USL Week 25 Wrap-Up: Rochester Wins Season as Playoff Spots Dwindle

rhinos usl

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

We all knew it was just a matter of time but now it’s official; the Rochester Rhinos are USL Regular Season Champions.

A scoreless draw against the Richmond Kickers was all they needed to lock in that honor after one of the most impressive seasons in USL history. Not only have they only lost one game, but they also have the record for most clean sheets in a USL season. Granted, stats this season are skewed by a much longer schedule. However, that shouldn’t detract from what has been an outstanding season for head coach Bob Lilley and his team.

Rochester’s improbable season seems all the more impressive when you consider just how it was done. Only twice this season have the Rhinos scored three or more goals in a game. However, they have kept opponents to one of the lowest scoring percentages in recent memory¬†— an eye-opening sixteen shutouts out of twenty-five games. The team has yet to surrender fifteen goals making them, statistically, one of the most dominant teams in American soccer history.

The Playoff Hunt Reaches It’s Climax

The rest of the league will spend the remaining weeks fighting for what little breathing room there is left in the USL playoffs. While Rochester and Louisville are the only teams in the Eastern Conference to clinch spots, New York and Charleston seem more than likely to get in. Just below the red line, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg sit one and two points out of the playoffs respectively. Time is certainly not on their side but there is still hope to sneak into that last spot.

The chaotic Western Conference seems a bit more orderly this week. Five out of the six playoff spots have been taken, although who will get the first and second place bye is still up for grabs. An impressive win by the Orange County Blues this weekend over LA Galaxy II locked in their playoff hopes, a bit of a surprise since so many thought they would drown in the new, ultra-competitive USL. Seattle and Tulsa are the two teams fighting for that last spot. S2’s decline mirrors that of their MLS overlords as just a few weeks ago they were battling for first in the West but now may not even make the playoffs.

USL Week 25 Results:

Harrisburg City Islanders: 0
Louisville City FC: 4

Oklahoma City Energy: 0
Real Monarchs SLC: 2

Charlotte Independence: 1
Wilmington Hammerheads: 0

FC Montreal: 2
Toronto FC II: 3

Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 1
Portland Timbers FC 2: 0

Charleston Battery: 1
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 1

Rochester Rhinos: 0
Richmond Kickers: 0

Wilmington Hammerheads: 2
Charlotte Independence: 2

Louisville City FC: 2
New York Red Bull II: 3

Seattle Sounders FC 2: 1
Austin Aztex: 2

LA Galaxy II: 1
Orange County Blues FC: 2

Real Monarchs SLC: 3
Arizona United SC: 2

Sacramento Republic FC: 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 1

St. Louis FC: 0
Harrisburg City Islanders: 0

Oklahoma City Energy FC: 1
Tulsa Roughnecks: 2


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