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USL eCup: FIFA20 Edition – Power Rankings

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 05/02/20, 3:00PM EDT

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FC Tucson is the defending champion (well, sort of) but who else might contend for the crown?

We’re back!

This time we’ve got big games, big names, and big countries for the USL eCup: FIFA20 Edition.

And, as is customary, I have gone in-depth to provide the sort of knowledge that will be essential to your viewing enjoyment of the tournament over the next six weeks – including pointing out the ringers among the players that will be taking to the sticks starting next week.

We’ve got team pairings that go from the sublime – hello, Saint Louis and France – to the ridiculous – sorry, Memphis and Austria – and everything in-between.

So, dig in and get ready for Monday’s start of the Week 1 Bracket, and as always address all complaints to myself on Twitter (@NJEMurray).

Austin Bold FC Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC Greenville Triumph SC Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven Las Vegas Lights FC LA Galaxy II Loudoun United FC Louisville City FC Memphis 901 FC The Miami FC New England Revolution II
New York Red Bulls II North Carolina FC OKC Energy FC Orange County SC Philadelphia Union II Phoenix Rising FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Real Monarchs SLC
Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC Saint Louis FC Tacoma Defiance Tampa Bay Rowdies FC Tucson FC Tulsa Union Omaha

Rank

 

Team

Change

Summary

1 FC Tucson
Czech Republic
Charity: United Way - Tucson
They don’t have a College National Champion in their squad this time, but the legend of Trent Wieland secures the No. 1 spot for Tucson going in here.
2 New York Red Bulls II
Chile
Charity: Wings For Life
The Red Bulls II have been boosted by plenty of talent on loan over the years. Getting the Red Bulls’ official eSports player Mike LaBelle is a big plus in their favor here. Omar Sowe and Ben Mines lead what looks like a strong supporting cast.
3 Charlotte Independence
Germany
Charity: Hemby Children's Hospital
The Independence couldn’t have asked for better luck in the draw than to pull Germany as its club. Pressure will be on the first-time USL eCup participant to make the most of it.
4 OKC Energy FC
Portugal
Charity: Energy Assist Foundation
Energy FC flamed out in Rocket League, but it has got a retooled squad and the power of Portugal at their fingertips. That should make a difference this time around.
5 Union Omaha
Norway
Charity: Omaha Foundation
Union Omaha stormed through Rocket League and showed off its internal talent, broadcasting its own FIFA tournament. Norway might not be the strongest, but Union should make the most of what’s available.
6 Tacoma Defiance
Slovenia
Charity: Big Brothers, Big Sisters - Puget Sound
There’s a big legacy to live up to here after Josh Atencio’s performance in Rocket League, and that draw of Slovenia wasn’t a kind one. We’ll see if either Chino Perez or Abdoulaye Cissoko can make the magic happen again.
7 Saint Louis FC
France
Charity: STL Area Food Bank
Les Fleurs-de-Lis et Les Bleus? C’est magnifique. There’s a reason Scott Stewart thinks this combination is going to end up among the major contenders with the synergy the city and country bring.
8 Austin Bold FC
Italy
Charity: Central Texas Food Bank
Word on the street is Bold FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo is a player. Getting paired up with Italy is a perfect match for someone who’s always been stingy defensively.
9 Philadelphia Union II
Spain
Charity: City Team - Chester
The Union II had a brilliant Spaniard in their ranks in Santi Moar a couple of years ago. Now Rocket League captain Evan Slabicki and his teammates have a whole squad of them to play with, which will be trouble for opponents.
10 Phoenix Rising FC
Netherlands
Charity: AZ COVID-19 Community Response Fund
I get a sneaking suspicion Chairman Berke Bakay would have loved his side to draw Turkey, but the brilliant Oranje should sparkle under the control of Kevon Lambert and co.
11 Orange County SC
Cameroon
Charity: OCSC Community Foundation
We saw in Rocket League with San Diego Loyal SC’s Andrew Vassiliadis what can happen when a club owner takes the sticks. Now it’s OCSC’s James Keston’s chance to shine.
12 Charleston Battery
Greece
Charity: MUSC Foundation
Bet the Battery miss having former Greek goalkeeper Alex Tambakis about for this, but both of these squads know how to grind out results effectively.
13 Loudoun United FC
Denmark
Charity: Tourism & Hospitality Relief Fund
They’re red, they’re white, they’re Danish Dynamite! Loudoun United got the perfect color match to go with their uniforms, and they certainly could power the Danes to success here.
14 FC Tulsa
United States
Charity: Tulsa Area United Way
