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USL Championship Race to the Playoffs – Sept. 20

By Staff, 09/20/22, 4:58PM EDT


San Antonio FC
September 20 | 8:30 p.m. ET
Toyota Field
Colorado Spings Switchbacks FC

Both teams dropped points last week, leaving San Antonio unable to clinch the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed with a victory tonight over Colorado Springs. A win would extend SAFC’s lead over San Diego Loyal SC to 12 points with four games to go and put San Antonio on the brink of home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the West. Meanwhile, Colorado Springs is just two points ahead of Sacramento Republic FC in third place, but Sacramento has a game in hand. A Colorado Springs defeat tonight would open the door for Sacramento to leap into third.

New York Red Bulls II
September 21 | 7:00 p.m. ET
MSU Soccer Park
Detroit City FC

New York is eliminated from playoff contention at the bottom of the table, but Detroit City FC has a lot to play for. A win would lift Le Rouge into a tie on points for fifth place in the East with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and within two points of fourth place. The top four teams are guaranteed at least one game in the postseason. Detroit has won each of its last three road matches and will hope for more of that same success.

Monterey Bay F.C.
September 21 | 10:30 p.m. ET
Cardinale Stadium
Phoenix Rising FC

Monterey Bay had won three games in a row and is making a major push to qualify for the playoffs in its inaugural season. Frank Yallop’s team is below the current playoff line with games in hand, but a win would move them above both Oakland Roots SC and Rio Grande Valley FC and into the playoff field. On the other hand, Phoenix is just about out of chances to make a late run to the postseason following a 3-0 defeat in San Diego over the weekend. Rising FC isn’t mathematically eliminated yet, but a loss to Monterey Bay would be tough to overcome.



2. San Antonio FC
1. San Antonio FC
Record: 20-5-4, 64pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 1st (99%)
Max. Points Available: 79pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: vs. COS (9/20)
San Antonio FC has all but wrapped up the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference and the bye that comes with it, but after dropping points this past weekend, San Antonio can’t mathematically clinch the top spot Tuesday night.
2. San Diego Loyal SC
2. San Diego Loyal SC
Record: 17-9-4, 55pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 2nd (83%)
Max. Points Available: 67pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: at LV (9/24)
San Diego trails San Antonio by nine points and has played one more game than SAFC, so first place is probably out of reach. San Diego looks strong for the No. 2 seed, particularly with Colorado Springs on the road in San Antonio for a difficult midweek test.
3. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
3. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Record: 16-11-3, 51pts
Playoff Odds: >99%
Projected Finish: 4th (48%)
Max. Points Available: 63pts
Magic Number: 2
Up Next: at SA (9/20)
It won’t be easy, but Colorado Springs can clinch its spot in the postseason with a victory at Toyota Field this evening and become the third Western Conference team to earn a ticket. With back-to-back losses heading into Tuesday’s tilt, Colorado Springs is under pressure from Sacramento Republic FC for third place.
7. Sacramento Republic FC
4. Sacramento Republic FC
Record: 14-8-7, 49pts
Playoff Odds: >99%
Projected Finish: 3rd (45%)
Max. Points Available: 64pts
Magic Number: 4
Up Next: at SA (9/24)
Sacramento Republic FC romped to victory in its homecoming last Saturday night against Loudoun United FC and while it can’t quite clinch a playoff spot on Sunday afternoon in its nationally televised clash against Orange County SC on ESPN2, it can take another big step forward with a win. Republic FC will also know how San Diego Loyal SC and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC have fared on Saturday night and could have the chance to close the gap on the top three.
2. El Paso Locomotive FC
5. El Paso Locomotive FC
Record: 12-12-7, 43pts
Playoff Odds: 65%
Projected Finish: 7th (28%)
Max Points Available: 52pts
Magic Number: N/A
Up Next: at TBR (9/28)
El Paso has played more matches than anyone else in the Western Conference, so while it does currently sit in 5th place, its position is somewhat tenuous. New Mexico United, Rio Grande Valley FC, Monterey Bay F.C. and Las Vegas Lights FC can all catch or pass Locomotive FC on points if they win their games in hand, which is why a team in 5th place with three games to go only has a 65 percent chance of reaching the postseason.
4. New Mexico United
6. New Mexico United
Record: 11-9-10, 43pts
Playoff Odds: 89%
Projected Finish: 5th (43%)
Max. Points Available: 55pts
Magic Number: 10
Up Next: at LV (9/30)
Zach Prince’s side arrested a three-game losing skid last weekend with a 1-1 draw on the road against San Antonio FC, but New Mexico needs to get back to winning ways quickly. With matches against Las Vegas Lights FC and Los Angeles Galaxy II next on the schedule before a tricky finish, you’d like their chances of getting some good results.
10. Rio Grande Valley FC
7. Rio Grande Valley FC
Record: 11-12-6, 39pts
Playoff Odds: 69%
Projected Finish: 6th (28%)
Max. Points Available: 54pts
Magic Number: 14
Up Next: at CHS (9/23)
Rio Grande Valley FC has won four of its last five matches to vault above the playoff line, including wins over Colorado Springs, New Mexico and El Paso in recent weeks. RGV FC has games in hand over almost every team above it, so things are trending positive for a surprise playoff berth.
5. Oakland Roots SC
8. Oakland Roots SC
Record: 9-9-12, 39pts
Playoff Odds: 25%
Projected Finish: 9th (22%)
Max. Points Available: 51pts
Magic Number: N/A
Up Next: at COS (9/24)
Oakland has won back-to-back matches, but the teams directly above and below it in the standings have games in hand, so Roots SC is in a vulnerable spot. Oakland visits Colorado Spring this weekend. Depending how things go in San Antonio tonight, Roots SC will either get to face a team that just clinched a playoff berth or one that is still hungry.
6. Rio Grande Valley FC
9. Monterey Bay F.C.
Record: 12-14-2, 38pts
Playoff Odds: 35%
Projected Finish: 8th (18%) or 9th (18%)
Max. Points Available: 56pts
Magic Number: 15
Up Next: vs PHX (9/21)
Monterey Bay lost six of its first seven matches in its inaugural season, but is now charging up the table with three wins on the spin. Monterey Bay has played only 28 games, giving it a huge advantage. If it can handle the congested schedule, it could climb above the playoff line quickly.
2. El Paso Locomotive FC
10. Las Vegas Lights FC
Record: 10-12-7, 37pts
Playoff Odds: 10%
Projected Finish: 11th (28%)
Max Points Available: 52pts
Magic Number: N/A
Up Next: vs MB (9/27)
Las Vegas isn’t mathematically eliminated yet, but with three losses in a row, time is running out. Lights FC has the benefit of games in hand, but faces a difficult match against San Diego this weekend.

