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Race to the Championship Playoffs – Week 27

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 09/03/19, 5:15PM EDT

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Top of the East clash between Indy, New York highlights busy Wednesday night slate

With the final quarter of the regular season underway, the postseason has come into view for the teams at the top of the USL Championship’s Eastern and Western Conferences. As we move toward the USL Championship Playoffs in October, we’ll take a regular look as the postseason field fills with the 20 clubs that will compete to reach the USL Championship Final in November.

Western

Phoenix Rising FC
1. Phoenix Rising FC
Record: 19-2-5, 62pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Final Position: 1st (99%)
Max Points Available: 86pts
Magic Number: N/A
Upcoming: vs. SA (9/7)
A playoff place in hand, Phoenix already has its next goal in sight. With victory against San Antonio FC on Saturday night it would guarantee a home playoff game in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in October.
2. Fresno FC
2. Fresno FC
Record: 13-4-8, 47pts
Playoff Odds: >99%
Projected Final Position: 2nd (57%)
Max Points Available: 74pts
Magic Number: 12pts
Upcoming: @ RNO (9/7)
The Foxes got a surprise defeat handed to them in Tulsa, but thanks to Reno’s loss against Portland there was little damage done to its chances at a No. 2 seed. That won’t be the case, however, if Fresno doesn’t bounce back on Saturday night as it visits the Biggest Little City in the World.
3. Reno 1868 FC
3. Reno 1868 FC
Record: 13-8-5, 44pts
Playoff Odds: >99%
Projected Final Position: 3rd (40%)
Max Points Available: 68pts
Magic Number: 15pts
Upcoming: vs. FRS (9/7)
Reno is still a solid proposition for third place, but the three-game losing streak the side is on is just keeping the door ajar for a side like Austin to have a chance at bridging the gap to the top three. Saturday’s game with Fresno is going to be crucial to stop that bleeding and keep a chance at second place alive.
4. Austin Bold FC
4. Austin Bold FC
Record: 11-9-6, 39pts
Playoff Odds: 92%
Projected Final Position: 4th (18%)
Max Points Available: 63pts
Magic Number: 20pts
Upcoming: @ COS (9/7)
Austin might have done itself the most good over the weekend in the Western Conference with its victory combined with draws and defeats elsewhere taking its projected position up two slots. Road form has been an issue all season, though, so Bold FC will need to be focused to ensure it doesn’t undo its good work against the Toros when it visits struggling Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
5. OKC Energy FC
5. OKC Energy FC
Record: 9-8-10, 37pts
Playoff Odds: 56%
Projected Final Position: 11th (13%)
Max Points Available: 58pts
Magic Number: 31pts
Upcoming: vs. NM (9/8)
Rallying twice on the road to earn a point isn’t a bad result against the Monarchs, but with only seven games remaining Energy FC can’t afford to drop too many more points with teams below it possessing higher potential maximum point totals. Victory against fellow playoff challenger New Mexico would be a massive boost.
6. Real Monarchs SLC
6. Real Monarchs SLC
Record: 10-8-6, 36pts
Playoff Odds: 90%
Projected Final Position: 4th (19%)
Max Points Available: 66pts
Magic Number: 23pts
Upcoming: vs. LV (9/4)
@ LA (9/7)
The Monarchs will be disappointed not to have put away a victory against OKC, but a two-game week offers a chance for the side to take control of the race for fourth place. Given Las Vegas’ struggles on the road, Real will enter confident of victory, but Los Dos’ home form could provide a serious challenge to maximizing points this week.
7. Orange County SC
7. Orange County SC
Record: 9-8-9, 36pts
Playoff Odds: 75%
Projected Final Position: 5th (11%)
Max Points Available: 60pts
Magic Number: 23pts
Upcoming: @ POR (9/8)
Orange County did itself a world of good with its road win against New Mexico and can add to that if it continues its current three-game winning streak against the Portland Timbers 2 on Sunday, where it could push itself out of the play-in game positions if other results fall its way.
8. LA Galaxy II
8. LA Galaxy II
Record: 9-8-9, 36pts
Playoff Odds: 49%
Projected Final Position: 13th (14%)
Max Points Available: 60pts
Magic Number: 23pts
Upcoming: vs. SLC (9/7)
The Galaxy II couldn’t have chosen a better time to earn their first home win against Republic FC, but all that did was narrow the odds to a coin-flip. Getting a Monarchs side that plays midweek in its next outing is a nice scheduling break for LA, but it will need to take advantage of it to keep its momentum going.
9. Portland Timbers 2
9. Portland Timbers 2
Record: 9-9-8, 35pts