Scott Stewart is a big believer in FC Tulsa / the USMNT’s chances in this thing. As a bonus, they get the biggest opening matchup in the Play-In Bracket against Black Gold Derby rivals Energy FC to motivate them, too.
15 Indy Eleven
Côte D’Ivoire
Charity: Community Health Network Foundation
Jordan Farr looked good in Rocket League, now we’ll get to see how his skills translate to the digital pitch in a potential all-goalkeeper matchup against Austin’s Diego Restrepo.
16 Greenville Triumph SC
Poland
Charity: United Way of Greenville County
Triumph SC forward Jake Keegan has got to be licking his lips to take Robert Lewandowski out for a spin. Don’t sleep on Greenville putting in a run.
17 The Miami FC
England
Charity: Communities in Schools - Miami
A team known for winning wherever it goes – gets drawn to play as a team that valiantly snatches defeat from the jaws of victory every time. Let’s see how this works out.
18 El Paso Locomotive FC
Argentina
Charity: El Pasoans Fighting Hunger
Drawing Argentina as your squad feels like a big plus if you’re looking to play an expansive, attacking game. With his flair for goal, Alexy Bosetti might be making a move up this board sooner rather than later.
19 Hartford Athletic
Scotland
Charity: Foodshare
Ah, Scotland the Brave. A perfectly middling group that doesn’t beat teams that are better than them, and sometimes loses to those it’s better than as well. Hartford’s going to have to coach ‘em up.
20 Louisville City FC
Wales
Charity: One Louisville COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
Bringing the inside knowledge, Scott Stewart said LouCity’s Magnus Rasmussen will know all the angles on how to set up Wales for success. Personally, I fancy Gareth Bale might be a useful player on EA Sports’ PGA Tour as well.
21 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Colombia
Charity: Feeding Tampa Bay
I know they’re not quite the same spelling, but there’s a beautiful synergy between the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City and the Rowdies drawing Colombia. Will it matter here? Of course not.
22 Sacramento Republic FC
Mexico
Charity: Raley's Food for Families
Republic FC gets the chance to play as El Tri over the course of the tournament. No word yet on whether a digital version of Rodrigo Lopez is going to be inserted into the squad.
23 Birmingham Legion FC
Ireland
Charity: Birmingham Strong Fund
Legion FC’s Bolu Akinyode looks like he’s going to have his hands full in the opening round against Italy, especially since there’s no chance of Ray Houghton coming out of retirement for this one.
24 LA Galaxy II
Sweden
Charity: Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
Los Dos got Sweden – without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, sadly – as their squad, but unlike New York it hasn’t called on first team help on the sticks. Let’s see what Jorge Hernandez and co. have got.
25 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Paraguay
Charity: Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado
The Switchbacks are back in USL eCup playing as Paraguay, but with Communications specialist Cody Costra listed as one of the players. Fingers crossed, but don’t expect much.
26 Memphis 901 FC
Austria
Charity: Mid South Food Bank
Draw day for the USL eCup: FIFA20 Edition was a bit like a bad Christmas Day for 901 FC. Sure, Austria’s perfectly functional, but are they fun? No, they’re not. They’re the three-pack of socks you got left in your stocking.
27 North Carolina FC
Turkey
Charity: NCFC Youth Financial Aid Fund
Dre Fortune’s credentials got a big thumbs up from Kelsi Steele as the draw was being made. He’ll need all of those skills to repair NCFC’s gaming reputation after it got swept in the group stage of Rocket League.
28 Real Monarchs SLC
Switzerland
Charity: RSL Foundation
The Monarchs make their USL eCup debut with Switzerland, which isn’t a bad group to start with. What will Damian German and his teammates have up their sleeve?
29 Rio Grande Valley FC
Brazil
Charity: RGV Food Bank
The Toros could have earned a higher rank here. After all, they got Brazil, which is great! But do players Kembo Kibato and Emile Lagault have what it takes to take down Tucson?
30 Las Vegas Lights FC
Uruguay
Charity: Mayor's Fund of Las Vegas
It’s not a great sign when your player – in this case Jose Carrera – is being told on Twitter that he’s so bad he gets beaten by a rival player’s son (Hi, Rodrigo!). Plenty to prove here.
31 New England Revolution II
Russia
Charity: Revolution Charitable Foundation
The Revolution’s eMLS player John Oliveira has been drafted in on loan, but he’s going to have to get help from Mayele Malango and Joe Rice to have a chance to contend, and Russia isn’t the best draw team-wise.
32 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Belgium
Charity: AHN COVID-19 Assistance Fund
Kelsi Steele’s a big believer in the potential Belgium gives the Hounds to be a contender this time around. After Kenardo Forbes’ performances in Rocket League, though, we’re going to wait and see..

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