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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.