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USL Race for the Playoffs – Sept. 5-9

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 09/04/18, 10:37AM EDT

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Six-pointer matchups around playoff line highlight week’s action


Nashville SC and North Carolina FC square off on Saturday in one of this week's key matchups in the race for the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs. | Photo courtesy John Wilkinson III / Nashville SC

The first berth in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs has been claimed by FC Cincinnati, and with only two of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference claiming victory this past weekend, the team is also close to clinching a home playoff date for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals this week. Around the playoff line, however, there are some big six-pointers that will take the spotlight over the next five days.

References: FiveThirtyEight.com Playoff Projections | SportsClubStats.com USL Playoff Chances

THREE KEY GAMES

Saturday, Sept. 8 – North Carolina FC vs. Nashville SC
North Carolina FC missed out on a big opportunity to close the gap to eighth-place Nashville SC, as both teams suffered defeats this past Saturday night but now get the chance to move within a point of the side the teams below the playoff line are chasing. Nashville gets to head back to North Carolina to look for redemption after its 1-0 loss to the Charlotte Independence, knowing a win would greatly strengthen its position.

Saturday, Sept. 8 – Saint Louis FC vs. Reno 1868 FC
With Saint Louis in ninth place and Reno in seventh going into the week’s action, there’s a lot riding on this clash at Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis. STLFC sits three points behind Reno as the week begins, meaning a victory would not only boost the club’s chances of a postseason berth but also pull Reno back into the fight for a playoff position itself. For 1868 FC, which has gone 6-1-7 on the road so far this season, taking all three points would be a big step toward guaranteeing a postseason berth and a little revenge for the late defeat it suffered to Saint Louis at Greater Nevada Field recently.

Sunday, Sept. 9 – Swope Park Rangers vs. Fresno FC
With a four-point gap to make up in the final six games of the regular season, it’s starting to become must-win time for Fresno FC, which has been held to draws in each of its past two outings to remain on the outside looking in sitting 11th in the Western Conference. The Foxes could take some confidence from the 4-1 victory it claimed against the Swope Park Rangers when the sides met in mid-July, but with the Rangers sitting on a three-game winning streak, this is a very different side that still has a chance at a top-four position if it can take victory here.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. FC Cincinnati
Current Record:
 18-3-6, 60pts
Maximum Points Available: 81
Points Needed to Clinch: Clinched
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 1.0
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 29%
Last Game: W 2-1 vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Next Game: 9/8 at Louisville City FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
Cincinnati is both into the postseason for a third consecutive year and within reach of clinching homefield advantage in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals this week. FCC might not have to defeat Louisville to accomplish that, with results of matchups elsewhere – Indy Eleven and the New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night and Nashville SC on Saturday – kicking off before the side takes on Louisville, which could potentially knock the number of points required down from the current three. With Indy’s maximum win total at 18, though, victory against Louisville and a 19th win of the season on Saturday guarantees at least one postseason game at Nippert Stadium.

2. Louisville City FC
Current Record:
 14-5-8, 47pts
Maximum Points Available: 71
Points Needed to Clinch: 13
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 2.7
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 8%
Last Game: D 2-2 vs. Charleston Battery
Next Game: 9/8 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET
Louisville’s one-point week almost certainly ruled out returning to the top seed in the Eastern Conference even should the side complete a regular-season sweep of FC Cincinnati and reduce the gap between the teams to 10 points with seven games remaining. Louisville is still a lock to make the playoffs, however, and finishing in the top two of the East for a fourth successive year should now be the goal, as the side looks to hold off challenges posed by Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and the Charleston Battery.

3. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Current Record:
 12-4-10, 46pts
Maximum Points Available: 70
Points Needed to Clinch: 14
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 3.3
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 5%
Last Game: L 2-1 at FC Cincinnati
Next Game: 9/7 vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Riverhounds SC came this close to a dream road trip, only to see the points it was so close to earning slip through its fingers at the death in both Indianapolis and Cincinnati. It returns home to face in-state rival Bethlehem Steel FC on Friday night needing a win to solidify its top-four place, since while it has games in hand on Bethlehem, it would certainly like to expand the four-point gap that separates it from the lower half of the playoff positions.

