Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lower Division Power Rankings & Open Cup First Round predictions

With the US Open Cup kicking off this week with the inclusion of the first four pro sides here is the debut of my weekly mixed LD Power Rankings for the NASL and USL Pro.

Orlando City (USL Pro) :: 6-1-1 :: Though they aren't perfect with a loss on the road, they appear to be one of the powerful clubs so far this season.

Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) :: 4-0-2 :: They have dominated the competition but have only been on the road once so far.

Carolina RailHawks (NASL) :: 3-0-2 :: Unbeaten in a tight league and starting to show some offensive firepower.

Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) :: 2-1-2 :: The defending champs are off to a bit of a slow start.

Charleston Battery (USL Pro) :: 5-1-0 :: Charleston's lone defeat so far came at the hands of Richmond.

Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) :: 5-1-0 :: Harrisburg's only loss was to the Battery.

Minnesota United (NASL) :: 2-1-2 :: They have the last two league MVP winners, but have had difficulty separating from the rest of the league.

Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) :: 2-0-3 :: A surprise up this high so far, but have been an extremely tough team to beat thus far with draws against Orlando and Richmond.

FC Edmonton (NASL) :: 2-2-2 :: Expected them to bring up the rear, but have managed to post some surprising results.

Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) :: 2-2-1 :: Wynalda's revamp of last year's cellar dwellers is still showing signs of life.

VSI Tampa Bay (USL Pro) :: 4-3-0 :: Talented squad, but has been unable to keep up with the leaders.

LA Blues (USL Pro) :: 4-4-1 :: Has been difficult to beat at home.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) :: 1-3-1 :: Has a lot of potential, but off to a slow start.

San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) :: 0-3-2 :: Last year's regular season champs have struggled without star players who left for Minnesota, but still have plenty of potential.

Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) :: 3-2-0 :: Showing well through early season.

Phoenix FC (USL Pro) :: 2-5-2 :: First-year team is managing to post some respectable results.

Rochester Rhinos (USL Pro) :: 1-5-1 :: Now that they have their first win and the road-heavy start is done, they should begin climbing, especially if they can get past injuries.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Pro) :: 1-4-3 :: Have potential, but hard to judge with so many road games to start season.

Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro) :: 1-5-0 :: Have struggled to get going so far this season.

Antigua Barracuda (USL Pro) :: 0-7-0 :: Don't ever expect them to leave this spot unless they get a new owner with lots and lots of money to sign new players and get wins. Will be luck to finish season with more than two points.

And now for some US Open Cup predictions (First Round)… 

Follow the tournament at TheCup.us or on Twitter #USOC100.

Mass Premier Soccer (USASA) at GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL) - Portland has shown it has plenty of fight in their opener and will prevail at home 3-2.

Icon FC (USASA) at Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) - The Italians are always a strong side and should top the newcomers 3-0.

NY Red Bulls U23s (NPSL) at Ocean City Nor'easters (PDL) - The hosts should be able to take advantage of a Red Bulls side still weeks away from starting their season, winning 2-1.

FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic (NPSL) at Reading United AC (PDL) - Reading is a deep team courtesy of their MLS Philadelphia affiliation and should prevail with a 2-0 result.

Ocala Stampede (PDL) at Red Force (USASA) - This is the first entry for both teams, but I suspect the talent level of the Stampede will give them the edge on the road for a 2-1 win.

VSI Tampa Bay (USL Pro) at Orlando City U23s (PDL) - The pro side has been pretty solid this season and should take it easily with a 3-1 result.

Chattanooga FC (NPSL) at Carolina Dynamo (PDL) - Two strong sides smells of a penalty shootout. I suspect it will come after a 2-2 draw.

Dearborn Stars (USASA) at Michigan Bucks (PDL) - The Bucks are too experienced when it comes to the tournament and should find a 3-0 win easy to earn against the newcomers.

RWB Adria (USASA) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Pro) - The Riverhounds have struggled, but a home match against a traveling amateur side should provide enough of an advantage for a 2-0 win.

River City Rovers (PDL) at Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) - Dayton wins at home 2-1

NTX Rayados (USASA) at Austin Aztex (PDL) - Austin showed poise in their opener, but the Rayados will have learned from last year's loss. Aztex prevail 3-2.

Phoenix FC (USL Pro) at FC Tucson (PDL) - Tucson having home field will help keep it close, but I suspect the new pro side will pull away 3-1.

Sacramento Gold (NPSL) at Portland Timbers U23s (PDL) - Sacramento is well into their season and Portland is just getting going so it should be closer than it would be a month from now. Portland use home field for 2-1 win.

Doxa Italia (USASA) at Sounders U23s (PDL) - Doxa is better than previous years, but the Sounders U23s are always a good team and will win easy 3-0.

PSA Elite (USASA) at Laredo Heat (PDL) - Laredo is always a talented side and should take advantage of a PSA side far from home, winning 3-1.

Real Colorado Foxes (PDL) at Georgia Revolution (NPSL) - It is a long road trip from Colorado and with no games under their belt, the Foxes will fall big with Revolution taking it easy 3-0.

FC Hasental (NPSL) at Ventura County Fusion (PDL) - This may be one of the most interesting match-ups. I suspect at least two goals each with Ventura County using home field to narrowly advance 3-2.

Madison 56ers (NPSL) at Des Moines Menace (PDL) - Madison is a strong club, but they are on the road against another powerhouse. The Menace also have a league game under their belts and should use both advantages for a 2-1 win.