Top Stories

SBI USSF Division 2 Power Rankings: Week 20

Ussf2logo2

By TRAVIS CLARK

With the summer winding to a close, the margin for error is growing smaller and smaller for teams on the peripheral of the postseason picture.

Minnesota and Tampa Bay each were in dire need of a win over the weekend, but neither could deliver the goods against Portland and Vancouver respectively. The two expansion sides will likely vie for the eighth and final postseason spot at season's end.

Austin and Rochester continue to be the class of the league, with 2011 MLS entrants Vancouver hoping to have a say in the matter once the postseason rolls around. The Aztex and Rhinos did become the first two sides to officially clinch a postseason spot over the weekend.

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

1. Austin Aztex (13-3-5)

 Aztexlog

Last Match– Won 3-2 vs. Carolina Railhawks on August 22.

Next Match– at Portland on Thursday, August 26.

Outlook: Austin's offense continued to put on a show against a stout Carolina defense on the way to clinching a playoff spot. Jamie Watson will likely be available for this week's trip to Portland. Questions about their defense will be raised heading into the postseason.

——————————

2. Rochester Rhinos (14-5-6)

Rhinos New Logo

Last Match– Won 3-1 vs. Miami FC on August 21.

Next Match– at Montreal on Friday, August 27.

Outlook: Austin is barely holding off Rochester at the moment, winners of six straight and seven of their last eight, will hope to carry their hot form into the postseason.

——————————

3. Vancouver Whitecaps (9-3-12)

Vancouver_Whitecaps

Last Match– Tied 1-1 at FC Tampa Bay on August 19.

Next Match– vs. Austin on Sunday, August 29.

Outlook: A point on the road is never a bad result, and a trip to Tampa is a long one. The Whitecaps' excellent defense will be sternly tested against Austin.

——————————

4. Portland Timbers (9-7-7)

Timbers

Last Match– Won 1-0 at NSC Minnesota on August 21.

Next Match– vs. Austin on Thursday, August 26.

Outlook: Bright Dike continues to show promise as a compliment to Ryan Pore and a possible striker for next year.

——————————

5. Carolina Railhawks (8-7-7)

Railhawks

Last Match– Lost 3-2 at Austin Aztex on August 22.

Next Match– at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, August 25.

Outlook: Carolina almost came away with a point against powerful Austin, but despite the loss are in good shape for the playoffs. They can't be considered championship contenders unless their offense improves — Etienne Barbara in particular.

——————————

6. Puerto Rico Islanders (7-7-8)

PR-Islanders-logo

Last Match– Tied 1-1 at A.C. St. Louis on August 20.

Next Match– at Carolina on Saturday, August 28.

Outlook: Nicholas Addlery's goal-scoring continues to be consistent for the Islanders, but their depth will be tested by the CONCACAF Champions League group stages.

——————————

7. Montreal Impact (7-10-7)

Montreal_impact logo

Last Match– Won 5-0 at Crystal Palace Baltimore on August 21.

Next Match– vs. Rochester on Friday, August 27.

Outlook: Canadian Ali Gerba was the star as Montreal crushed Baltimore on the road. That development might be the shot in the arm the team needs to make a playoff run. 

——————————

8. FC Tampa Bay Rowdies (6-8-9)
Rowdies_logo

Last Match– Tied 1-1 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday, August 19.

Next Match vs. Carolina on Wednesday, August 25.

Outlook: It looks likely that the last postseason spot could go to either Tampa Bay or Minnesota. New acquisition Jonny Steele hasn't been anything spectacular, and will need to be a crucial component down the stretch. Further aiding Tampa's cause is having two games in hand on the Stars.

——————————

9. NSC Minnesota Stars (7-11-7)

Nsc-minnesota-logo

Last Match– Lost 1-0 vs. Portland Timbers on August 21.

Next Match– at Austin on Saturday, September 4.

Outlook: It certainly has been a respectable season for Minnesota considering the circumstances. But respectable might not be good enough to make the playoffs, and the last two games at home might be the nail in the coffin. Their last win came back on July 10 as well — not the recipe for success.

——————————

10. A.C. St. Louis (5-11-7)

ACSTL

Last Match– Tied 1-1 vs. Puerto Rico Islanders on August 20.

Next Match– at Tampa Bay on Sunday, August 29.

Outlook: For all the off-the-field problems that St. Louis has endured, to be this close to the postseason is somewhat remarkable. Tying against Puerto Rico at home isn't going to get the job done, however.

