Oakland Roots SC and El Paso Locomotive FC will square off in one of this weekend's decisive games in the Western Conference playoff race. | Photo courtesy Ivan Pierre Aguirre / El Paso Locomotive FC
Welcome to the final 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.
There are three playoff berths still available, including numerous permutations as to whether a team will be in or out of the playoff field as of Saturday night, but there’s plenty more to keep an eye on as the final seedings for the postseason are set, particularly in the top four of the Western Conference.
Here are four games to keep an eye on, and where everyone stands.
New Mexico brings momentum into its home finale with consecutive victories, and with a win here it would secure a postseason berth for the fourth time in five seasons. Memphis, meanwhile, just needs a draw to earn a top-four finish in the Eastern Conference, but 901 FC will have plenty of teams below the playoff line hoping it can pick up all three points to open the playoff race wide open for Saturday night.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC has locked up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference as it faces a Detroit City FC side that needs at least a draw – if not a win – to see its playoff chances stretch later into Saturday night when Miami FC kicks off against Sacramento Republic FC. Le Rouge would visit the Hounds if they get into the playoffs, though, which means Pittsburgh might want to ward against letting their potential postseason foe get any additional confidence.
Monterey Bay F.C. must take victory to have a chance of reaching the playoffs. Orange County SC could move as high as second place if it takes all three points on the road, which could lead to an attacking game with both teams with little to lose otherwise.
Separated by two points in the standings, but either side of the playoffs line, ninth-placed Oakland Roots SC and seventh-placed El Paso Locomotive FC know a win gets them into the postseason. Locomotive FC could settle for a draw, too, but this game should go all the way to the final whistle on the final day of the regular season and has the potential for plenty of drama.
Eliminated: Las Vegas Lights FC
Eliminated: FC Tulsa, Loudoun United FC, Hartford Athletic
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.