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USSF D2 Power Rankings: Portland Leads the Way

These rankings are based on team’s records, who they’ve played and current form.  The disparity in number of games played so far this season, with Montreal, Carolina, FC Tampa Bay, Puerto Rico, Crystal Palace Baltimore and Miami FC having only played three contests, while NSC Minnesota has played six, makes the rankings even more subjective.  It’s all in good fun.

1. Portland Timbers:  The Timbers have 10 points in 4 contests, the only blemish being a draw in Montreal for the Impact’s home opener.  Portland’s Ryan Pore has taken the early lead for league MVP, scoring 6 of the 7 Portland goals, while assisting on the other.  Former LA Galaxy keeper Steve Cronin has been strong in goal, only allowing 2 goals so far this season. (3-0-1, 10 pts)

2. Austin Aztex:   Coach Adrian Heath’s club has improved dramatically over last year’s woeful 5 win expansion campaign.  Opening with a big home win over Montreal, the Aztex subdued AC St. Louis on the road, then stubbed their toes at home with a 2-1 loss to Rochester, before rebounding last week at Minnesota.  (3-1-0, 9 pts)

3. Rochester Rhinos:  The Rhinos have played 5 games to get 8 points, which may make a 3rd place power ranking seem a tad high, but their first 4 games were on the road, with the only loss being to Portland in front of a home-opener crowd of over 15,000.  The Rhinos have shown the ability to get results.  (2-1-2, 8 pts)

4. Puerto Rico Islanders:  The Islanders have two victories in three games, but their victories were over newcomers Crystal Palace Baltimore and NSC Minnesota.  Still, both were convincing victories and their only loss was 1-0 in Montreal.  (2-1-0, 6 pts)

5. Vancouver Whitecaps:  The Whitecaps have been outstanding defensively, allowing only 2 goals in 4 games, and Jay Nolly has kept clean sheets against AC St.Louis and NSC Minnesota at home.  The offense, however, has been mediocre so far, only averaging a goal per game, although the return of Jonny Steele from injury should inject some attacking vigor.  (2-1-1, 4 pts)

6. FC Tampa Bay Rowdies:  The next three teams in our rankings all have a 1-1-1 record.  I give the Coach Paul Dalglish’s club the nod over Montreal and Carolina because the Rowdies have yet to play a home game….they open at Steinbrenner Field this Saturday.  (1-1-1, 4 pts)

7.  Montreal Impact:  Last year’s playoff champion started off with a shocking loss in Austin, before rebounding at home with a draw against Portland and a win over Puerto Rico.  Too talented to be ranked this low.(1-1-1, 4 pts)

8. Carolina Railhawks:  With two home games against AC St. Louis and NSC Minnesota to open the season, Coach Martin Rennie has to be disappointed with only one win.  Striker Etienne Barbara leads the team with three goals.  (1-1-1, 4 pts)

9.  Miami FC:  Undefeated, yet without a victory, Miami FC has three draws in three home games.  Perhaps an example of how the season has gone so far is former MLS MVP Christian Gomez, who scored last week in the Coastal Derby against FC Tampa Bay, but then was red-carded later in the contest, as 10 man Miami couldn’t hold on for a win.  (0-0-3, 3 pts)

10.  NSC Minnesota Stars:  The team with the most games under their belt is the most inconsistent.  The Stars lost MLS veteran goalkeeper Louis Crayton in their first match, but Joe Warren has been more than adequate as his replacement.  Coach Manny Lagos has to get his new team playing smarter, though small crowds at their last two home games need to improve for the team to have a home field advantage. (2-4-0, 6 pts)

11. AC St. Louis:  The new team got Coach Claude Anelka his first win last weekend at home against winless Crystal Palace Baltimore.  The youngest team in the league, AC St. Louis should be helped with the addition of Brazilian veteran Gauchinho, who spent the last four seasons playing in Denmark, and MLS all-time great Steve Ralston, soon to return from injury.  Goalkeeper Alec Dufty has gained confidence game by game. (1-4-0, 3pts)

12.  Crystal Palace Baltimore:  The only team in D2 with no results, CP Baltimore have lost two of their three games by 1-0 scores.  With only one goal (from a penalty kick), scoring has to improve, although the team is better than its record.  (0-3-0, 0 pts)



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