4. Charleston Battery
Current Record:
 11-4-12, 45pts
Maximum Points Available: 66
Points Needed to Clinch: 15
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 3.8
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 4%
Last Game: D 2-2 at Louisville City FC
Next Game: 9/8 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies, 7 p.m. ET
Charleston twice was unable to hold its lead against Louisville City FC but will have been delighted by results elsewhere around the conference that saw Bethlehem, Indy and Nashville all drop points, raising the Battery’s average finishing position to a solid top-four spot. There’s a strong test coming to MUSC Health Stadium this Saturday night, however, with the Tampa Bay Rowdies eager to build on their big road victory last weekend as they try to make one final push for the playoffs, and the Battery will be without big gun Ataulla Guerra and solid defender Neveal Hackshaw due to international duty to try and counter it.

5. Bethlehem Steel FC
Current Record:
 12-11-6, 42pts
Maximum Points Available: 57
Points Needed to Clinch: 18
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 7.2
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 2%
Last Game: L 3-1 vs. Penn FC
Next Game: 9/7 at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 7 p.m. ET
Bethlehem Steel FC’s defeat on Sunday to Penn FC put a dent in the club’s playoffs chances, and it’s going to need a positive response against the only other side to defeat it in its past eight outings when it visits Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Friday night. With only five games to go, Bethlehem is going to need every point it can get from here to try and hold off the chasing pack.

6. Indy Eleven
Current Record:
 11-7-9, 42pts
Maximum Points Available: 61
Points Needed to Clinch: 18
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 6.3
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 1%
Last Game: D 1-1 vs. Richmond Kickers
Next Game: 9/5 vs. New York Red Bulls II, 7 p.m. ET
Three consecutive draws after Saturday’s 1-1 result against the Richmond Kickers have knocked the presumptive finish for Indy in the Eastern Conference standings down a peg, and with the New York Red Bulls II visiting on Wednesday, the side gets a playoff six-pointer as it tries to get back in the win column. The good news is a win would solidify Indy’s place as a solid playoff prospect. On the other hand, a loss might pull the side down into much more of a fight than it was looking at two weeks ago.

7. New York Red Bulls II
Current Record:
 10-7-10, 40pts
Maximum Points Available: 61
Points Needed to Clinch: 20
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 7.3
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 2%
Last Game: W 1-0 vs. Ottawa Fury FC
Next Game: 9/5 at Indy Eleven, 7 p.m. ET
The Red Bulls II were the biggest beneficiaries of everyone else above the playoff line except FC Cincinnati failing to take victory over the weekend, which put added importance on the club’s 1-0 win against Ottawa Fury FC that created a five-point gap between itself and the teams below the red line. If New York can take something from its visit to Indy Eleven it will remain on a solid course, and a victory to complete a season sweep of the series would bump it up to an even higher level in terms of playoff positioning.

8. Nashville SC
Current Record:
 10-8-8, 38pts
Maximum Points Available: 62
Points Needed to Clinch: 22
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 6.7
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 1%
Last Game: L 1-0 at Charlotte Independence
Next Game: 9/8 at North Carolina FC, 5 p.m. ET
One good, one bad for Nashville last week, which still kept the side on track for a playoff position but not necessarily with the cushion on the chasing pack it would have hoped for. A second consecutive game in the Tar Heel state this week sees North Carolina FC eyeing a chance to close the gap to eighth place to one point, and with NSC now only 2-6-6 on the road, it will have to be wary of a side that is also looking for a bounce-back performance.

9. Ottawa Fury FC
Current Record:
 10-13-5, 35pts
Maximum Points Available: 53
Points Needed to Clinch: 25
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 10.4
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 1-0 at New York Red Bulls II
Next Game: 9/6 at Toronto FC II, 8 p.m. ET
There’s no way around it, the three-game losing streak Ottawa is on has been disastrous for its playoff chances, especially with its last two defeats coming to sides it is battling for a place in the playoffs. A visit to Toronto FC II on Thursday night might not even be the tonic the side is hoping it would be either, with its Ontario rival playing better of late, and Fury FC will have to do without standout goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau as he heads for national team duty with Canada.

10. North Carolina FC
Current Record:
 9-10-7, 34pts
Maximum Points Available: 58
Points Needed to Clinch: 26
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 9.9
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 3-0 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Next Game: 9/8 vs. Nashville SC, 5 p.m. ET
As it looked at results elsewhere on Saturday night, North Carolina FC will have realized it missed out on a big opportunity in its loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies with Nashville SC having fallen across the state against the Charlotte Independence. But, NCFC still has a chance to move within a point of eighth place as Nashville comes to visit this weekend, a chance Head Coach Colin Clarke’s side can’t afford to squander.

