Welcome to the USL power ratings! Herein, I’ll give weekly updates on the Eastern and Western Conference with a projected final table. When there’s enough data, I’ll expand the variety of rankings available.
This rating method counts only opposition played and points attained in a given game – it is best used as a proxy for how the table is likely to play out at the end of the year. At this stage of the year, it’s broken: there aren’t quite enough games played for the data to make sense. One more week and it should start to be an accurate representation.
USL East power rankings:
- Saint Louis (+1) – 124.86 points
- North Carolina (-1) – 101.97 points
- Ottawa (+1) – 87.40 points
- Tampa Bay (-1) – 79.91 points
- NYRB2 (+2) – 77.69 points
- Nashville – 71.34 points
- Charleston (+2) – 62.43
- Indy 49.94 points
- Memphis (+1) 34.96 points
- Louisville City (-5) – 33.30 points
- Birmingham (+5) – 28.54 points
- Bethlehem (-1) – 24.97 points
- Loudoun (+2) – 22.89 points
- Pittsburgh (-1) – 19.03 points
- Swope Park (+1) – 15.61 points
- Charlotte (-2) – 15.46 points
- Atlanta 2 (-5) – 12.49 points
- Hartford 0 – 0.00 points
We’re down to just two teams breaking the table on the positive end. Both should get a strength-of-schedule hit this weekend that should bring them down to Earth, regardless of result (though both will continue to regress toward the mean over the next few weeks). Hartford is one of just two USL teams that has had the same result in every game, and once they get their first point, they’ll get off the floor here.
Idle Ottawa and Nashville both moved up slightly, in large part because the average PPG across the conference went down a bit, meaning the denominator on their strength of schedule numbers went down, improving it. Obviously both have played reasonably tough schedules in very few games so far.
In fact, Nashville has the toughest strength of schedule to date: 2.14 (Conference average is 1.36). Saint Louis is right behind them at 2.00, underscoring just how good STLFC has been through the first several games. The easiest schedules to date have gone to Atlanta United 2 – explaining why they’re so low despite a reasonable 1-1-1 record – and, very troublingly for Louisville City fans, the boys in Purple.
So Louisville is actually one we should talk about just a bit: despite playing the second-easiest schedule so far, they’ve already taken two losses. One would assume that things get even more bleak when they play a tougher set of teams. Of course, LCFC has been a squad that has started OK and found form later in the past couple seasons, so it’s definitely too early to press the panic button just yet.
USL West power rankings
- Sacramento Republic – 118.94 points
- OKC Energy (+6) – 72.99 points
- New Mexico (+4) – 65.54 points
- Fresno FC (+4) – 59.47 points
- Portland Timbers 2 (-1) – 58.33 points
- Colorado Springs (-1) – 57.99 points
- Tulsa Roughnecks (-4) 57.35 points
- Reno 1868 (+1) – 57.35 points
- LA Galaxy II (+1) – 50.98 points
- Real Monarchs (-8) – 49.24 points
- Las Vegas Lights (+5) – 37.07 points
- Phoenix Rising – 35.68 points
- El Paso – 26.55 points
- Austin Bold (+3) – 26.43 points
- Tacoma Defiance (-1) – 23.21 points
- Orange County (-5) – 20.03 points
- San Antonio (-2) – 7.01 points
- Rio Grande Valley – 6.90 points
Sacramento remains the only team breaking the table. Tacoma today – regardless of result – maaaaay be enough to being them back down into the point totals that are theoretically possible. Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio FC aren’t technically breaking it on the low end, but certainly I’d expect both of them to get a little closer to average in coming weeks, even if they remain at the bottom (likely for RGV, probably not so much for SAFC).
Sacramento has the toughest schedule to date in the West, so their 2-0-1 is plenty good to have them easily at the top. Doesn’t hurt that they also have the best points per game so far, as well. Tulsa Roughnecks are No. 1 in the USL West Standings, but that’s got a couple of complicating factors: they’re one of just two teams (New Mexico is the other) to play five games so far, and as you can assume from their position i the power ratings, they’ve dealt with a weak schedule so far (14th-toughest in the West).
The chart shows the larger-picture situation, and it’s not so dissimilar from what the West looked like for much of last year. One team at the top (it was Real Monarchs for most of last season, before they faded hard down the stretch), a couple title chasers, and then a couple large-ish clumps of teams.
The data here was graphable a week earlier than in the East, but it actually seems to have less clarity in many sports on the table. I would expect over the next 29-31 games, that’ll change bigtime (like in the East, where I think the stratification is actually fool’s gold: there will be a ton of shuffling going on).