skip navigation

USL Push for the Playoffs: Sept. 9-11 Edition

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 09/09/16, 10:48AM EDT


Toros, Switchbacks, WFC2 and Energy FC all within reach in Western Conference

After the New York Red Bulls II claimed the USL Regular Season Championship on Wednesday evening, attention this weekend returns to teams looking to lock up places in the Western Conference field. Rio Grande Valley FC, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and OKC Energy FC all have the chance to book a playoff place, but with the Switchbacks and WFC2 squaring off, one of them will have to wait another day.


1. New York Red Bulls II – IN
Current Record:
19-3-5, 62pts
Maximum Points Available: 71
Last Game: W 4-1 at Harrisburg City Islanders
Next Game: 9/10 at Rochester Rhinos, 5:05 p.m. ET
With the USL Regular Season Championship in hand, all the Red Bulls II have to play for now is history. New York has already set a record for road wins in a season (12) but can now also set records for total wins in a season with one more win, total points in a season with one more point, and goals scored in a season with three more tallies.

2. Louisville City FC - IN
Current Record:
15-4-8, 53pts
Maximum Points Available: 62
Last Game: W 1-0 at FC Montreal
Next Game: 9/10 vs. Richmond Kickers, 7:30 p.m. ET
Louisville’s second consecutive 1-0 victory pushed the side closer to claiming second place in the East, and also added a side story to Saturday’s game with Richmond. With a win against the Kickers, Louisville would be guaranteed a top-four position, and at least a home quarterfinal in the 2016 USL Playoffs.

3. FC Cincinnati - IN
Current Record:
13-6-7, 46pts
Maximum Points Available: 58
Last Game: W 2-1 vs. Saint Louis FC
Next Game: 9/11 at Wilmington Hammerheads FC, 3 p.m. ET
Cincinnati’s late victory kept its chances of catching Louisville alive, but the side would need its River Cities Cup rival to drop points in its final three games to bridge a seven-point gap between them. Sunday’s game will also offer a test, as Wilmington took a victory on Wednesday night to move within two points of the eighth and final playoff berth in the East, and will be eager to follow up its victory with the chance to be in the playoff positions by the end of Sunday night.

4. Charlotte Independence - IN
Current Record:
13-7-6, 45pts
Maximum Points Available: 57
Last Game: W 5-1 at Toronto FC II
Next Game: 9/10 vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 7 p.m. ET
Two wins out of two in the past week moved the Independence into a  position where they could claim a home playoff game if they can keep up their form. That means three points against Pittsburgh is a must with games against Richmond, Rochester and Louisville to wrap up the regular season.

5. Richmond Kickers - IN
Current Record:
12-6-8, 44pts
Maximum Points Available: 56
Last Game: D 1-1 vs. Charleston Battery
Next Game: 9/10 at Louisville City FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Kickers got knocked out of the top four while they were idle over the weekend, but will be well-rested for an important game against Louisville this Saturday. With a win, Richmond keeps its top-four hopes alive, and also keeps the race for second place alive.

6. Rochester Rhinos - IN
Current Record:
11-5-11, 44pts
Maximum Points Available: 53
Last Game: W 2-1 at Charleston Battery
Next Game: 9/10 vs. New York Red Bulls II, 5:05 p.m. ET
The Rhinos kept their chances at a top-four place alive thanks to their late 2-1 win on the road against Charleston on Saturday. With only three games remaining, and the next coming against the rampant Red Bulls II, a home playoff game might be just out of reach for the defending champions. 

7. Charleston Battery - IN
Current Record:
11-7-9, 42pts
Maximum Points Available: 51
Last Game: L 2-1 at FC Montreal
Next Game: 9/10 vs. Bethlehem Steel FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Battery’s second consecutive loss put a major dent in their top-four hopes as FC Montreal emerged victorious on Wednesday afternoon. All is not lost for Charleston, but a victory against Bethlehem on Saturday night would appear to be essential if the side is to host a playoff contest.

8. Orlando City B
Current Record:
8-11-8, 32pts
Maximum Points Available: 41
Last Game: L 3-0 at Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Next Game: 9/11 at Toronto FC II, 7:30 p.m. ET
Orlando’s fifth loss in the last six games removed their margin for error in holding onto the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. With Wilmington only two points back now and both sides sitting with three games remaining in the regular season, Orlando will want a victory in Toronto to turn things in the right direction on Sunday night.

9. Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Current Record:
7-11-9, 30pts
Maximum Points Available: 39
Last Game: W 3-0 vs. Orlando City B
Next Game: 9/11 vs. FC Cincinnati, 3 p.m. ET
The Hammerheads took the victory they needed against Orlando to catapult them into contention for eighth place with three games to play, but with games remaining against third-place Cincinnati and fifth-place Richmond, Wilmington is far from home and dry. A win on Sunday, though, would put pressure on Orlando to match it later in the day.

10. Harrisburg City Islanders
Current Record:
7-15-6, 27pts
Maximum Points Available: 33
Last Game: L 4-1 vs. New York Red Bulls II
Next Game: 9/17 vs. Wilmington Hammerheads FC, 7 p.m. ET
The City Islanders’ midweek loss to New York put the side on the brink of elimination from playoff contention. An Orlando City B victory against Toronto FC II would shut Harrisburg out of the postseason for a second consecutive year.

11. Bethlehem Steel FC
Current Record:
6-12-9, 27pts
Maximum Points Available: 36
Last Game: L 2-0 vs. New York Red Bulls II
Next Game: 9/10 at Charleston Battery, 7:30 p.m. ET
With their defeat to New York, the Steel’s margin of error is now at a critical point. Should the side lose to Charleston on Saturday, and see Orlando City B win on Sunday, the playoffs will be out of reach.

13. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Current Record:
6-15-5, 23pts
Maximum Points Available: 35
Last Game: W 2-0 at Orlando City B
Next Game: 9/10 at Charlotte Independence, 7 p.m. ET
The Riverhounds staved off mathematical elimination with their victory against Orlando, but still need to take a victory in each of their remaining contests. With a visit to Charlotte up next, that’s going to be a major challenge.

Mathematically eliminated: Toronto FC II, FC Montreal


1. Sacramento Republic FC - IN
Current Record:
13-6-8, 47pts
Maximum Points Available: 56
Last Game: W 2-1 vs. Orange County Blues FC
Next Game: 9/10 at LA Galaxy II, 10:30 p.m. ET
Sacramento claimed the first berth in the Western Conference playoff field with its late win against Orange County on Saturday night, but needs to keep winning with Rio Grande Valley FC having the chance to claim first place thanks to its game in hand. Saturday’s start of a home-and-home series with Los Dos should be a must-see.

2. Rio Grande Valley FC
Current Record:
12-5-9, 45pts
Maximum Points Available: 57
Last Game: W 2-0 at Swope Park Rangers
Next Game: 9/10 vs. Portland Timbers 2, 8:30 p.m. ET
The Toros’ victory against the Swope Park Rangers extended their undefeated streak to 10 games, and kept the side in position to claim the top spot in the West at the end of the regular season. With one point needed to book a place in the playoffs on Saturday night, the Toros will want to keep the pressure on Sacramento to match their result later in the night with another victory.

3. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Current Record:
12-8-7, 43pts
Maximum Points Available: 52
Last Game: W 3-0 vs. LA Galaxy II
Next Game: 9/11 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, 5 p.m. ET
The Switchbacks not only took a victory, but also saw both Vancouver and OKC falter over the weekend, which allowed Colorado Springs to jump into third place in the Western Conference. Sunday’s game against Vancouver could see one of the teams clinch a playoff berth, with a Switchbacks victory moving them above the threshold, but a win would also give the side a major boost in its quest for a top-four position.

4. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Current Record:
11-7-9, 42pts
Maximum Points Available: 51
Last Game: D 2-2 vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2
Next Game: 9/11 vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, 5 p.m. ET
Vancouver will have been disappointed to only take one point from its home-and-home series with Seattle, having had the chance to hold on for a draw late at Starfire Stadium, and had a lead and a man-advantage in the second half in the return leg on Monday. The playoffs are within reach for WFC2 on Sunday, however, as a Vancouver win combined with a draw or defeat for Real Monarchs SLC would book WFC2’s place in the postseason.

5. OKC Energy FC
Current Record:
10-5-11, 41pts
Maximum Points Available: 53
Last Game: L 4-0 at Portland Timbers 2
Next Game: 9/11 vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2, 7 p.m. ET
Energy FC’s 4-0 defeat in Portland on Sunday night was one of the more shocking results of the season, and now the side has to do work if it’s to host a playoff game this season. Energy FC could clinch a place in the playoffs when Seattle comes to visit on Sunday, however, as a victory for OKC and a draw or loss for Real Monarchs SLC on Friday night would send OKC back to the postseason.

