain, Impact fans. The only thing is we're used to it down here in Atlanta.

8. Atlanta Silverbacks (+4) - I'm going to use this space to write some good things about them. For all the whining about how Antoniuk isn't scoring enough, look at who's leading the league in assists. McIntosh has been freakin' huge in the net, with two shutouts in his two league games and a shutout and a half in the Open Cup. Oh yeah, that's all he's played with the first team.

9. Charleston Battery (-) - They've got a stranglehold on the 9th spot, with their third week in a row at this spot. But they haven't done much to move up or down. A 1-1 draw at home to Vancouver. Wow. Now the fun starts as they come here for some Independence Day love before returning home to host Puerto Rico this weekend.

10. Puerto Rico Islanders (-2) - How bad does it look when you lose at Montreal and two days later California goes in and beats them 2-0? After last year's sensational run to the playoffs, I don't think anyone expected this. The Islanders are just disappointing this season. And trading Alen Marcina to Montreal doesn't help either. Who's running this team? The guys calling their home games for USL Live?

11. Minnesota Thunder (-1) - Another team with a week off. Sunday begins a string of three-straight home games for the Thunder, with the first two coming against a wounded Montreal.

12. Miami FC (-1) - Playoff hopes fading, fading......Two 1-0 losses to Portland and Seattle. At California and Vancouver before heading back home. This team's done for.


Bob said...

A number one ranking? That is the kiss of death. The Timbers are solid but I still think Vancouver is better. Montreal will probably be better in the long run too. The Timbers might not give up many goals but they struggle to score. And they have a lot of road games ahead. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Nice work doing these rankings each week.

El Güero said...

That's kind of why I entitled it "We're Not #1". It seems nobody wants to establish themselves as the team to beat this season.

This season is a real crapshoot as far as predicting who will win it all, I've never seen so much parity in the league.

Anonymous said...

and you forgot to mention the Timbers mascot is a guy wielding a chainsaw... That's my favorite part of a timbers game...

(who am i? just some random portlander who has been reading your blog for the past couple months)

Longshoe said...

We always appreciate random readers from Portland. Welcome to the bakery!

Dudes with chainsaws, you can't go wrong. From the Timbers to Jackyl, it's always good...