There is only one more month remaining in the 2012 USL PRO regular season, and teams are jostling for places in the postseason. Orlando is at the top of the Power Rankings this week after going unbeaten over the weekend, but a draw to the Wilmington Hammerheads might be the wake-up call that the Lions need as league favorites.
Here are this week's USL PRO Power Rankings.
1. Orlando City
Adrian Heath's Orlando City concluded its run to the USL PRO regular season title this weekend. On July 25, it drew 1-1 with the Wilmington Hammerheads at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Matt Luzunaris equalized in the 84th minute for the Lions.
Orlando rebounded from the draw with a 4-0 victory over the Charleston Battery at home to secure the regular season crown. Dennis Chin scored a brace in the 77th and 85th minutes. Charleston's Kyle Hoffer opened the game with a goal in the 16th minute of play. Luzunaris also scored in the 21st minute for Orlando.
The Lions open up August with a couple of matches. On Wednesday, they face the Harrisburg City Islanders at the Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. On Friday, they travel to Sahlen's Stadium to face the Rochester Rhinos. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.
2. Harrisburg City Islanders
Bill Becher's Harrisburg City Islanders check in at second in our power rankings after a 2-0 shutout victory over the Los Angeles Blues. Morgan Langley opened the scoring for the City Islanders in the 54th minute, and Lucky Mkosana closed the door shut in the 67th minute of play.
Harrisburg's next match is on Wednesday against Orlando City at the Skyline Sports Complex. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
3. Rochester Rhinos
Jesse Myers's Rochester Rhinos had just one game this past weekend: a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Blues at Sahlen's Stadium. Tam McManus was the hero for Rochester in the 60th minute.
The Rhinos will host Orlando City on Wednesday at Sahlen's. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.
4. Wilmington Hammerheads
David Irving's Wilmington Hammerheads were consigned to a 1-1 draw with Orlando City on July 25. Bryce Taylor scored the only goal for the Hammers in the 68th minute of play.
Wilmington have a couple of matches this week against the Charleston Battery. Friday's contest will be at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. while the Saturday match is at Legion Stadium in Wilmington, N.C. Both matches will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
5. Richmond Kickers
Leigh Cowlishaw's Richmond Kickers split a pair of matches with the Charlotte Eagles. After dropping the first match 1-0 at Charlotte Christian Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., the Kickers won the second match at City Stadium in Richmond, VA. by the score of 2-1. William Yomby scored a brace in the 13th and 56th minutes of play.
Richmond's next match is on Friday against Antigua Barracuda FC. Kickoff at City Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
6. Charlotte Eagles
Mark Steffens's Charlotte Eagles split their home-and-home series with the Richmond Kickers this past weekend. On Friday, under inclement weather, the Eagles stormed past the Kickers, 1-0, on an 80th minute goal from Darryl Roberts.
They were unable to replicate their heroics on Saturday and fell 2-1. Jorge Herrera tried to spark a comeback in the 73rd minute of play, but the Eagles were unable to produce any more goals.
Charlotte will look for a more consistent performance on Saturday against Antigua Barracuda FC at Charlotte Christian Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
7. Charleston Battery
This was a terrible weekend for Michael Anhaeuser's Charleston Battery. All they could muster up was a 4-0 whitewash at the hands of Orlando City at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
The Battery will aim to bounce back against the Wilmington Hammerheads. Friday's contest will be at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. while the Saturday match is at Legion Stadium in Wilmington, Delaware. Both matches will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
8. Dayton Dutch Lions
Ivar van Dinteren's Dayton Dutch Lions rallied to overpower Antigua Barracuda FC 3-1 at Bellbrook High School in Bellbrook, Ohio. Nixon Dias equalized in the 14th minute, Mettin Copier made it 2-1 in the 58th minute of play, and Daniel Holowaty slammed the door shut in the 72nd minute.
The Dutch Lions will have the week off before they take on the Charlotte Eagles at home on Aug. 11. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
9. Los Angeles Blues
After a 1-0 loss to Rochester and a 2-0 shutout loss to Harrisburg, Charlie Naimo's Los Angeles Blues got right with a 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Brian Farber opened up the scoring in the 38th minute, while Maxwell Griffin sealed the victory in the 54th minute of play.
The Blues have the week off before they return to action for a couple of games against Antigua Barracuda FC. Kickoff for the Aug. 9 and Aug. 11 matches are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be held at Titan Stadium on the campus of California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton, California.
10. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Justin Evans's Pittsburgh Riverhounds had a hit-and-miss weekend. On Friday, they hosted Antigua Barracuda FC at Chartiers Valley High School and ran it up on them 4-1. Matt Kassel scored a brace in the fourth and 75th minutes of play. Also scoring for the Hounds were Jeremy Deighton (32') and Mike Seth (76').
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, it could not translate its win to success against the Los Angeles Blues, and was shut out, 2-0.
Pittsburgh will have the week off before taking on the Charlotte Eagles at home on Aug. 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
11. Antigua Barracuda
Perhaps the one team that is certainly eliminated from the USL PRO Playoffs picture is Tom Curtis's Antigua Barracuda FC, whose only moments of glory will have come from a fourth-place finish at the CFU Club Championship.
On Friday, they were humiliated, 4-1, by the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Chartiers Valley High. Tamarley Thomas scored the only goal for the Barracudas in the 55th minute of play. On Sunday, they stumbled yet again, this time to the Dayton Dutch Lions, 3-1, at Bellbrook High. Darrelle Russell gave Antigua an early 1-0 lead 12 minutes in.
Now is the time for Antigua Barracuda to think about next season. They are only playing for national pride now and have no shot at making the playoffs. On Friday, they travel to City Stadium to face the Richmond Kickers. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. On Saturday, they travel to Charlotte Christian Stadium to take on the Charlotte Eagles. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
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