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NASL Power Rankings 2016: Week Twenty Six

by on 12 October 2016

I’m back!

Many thanks to Jeff for taking over last week’s rankings. I’ve been away all week, and so I missed a lot of NASL action. Can’t wait to see how Minnesota did, that home match against Jacksonville was the perfect match to get back on tra—

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I’m back!

Many thanks to Jeff for taking over last week’s rankings. I’ve been away all week, and so I missed a lot of NASL action. That’s okay though, because my favorite soccer teams in the world, Miami FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies are just so darn loveable, and I love them and Floriday so much. It’s just great to live in Florida, I love it. There’s sun, beaches, Pitbull (dale!), and you have to drive everywhere.

Gosh guys, isn’t Florida the BEST? If you haven’t been to Miami Beach and done whatever there is to do in Tampa, then you’re really missing out. Go Miami FC! Go Tampa Bay Rowdies! You’ve got this, guys.

PRCosmos
#1. New York Cosmos – (17-5-7, 56 pts) – No Change

As they have almost all season, New York lead the Power Rankings and are showing no signs of letting go. If anything, the Cosmos have been earning better results of late than normal. They won away in Carolina and drew away in Ottawa. Four points on the road is much better than New York managed earlier in the season, and it’s helped them all but clinch the league’s #1 seed. Only Edmonton, with a game in hand and but five points back in the fall table, could plausibly snatch it away. It’s hard to see it happening.

The better question at this point would be: is New York almost certainly going to win the league title? With the league’s top seed and a 13-2-0 home record, it would seem to be easily in hand. But as this website reported yesterday, the Cosmos will not be able to host the final in the friendly confines of Shuart Stadium, and will either have to find an alternate site, or sell the hosting rights. If the Cosmos end up selling out, that could decide the title. Recent improvement included, the Cosmos are 4-3-7 away. Indy are 11-3-0 at home and Edmonton are 11-2-2. It would be a weird end to the season if the clear top team in the league essentially lost the title because their landlord had already booked the field.

New York play Jacksonville on Saturday.

PREdmonton
#2. FC Edmonton – (14-8-6, 50 pts) – Up One

Edmonton bounce back into the second spot this week, following a series of games where they got on track and Indy stumbled. After drawing Jacksonville on the road, the Eddies defeated the Eleven at home and then blanked Tampa amid the snow up north. That result confirmed that Edmonton will play in the playoffs for the second time in their history, a tremendous achievement, especially given explainations. You can’t get mad about this, the Eddies deserve it. Congrats to everyone up there!

Edmonton will almost certainly be the #3 seed in the playoffs, despite likely finishing the season in second place. Unfortunately, given how good the top three teams have been at home, that might doom them to a semi-finals exit. But you can never count out a team like Edmonton, whose defense has been the league’s best by an incredible margin. That will allow them to compete on any field. As long as they stay tight at the back, they’ve got a chance.

On Wednesday night, the Eddies will play Fort Lauderdale away. Then, they’ll stop by Minnesota on the way back home and play a weekend match there.

PREleven
#3. Indy Eleven – (12-9-6, 45 pts) – Down One

Indy have five games remaining, the most of any team. But there’s really not a whole lot they can do with them. The #1 seed is almost certainly out of reach. The playoff spot and the #2 seed is already clinched. So…. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Last week, Indy played just once, away in Edmonton. They lost, and so they move down this week’s ranking. On Wednesday of this week, the Eleven face Jacksonville away. On the weekend, they play Carolina at home. We’ll see how Tim Hankinson approaches the final stretch run, where keeping good form must be balanced with keeping players injury free.

 

PRMiami
#4. Miami FC – (9-9-10, 36 pts) – Up One

 

PRRailHawks
#5. Carolina RailHawks – (10-7-11, 37 pts) – Up Three

PRRowdies
#6. Tampa Bay Rowdies – (9-10-9, 37 pts) – Down Two

 

PRUnited
#7. Minnesota United FC – (10-8-11 38 pts) – Down One

 

PRRayo
#8. Rayo OKC – (8-11-9, 35 pts) – Up Two

Five teams are all clustered between 38 and 35 points. All five have reasonable chances to make the final spot in the playoffs. The weird thing is that none of them seem to want to. Combined, these five teams have a record of 3-8-4 in their last three games. During that stretch, there were four matches between these five teams, and three of them were draws (aka, the record would look 2-2-3 without the double counting). Despite having fantastic chances to open up a lead, nobody has taken advantage.

