In my last Roots Report I talked about how the last two games might work out for some teams and that T2 is not yet eliminated from the playoffs. With a lot of teams above them down to just one last game left, T2 (who play their 2nd to last game tomorrow) are still alive.
But for T2 to have a chance, they pretty much need to win out their final two games and hope that just about everyone above them lose their final match.
8 teams in each USL conference make the playoffs. Tiebreakers fall first to team with most wins, then to goal differential. So with the way the standings are now, pretty much the first 6 teams have secured their playoffs. Swope Park Rangers are in 7th but have 3 games yet to play in this final week. So, short of an epic collapse, seems likely they are a lock. Which leaves that final 8th playoff place left for only 4 teams still alive in the race.
This is what the middle of the USL West table looks like right now:
|#7||Swope Park Rangers||39 points||11 Wins||+2 GD||3 Games Remaining|
|#8||San Antonio FC||38 points||10 Wins||+3 GD||1 Game Remaining|
|#9||OC Blues FC||37 points||11 Wins||-6 GD||1 Game Remaining|
|#10||Real Monarchs SLC||36 points||10 Wins||-8 GD||1 Game Remaining|
|#11||Sounders 2||35 points||9 Wins||-13 GD||1 Game Remaining|
|#12||Timbers 2||34 points||10 Wins||-7 GD||2 Games Remaining|
So what we have, besides a sloppy table due to rushing this, is essentially 4 teams vying for 1 last spot. S2 is eliminated since there is no way they could make up the goal difference with San Antonio. And everyone below T2 has been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, including Arizona United.
And we can thank Colorado Springs and San Antonio for their wins tonight to eliminate S2. Colorado Springs beat S2, 2-1. While San Antonio defeated Tulsa 2-0. In addition to those results, Arizona United did T2 a favor (as well as San Antonio) by defeating Monarchs 3-2 tonight.
6th place has 42 points, and the max T2 can get is 40 points. With San Antonio's win it also means that if T2 lose one of their last two matches, they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. But hopefully T2 can still finish above S2. Being behind by only 1 point and having a game in hand means that, even if we only get 1 point out of the last two we will jump S2 based on tie breakers (assuming S2 lose their last match).
Let's look at the final match ups remaining this week:
T2 travel to Whitecaps 2 tomorrow. T2 is currently on a 3 game win streak, first in team history, with 2 of those victories coming on the road. T2 needs the win to stay alive. A loss will eliminate them, a draw would just about see them eliminated as well due to tie breakers with San Antonio.
S2 play their last match away to Swope Park Rangers. But Swope Park has 3 games left. So they will play tomorrow, Wednesday, and then on Saturday the 24th host S2. S2 aren't a bad team, and if Swope Park has run out of gas by this point (and secured playoffs) it might be a game that favors the visitors. But hopefully they will lose so we can have the best chance of finishing above them. T2 can't let the Timbers and Thorns (who both should finish above their Seattle counterpart) down this season.
Real Monarchs have to travel to LA Galaxy II. As I mentioned in my Roots Report, I don't see them getting any points out of this match. Anything short of the full 3 points would eliminate RSL 2 from the playoffs.
OC Blues will host the current table topping Colorado Springs for their final match. It is at home, but anything short of a win will eliminate them. And I favor the table topping visitors in this one.
San Antonio defeated Tulsa as expected. But now they must travel to Rio Grande Valley Toros. Quite the challenge there. San Antonio are already in 8th place. They, like T2, will hope the results above go as expected. But it will be up to them to guarantee their playoff position via a win. If they win, then everyone below them are eliminated regardless of results. If they draw, they could eliminate RSL 2 regardless of their result. And if they lose, which seems likely since I favor the stronger home side in this match up, it leaves the field open still.
After T2 travel to Whitecaps 2 tomorrow, they will return home to Merlo Field to host eliminated Arizona United. Arizona enjoyed playing spoiler to the Monarchs tonight, and they will look for revenge on T2's comeback, stoppage time win a few days ago. But if T2 get all 3 points in Vancouver? I favor the home side as they might be one of the last teams left with a chance to steal 8th place from San Antonio.
In the end, tomorrow's game is a must win. Draw or lose, and you are out of the playoffs. Win and it will be a race, essentially, between San Antonio FC and Timbers 2 for that final playoff spot. Go T2!