6. LA Galaxy II
Current Record:
10-7-9, 39pts
Maximum Points Available: 51
Last Game: L 3-0 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Next Game: 9/10 vs. Sacramento Republic FC, 10:30 p.m. ET
The Galaxy II remained solidly in playoff position despite their loss to the Switchbacks, but taking points from Saturday’s game with Sacramento will be important to close in on a spot in the postseason. Los Dos need seven points from their final four games to have a chance at defending their Western Conference crown.

7. Swope Park Rangers
Current Record:
10-10-6, 36pts
Maximum Points Available: 48
Last Game: L 2-0 vs. Rio Grande Valley FC
Next Game: 9/10 at Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
The Rangers’ loss to the Toros was mitigated by results elsewhere, but SPR will want to take maximum points on the road this weekend against the Roughnecks to bolster their standing and put the pressure on other sides to match their victory. 

8. San Antonio FC
Current Record:
9-9-8, 35pts
Maximum Points Available: 47
Last Game: D 1-1 vs. Arizona United SC
Next Game: 9/10 vs. Saint Louis FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
San Antonio took a point from its contest with Arizona to edge closer to a playoff place, and while a win would have been very useful, SAFC is still in a good position. With another contest on home turf against a side below it in the standings up next, maximum points would be a big step toward a playoff berth.

9. Orange County Blues FC
Current Record:
10-12-4, 34pts
Maximum Points Available: 43
Last Game: L 2-1 at Sacramento Republic FC
Next Game: 9/9 at Real Monarchs SLC, 9 p.m. ET
The Blues held the lead in Sacramento, and will have been disappointed to not take a point from their visit to Bonney Field on Saturday. With only three games to go, though, the side can’t dwell on the result as it faces a much bigger clash with a side that would overtake it with a win on Friday, making the visit to Real Monarchs SLC a make-or-break game for the Blues’ season.

10. Seattle Sounders FC 2
Current Record:
9-11-7, 34pts
Maximum Points Available: 43
Last Game: D 2-2 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Next Game: 9/11 at OKC Energy FC, 7 p.m. ET
Four points from a home-and-home series against Vancouver was a big boost to Seattle’s playoff chances, but the side still needs mistakes from others above it if it’s to make the postseason. A win on the road in OKC is a tough proposition, but it might be essential if S2 is going to reach the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

11. Real Monarchs SLC
Current Record:
9-11-6, 33pts
Maximum Points Available: 45
Last Game: D 1-1 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Next Game: 9/9 vs. Orange County Blues FC
The Monarchs were left shaking their fists at the woodwork on Saturday night after hitting the post three times in a 1-1 draw with Tulsa. The draw in that contest makes Friday night’s game with Orange County an even bigger one for the side, with it basically a must-win for both teams in their playoff push.

12. Arizona United SC
Current Record:
8-12-7, 31pts
Maximum Points Available: 40
Last Game: D 1-1 at San Antonio
Next Game: 9/13 vs. Portland Timbers 2, 10:30 p.m. ET
With a draw against San Antonio, the margin for error for United is now perilously slim. It’s likely the side will need to win each of its remaining three games and hope the teams above it falter down the stretch if Arizona is to reach the playoffs for the first time.

13. Saint Louis FC
Current Record:
7-11-9, 30pts
Maximum Points Available: 39
Last Game: L 2-1 at FC Cincinnati
Next Game: 9/10 at San Antonio FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
After its stoppage-time defeat in Cincinnati, it’s down to the wire now for Saint Louis. A loss against San Antonio on Saturday night and a win by the Swope Park Rangers against Tulsa at the same time would mean Saint Louis’ mathematical elimination from playoff contention.

14. Portland Timbers 2
Current Record:
8-14-4, 28pts
Maximum Points Available: 40
Last Game: W 4-0 vs. OKC Energy FC
Next Game: 9/10 at Rio Grande Valley FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Portland played spoiler so well on Sunday night, the teams around Rio Grande Valley FC are hoping T2 can replicate its brilliant performance against Energy FC this Saturday. A win or a draw would throw the cat among the pigeons for the Toros, in a game Sacramento in particular might have its eyes on.

Mathematically eliminated: Tulsa Roughnecks FC

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos