The playoff field is (almost) set! I misspoke yesterday in the match recap that no one in the West could catch Louisville City for second overall in the league table. I’m also too lazy to go edit myself. #sorrynotsorry. Truth is, I forgot there was one more match that might take the chance to host the USL Championship away: Sacramento hosts Orange County tomorrow night. Orange County has 46 points; a win would put them ahead of City. Sacramento has 45 points; if they win, then you have to dive down the tiebreaker rabbit hole.
Unlike a lot of leagues, goal difference isn’t the first tiebreaker in the USL. Instead, after points, it goes like this:
1. Head-to-head record based on total points in League games. (A, B)
2. Total wins in League games.
3. Goal difference in League games. If number of games is unequal, the Game Average(C) will be used.
4. Goals scored in League games.
City hasn’t played Sacramento this season, so the first tiebreaker is out. Again, Sacramento wins in this scenario, and that would put them on the exact same record as Louisville City, so total wins is also out. Next comes goal difference. City’s is 21 and Sacramento’s is 12, which means that even if the Republic win, City gets second place unless. Unless SRFC wins 10-0, which seems unlikely.
In other words, we’re Sacramento fans tomorrow night.
Other playoff news of import:
Aside from determining whether City keeps second place in the league, the Sacramento-OC Blues game tomorrow might also determine the winner of the Western conference. Oklahoma City presently sits at the top of that table with 47 points, having beaten Arizona United mid-week.
They waited until the last game to do it, but Sounders 2 beat Austin Aztex 3-2 on Thursday to take sixth place in the West from Tulsa Roughnecks.
Back in the East, there were two playoff spots open going into the weekend, and four teams challenging for them: Charlotte, Richmond, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg. Though it was an impressive late-season drive, Charlotte was taken out 3-1 by Charleston to end their bid, while Richmond beat Toronto II at home to secure theirs.
That left it to the final edition of the Keystone Derby between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh at Skyline Stadium to determine the final spot. The Hounds beat the City Islanders 1-2 to take the series and the last playoff spot.
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK:
Obviously the Sacramento vs. Orange County game, but also: the playoffs start this weekend! City has a bye, of course, so we get to sit back and watch without freaking out. Keep your eye on the Battery-Kickers matchup, as they’ll be our opponents in the second round, and pull for New York to beat Pittsburgh because I think the Baby Bulls have the best chance to beat Rochester. Neither matchup would be good for us in a conference final, but at least we’d get to host it if Sugar Free wins. Happy soccering!