Jul 11, 18, 11:13 AM #1
Tracking the USLSo we're at right around the midway point of the season. Quick check of the standings.
1) FC Cincinnnati 35 pts
2) Pittsburgh Riverhounds 34
3) Louisville City FC 29
4) Indy Eleven 28
5) Nashville SC 27
6) Charleston Battery 26
7) New York Red Bulls II 25
7) Penn FC 25
9) Charlotte Independence 24
10) Bethlehem Steel FC 23
Rearranged into points per game to account for disparities in total games played:
1) Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2.00
2) FC Cincinnati 1.94
3) Louisville City FC 1.81
4) Nashville SC 1.68
5) Indy Eleven 1.65
6) Charleston Battery 1.52
7) Bethlehem Steel FC 1.41
8) New York Red Bulls II 1.39
8) Penn FC 1.39
10) Charlotte Independence 1.33
Despite how close four and five currently are, I think a gap is going to start opening between the top four and everyone else. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Nashville, and Louisville are likely the four best teams when they're all playing their best soccer, free of injuries.
Louisville will only continue to progress if the coaching hire is a good one and comes in and sort of cruises the groove for the rest of the season. The new guy can't disrupt the team culture midstream and hope for anything but mediocrity. Then next year move to reshape the team that he wants.
To my mind, Pittsburgh is the best team in the league, currently bearing a strong resemblance to coach Bob Lilley's Rochester Rhinos team that won the 2015 USL title with a defense that was practically impenetrable. The Riverhounds have only surrendered 7 goals through 17 games. That's just insane.
On the opposite side of that, FC Cincinnati has scored an impressive 35 goals this season. Only New York Red Bulls have scored more. But like New York Red Bulls, they'be had trouble stopping other top teams from scoring, surrendering 21 goals. Of teams currently in playoff position, only New York has given up more.Advertisement
Jul 16, 18, 11:15 AM #2Cincinnati's defense has been much improved over the last 7 matches. Their goal differential is beginning to creep up.
Pittsburgh has been very impressive lately. Taking Lilly and some of his better guys from Rochester and adding them to Pittsburgh's existing team was handled very well, and they are turning into a legit force as the season has progressed and they've ironed things out.
Louisville is closer to that second group than they are the top 3 right now, so it will be interesting to see if they get a boost at some point as they figure out the player-coach situation, and if they get healthier/stay healthy.
Things are going to heat up over the last month and a half of the season with Cincy currently at the top of the table. Cincy and Pittsburgh will square off twice, and they'll have a regular season finale at Nashville as well. They also have to play at Louisville, and Louisville has been their kryptonite... stealing a win at Slugger field would go a long way to making me feel more confident that Cincy can win the title, though wins at Pittsburgh and Nashville would be nice confidence boosters heading into the playoffs in their own right.
Jul 18, 18, 07:04 PM #3
Jul 18, 18, 09:10 PM #4Cincinnati gets their 3 tonight.
Jul 19, 18, 02:51 PM #5
Jul 21, 18, 08:41 AM #6For the first time I can remember, Louisville is closer to being out of the playoff spots than to the top of the table. I’d like to see City get at least a point at home tonight vs. Charlotte on a short-rest week. Luckily for City, Charlotte also played midweek.
On a more positive note, club Vice President Brad Estes is on 790 WKRD this morning on their Saturday soccer show. Says the team expects to announce a new coach in the next ten days. Down to five candidates and they’ll interview all five this week.
Also mentioned that the new coach is being hired with the goal of him directing the foundation of a LCFC youth academy, which is pretty big. Lots of nasty youth soccer politics for the organization to have to muck through there.