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March to the Playoffs: The Final Week

With the final week of games left, FC Cincinnati continues its dominance of the Eastern Conference and extends its unbeaten streak to 22 matches. Having secured the USL Regular Season Championship, the Orange and Blue are guaranteed home games for all of the postseason.

With the final week of games left, FC Cincinnati continues its dominance of the Eastern Conference and extends its unbeaten streak to 22 matches. Having secured the USL Regular Season Championship, the Orange and Blue are guaranteed home games for all of the postseason.

Who’s In and Who’s Out?

Six teams have dropped out of the playoffs: Charlotte, Tampa, Penn, Atlanta, Richmond and Toronto. Six teams have locked in playoff positions: Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Charleston, Indy and New York.

The top four teams are locked up. Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Charleston are guaranteed home games for the first round of the post-season. Cincinnati owns the top spot, and Charleston has held onto the No. 4 position. The second and third positions will fall to Pittsburgh and Louisville, though neither team has its spot locked in yet. Indy and New York know they’re in the post-season, but they have work to do to hold their position.

The real battle though falls to Nashville, Bethlehem, Ottawa and North Carolina, who are vying for the last two playoff spots. Four points separate the four teams and though Nashville sits in the best position, a loss to FC Cincinnati and results for Bethlehem and Ottawa could end their season.

Post-Season Prediction

Looking at points per match played (Pts/MP) each team earns, it’s possible to predict how teams could end their season if they continue their current form. Based on current form, the postseason bracket would look as follows:

 

Since the last calculation, Nashville has once again entered the playoff discussion, and North Carolina has dropped out again.

What to Watch

On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Louisville play Indy. A win for Louisville would lock in the second position for the Purples. A win for Indy would secure the fifth position for Cincinnati’s rival to the west.

Of course on Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Cincinnati plays its last match against Nashville. Though nothing is at stake for the Orange and Blue, any points for Nashville secure them for the postseason. A loss leaves Nashville exposed to being knocked out of the playoffs.

On Sunday at 3 p.m., Bethlehem plays Tampa. Tampa is already knocked out of the postseason, but Bethlehem is currently holding onto the eighth playoff position. Dropping points leaves it open to being displaced.


@billwwolf for @CincySoccerTalk

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