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League One Power Rankings - Week 17

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/27/21, 3:45PM EDT


Omaha’s defense finds added refinement in system to separate from the chasing pack

During its inaugural season, the foundation to Union Omaha’s success was built on defense as goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu and defender Damià Viader both earned League One All-League honors as the side posted a goals-against average below 1.00.

This year, los Búhos appear to have gone about refining an approach that has put them currently on top of both the League One standings and the Power Rankings, presenting an immovable object for opponents to break down.

And immovable object might be the best way to refer to the way Omaha is shutting down opposing attacks. The side is the only team in the league that has currently recorded more blocked shots (52) than shots on target faced (38), which means while the side hasn’t allowed the fewest shots in the league – a distinction that goes to Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, which uses shape and possession to try and limit opposing attacks, Union can challenge opponents to break them down, usually with disappointing results for those opponents.

That can be seen in the average xG opposing team’s shots have equated to this season. While most teams in League One average 0.10xG or higher per shot faced, Omaha’s current number comes in at 0.08xG. That might not seem like a substantial difference, but it adds up in pressure, the sort that Union seems build to withstand.

Now, there is still the need for los Búhos to do more and become more active in attack where it sits in the middle of the pack in the league right now. The defensive unit the side has built now, though, is clearly title-winning material.

Here’s how everything else looks right now. As always, feel free to come and yell at me on Twitter (@NJEMurray).

Biggest Movers






1 Union Omaha
Week 17: v. NTX

Last Week: 1
A victory on the road while your two closest rivals play to a draw was exactly the way Head Coach Jay Mims would have drawn it up. Now his side is in sole possession of first place with two home contests up next.
2 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Week 17: v. MAD

Last Week: 2
The Red Wolves have drawn five of their last six games after Saturday’s result against Greenville, which is one way to build an undefeated streak but not a particularly interesting one.
3 New England Revolution II
Week 17: --
Last Week: 9
Strange but true: the Revolution II are the only team to have taken two wins in their past three games. Friday’s result against Toronto vaulted them into the playoff positions once again.
4 South Georgia Tormenta FC
Week 17: --

Last Week: 4
Tormenta squandered a great opportunity to solidify its place in the top six against Richmond and instead opened itself up to a potential slide down the standings.
5 Greenville Triumph SC
Week 17: @ TOR

Last Week: 5
Earning a point on the road in Chattanooga is fine, especially when no-one is seriously threatening to rise up from the middle of the pack, but Triumph SC’s standards are higher and they’ll be looking for better.
6 Toronto FC II
Week 17: v. GVL
Last Week: 3
The Young Reds fell to New England on Friday night but everything else went reasonably enough to keep them above the playoff line ahead of hosting Greenville on Friday.
7 North Carolina FC
Week 17: @ FTL
Last Week: 12
NCFC put everything together last Wednesday night to romp past the Kickers, and Louisville City FC fans should be starting to get excited about young loanee Jay Tee Kamara.
8 Richmond Kickers
Week 17: v. TUC
Last Week: 6
Richmond needed that rally against South Georgia after its midweek slump in North Carolina, but we’re still waiting for this side to put together full performances of the quality it shows in fits and starts.
9 FC Tucson
Week 17: @ RIC
Last Week: 7
Defeat to Omaha at home was a step back, but games like that aren’t going to determine Tucson’s playoff fate in the way that games like Saturday’s on the road in Richmond will.
10 Forward Madison FC
Week 17: @ CHA
Last Week: 8
Madison let its lead slip at home to Madison to remain mired in the middle of the pack, an unfortunate result because now it puts pressure on the side to produce on the road in Chattanooga and Omaha over the next two weekends.
11 North Texas SC
Week 17: @ OMA
Last Week: 10
North Texas got the benefit of only the Revolution II while it was off over the past week among playoff contenders, but it’s still going to have to fix its road form to have any sniff of the top six itself.
12 Fort Lauderdale CF
Week 17: v. NC
Last Week: 11
FTLCF kicks off a three-game homestand on Sunday evening against North Carolina FC. Minimum goal has to be seven points.

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