Two weeks gone, and we have seven teams with unblemished records, including a quartet in the Western Conference that has taken back-to-back wins to start the new season.
All four of those squads, and the two that have gone two-for-two in the Eastern Conference, feature in the USLSoccer.com Power Rankings this week, along with some other newcomers to the Top 10 as we try to figure out who’s an early-season contender.
Want to have your say? Take part in the poll, or let us know on the USL Facebook page who your top team is as the season cranks into gear.
The five-person USLSoccer.com voting panel tabulates 10 points for first-place team votes, nine points to the second-place team and so forth to one point for 10th place. The accrued points among the group determines the final ranking.
Here’s your new Top 10.
1. Swope Park Rangers (48pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 vs. Portland Timbers 2
The Swope Park Rangers hold onto their top spot after a solid victory against the Portland Timbers 2 in midweek, but don’t have unanimity among the committee anymore. Swope Park has this week off, and the team just behind the Rangers in the Power Rankings will be making the trip to Kansas City, Mo., on April 15, with a chance to make a big statement.
2. Sacramento Republic FC (43pts)
Last Week: W 4-0 vs. Orange County SC
Republic FC moves up into second after a statement win against an Orange County SC side on Saturday night at Papa Murphy’s Park that drops out of the Top 10 as a result. Sammy Ochoa’s pair of goals, Wilson Kneeshaw’s great all-around display and a shutout for Evan Newton definitely caught the eye ahead of Sacramento’s swing through Oklahoma over the next week.
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies (42pts)
Last Week: W 4-0 vs. Toronto FC II
Tampa Bay continued right along with its second win in as many games on Saturday night as an attacking explosion put the game out of reach early on at Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies had four different players find the net as Georgi Hristov notched his second of the season, and they are humming along nicely as Ottawa Fury FC comes to visit on Saturday.
4. San Antonio FC (33pts)
Last Week: W 3-0 vs. LA Galaxy II
Two consecutive wins against two 2016 USL Cup Playoffs teams? That’s a very good start to the season for Head Coach Darren Powell’s side, which has Billy Forbes jumping out of the traps quickly with two goals in two games to the delight of the SAFC fans. A big Friday night clash arrives next against Colorado Springs. Can SAFC make it three-for-three against teams that entered the season with strong playoff pedigree?
5. Charleston Battery (30pts)
Last Week: W 2-0 at Charlotte Independence
The Battery have made an ideal start, with the reliable attacking source of Romario Williams and the emerging one of Forrest Lasso both on target against a slightly understrength Independence side on Saturday. The Battery will look to make it three-for-three this Saturday when they host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at MUSC Health Stadium.
6. Louisville City FC (27pts)
Last Week: W 3-1 at Orlando City B
Louisville’s attack found its rhythm on Thursday night against OCB with George Davis IV leading the way with a goal and an assist. City looks nicely set as of now, and will get the boost of Mark-Anthony Kaye back in its lineup when it faces Richmond on the road this weekend aiming for a second consecutive victory.
7. New York Red Bulls II (22pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 vs. Richmond Kickers
The Red Bulls II opened their new home with a victory against Richmond, with Zeiko Lewis notching the only goal at MSU Soccer Park for his first professional goal. The performance as a whole looked more polished from New York, which conceded far fewer chances and kept possession more cleanly than in its opener. A visit from Harrisburg on Wednesday night will be another good test.
T-8. Saint Louis FC (9pts)
Last Week: W 3-2 vs. Ottawa Fury FC
It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest win, with Saint Louis having been pressed for much of the second half, but with four points from two games to start the season STLFC is off to a good start under Head Coach Preki’s leadership. With New York facing a midweek contest before it visits Saint Louis this weekend, there could be a big chance for another three points on Saturday night.
T-8. FC Cincinnati (9pts)
Last Week: W 1-0 at Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Cincinnati moves into the rankings after edging past the Riverhounds thanks to Djiby Fall’s second-half goal. A clean sheet on the road is a positive, but there are still some questions that might be asked of the FCC attack. We’ll get more insight into how the chemistry in the attacking third is coming along on Sunday against Bethlehem Steel FC.
10. Real Monarchs SLC (7pts)
Last Week: W 2-0 vs. Phoenix Rising FC
The Monarchs have two wins out of two to start the season, with the latest coming under new Head Coach Mark Briggs. Real’s attack is looking sharp for one that has new offseason additions joining the mix, and after taking seven points from its first three games a season ago the side will be aiming for maximum points when Reno visits on Thursday night.
Also receiving votes – Richmond Kickers 4, Rochester Rhinos 1