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Reckless Rankings: USL PRO Week 7


There is at least one big surprise in the Reckless Rankings for week 7. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you see which team has landed at the top of the list. Wait! Don’t skip ahead just yet. I need to remind you how this works. The Reckless Rankings is not subjective. It is completely formulaic. Each team’s results are weighted by strength of schedule, location of the game, and when the game was played. Positive results against better teams are worth more than similar results against bottom dwellers. Road wins are given more emphasis than home wins. Although the entire season is taken into consideration, the most recent result is the most important.

After you’ve taken the time to fully digest the rankings, leave a comment to let me know how you feel. Consider it soccer therapy.

Charleston_Logo_1001. Charleston Battery (34.78 points)

Prev Week: 8 | USL PRO Pos: 4 | SoS Ave: 1.435

There won’t be many teams in USL PRO this year that will have the kind of week that the Battery had last week. They charged into Harrisburg on Wednesday and took a 2-1 victory. On Friday, they rolled into Dayton and escaped with three points thanks to yet another Nicki Paterson penalty kick.

They only got six points in the standings, but consecutive road wins scores big in the Reckless Rankings. The Battery moved from eighth position to first. I’m not sure how long they’ll be able to retain the top spot, but this is definitely a team that will be closer to first than eighth for the remainder of the season.

This Week: home against Wilmington on Saturday

Orlando_Logo_1002. Orlando City (30.21 points)

Prev Week: 1 | USL PRO Pos: 1 | SoS Ave: 1.403

In the only match on their schedule last week, Orlando dispatched Antigua by a final score of 7-2. Dom Dwyer turned in his first hat trick as a member of the Orlando City squad, and although it’s still early, he’s beginning to take command of the race for goal scoring champion. The question is how long he’ll set the USL PRO on fire before Sporting Kansas City calls him up MLS.

Orlando is beginning to look like the MLS team that they and their supporters want them to be. It almost seems absurd to have them ranked below anyone. A home win against the worst team in the league just didn’t earn them enough Reckless points to stave off the Battery this week.

This Week: at Seattle Sounders reserves on Sunday

Harrisburg_Logo_1003. Harrisburg City Islanders (29.31 points)

Prev Week: 3 | USL PRO Pos: 3 | SoS Ave: 1.271

The City Islanders lost their bid at perfection on Wednesday at home against the Battery, but they took care of business in Rochester. Harrisburg has been impressive through five games. To paraphrase Raymond Stellhorn, teams can’t open up against the City Islanders, or they will get scored upon.

This Week: home against Antigua on Friday

TampaBay_Logo_1004. VSI Tampa Bay FC (23.73 points)

Prev Week: 7| USL PRO Pos: 5 | SoS Ave: 1.289

Tampa Bay makes the leap from seventh to fourth place in this week’s edition of the Reckless Rankings thanks to a second half scoring flurry against Antigua. Mauricio Salles de Allencar came on in the 69th minute for Andriy Budnyy and scored the game winner six minutes later. Salles, the Reckless Challenge USL PRO Player of the Week, added an insurance goal in stoppage time.

Before you get up in arms about Tampa Bay jumping three spots after beating Antigua at home, while Orlando dropped a spot while doing the same, consider that (1) Charleston also leapfrogged over Tampa Bay and (2) the three teams that Tampa Bay surpassed managed draws in their most recent matches this week.

This Week: no games scheduled this week

LosAngeles_Logo_1005. Los Angeles Blues (22.82 points)

Prev Week: 2 | USL PRO Pos: 2 | SoS Ave: 1.478

The Blues managed to stay unbeaten at Titan Stadium after playing to a 0-0 draw against Pittsburgh last Sunday. It’s great to be unbeaten at home, but it would have been better to take the three points from a Riverhounds squad that was exhausted, playing far from home, and struggling to find its first win. Still, this is a Blues team that appears to be much improved over last year.

This Week: at Los Angeles Galaxy reserves last night

Richmond_Logo_1006. Richmond Kickers (20.13 points)

Prev Week: 6 | USL PRO Pos: 6 | SoS Ave: 1.370

Richmond’s road victory over Wilmington of Friday was good enough to move them ahead of Charlotte in the rankings. The draw in Charlotte on Saturday was enough to keep them one spot ahead of the Eagles. Both results kept them from experiencing their first loss of the season. The Kickers are still scoring goals at a pretty good clip. They’re getting good production out of the loans from MLS. Michael Seaton (D.C. United) and Brian Ownby (Houston Dynamo) scored their first goals of the season and had also had assists this weekend.

This Week: home against Antigua on Saturday

Charlotte_Logo_1007. Charlotte Eagles (17.05 points)

Prev Week: 4 | USL PRO Pos: 7| SoS Ave: 1.339

The Eagles took a late lead in the match against the Kickers, only to see Richmond come back to force a draw. The Eagles failed to make the playoffs last year, but turned over a lot of their roster in the off-season. Now the Eagles find themselves as one of only two teams in the league still without a loss. Young players like Christian Ramirez and Cuitlahuac Meza have performed well.

This Week: no games scheduled this week

Phoenix_Logo_1008. Phoenix FC Wolves (14.14 points)

Prev Week: 5 | USL PRO Pos: 8 | SoS Ave: 1.473

Phoenix played the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to a 1-1 draw in its only contest last week. It was a winnable game at home against a struggling team. The roller coaster ride continues for the Wolves.

