MLS NEXT Pro Top 5 Rankings: Week 17

Week 17 saw some familiar faces climb back into the MLS NEXT Pro power rankings after getting some positive results over the weekend. 

Let’s take a quick look at the rankings at the end of Week 17.

Houston Dynamo 2 is back in the MLS NEXT Pro Top 5 rankings after earning two valuable points in a shootout victory over Western Conference rival North Texas SC. The result put Dynamo 2 in third place in the Western Conference standings with 32 points.

After losing three straight games in early June, Dynamo 2 has recuperated its early season form and has gone unbeaten in its last four outings. 

With their next game taking place at home, it's essential to note Dynamo 2 is the only remaining team in MLS NEXT Pro side not to have lost at home, winning all six of the matches they've hosted. 

Previous ranking: Not Ranked

Next match: vs. MUNFC2 on July 24

RNY FC moves up in the rankings this week after earning a 1-0 victory over in-state rival NYCFC II.

This result marked the third straight victory for RNY FC, who has climbed up the Eastern Conference standings and into second place with 29 points.

Bruno Baltazar's side will have a chance to win the season series against FC Cincinnati 2 this weekend when they face them at home on Friday, July 22. 

Previous ranking: 5

Next match: vs. FC Cincinnati 2 on July 22

Sometimes these rankings penalize teams for taking a bye week which is why CITY2 falls to third place this week. 

But don't let the slide in the rankings fool you; St Louis CITY2 is among the elite teams in MLS NEXT Pro. CITY2 has propelled itself into second place in the Western Conference after losing only once in their last nine matches.

CITY 2's offense is led by forward Josh Doling, who leads the team with seven goals scored this season and will look to add to his scoring total when they face off against North Texas SC on Friday.  

Previous ranking: 1

Next match: vs. North Texas SC on July 22

Laurent Cortiois' men jumped to second place in the rankings after getting back into the win column with a 4-0 victory over FC Cincinnati last weekend.

Jacen Russell-Rowe returned to Crew 2 after a few games with the Columbus Crew first team and scored his third consecutive brace in MLS NEXT Pro play. 

Crew 2 is now in firm command of first place in the Eastern Conference with 35 points, six points away from their closest competitor.

Previous ranking: 3

Next match: vs. New England Revolution II on July 24

Tacoma Defiance earned a narrow 3-2 victory over Minnesota United FC 2 last weekend with goals from Juan Alvarez, Travian Sousa, and Marlon Vargas.

The result gives Defiance 34 points over 16 games, and they now hold a slim lead for first place in the Western Conference. 

Marlon Vargas is a player to keep an eye out for heading into the home stretch of the season. The 21-year-old midfielder has exploded onto the MLS NEXT Pro scene over the last nine games scoring nine goals and providing two assists in that period.

With MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month for April also part of Tacoma Defiance's attack, it will be a daunting task for any defense to stop this formidable duo.

Previous ranking: 2

Next match: at Sporting Kansas City II on July 22