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League One Power Rankings - Week 24

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 09/14/21, 2:45PM EDT


Tucson’s surge has seen squad flip the switch in attack and prove playoff worthy

At the time, when FC Tucson walked off after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Union Omaha on August 14 that marked its fourth consecutive loss and third consecutive game without a goal, things were not looking at all good in terms of the club’s playoff chances.

Sports Club Stats – a website that uses an algorithm to run playoff projections – had Tucson at about 10 percent chance to reach the top six and earn a playoff place.

So, what’s happened since – where Tucson has won four out of five games, scoring 12 goals in the process to move into fourth place in the League One standings and a 78 percent chance at a playoff berth starting this week – could be looked at as a minor miracle.

Or, much more likely, it could be a club that has figured some things out and as a result is getting what it deserves on the field.

Tucson has been the hottest team in League One for a reason. Since August 21st, it’s had the best Expected Goals mark in the league (8.02xG) by a large margin, pulling the side up in the season-long rankings in the process, as everything has started to run right to contrast with the cold streak that came before.

While there might be a degree of good fortune for some – Shak Adams’ three goals on three shots on goal for example – nine different players recording at least four key passes over the past five games seems like a good distribution beyond what Charlie Dennis is bringing with his team-high six assists and 35 chances created.

Sunday night brings another great test for Tucson as it visits another side that has revitalized its playoff chances in the past two weeks in Greenville Triumph SC. That should be a must-see as the final quarter of the regular season starts and the playoff drive fully activates.

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 24: @ NTX
Last Week: 1
A convincing road victory at North Carolina FC sent los Buhos back on top of the standings, and back in the driver’s seat for first place with a game in hand on Chattanooga.
2 FC Tucson
Week 24: @ GVL
Last Week: 3
Victory on Saturday meant Tucson has accounted for 45 percent of its points this season in its last five games. They’re looking like a force to be reckoned with.
3 Greenville Triumph SC
Week 24: v. CHA
Last Week: 8
Back-to-back wins, this time knocking off a top-two opponent, and Greenville might be settling back into its groove and on course for a home playoff game.
4 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Week 24: v. NC
Last Week: 2
The Red Wolves got their last-gasp heroics in midweek, but it was hard going down to 10 men for 65 minutes in Greenville where no-one in particular shone.
5 Forward Madison FC
Week 24: @ TOR
Last Week: 10
The Henny would have been flowing at Breese Stevens Field on Saturday night after the Flamingos downed the Kickers, and now they’re above the playoff line with games in hand.
6 South Georgia Tormenta FC
Week 24: @ FTL
Last Week: 11
The last five games of the regular season are also going to have Saturday’s must-win feeling about them for Tormenta, but the doors are still open thanks to that victory against North Texas.
7 Richmond Kickers
Week 24: @ NE
Last Week: 5
The Kickers had their chances but couldn’t convert, and you can’t afford that at this time of year. Friday’s visit to New England is huge for both clubs.
8 North Texas SC
Week 24: @ OMA
Last Week: 4
As hard as North Texas hammered away in the second half, it needed more of that attacking spirit before going behind to South Georgia. Things are precarious right now, and this side needs a win.
9 North Carolina FC
Week 24: @ CHA
Last Week: 12
What a brilliant way to send Nazmi Albadawi off into the sunset for his playing career. Hopefully we’ll see him still involved in the game for many years to come at NCFC.
10 Toronto FC II
Week 24: v. MAD
Last Week: 9
Consecutive defeats – even to a pair of contenders – is going to hurt the confidence a little bit. Friday’s game with Madison is close to a must-win for the Young Reds.
11 New England Revolution II
Week 24: v. RIC
Last Week: 6
Saturday night wasn’t the first big breakdown we’ve seen from the Revolution II defense this season. The challenge for the team this week is to react positively at home to Richmond on Friday.
12 Fort Lauderdale CF
Week 24: v. TRM
Last Week: 7
After handing Tucson a thumping in May, Fort Lauderdale has been paid back three times over by the Arizona side. They’ll be glad not to have to face them again this regular season.

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