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Playoff Picture: Down to the Wire

FC Cincinnati lost their game in Ottawa in dramatic fashion and many fans saw it as a sign that FCC was going to miss the playoffs, but the playoff picture is still positive for the Orange and Blue.

Let’s check out where things stand for the playoffs, look for threats to Cincinnati’s playoff potential and take a look at what games will have the most influence on their standings.

Who’s In and Who’s Out?

Louisville is still the only team to secure a first round home playoff game. The remaining 3 home playoff games are still up for grabs with 4 teams eligible. Rochester has moved themselves into a stronger position for a home playoff game with their win and has Charlotte now on the outside looking in.

The five teams that secured playoff games are still the same with the same 4 teams looking to earn one of the remaining 3 places. Bethlehem dropped points in Rochester keeping them within reach of FCC. A win would have left Cincinnati with a best case 7th place finish.

As it stands, the 4 teams remaining in the playoff hunt are only separated by 2 points.

Making the Playoffs

FC Cincinnati are currently in 8th position. All teams have one game remaining so staying in the playoff is just about doing as well or better than the teams below you. This means Orlando. Orlando needs to pass FCC in the standings to knock the Orange and Blue out of the playoffs. If Cincinnati wins, it guarantees Cincinnati another cup run in the post-season since Orlando won’t be able to pass them. Even if FCC loses, Orlando has to win their game to pass them in the standings. Even a tie for Orlando and a loss for Cincinnati leaves them equal on points and  FCC will win the tie breaker. The game last week against Ottawa was an ugly affair but it certainly did not eliminate FC Cincinnati from the playoffs. Their odds are still high of seeing post-season action.

A Playoff Game at Nippert

Not in the first round. For anyone who thinks FCC lost this opportunity in Ottawa, think again. Rochester ended those hopes regardless of the outcome in Ottawa. The only option now is to hope for a higher seed and a home play off game in a later round. Even that is a long shot.

What Should Fans Watch For?

First and foremost, FCC needs to secure a playoff spot. We can back into the playoffs if Orlando fails to win their last game, or we can earn the points ourselves. Regardless, an 8th place finish is completely within the Orange and Blue’s control. Based on results from other games, FC Cincinnati can secure up to the 6th seed for the post-season.

Keep an eye on the following upcoming matches:

Thursday – Tampa Bay at Orlando

For Orlando, it’s win or go home. Even a tie guarantees they miss the playoffs. They have everything to play for. Tampa Bay, however, is on a 6 game undefeated streak and need to get a win to ensure a first round home playoff game. They also have a lot to play for. A huge advantage to Cincinnati this week is to see the result of this game before they play. A loss or a tie for Orlando guarantees FCC a post-season ticket.

Saturday – New York at Rochester

A win for New York guarantees a 6th place finish for the Baby Bulls. At the same time, Rochester is playing to hold onto their first round playoff position and are not going to rollover and let New York grab points. This game starts about an hour and a half before FC Cincinnati’s game. The result will be known well before Cincinnati completes their game. If New York does not win, then a win for FCC will allow them to finish in at least 7th place.

Sunday – Saint Louis at Bethlehem

This game will be played after FC Cincinnati’s playoff fate is known. Assuming they are in the playoff either through Orlando failing to get a win or from Cincinnati doing the work and earning the points themselves, this game will help determine the Orange and Blue’s playoff seed. If FCC earns more points than Bethlehem does in this game, Cincinnati will move up a spot in the rankings.


@billwwolf for @CincySoccerTalk

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