Photo by Fresno Fuego
The Southwest Division leader has won nine of its 11 contests during the 2016 regular season, earning it the top spot in the Western Conference Power Rankings for a fifth consecutive week. While Tucson nears a playoff berth, the Fuego became the first team to clinch a division title with two wins of their own in Week 9.
Here’s the Western Conference’s Top 6:
1. FC Tucson (Previous: 1)
Last Week: W 4-2 at LA Laguna FC, W 3-1 vs. LA Laguna FC
Michael Turner scored a double to lead Tucson to a road win against LA Laguna, while Tate Schmitt scored two to take down the same opponent in the PDL Game of the Week on Sunday. Tucson’s final three matches will be played at Kino North Stadium, and a win against San Diego Zest FC on Saturday will see Tucson clinch the Southwest title.
2. Fresno Fuego (Previous: 2)
Last Week: W 2-0 vs. BYU Cougars, W 1-0 vs. Southern California Seahorses
The Fuego clinched the Central Pacific Division crown in Week 9 with back-to-back home wins. Christian Chaney scored his 13th goal of the season against the Cougars on Thursday, while Alvaro Nogales scored in each game for the Fuego, who now have a 9-2-1 record and will play their final two regular season matches on the road.
3. San Diego Zest FC (Previous: 4)
Last Week: T 1-1 vs. Ventura County Fusion
Zest FC is now unbeaten in 11 games following its tie against the Fusion. Patrick McGrath scored his third goal of the season for Zest FC, who are 6-1-5 and will look to take down Tucson on Saturday.
4. Sounders FC U23 (Previous: 3)
Last Week: L 1-0 at Kitsap Pumas, W 1-0 at Victoria Highlanders FC
Thomas Teupen scored the crucial winner against Highlanders FC to keep the Sounders U23 in first place in the Northwest Division standings. The Sounders U23 fell to the Pumas on Wednesday, leaving an opportunity for Calgary Foothills FC to catch up to them. The Sounders U23 will face off against Foothills FC two times to end their regular season.
5. Ventura County Fusion (Previous: 6)
Last Week: W 1-0 at Southern California Seahorses, T 1-1 at San Diego Zest FC
The Fusion are undefeated in seven straight games, having won five of their last six. Joseph Holland – the team’s leading goalscorer – netted the game-winner against the Seahorses on Wednesday, while Jason Romero scored a sensational free kick to help the Fusion secure an important road point against Zest FC. The Fusion sit third in the Southwest, two points behind second with a game in hand on Zest FC.
6. Calgary Foothills FC (Previous: 5)
Last Week: No Games
While Foothills FC was inactive, the Sounders U23 took the lead in the Northwest. The Canadian club will face off against the Sounders U23 twice and the Pumas once before finishing their regular season campaign.