San Antonio FC could clinch the first berth in the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs with a victory against South Texas Derby rival Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Christian Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC
Welcome to our latest look at the playoff picture across the USL Championship as we enter this weekend’s action, where the first postseason berth can be claimed by Western Conference leader San Antonio FC and Saturday night’s slate brings some key games for positioning in the top four for both conferences.
Here are three games to keep an eye on, and where everyone stands going into the 12-game schedule.
When Detroit City FC and Louisville City FC got together earlier this season in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup it gave us a great contest that ended up being settled in a penalty shootout in favor of LouCity. There won’t be that prospect this time around, but with Louisville looking to hold firm in first place and Le Rouge coming off a great midweek victory against Birmingham Legion FC that solidified its playoff credentials, this has the potential to have an impact at both ends of the playoff positions.
The Southern Harm rivals had differing fortunes on Wednesday night as Memphis 901 FC moved within a point of first place in the Eastern Conference with victory against New Mexico United and Birmingham Legion FC fell at home to Detroit City FC. That has left a seven-point gap between second-placed 901 FC and fourth-placed Legion FC. If Memphis can get revenge for Legion FC’s Anderson Asiedu-powered victory at Protective Stadium, it would pull that much closer to a first home playoff game in club history in October.
San Antonio FC can be the first team to clinch a playoff place if things fall right elsewhere on Saturday night, but the final South Texas Derby of the season has crucial implications for Rio Grande Valley FC. With 11 games to go, the Toros are still in the playoff picture despite a recent winless run. If they can find a way to take their first victory at Toyota Field since the 2017 season, it would be the jump-start the side needs to challenge for a playoff place in the end.
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