4. LA Galaxy II
11. LA Galaxy II
Record: 10-14-6, 36pts
Playoff Odds: 6%
Projected Finish: 11th (28%)
Max. Points Available: 48pts
Magic Number: N/A
Up Next: at SAC (10/2)
LA Galaxy II has some time off before visiting Sacramento Republic FC on October 2, but if the wrong combination of teams pick up points in the interim, an uphill slog may just become impossible.
Phoenix Rising FC
12. Phoenix Rising FC
Record: 9-15-5, 32pts
Playoff Odds: 2%
Projected Finish: 12th (48%)
Max. Points Available: 47pts
Magic Number: N/A
Up Next: at MB (9/21)
They’re not out yet, but it would take a miracle for a side with four losses in its last five games to turn things around and reach the postseason. The current playoff line is at 39 points and Phoenix can still reach 47 if it unleashes a long winning streak, but that seems very unlikely.
3. Orange County SC
13. Orange County SC
Record: 7-13-10, 31pts
Playoff Odds: <1%
Projected Finish: 13th (81%)
Max. Points Available: 43pts
Magic Number: N/A
Up Next: at PIT (9/24)
Orange County’s title defense is just about over, but Milan Iloski is still the leader in the Golden Boot Race!

Eastern Conference

2. Louisville City FC
1. Louisville City FC
Record: 19-5-6, 63pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 1st (84%)
Max. Points Available: 75pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: vs. MEM (9/23)
Louisville holds a 5-point edge over Memphis 901 FC for the No. 1 seed in the East, but Memphis has a game in hand. These two teams meet head-to-head at Lynn Family Stadium on Friday night in a massive regular season match. Louisville won the first meeting of the season 2-1 in July and has a 6-1-1 record against Memphis all-time.
3. Memphis 901 FC
2. Memphis 901 FC
Record: 18-7-4, 58pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 2nd (43%)
Max. Points Available: 73pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: vs. LOU (9/23)
Memphis can make a huge statement with a win Friday night in Louisville, but that’s no small task. Should it win that match, 901 FC will be just two points behind Louisville with a game in hand. Even if it loses, Memphis will keep the No. 2 spot through the weekend at least.
1. Tampa Bay Rowdies
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Record: 16-7-6, 54pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 3rd (41%)
Max. Points Available: 69pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: vs. BHM (9/23)
The Rowdies are slumping at the wrong time, but have a good opportunity to consolidate their place in third this weekend with fourth-placed Birmingham in town. The two teams are level on points, but the Rowdies have a game in hand. Beat Legion FC on Friday night and it’s hard to see Birmingham catching the Rowdies in the remainder of the season.
1. Birmingham Legion FC
4. Birmingham Legion FC
Record: 16-8-6, 54pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 4th (36%)
Max. Points Available: 66pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: at TBR (9/23)
Birmingham rallied for a big win last week at home against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and will hope that momentum continues through to this weekend. If Legion FC beats the Rowdies head-to-head this weekend, it will take a 3-point cushion over Tampa Bay and build a little defense against the Rowdies’ game in hand.
3. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
4. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Record: 15-8-7, 52pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 5th (37%)
Max. Points Available: 64pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: vs. OC (9/24)
Pittsburgh let a big opportunity slip away last week with a 2-1 loss in Birmingham at halftime. If the postseason started today, the Riverhounds would be right back at Protective Stadium in Birmingham for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Pittsburgh has a friendly match this week with Orange County coming east, but it can’t afford to relax if it wants a home playoff game.
1. Birmingham Legion FC
6. Detroit City FC
Record: 13-6-10, 49pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 6th (33%)
Max. Points Available: 64pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: at NY (9/21)
Detroit City FC has pulled off back-to-back wins against the teams sitting third in each conference in the last two weeks. If that form continues, Le Rouge still has a chance at sneaking into the top four and earning a home playoff game.
4. The Miami FC
7. The Miami FC
Record: 13-8-9, 48pts
Playoff Odds: Clinched
Projected Finish: 7th (63%)
Max. Points Available: 60pts
Magic Number: IN
Up Next: vs. MB (9/24)
Miami FC clinched its playoff berth last weekend, so the pressure is off. With no games in hand over anyone above it in the standings, Miami looks unlikely to climb all the way to fourth, but you never know. A tricky test awaits with red-hot Monterey Bay coming to town.

Eliminated from Playoff Contention: FC Tulsa, Hartford Athletic, Indy Eleven, Loudoun United FC, Charleston Battery, Atlanta United 2, New York Red Bulls II

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