Playoff Odds: 59%
Projected Final Position: 11th (12%)
Max Points Available: 59pts
Magic Number: 24pts
Upcoming: vs. OC (9/8)
Portland’s first win in club history against Reno showed off why this side could be dangerous if it makes the postseason field. With five of its next six games at home, starting with Sunday’s six-pointer against Orange County, there’s no time like the present to put a run of results together to give itself that chance.
10. Sacramento Republic FC
10. Sacramento Republic FC
Record: 10-11-4, 34pts
Playoff Odds: 88%
Projected Final Position: 4th (17%)
Max Points Available: 61pts
Magic Number: 25pts
Upcoming: vs. TAC (9/7)
Sacramento still has games in hand on the teams surrounding it above and below the playoff line, but it’s going to have to show much more than it did in Saturday’s loss against the Galaxy II if it’s going to get a victory against a Tacoma Defiance side that is starting to show signs of life.
11. San Antonio FC
11. San Antonio FC
Record: 9-10-7, 34pts
Playoff Odds: 62%
Projected Final Position: 8th (11%)
Max Points Available: 58pts
Magic Number: 25pts
Upcoming: @ PHX (9/7)
What the heck was that? San Antonio saw its playoff chances sink by 25 percent after its 5-1 loss to Tacoma and other results around the Western Conference, and now it’s got to go and try to end Phoenix Rising FC’s 17-game winning streak or risk falling even further behind.
12. New Mexico United
12. New Mexico United
Record: 8-8-10, 34pts
Playoff Odds: 61%
Projected Final Position: 11th (12%)
Max Points Available: 58pts
Magic Number: 25pts
Upcoming: @ OKC (9/8)
United did an awful lot right in its loss to Orange County, just look at OCSC goalkeeper Frederick Due winning Man of the Match honors, but that doesn’t matter when we crunch the numbers. The playoffs are still within reach, but NMU needs a result on Sunday in Oklahoma City to keep it that way.
13. El Paso Locomotive FC
13. El Paso Locomotive FC
Record: 8-8-8, 32pts
Playoff Odds: 50%
Projected Final Position: 12th (12%)
Max Points Available: 62pts
Magic Number: 27pts
Upcoming: vs. TUL (9/4)
@ LV (9/7)
El Paso saw its odds shorten fractionally as it sat out the past weekend, but with two games coming up this week things are still firmly in Locomotive FC’s hands with the sixth-highest potential points total in the Western Conference.
14. Las Vegas Lights FC
14. Las Vegas Lights FC
Record: 8-10-7, 31pts
Playoff Odds: 15%
Projected Final Position: 14th (30%)
Max Points Available: 58pts
Magic Number: 28pts
Upcoming: @ SLC (9/4)
vs. ELP (9/7)
Las Vegas couldn’t come up with the road win it needed in Tulsa which amps up the pressure to earn results this week against two tough opponents. Beating the Monarchs on the road, especially, is going to be a tall ask, with Lights FC rated only a 19 percent chance to earn all three points according to fivethirtyeight.com.
15. Rio Grande Valley FC
15. Rio Grande Valley FC
Record: 7-12-7, 28pts
Playoff Odds: 3%
Projected Final Position: 15th (49%)
Max Points Available: 52pts
Magic Number: 31pts
Upcoming: vs. TUL (9/7)
The Toros missed out on the Copa Tejas, although they were unfortunate to get the short end of a decision in Nico Corti’s sending off, but that loss to Austin effectively put their playoff chances at very long odds. RGVFC might need six wins from its last eight games to have a chance, starting against Tulsa on Saturday.
16. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
16. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Record: 5-13-8, 23pts
Playoff Odds: <1%
Projected Final Position: 16th (37%)
Max Points Available: 47pts
Magic Number: 36pts
Upcoming: @ ELP (9/4)
@ RGV (9/7)
The Roughnecks aren’t going to make the postseason, but their win on Saturday night against Fresno showed that this side can be a spoiler for other clubs down the stretch. The rest of the West will be paying close attention to Tulsa’s visit to El Paso on Wednesday night, rooting for the Roughnecks.
17. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
17. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Record: 6-17-4, 22pts
Playoff Odds: <1%
Projected Final Position: 17th (38%)
Max Points Available: 43pts
Magic Number: 37pts
Upcoming: vs. AUS (9/7)
Colorado Springs’ outing against Phoenix went about as expected, and now thanks to Tulsa’s victory it sits with the longest winless streak in the West at seven games.
18. Tacoma Defiance
18. Tacoma Defiance
Record: 5-15-5, 20pts
Playoff Odds: <1%
Projected Final Position: 18th (48%)
Max Points Available: 47pts
Magic Number: 39pts
Upcoming: @ SAC (9/7)
Tacoma brought everyone around the playoff line except for San Antonio fans to their feet on Friday night, and plenty of clubs will be hoping for a repeat performance when it visits Sacramento this weekend.

Eastern

1. New York Red Bulls II
1. New York Red Bulls II
Record: 16-5-5, 53pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 1st (33%)
Max Points Available: 77pts
Magic Number: 7pts
Upcoming: @IND (9/4)
The Red Bulls II are narrowly favored to finish first in the Eastern Conference after this weekend’s results. If New York can become the first team to defeat Indy Eleven on their home turf this season on Wednesday, those odds are going to go way up.
2. Nashville SC
2. Nashville SC
Record: 15-6-6, 51pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 2nd (25%)
Max Points Available: 72pts
Magic Number: 9pts
Upcoming: @ STL (9/7)
Nashville did extremely well to come out of its battle with Tampa Bay with all three points. Now it gets a different type of challenge as it visits Saint Louis; a side desperately fighting for its playoff life. After losing at home early this season to STLFC, Nashville will be hoping for a little revenge.
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Record: 14-5-7, 49pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 3rd (22%)
Max Points Available: 73pts
Magic Number: 11pts
Upcoming: @ CLT (9/7)
The Rowdies’ loss to Nashville pushed them below Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC into fourth place in the maximum points available column, which means the pressure is on to get all three points in Charlotte to sustain a push for a home playoff game and potentially a top-two finish.
4. Indy Eleven
4. Indy Eleven
Record: 14-4-5, 47pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 1st (31%)
Max Points Available: 80
Magic Number: 13pts
Upcoming: vs. NY (9/4)
@ CHS (9/7)
After earning a point on the road against Louisville, Indy’s game at home to the New York Red Bulls II could determine which side ends on top of the conference at the end of the season. If the Eleven take all three points, the lane is wide open for it to ascend over the next month.
5. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
5. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Record: 13-4-8, 47pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 5th (25%)
Max Points Available: 74pts
Magic Number: 13pts
Upcoming: vs.LOU (9/7)
The Hounds’ victory against Ottawa was arguably the most impressive of the weekend and kept them in position to take a top-four finish in October. Keeping that momentum going will be key against a Louisville side that’s also on a good run of form of late.
5. North Carolina FC
6. North Carolina FC
Record: 13-7-7, 46pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 6th (37%)
Max Points Available: 67pts
Magic Number: 14pts
Upcoming: vs. BST (9/7)
North Carolina’s surprising loss to Loudoun United dealt a serious blow to its top-four aspirations. While its still a lock to be in the postseason field, it’s going to need to work now to ensure it doesn’t sink into the play-in round.
7. Louisville City FC
7. Louisville City FC
Record: 12-7-7, 43pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 7th (37%)
Max Points Available: 67pts
Magic Number: 17pts
Upcoming: @ PIT (9/7)
Louisville couldn’t take all three points at home to Indy Eleven, and now it heads to face a Riverhounds SC side that is undefeated at home this season needing points – potentially all three – to keep itself in contention for a top-four finish.
8. Ottawa Fury FC
8. Ottawa Fury FC
Record: 10-5-9, 39pts
Playoff Odds >99%
Projected Final Position: 8th (40%)
Max Points Available: 69pts
Magic Number: 21pts
Upcoming: @ STL (9/4)
@ ATL (9/7)
To repeat last week’s missive, the good news for Ottawa Fury FC is its first playoff berth is basically assured. That should still be kept in mind after Friday’s slump against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC which is likely going to lock Fury FC into the play-in round as it heads for a busy week on the road.
9. Birmingham Legion FC
9. Birmingham Legion FC
Record: 9-10-6, 33pts
Playoff Odds 67%
Projected Final Position: 10th (30%)
Max Points Available: 60pts
Magic Number: 27pts
