San Antonio FC and New Mexico United will square off in one of the key games in the Western Conference playoff race this weekend, with SAFC within reach of the No. 1 seed in the conference. | Photo courtesy Josh Lane / New Mexico United
Welcome to our latest look at the playoff picture across the USL Championship as we go into this weekend’s action, where the final two places in the Eastern Conference could be sealed on Saturday night. Out in the Western Conference, the picture remains wide open with five teams separated by two points between the seventh and final playoff place and 11th place in the standings.
Here are four games to keep an eye on, and where everyone stands.
Detroit City FC can clinch its trip to the USL Championship Playoffs with a victory at home to the Tampa Bay Rowdies to move to 49 points should Monterey Bay F.C. also take points from Indy Eleven later in the night, with the Boys in Blue currently sitting on a maximum available points total of 50 going into the weekend. That’s going to be great incentive for the hosts to turn the tables after their narrow loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium – as will picking up a first home win since May – but the Rowdies need to take all three points here as well after a disappointing display last weekend in Charleston saw them cede ground to Memphis 901 FC in the battle for second place higher up the Eastern standings. There’s a better than average chance we could see this matchup again in the postseason, too.
Rio Grande Valley FC is looking to move into the top seven in the standings after consecutive victories. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC is aiming to clinch its postseason berth after defeat at home last weekend. After the five-goal thriller the sides gave us when they first met at Weidner Field, there should be plenty of entertainment on the field as the Toros’ Christian Pinzon looks to add to his run of five consecutive games with a goal. With a win, the Toros could be in seventh place by the end of the night and in control of their playoff path. For the Switchbacks, a season sweep would not only seal their playoff berth but keep the pressure on San Diego Loyal SC in the battle for second place in the West.
San Antonio FC can close out homefield advantage in the Western Conference this weekend if things go its way, starting with a victory against New Mexico United. Should SAFC win and both second-placed San Diego Loyal SC and third-placed Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC drop points in their respective games, the road to at least the Western Conference Final would go through Toyota Field. New Mexico has a lot to play for as well, though, as while it remains in good standing to earn a return to the playoffs the club’s current run of three consecutive defeats is one it needs to bring to an end. After San Antonio’s 1-0 victory earlier this season at Isotopes Park, United will be aiming for payback and a boost to its postseason goals.
San Diego Loyal SC and Phoenix Rising FC have developed a strong rivalry over their first three seasons competing against one another and this chapter could provide another important moment in that series. SD Loyal will clinch a playoff place with a win against Rising FC and could clinch at least one home game if other results go their way in the games involving New Mexico United, Monterey Bay F.C. and Las Vegas Lights FC. A victory for the hosts would also push Phoenix even closer to the brink of elimination from contention. 12th-placed Rising FC is in need of a win and plenty of help elsewhere to try and revive its playoff chances after last weekend’s defeat to Oakland Roots SC.
Tag(s): Features San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks LA Galaxy II Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC FC Tulsa Louisville City FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds Tampa Bay Rowdies Las Vegas Lights FC Birmingham Legion FC Indy Eleven Memphis 901 FC El Paso Locomotive FC New Mexico United San Diego Loyal SC Miami FC Oakland Roots SC Detroit City FC Monterey Bay F.C.