This Week: away at Pittsburgh on Thursday and Dayton on Saturday

Pittsburgh_Logo_1009. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (11.61 points)

Prev Week: 11 | USL PRO Pos: 11 | SoS Ave: 1.622

The Riverhounds came away from their west coast swing against the Wolves and the Blues unscathed, playing both teams to draws. While these results, keep Pittsburgh without a win, it was a very successful week in most respects. There won’t be many teams to take the trip out west and return home without a loss. What has to be a concern for the Riverhounds is their inability to score goals. They have only scored three goals in seven games in 2013.

This Week: home against Phoenix on Thursday

Dayton_Logo_10010. Dayton Dutch Lions (10.50 points)

Prev Week: 9 | USL PRO Pos: 9| SoS Ave: 1.519

The Dutch Lions missed a big chance to turn a solid start to the season into a spectacular one. A tired Charleston team got off the bus in Dayton on Friday and started a lineup filled with players getting their first starts. The Battery prevailed 1-0 in a match that felt like the appropriate result should have been a draw.

This Week: home against Phoenix on Saturday

Wilmington_Logo_10011. Wilmington Hammerheads (3.00 points)

Prev Week: 10 | USL PRO Pos: 10| SoS Ave: 1.414

The 2-0 loss to Richmond last week was the third consecutive defeat for the Hammerheads. Wilmington hasn’t looked good since the season opener in the battle of aquatic carnivores.

This Week: home against Rochester on Friday and at Charleston on Saturday

Rochester_Logo_10012. Rochester Rhinos (2.36 points)

Prev Week: 12 | USL PRO Pos: 12| SoS Ave: 1.744

My preseason pick to win the 2013 USL PRO championship continued to disappoint with a 0-1 loss at home against Harrisburg. To make it worse, Matt Luzunaris (broken leg) and Michael Tanke (compartment syndrome) will be missing from the lineup for the foreseeable future.

This Week: at Wilmington on Friday

Antigua_Logo_10012. Antigua Barracuda (0.00 points)

Prev Week: 13 | USL PRO Pos: 13| SoS Ave: 1.597

The Barracuda played as close to home as they will all season when they traveled to Tampa Bay and Orlando. Antigua lost both games, but they did score their first three goals of the season.

This Week: at Harrisburg on Friday and at Richmond on Saturday

Chad Hollingsworth is recently converted to soccer fanaticism and will do whatever he is able to grow the game in America. He has been supporting the Dutch Lions since they joined USL PRO, is season-ticket holder and president of the Oranje Legion. If you’re so inclined, follow @ChadHoll on Twitter.

Chad Hollingsworth
Chad has supported USL since its incarnation as USL PRO in 2011. He is dedicated to the growth of soccer in the United States. In addition to writing and podcasting for Reckless Challenge, he started a supporters group for Dayton Dutch Lions FC and obtained a USSF coaching license to help local youth.

9 thoughts on “Reckless Rankings: USL PRO Week 7

  1. Given that your calculations give greater weight to road matches vs home matches perhaps you need to recalculate the rankings of Richmond and Charlotte for the week. Due to the fact that you mention that “The draw in Charlotte on Saturday was enough to keep them one spot ahead of the Eagles.” The Charlotte vs Richmond match Saturday night was in Richmond’s City Stadium. Furthermore, even though the match was a draw the result was a huge positive for the Charlotte Eagles as it was their first road test of the season and it was against their longtime rivals who have been playing very well since the start of the season.

    One other factor of note. It won’t have any bearing on the rankings but at the same point in the season last year the Charlotte Eagles were struggling with a record of 2-5-1 which proved to be too deep of a hole to overcome. This season they are still unbeaten at 2-0-3 and appear to be getting stronger.

    1. I incorrectly typed that the location of the match was in Charlotte, but the calculations had the location of the match properly taken into account. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.

      There can be no understating how big this result was for Charlotte. Richmond has been in great form, but the Eagles were able to battle back from a 2-0 deficit. I am very impressed by what Charlotte has managed to do at this point in the season.

      Full disclosure… I am hopelessly devoted to the Dayton Dutch Lions. If the Dutch Lions didn’t exist, however, Charlotte would be my favorite USL PRO team for reasons completely unrelated to soccer.

  2. One other factor to consider with the Charlotte-Richmond game is that Richmond had just played the night before in Wilmington, a tough match decided by a questionable penalty and a late breakaway goal in the 90th as the Hammers pushed to equalize. Credit to the Kickers for earning a tough point.

    We still believe in the Port City that the Hammers will turn it around. A few guys banged up and some others not cleared to play yet. Hopefully we won’t dig ourselves too big a hole like Charlotte did last year.

    1. I’m a little surprised at the start out of the Hammerheads. Taking injuries and road fatigue into consideration, that trip out west was still brutal. I’m willing to give a pass for a hard fought loss against a Richmond team that is in excellent form. Either you or Rochester will have a chance to start digging out of an early hole this week.

  3. I can’t wait to watch the Hounds climb up the Reckless Rankings in the coming weeks. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

    1. Your ‘Hounds are going to have to find a way to start scoring some goals if they hope to climb anything. Maybe it’s an issue with chemistry? On paper, they should be better than they have performed early. Glad to see that the Pittsburgh faithful are still faithful.

        1. I certainly don’t think they’re a lost cause. There’s only one team I would completely count out this early in the season.

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