Playoff Update: Week 31

The field narrows. A bit

After the penultimate week of the season, we are beginning to have some clarity. Some, but not much. With the final week of the regular season looming, 3 playoff spots are still unclaimed, and the bottom 4 positions in each conference are undecided. It’s going to to be a wild finish.

Eastern Conference

Louisville City: 69 points. Max. points available: 72. Remaining game: Hartford Athletic.

Lou City 2-1 win over Detroit Wednesday, combined with Memphis’ draw against Rio Grande Valley the same evening iced the Eastern Conference title. Also, they are guaranteed the 2nd best record in the entire league, so would play at home throughout the playoffs if San Antonio does not win out.

Memphis 901: 65 points. Max. points available: 68. Remaining game: @ Tulsa.

Area Code FC drew 2-2 with RGV and beat New York 2-1. They need to win in Tulsa to have any chance of holding on to 2nd place in the East, because Tampa Bay are nipping at their heels.

Tampa Bay Rowdies: 61 points. Max. points available: 67. Remaining games: El Paso Locomotive, New York.

The Rowdies took care of Loudoun United 8-0 this week. They have a game in hand over everyone else in the Eastern playoff field. They are guaranteed at least 3rd place, but need Memphis to drop points at Tulsa for a chance to jump to 2nd.

Birmingham Legion: 55 points. Max. points available: 58. Remaining games: Indy.

The 1-2 home loss to San Antonio was perhaps disappointing, but anything less than a win would not have locked in 4th place and a home playoff game. They end the season Wednesday evening against Indy. A win cliches it; any other result and they have to wait for the weekend results to find out where they will end up.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 54 points. Max. points available: 57. Remaining game: Oakland.

Pitt played Sacramento to a 1-1 draw and lost the opportunity to move up to 4th place. They did switch places with Detroit though. They need a win against Oakland, who are also in a tough playoff battle to maintain that position or improve (the latter depending on how the Legion performs Wednesday). However, they are the only team in playoff position in the entire league without a win in the last 5 games and will be missing red-carded center back Arturo Ordonez.

Detroit City: 54 points. Max. points available: 57. Remaining game: Miami.

Detroit lost to Lou City 1-2 and slipped to 6th as a result. The final home game against Miami will be huge for the entire Eastern playoff field, which could potentially see 3 teams tied on 55 points. Note that Pitt, Detroit and Miami all hold the tiebreaker edge over Birmingham. It could be a mess.

The Miami FC: 52 points. Max. points available: 55. Remaining games: @ Detroit.

Miami lost 2-3 in Las Vegas, keeping them currently at the bottom if the Easter playoffs. As noted above, the last game of the season has massive implications.

Western Conference

San Antonio 76 points. Max. points available: 79. Remaining game: Orange County.

San Antonio’s win in Birmingham puts them 1 point shy of the season points record. And they have every intention of getting it.

San Diego Loyal: 60 points. Max. points available: 63. Remaining games: @ Sacramento.

Another high-scoring draw, 3-3 this time against New Mexico. But the Loyal have little to play for, having locked in 2nd place in the West.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 55 points. Max. points available: 58. Remaining game: @ New Mexico.

The comprehensive 4-1 win in El Paso and Sacramento’s 1-1 draw with Pittsburgh secured 3rd place for Colorado. Another team who can take it easy this week.

Sacramento Republic: 50 points. Max. points available: 53. Remaining game: San Diego.

The 1-1 draw with Pitt left SacRep with no upward trajectory, so the current 4th place is the best they can do. Only New Mexico can beat them, but they have the tiebreaker advantage, so need just 1 point to hold on to 4th, playing against a team with nothing to gain this week and a recent string of draws.

Rio Grande Valley Toros: 46 points. Max. points available: 49. Remaining game: Monterey Bay.

The 1-1 draw with Memphis and 2-1 win over now-eliminated Phoenix saw RGV jump from  8th to 5th in a very crowded Western field. But they are tied on points with Oakland and El Paso, and everyone still alive can earn at least 46 points. That position is by no means secure.

Oakland Roots: 46 points. Max. points available: 49. Remaining game: @ Pittsburgh.

The Roots got a 3-1 win in Hartford to stay above the playoff line, but need a result in Pittsburgh to protect that position. And it’s by no means locked in anyway.

El Paso Locomotive: 46 points. Max. points available: 49. Remaining game: @ Tampa Bay.

Barring some delay, El Paso will be the first team in the league to complete their regular season, beating the Legion and Indy by about 30 minutes. The 2-1 win over Orange County kept them above the playoff line, but just barely. They face a tough finish in Tampa, and could be out of the playoffs after the weekend.

New Mexico United: 45 points. Max. points available: 51. Remaining games: LA Galaxy II, Colorado Springs.

New Mexico just can’t win. 0-2-3 in the last five now, after the 3-3 draw with San Diego. They finally fell below the playoff line.  The last 2 games could be weird. Los Dos are in the position of spoiler for 2 teams this final week, but the Switchbacks may want to rest some starters, especially on the road. Not done yet by a long stretch.

Las Vegas Lights: 44 points. Max. points available: 47. Remaining game: @ LA Galaxy II.

The Lights did what they needed to do, beating Miami 3-2. They can make the playoffs, but as with almost everyone else still in the Western chase, they will need help.

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

The Union were on a self-imposed bye this week, so had to sit back and watch what everyone else around them did. With 2 games to play they still have a chance at the playoffs, but it’s getting pretty dim.

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

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