The rankings above correspond to my rough estimate of the likelihood of teams making that final spot. There is no clear favorite. It’s very, very close. All of these teams have four games left, except Minnesota, who have three. But it’s the Loons who lead the pack, they are the only club with 38 points and they also have the best goal differential (+4).

Still, I give the edge to Miami, who simply have been the best of the bunch in the fall season. The teal and tangerine are about the same home and away, and they have a good opportunity to put Tampa Bay away this Friday, before traveling to Jacksonville next Wednesday. That sounds good, so what’s the issue? Miami have matches against New York (away) and Edmonton (home) to end the season. They may as well have just two matches left on the season to make their mark.

Carolina have made something of the miracle comeback that I scoffed at a few weeks back, but there’s still work to do. The RailHawks have the advantage of facing two playoff rivals, Rayo and Minnesota, at home in the final stretch. But they also must travel to Indy, where they are unlikely to pick-up points. Poor on the road, the RailHawks can’t write off their season ender away in Puerto Rico either.

No team’s playoff chances fell further this past week than Tampa Bay, who drew home matches against Miami and Minnesota and in so doing, lost their two best chances to secure a playoff position. They must now get results in harder circumstances. They play away in Miami this coming Friday, then host Indy and Ottawa before wrapping up in Jacksonville. That’s a reasonable schedule, actually. The Eleven are not great on the road, and Miami aren’t great at home. But Tampa Bay aren’t great, period. Of these five teams, they’ve been the worst of the bunch in the fall season. No joke, they’re tied with Puerto Rico and Ottawa.

Minnesota’s main edge comes from simply being on top of the pile right now. Perhaps they can just slump into the #4 spot by default. But they certainly haven’t looked the part recently. They’re winless in six, and have just two wins in their last fifteen matches. They also have only three matches remaining. Two of the three are home, which is great, but they’re against New York and Edmonton. Meanwhile, the critical away match is against Carolina, and Minnesota have been bad, bad, bad on the road.

Last in the bunch, are Rayo OKC, who earned themselves a spot at the table with a 1-0 win over Miami FC this past week. They’ve also got quite a nice looking end run of games, away in Carolina and Fort Lauderdale and at home against Ottawa and Indy. But they’re also the furthest behind of the five teams, three points behind Minnesota’s pace. They could still catch-up, but they’ll have to stay nearly faultless.

 

#9. Ottawa Fury – (7-9-13, 30 pts) – Up One

Ottawa have resumed slumping, now that they’re no longer playing Minnesota United. So it goes. They’re likely off to USL at the end of the year and I wish them the best. I like this club. If they can keep and build on their current roster, I think they should have success in the third division.

The last three matches of their NASL tenure? Away at OKC and Tampa, and then a pick-me-up finale against Fort Lauderdale.

PRPuertoRico

#10. Puerto Rico FC – (4-9-6, 21 pts) – Up One

Wait, are Puerto Rico suddenly a good team? Unbeaten in seven, with three wins and four draws, the Melos have an actual chance to overtake Jacksonville for eleventh place in the final league standings, despite playing ten less games. With three games left, they’re just two points behind.

Los Naranjas play Fort Lauderdale away in their next match, which seems a great chance to pick up another W.

PRArmada
#11. Jacksonville Armada – (4-11-12, 23 pts) – Up One

Jacksonville got their second ever away win the previous week, beating Minnesota on a late goal. Funny enough, they have yet to play after that. So with five games left, the Armada still have the opportunity to beat back Puerto Rico’s challenge and stay out of the cellar. But it’ll be tough. Jacksonville play Indy, New York, Miami, Edmonton, and Tampa in their final five games. That’s hilarious. At least four of those are at home, but what’s kind of funny and kind of sad is that the Armada have only won twice at home this year, matching their total of away wins.

This is a bad team, folks.

 

 

PRStrikers
#12. Fort Lauderdale Strikers – (8-8-12, 32 pts) – Down Three

Is there anything left to say?

***

Because Jeff did the PR a bit differently, I’ve adjusted rankings based on the week twenty four rankings, not the week twenty five ranking.

Leave your comments below!

 

 

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  • It’s good to have you back. Thanks for doing these each week. I’ve read every PR you’ve done since Indy joined the league. These are a highlight of my week. Going to miss you guys next year…