This is it, kids. The last week of the USL regular season. New York Red Bulls II and Charleston’s wins over the weekend clinched their spots in the post-season, but there are still three playoff slots up for grabs. This is fun! Let’s recap:
Going into the weekend, only Rochester and Louisville had locked up playoff spots in the East. As I unfortunately mentioned before, Charleston beat our Violettablancos 2-0 over the weekend to grab third place in the standings and clinch their spot in the playoffs. NYRB2 beat FC Montreal by the same margin in Quebec on Wednesday last week to do the same, and are just a point behind the Battery going into the final weekend. Obviously, a New York win and a Battery loss gets the Baby Bulls third, while a draw and a Battery loss would still see New York get third on total league wins. Conversely, a Battery win or draw gets them third.
Further down the Eastern table is where things get interesting, though. Charlotte had a chance to grab the fifth spot on Saturday night after pounding Toronto 4-1 midweek, but they couldn’t seem to grab an easy three points in St. Louis and lost 2-0. Still, the Independence’s late-season charge has been nothing short of impressive, after coming all the way from ninth in the table to having a great chance to play extra soccer once the season ends. Charlotte sits on 40 points and plays in Charleston in a pretty important match this weekend.
The Independence would have to admit, though, that the three teams below them have made things easy for them, as they all drew for the second week in a row. Richmond (38 points, 1 game to play) drew 1-1 on Saturday in Harrisburg (36 points, 2 games to play), while the Riverhounds (37 points, 2 games to play) drew 1-1 in Wilmington. WILMINGTON! Thus, while Richmond was second place at one point this season, there’s an excellent chance they finish out of the playoffs. The anti-Charlotte, as it were. Richmond’s remaining match is against TFCII, Harrisburg plays Montreal on Wednesday away, and poor Pittsburgh hosts the Rhinos the same day. Harrisburg and Pittsburgh end the season, interestingly enough, against each other at the Harrisburg Goat Farm on Saturday.
Out West, there’s just one spot up for grabs between Seattle and Tulsa. Tulsa finished their season a week or so ago, and Seattle had two or three games to knock them out but hasn’t been able to do it. The Sounders 2 get one more crack at it this weekend against Austin.
More interesting from a City perspective is what’s going on at the top of the West table. Colorado Springs and Orange County are both on 46 points with a game left to play. If Louisville City draws or loses against St. Louis this weekend, they could cede second place in the league to one or both of those Western conference teams. Colorado Springs is top of the Western table right now with a game left to play against Los Dos at home, while the Blues host Sacramento Republic to finish the season at home on Wednesday.
It’s a pretty exciting way for the season to end, so instead of enjoying this awesome weather this week, stay inside and watch USL soccer on the internet! See you there.