Playoff Update: Week 30

Prospects for each team still alive

Not too much got sorted out in the playoff picture this week; if anything it got rather more muddled. In the East we have 4 teams spread over a 4-point range and in the West 8 teams over 6 points. Wow. There’s still a lot to play for.

Eastern Conference

Louisville City: 66 points. Max. points available: 72. Remaining games: Detroit City, Hartford Athletic.

Lou City returned to winning form this week against Rio Grande Valley, albeit by a meager 1-0 margin. Despite the loss to Memphis last week, the men in purple hold the tiebreaker and so their magic number is 4 from 2 games to clinch the conference.

Memphis 901: 61 points. Max. points available: 7. Remining games: Rio Grande Valley, New York, @ Colorado Springs.

With a squad depleted by red cards Area Code FC couldn’t get it done in Miami. But with Birmingham and Pittsburgh also both losing, they are now guaranteed a home playoff spot. However, to win the conference they now need to win out and Lou City to lose one game.

Tampa Bay Rowdies: 58 points. Max. points available: 67. Remaining games: Loudoun United, El Paso Locomotive, New York.

Even with the Memphis loss, the 2-1 win in Monterey Bay didn’t really improve the Rowdies’ position with regard to gaining the #2 spot. Their hold on the #3 spot is firm though, with just 3 points needed to lock it down.

Birmingham Legion: 55 points. Max. points available: 61. Remaining games: San Antonio, Indy.

The 1-2 loss in Oakland was extremely damaging to the Legion’s hopes for a home playoff spot. To guarantee it they need to win both remaining games – a tall order with San Antonio coming to town. That being said, the two teams chasing them don’t have an easy run in either.

Detroit City: 54 points. Max. points available: 60. Remaining games: @ Louisville, Miami.

Detroit were the East’s biggest gainer this week. They thrashed Loudoun United 4-0 away, and the 3 teams above them all lost. They are now just a point behind Birmingham and threatening for a home playoff spot. The trip to Louisville is tomorrow and will be a key game for the entire Eastern playoff field.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 53 points. Max. Points available: 59. Remaining games: @ Sacramento, Oakland.

Pitt held off San Antonio for 86 minutes but couldn’t get it done at the other end and so not only lost at home but also dropped a spot in the standings. The 2 games left aren’t a cinch by any means, but Sacramento is on a poor run of form lately so the pressure on Birmingham and Detroit is by no means off.

The Miami FC: 52 points. Max. points available: 58. Remaining games: @ Las Vegas, @ Detroit.

Miami had almost as good a week as Detroit, beating Memphis 1-0. They are only 3 points out of a home playoff spot and hold the tiebreaker edge over Birmingham for the #4 spot. They’ll need help, of course, but it’s by no means impossible.

Western Conference

San Antonio 73 points. Max. points available: 79. Remaining games: @ Birmingham, Orange County.

A very late goal in Pittsburgh locked up the Supporters’ Shield. Except it didn’t, because the shield doesn’t actually exist (it’s an MLS thing only). Even so, San Antonio are still on track for the season points record (currently at 77).

San Diego Loyal: 59 points. Max. points available: 65. Remaining games: New Mexico, @ Sacramento.

The Loyal only got a 2-2 draw in Orange County, but the Sacramento loss to Phoenix means they got the 4 points they needed to secure 2nd place. They can now relax for the next 2 games, as they cannot catch San Antonio. Not even close.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 52 points. Max. Points available: 58. Remaining games: @ El Paso, @ New Mexico.

The Switchbacks had a bye this week, so everyone else was using up games in hand against them. It didn’t go too badly for them. They can’t move up to 2nd place, but that was going to be unlikely anyway, They still have a 3-point advantage over Sacramento, but along with the Republic New Mexico and El Paso can still catch them. The 2 road games are therefore huge. 

Sacramento Republic: 49 points. Max. points available: 55. Remaining games: Pittsburgh, San Diego.

The Republic had a disastrous week, losing to both Los Dos and Phoenix. They finish the season with 2 home games though, but neither is easy and they are on a 3-game skid. 3rd place is the best they can manage now, but they have locked up a playoff spot.

New Mexico United: 44 points. Max. points available: 53. Remaining games: LA Galaxy II, @ San Diego, Colorado Springs.

New Mexico have just 1 win in their last 5 games and just 5 of 15 points. They are struggling, and no more so than in Las Vegas where they could only get a 0-0 draw last weekend. Even with 3 games left to play, they will have a tough time improving their position and could even slip out of the playoffs entirely: El Paso and RGV also have 3 games remaining.

Oakland Roots: 43 points. Max. points available: 49. Remaining games: @ Hartford, @ Pittsburgh.

The Roots did what they had to in their final home game and not only jumped the playoff line but made it up to 6th. But they only have a 1-point advantage over RGV in 8th and 3 teams below them have a game in hand. The Athletic are a decent team and Pitt are working on a home playoff spot. They need to be on their best form.

El Paso Locomotive: 43 points. Max. points available: 49. Remaining games: Colorado Springs, Orange County, @ Tampa Bay.

The Locomotive were on a bye last week and so now have a game in had over much of the West. Sitting in 7th tied on points with Oakland, they have several teams breathing down their necks. Tomorrow’s game against the Switchbacks will go a long way to deciding their eventual playoff fate.

Rio Grande Valley Toros: 42 points. Max. points available: 51. Remaining games: @ Memphis, Phoenix, Monterey Bay.

RGV almost got a point out of the Lou City game, but the loss means they drop out of the playoff spots into 8th. The trip to Memphis tomorrow aside, the remaining schedule is relatively favorable though, so they are far from out of it yet.

Las Vegas Lights: 41 points. Max. points available: 47. Remaining games: Miami, @ LA Galaxy II.

The Lights had a good week, whipping Monterey 4-0 and drawing 0-0 with New Mexico. They are only 2 points out of the playoff positions but will need to maximize points from the 2 games left and get assistance elsewhere.

Monterey Bay Union: 40 points. Max. points available: 46. Remaining games: @ Tulsa, @ Rio Grande Valley.

The Union have now blown 4 straight chances to move into playoff position. This week they were beaten 4-0 by Las Vegas and 2-1 by Tampa Bay. They can still get there, but the chances just got a lot thinner.

LA Galaxy II: 39 points. Max. points available: 48. Remaining games: New Mexico, Atlanta United 2, Las Vegas.

The 2-0 win over Sacramento was massive, and now the game in hand and moderate schedule look to be in their favor as they hold on to their hopes of sneaking into the playoffs.

Phoenix Rising: 39 points. Max. points available: 45. Remaining games:  @ Rio Grande Valley, Atlanta United 2.

Everything went right for Phoenix this week. They beat Sacramento 1-0 and the Baby Bulls 5-1. Results elsewhere kept them in the playoff hunt, but anything less than a win at RGV will see them done.

As previously, we refer you to 538’s USL page for detailed predictions for every team.

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