Eastern Conference Playoff Picture 9/12/18
The story-lines are heating up and the race for the playoffs is getting close. Unlike this past week, I promise to make it through to the end without making you wait 3 days to to see the end. This week saw two teams clinch their postseason fate and a number of other teams are zeroing in on their fate. Here are this week’s story lines:
Whose fate was decided this past week?
Whose fate can be decided this week?
Look out for NCFC and Penn FC to make a late run.
This week we saw two teams seal their postseason fate, one in the positive way, one in the negative way. FC Cincinnati was able to…. All while Toronto finally lost out on their playoff hopes. With a crazy loss to Ottawa on Friday evening Toronto was officially eliminated from the postseason. The Friday night game was one of back and forth play with Toronto coming back from being down 2-nil to tie it 3-3, only to give up a fourth just minutes after they tied the game. … clinch a home game with a win over Louisville City on Saturday, or wait, Tuesday. In what was an odd game, being stalled with only 7 minutes left in the first half and being resumed three days later, FCC was able to secure the 1-0 win against their rivals. While the FCC could end tied on points with Indy, they would secure 4th through the first tiebreaker of wins.
Looking at this week, there is only one team who can know their fate; Richmond. While the Kickers have long been in the bottom part of the table, it was only recently they were leapfrogged by ATLUTD2. This week they face playoff elimination, with only 2 points to spare all Richmond can hope for is a win to stay alive. Let’s look at their elimination scenarios:
Scenario 1: Richmond loss or tie vs. Ottawa.
Scenario 2: A win by Richmond -AND- a win by Nashville -AND- a win or tie by NYRBII.
Lastly let’s look at two teams with a quite a few games in hand who can make a late push to the playoffs. North Carolina FC and Penn FC both sit out of current playoff spots in the true table yet they both hold games in hand and can make a late push to secure a playoff spot. Currently NCFC sit on 35 points in 10th place and Penn FC sit on 32 points in 12th place. However when you look at their games in hand they could both end up with 56 points, tied for 8th in the current points possible table. Both teams would also sit on 16 wins so the tie would have to be broken on goal differential, with NCFC leading that with +5 to Penn FC’s -1. What’s even more exciting than a close playoff fight? When those two team face each other, which we will see on Sunday!
What does this mean for FCC?
While odd, this week saw FC Cincinnati secure a home playoff game! That means we will see the Orange and Blue at least once at NIppert in October, but the team is close to securing even more home games. Currently FCC is only 8 points away from clinching first place in the East. While they can’t clinch this week, depending on how the weekend goes they could sit as little as 3 points away.
Games to watch:
Penn FC vs. North Carolina FC, Sunday: As mentioned above, Penn FC and NCFC are both looking to make a run to the playoffs. Being so close in potential points, a win by either team would set them up for success moving forward. However, a tie would bring them both tied on potential points with Bethlehem for 8th place in the points possible table and depending on other games, bring in 6 teams within 2 points of the final playoff spot. Many fans will be interested in this results as it can help teams clinch and help bring other teams back into contention.
Pittsburgh vs. Louisville City, Saturday: Another close playoff fight for two top teams. A win by Pittsburgh could have them only 3 points from clinching a playoff spot and a Louisville win could see them as little as 5 points away from the playoffs. Fans of either team should be rooting for a tie in the Penn FC/NCFC game. A tie between these two teams would not be terrible for either team and would help FCC move closer to clinching 1st.
Richmond vs. Ottawa, Saturday: The big question here, can Ottawa deal the death blow to two teams in back-to-back weeks? A win here for the Fury would keep them right in the hunt for the playoffs, especially with a Penn FC/NCFC tie as the Fury would then only be 1 point possible back from a playoff spot. A Richmond loss here would seal their fate for the rest of the season, meaning they will end out of playoff contention in their final D2 season before they move down to USLD3.