So we have reached the end of the 2013 USL Pro Regular Season. The Richmond Kickers won the Commissioner’s Cup and are at the top of this week’s USL Pro Power Rankings. But will they remain at the top of the Power Rankings once the playoffs conclude? Stay tuned.
This is the penultimate USL Pro Power Rankings on the View from Avalon. Let’s take a look.
1. Richmond Kickers
Leigh Cowlishaw’s Richmond Kickers delivered a statement victory at City Stadium in Richmond, Va. on Wednesday: a 2-0 shutout win over Orlando City. Matt Delicate scored a brace in the 24th and 29th minutes of play. Joseph Ngwenya scored for the Kickers on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in their 1-1 draw at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. The draw was enough to give the Kickers the Commissioner’s Cup.
Richmond are back in action in the USL Pro Quarterfinals on Aug. 24 against the Dayton Dutch Lions. Kickoff at City Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
2. Wilmington Hammerheads
Despite not making the USL Pro playoffs, David Irving’s Wilmington Hammerheads are second in the Power Rankings after finishing off the season with a couple of big victories.
Kyle Greig (32′), Steven Perry (76′), Bryce Taylor (82′) and Cody Arnoux (85′) paced the Hammers to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Legion Stadium in Wilmington, N.C. Daniel Steres (45′), Arnoux (64′), Perry (68′) and Will Heaney (90′) gave Wilmington another 4-1 at home, this time over Antigua Barracuda F.C.
Wilmington finish the season at 11-11-4 but end up with 36 points due to Irving being his own worst enemy in fielding Tom Parratt in a match in he wasn’t supposed to take part it. So much for controlling your own team’s destiny, eh David?
3. Orlando City
Adrian Heath’s Orlando City are not subject to any point deductions; in fact, they are in a comfortable standing when it comes to qualifying for the postseason.
A 2-0 shutout defeat on the road to Richmond might give the fans some doubts, despite bouncing back with a 1-0 victory over the Charlotte Eagles at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Freddie Braun scored in the 50th minute for the Lions.
Orlando continue their season on Aug. 24 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at home. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
4. Los Angeles Blues
Daryoush Yazdani’s Los Angeles Blues got goals from Shay Spitz (49′) and Matt Fondy (90+’) en route to a 2-1 victory over the Rochester Rhinos at Titan Stadium on the campus of California State Univesity, Fullerton in Fullerton, Calif. The Blues continue their season the Charleston Battery on Aug. 24 at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET.
5. Charlotte Eagles
Mark Steffens’s Charlotte Eagles opened up the week with a 3-3 draw with VSI Tampa Bay FC on Friday at Plant City Stadium in Plant City, Fla. Christian Ramirez scored a brace in the 16th and 43rd minute and Stephen Okay added a third in the 58th minute but the Eagles couldn’t hold on, and they were shut out by Orlando 1-0, at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday.
Charlotte will look to bounce back on Aug. 24 against the Harrisburg City Islanders at the Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.
6. Charleston Battery
Michael Anhaeuser’s Charleston Battery closed out the regular season with a 3-0 shutout win over Antigua Barracuda FC at Blackbaud Stadium. Dane Kelly scored a brace in the 50th and 66th minute and Antigua’s Lawson Robinson scored an own goal in the 26th minute of play.
Charleston will host the Los Angeles Blues on Aug. 24 at Blackbaud. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
7. Harrisburg City Islanders
Bill Becher’s Harrisburg City Islanders crashed into the finish line on Saturday, falling to the Dayton Dutch Lions, 3-1, at Beavercreek High School in Beavercreek, Ohio. Coady Andrews scored in the second minute for Harrisburg, who return to action on Aug. 24 against the Charlotte Eagles at the Skyline Sports Complex. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.
8. Dayton Dutch Lions
The Dayton Dutch Lions made a coaching change this season and brought in Patrick Bal to steer the sinking ship back to the dock. Dayton needed to win against the Harrisburg City Islanders to clinch their spot in the USL Pro playoffs, and they delivered in their 3-1 win at Beavercreek High School. Eli Garner (56′), Gibson Bardsley (62′) and Brandon Swartzendruber (69′) scored for the Dutch Lions, who will face the Richmond Kickers on Aug. 24 at City Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
9. Rochester Rhinos
Jesse Myers’s Rochester Rhinos opened the week with a 4-3 goal festival victory over the Phoenix FC Wolves at Reach 11 Stadium in Phoenix, Ariz. Danny Earls (32′), Blake Brettschneider (58′) and Tam McManus (63′, 90+’), who scored a brace. Tyler Rosenlund was on goal for the Rhinos in their 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Blues at Titan Stadium on Saturday, scoring in the 67th minute.
Rochester end their season at 6-10-10 (28 points).
10. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Justin Evans’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds got goals from Jose Angulo in the 13th minute of their 4-1 defeat to the Wilmington Hammerheads on Wednesday at Legion Stadium and in the 65th minute of their 1-1 draw with the Richmond Kickers on Saturday at Highmark Stadium. Angulo can’t do it alone, and he will need some help when the Hounds face Orlando City on Aug. 24 at the Citrus Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
11. Phoenix FC Wolves
David Robertson’s Phoenix FC Wolves had a tough first year, but they went down fighting in their 4-3 defeat to the Rochester Rhinos at Reach 11 Stadium. Donny Toia (4′), Travis Bowen (21′) and Joshua Bento (90+’) scored for the Wolves, who end their inagural year at 5-14-7.
12. VSI Tampa Bay FC
Matt Weston’s VSI Tampa Bay FC came so close to scoring a playoff berth in their first season, but a string of defeats late doused the Flames this year. VSI played the Charlotte Eagles to a 3-3 draw at Plant City Stadium. Mauricio Salles (44′), Douglas Dos Santos (63′) and Chad Burt (87′) scored for VSI Tampa Bay, who finish the season at 5-14-7.
13. Antigua Barracuda FC
Antigua Barracuda FC ended the season 0-26-0 after a couple of losses: 3-0 to the Charleston Battery on Thursday at Blackbaud Stadium and 4-1 to the Wilmington Hammerheads at Legion Stadium. Orlando Mitchum scored for Antigua in the 67th minute of play.
What will the future hold for Adrian Whitbread’s Antigua Barracuda FC? As a matter of fact, the question is more, will there even be a future for the Barracudas, who failed to score a single victory all season? It didn’t help matters that they had no home stadium to host matches, and they had to travel from city to city for every one of their games.
This will go down as one of the most futile seasons in soccer history. You can only wonder if Antigua Barracuda Football Club will even be in existence next year after lacking the type of talent and character and pride to be competitive ths year in USL Pro.