Detroit City FC and Miami FC square off this weekend in a playoff six-pointer that could end up defining the season for both clubs. | Photo courtesy David Badia / Miami FC
Welcome to the latest edition of the USL Championship Race to the Playoffs, in which we provide weekly information on where each team stands in their bid to reach the 2023 USL Championship Playoffs in October.
Two teams are officially in, with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies set for the postseason once again, and they could be joined this weekend by the Charleston Battery and San Antonio FC. There’s plenty of intrigue elsewhere in the battles for top spot, homefield advantage, and around the playoff line, though, and some great potential matchups to watch.
Here are four games to keep an eye on, and where everyone stands.
It’s a matter of when the Charleston Battery and San Diego Loyal SC clinch their playoff berths at this point, but the meeting between the sides is going to be important for positioning at the top of their respective conferences. Charleston can clinch its playoff spot with a win – and through other results if it doesn’t pick up all three points, see below for how – while SD Loyal has an outside shot at a top-two finish if it can keep winning and take advantage of its games in hand. This should be a tremendous game to watch, too.
This is the definition of a playoff six-pointer. If Detroit City FC takes victory on home turf, it creates a five-point gap between itself and Miami FC, which could have the knock-on effect of making the battle for eighth place in the Eastern Conference a two-team race with FC Tulsa down the stretch. If Miami takes victory, it would move ahead of Detroit for the time being – Le Rouge would still have a game in hand on the South Florida side – and provide legitimate hope that a playoff spot can be salvaged. There’s so much on the line here, it should make for an intense game before DCFC’s passionate support.
Given their recent history in the playoffs, every game between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Louisville City FC is a must-see, but the positions both teams find themselves in currently make this particularly tasty. The Rowdies are still the favorites to finish on top of the Eastern Conference, but after Wednesday night’s defeat to Memphis 901 FC their margin for error has shrunk. LouCity, meanwhile, is looking to build on consecutive wins and with a win here could start thinking about a top-three finish. With the rematch in Louisville set for the final day of the season, this is the set-up to a fascinating final few weeks.
This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Final, but both Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and San Antonio FC need a result here for differing reasons. The Switchbacks have dropped consecutive contests to get dragged back into the playoff battle in seventh position in the West, only two points ahead of ninth-placed Monterey Bay F.C. going into this weekend. San Antonio FC, meanwhile, is winless in its last four games after last weekend’s loss to FC Tulsa and has Orange County SC and San Diego Loyal SC in pursuit of its top-two position. SAFC is undefeated in its last nine games against the Switchbacks, sweeping all three of last year’s contests, but there’s no better time for Colorado Springs to turn the tables in what should be a hard-fought clash.
Tag(s): Features San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC FC Tulsa Charleston Battery 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 Loudoun United FC Hartford Athletic San Diego Loyal SC Miami FC Oakland Roots SC Detroit City FC Monterey Bay F.C.