Upcoming: @ ATL (9/4)
Legion FC continued its undefeated streak against Loudoun United, but will be looking to get victory on the road against Atlanta on Wednesday night to ensure it enters its clash next week with Saint Louis FC with a lead over its playoff rival.
10. Charleston Battery
10. Charleston Battery
Record: 7-7-10, 31pts
Playoff Odds 74%
Projected Final Position: 9th (35%)
Max Points Available: 61pts
Magic Number: 29pts 
Upcoming: vs. IND (9/7)
You don’t often see a postponement of a previously postponed game, but the Battery’s again rescheduled clash with Memphis is going to add to a busy final stretch of the season that sees Charleston setting up to play 10 games in seven weeks, starting with the challenging Indy Eleven on Saturday.
11. Saint Louis FC
11. Saint Louis FC
Record: 7-9-8, 29pts
Playoff Odds 47%
Projected Final Position: 10th (26%)
Max Points Available: 59pts
Magic Number: 31pts
Upcoming: vs. OTT (9/4)
vs. NSH (9/7)
Saint Louis got the victory it needed against Hartford and now sits with equal chance of finishing in 10th or 11th place. The tests get bigger this week with Ottawa Fury FC and Nashville SC coming in, with STLFC looking for revenge on Wednesday night after its recent defeat against Ottawa at TD Place.
13. Bethlehem Steel FC
12. Bethlehem Steel FC
Record: 7-13-5, 26pts
Playoff Odds 5%
Projected Final Position: 13th (23%)
Max Points Available: 53pts
Magic Number: 34pts
Upcoming: @ NC (9/7)
Bethlehem’s playoff chances didn’t move much after its victory against the Swope Park Rangers, but it still has a role to play as a potential spoiler starting this week in its visit to North Carolina FC.
12. Charlotte Independence
13. Charlotte Independence
Record: 5-11-11, 26pts
Playoff Odds 2%
Projected Final Position: 13th (26%)
Max Points Available: 47pts
Magic Number: 34pts
Upcoming: vs. TBR (9/7)
The Independence’s playoff chances are all but gone after Friday’s draw with Charleston, now the teams at the top will be hoping Charlotte can play spoiler against the Tampa Bay Rowdies when they visit the Sportsplex at Matthews this weekend.
14. Loudoun United FC
14. Loudoun United FC
Record: 6-12-6, 24pts
Playoff Odds 9%
Projected Final Position: 13th (21%)
Max Points Available: 54pts
Magic Number: 37pts
Upcoming: @ HFD (9/7)
A four-point week, including an emphatic first win at Segra Field, was a great seven days for Loudoun. United’s playoff chances are still slim, but it should head to Hartford on Saturday full of confidence.
15. Memphis 901 FC
15. Memphis 901 FC
Record: 5-13-7, 22pts
Playoff Odds 1%
Projected Final Position: 15th (30%)
Max Points Available: 49pts
Magic Number: 38pts
Upcoming: @ SPR (9/7)
Memphis got a nice boost in position from its late rally against Atlanta and now can try to add to that as it plays host to the Swope Park Rangers on Saturday.
16. ATL UTD 2
16. Atlanta United 2
Record: 5-15-5, 20pts
Playoff Odds <1%
Projected Final Position: 17th (40%)
Max Points Available: 47pts
Magic Number: 40pts
Upcoming: vs. BHM (9/4)
vs. OTT (9/7)
Atlanta’s role this week is that of playoff spoiler as the clubs around Birmingham and Ottawa look for Head Coach Stephen Glass’ side to earn some points in both encounters.
17. Hartford Athletic
17. Hartford Athletic
Record: 5-18-4, 19pts
Playoff Odds <1%
Projected Final Position: 16th (32%)
Max Points Available: 40pts
Magic Number: 41pts
Upcoming: vs. LDN (9/7)
Hartford battled valiantly against Saint Louis but couldn’t come away with any points. It plays host to Loudoun United on Saturday in what will end up being a battle for final positioning in the standings for two non-playoff sides.
18. Swope Park Rangers
18. Swope Park Rangers
Record: 3-15-6, 15pts
Playoff Odds <1%
Projected Final Position: 18th (54%)
Max Points Available: 45pts
Magic Number: 45pts
Upcoming: @ MEM (9/7)
Swope Park’s odds of finishing last are now over 50 percent, and with 10 games remaining the end of the season still feels like a long way off as the side heads to Memphis.

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