Week 17 promises a whopping 13 games starting tonight and ending Monday, but the Power Rankings have mostly calcified with three weeks remaining in the 2017/18 regular season.
The San Diego Sockers and Milwaukee Wave swapped positions and the Cedar Rapids Rampage, Tacoma Stars, Ontario Fury, and El Paso Coyotes continued to jockey for position as they try to get on the good side of .500.
The big questions are whether Monterrey will finish the regular season undefeated and whether Baltimore will hang onto their lead over Milwaukee for the top record in the Eastern Conference.
Likewise, the second seed in the Eastern and Pacific Divisions is still up for grabs, while the Cedar Rapids and the Sonora Soles have the inside track in the Central and Southwest Divisions. Cedar Rapids needs one more win, or one more Kansas City Comets loss, to clinch, while Sonora hosts El Paso on Saturday and would clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Coyotes.
Tacoma and Ontario meet on Thursday in the biggest game of the year for both teams. Tacoma won the first two meetings in the season series, accounting for their higher position in the Power Rankings, despite trailing right behind the Fury in the standings.
Tonight the Flash and Soles will duke it out in the third round of their Battle of Mexico season series. Monterrey won the first two games, but the last time they met was November 19.
In the Eastern Division the Syracuse Silver Knights lead the Florida Tropics by just a half game, but Syracuse gets to host the 3-16 St. Louis Ambush twice, while Florida has to entertain 14-3 San Diego twice.
As with Florida, the schedule does not do Cedar Rapids any favors. The Rampage have to host Jonathan Greenfield and the Blast on Friday, then have to play Sunday in Monterrey, and Monday in Rio Grande Valley on no rest. If they can wear out the Blast, Milwaukee could have an edge Saturday when they welcome Baltimore back to town. Last weekend the Wave tied the game with 22 seconds left, but Tony Donatelli answered back with seven seconds left to lift the Blast to a 6-5 win at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
|The Flash survived a trip to Ontario and came back from a 3-1 deficit to rout Rio Grande Valley to run their regular season winning streak to 21.|
|The Blast surpassed their 2016/17 win total with five games to spare. Baltimore has won nine straight after their impressive last minute road win in Milwaukee.|
|The Sockers regained their balance with solid wins over Tacoma and Sonora, ending the latter’s nine-game winning streak.|
|The Wave need a “wave up” call after losing their fourth game in six tries. There is no shame in losing to Baltimore, but Milwaukee’s magical season is starting to teeter.|
|The Soles nine-game winning streak was stopped by arch-rival San Diego, but they hold a two game lead over El Paso for the final Southwest playoff spot.|
|Syracuse has a chance to put themselves in great position with two home games against St. Louis this weekend, but have to avoid a letdown.|
|A Tropical way to beat the Heat.|
|The Rampage are playing some of their best soccer of the year, but now they have to run the gauntlet of four games in eight days including a game against the Blast and two against Monterrey.|
|The Stars at night were not too bright against San Diego. Time is running out for Tacoma or Ontario to step up and take the Pacific Division playoff spot.|
|The Coyotes are hanging tough. They can’t afford to lose any more games, but this season is turning into a successful one whether they makes the playoffs or not.|
|Two losses, even with an unfavorable schedule is not getting it done in the clutch.|
|What is the opposite of spoilers? Preservatives?|
|The Comets finally lost to the Ambush, who had supplied three of their five wins this season.|
|The Ambush are getting better, but with the right personnel moves there is no reason they shouldn’t be at seven to nine wins right now (see 9-9 El Paso’s transformation from an 0-20 season).|
|The Barracudas had a glorious first quarter in Monterrey and then got smoked 7-0 in the second quarter.|
|The MASL’s forgotten team has lost 12 in a row.|