——————————

11. Crystal Palace Baltimore (6-12-6)

PalaceBaltimore_logo

Last Match– Lost 5-0 vs. Montreal Impact on August 21. 

Next Match– at Portland on Sunday, August 29.

Outlook: Baltimore isn't entirely out of the playoff picture, but a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Montreal isn't going to do anything positive.

——————————

12. Miami FC (3-10-11)

Miami_fc logo 

Last Match– Lost 3-1 at Rochester Rhinos on August 21.

Next Match– at St. Louis on Sunday, September 5.

Outlook: Miami hit double digits in ties and losses over the weekend, and look like a lock to miss out on the playoffs.

Comments

  1. How long are the Rowdies expecting to play in the baseball field?

    Up 2-0, the Railhawks look so much better on the road than at home. Very frustrating.

    Reply
  2. The Finger Lakes homer in me wants a Rochester in the MLS (I grew up in the area but don’t live there anymore). They might develop a nice Lake Ontario rivalry with TFC. Rochester could be doomed forever to D2 sports, though, considering they already have the Amerks in the AHL. Anyone remember the Syracuse Salty Dogs?

    Reply
  3. Puerto Rico with one point in St. Louis instead of taking the three. I know that the Champions’ League games are important, and we were on the road but we left more points on the table…

    Reply
  4. Watching Montreal light up my local Baltimore boys was brutal. Absolutely brutal. In the four years that we have had a team, I can’t recall attending a home game where we got lit up like that. It was painful.

    Maybe Uncle Joey trashing the players in the press did lite a fire under their derrieres (soory about the spelling)…

    Reply
  5. No. Eric. Not trying to be diesrepctful in any way–I love visiting Rochester when Puerto Rico plays there–There is no chance, Lance that Rochester makes it to MLS.

    Eric already broke it down brilliantly.

    the way that things are going with the second division, Rochester could very well be playing D-3 next year. It will be more like Back to the future with Richmond, Charleston and even Charlotte and Pittsbusburgh if it can survive financially being opponents again.

    Reply
  6. Last week the ONLY reason Travis could list to keep Austin on top was that they “had games in hand”. This week as Rochester’s win streak nears all time records the Rhinos are still a close 2nd?

    Isn’t the point of power rankings to say who the hottest team is RIGHT NOW? Otherwise we might as well just check the USSF D2 standings…

    Reply
  7. Is it really a bad thing to be a D-2 team? It appears as though Rochester has a very solid operation right now. At the beginning of the season I thought they were crazy for slashing the payroll, but Lilley has done as great job at building a winning squad. The attendance is just below 6,500 and if they keep winning, that number will only go up. I would love to see the day when all MLS clubs are drawing at least 20K per game and all D-2 clubs are drawing at least 10K.

    Reply
  8. I would guess that Rochester will never be an MLS candidate for two reasons.

    First, MLS might do well there, but it’s not something I’d be wiling to bet $40m on and I doubt you would find someone willing to make that wager.

    Second, even with an investor, Rochester is probably pretty low on the list of desirable markets from MLS’s perspective. As the league moves from expansion to consolidation, I expect it to become increasingly strategic about where it awards the final franchises.

    Rochester’s future is in a strong D2, along with Austin, Baltimore, and those other cities that are just a little too small and a little too close to other markets. If the Rhinos had their history in Atlanta or Nashville or Phoenix, I would like their odds a lot better.

    Reply
  9. It has two things missing:

    Deep pockets
    Big enough media market

    The first one could be solved. The second one can’t. MLS and Garber will work hard to get a 2nd NYC team, or, secondarily, a team in Miami or Atlanta. They have no interest in Rochester because they don’t fit the media needs.

    As much fun as it would be.

    Reply
  10. Rowdies v. Carolina Railhawks tonight (funny thing; the owner of Carolina, Brian Wellman, is from Tampa, FL)…it is overcast here in Tampa and it has been raining a lot in for the past 2-3 days.

    Rowdies desperately need the win; I know they have been quite unlucky in a number of games, but, at the end of the day, the table doesn’t lie…

    Go Rowdies!

    Reply
  11. Travis or anyone—So this might just be my upstate New York wishful thinking at work here, but given that the Rhinos are pretty dominant right now and that wiki says Rochester’s avg attendance over the past 15 years has been 9771 (although plummeting the past few) mightn’t they be candidates for MLS at some point in the next 5 or so years (say instead of the new Cosmos?). Portland’s average attendance over the past decade has been between 5.5 and 9.7K.

    Reply

Leave a Comment