11. Penn FC
Current Record:
 8-9-8, 32pts
Maximum Points Available: 59
Points Needed to Clinch: 28
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 9.3
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: W 3-1 at Bethlehem Steel FC
Next Game: 9/8 vs. ATL UTD 2, 7 p.m. ET
Penn FC might be six points out of the playoffs positions now, but after its victory against Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday, the side has the eighth-best maximum points total available in the East. Now, it’s unlikely Penn is going to win each of its nine consecutive home games to close out the season, but there’s reason for serious hope going into Saturday’s clash with ATL UTD 2 that things are lined up for Penn to make its first postseason trip since 2014.

12. Charlotte Independence
Current Record:
 8-11-8, 32pts
Maximum Points Available: 53
Points Needed to Clinch: 28
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 11.8
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: W 1-0 vs. Nashville SC
Next Game: 9/8 vs. Richmond Kickers, 7 p.m. ET
The Independence not only got a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive but did so against the team everyone below the playoff line is chasing, which earned them a round of 1775 Pale Ale from the other teams pursuing Nashville SC at the hypothetical Eastern Conference pub on Saturday night. Charlotte’s playoff hopes are still in tough shape but another win on Saturday night against rivals the Richmond Kickers could keep things interesting.

13. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Current Record:
 8-11-7, 31pts
Maximum Points Available: 55
Points Needed to Clinch: 29
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 11.4
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: W 3-0 at North Carolina FC
Next Game: 9/8 at Charleston Battery, 7 p.m. ET
The Rowdies got pretty close to an ideal weekend of results after its 3-0 win on the road against North Carolina got the side back in the win column but is still in must-win mode as it heads to face the Charleston Battery this weekend. Charleston won’t have two key players in Ataulla Guerra and Neveal Hackshaw due to international duty, but the Battery at home are a tough proposition no matter who’s lined up for Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser.

14. Richmond Kickers
Current Record:
 6-17-4, 22pts
Maximum Points Available: 43
Points Needed to Clinch: 38
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 14.6
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: D 1-1 at Indy Eleven
Next Game: 9/8 at Charlotte Independence, 7 p.m. ET
The Kickers’ draw with Indy Eleven was a plus for some of the other sides higher up the Eastern Conference, but Richmond itself is slowly sliding toward official elimination.

15. ATL UTD 2
Current Record:
 4-13-8, 20pts
Maximum Points Available: 47
Points Needed to Clinch: 40
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 14.4
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: W 2-1 at Toronto FC II
Next Game: 9/8 at Penn FC, 7 p.m. ET
A lot of teams will be rooting for ATL UTD 2 to do to Penn FC on Saturday night what it did to Toronto FC II last Friday and help muddy the playoff race even further in the process.

16. Toronto FC II
Current Record:
 3-19-3, 12pts
Maximum Points Available: 39
Points Needed to Clinch: 48
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 16.0
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 2-1 vs. ATL UTD 2
Next Game: 9/6 vs. Ottawa Fury FC, 8 p.m. ET
Toronto’s victory last Tuesday night against Louisville jolted the Eastern Conference standings, and it could do more teams a favor on Thursday if they can take points off Ottawa Fury FC, which enters on a three-game losing streak.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Real Monarchs SLC
Current Record:
 17-8-2, 53pts
Maximum Points Available: 74
Points Needed to Clinch: 8
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 1.7
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 9%
Last Game: L 2-1 vs. San Antonio FC
Next Game: 9/8 at Rio Grande Valley FC, 9:30 p.m. ET
Back-to-back defeats, including the club’s first loss at Zions Bank Stadium on Monday night against San Antonio FC, have put the Monarchs’ hold on top spot in the Western Conference in a precarious position. With the team sitting on a five-game winless streak on the road, the visit to Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday could be more of a test than might be suggested on paper.

2. Orange County SC
Current Record:
 15-7-6, 51pts
Maximum Points Available: 69
Points Needed to Clinch: 10
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 3.0
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 8%
Last Game: D 1-1 at Seattle Sounders FC 2
Next Game: 9/8 vs. OKC Energy FC, 10 p.m. ET
Orange County has a tough task on its hands this Saturday, as an OKC Energy FC side desperate for victory comes to Champions Soccer Stadium, but if the side can get back in the win column after coming very close to three points against Seattle Sounders FC 2, a top-two finish might be there for the taking if Real’s downturn in form continues.

3. Phoenix Rising FC
Current Record:
 15-6-5, 50pts
Maximum Points Available: 74
Points Needed to Clinch: 11
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 2.1
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 21%
Last Game: W 4-0 vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Next Game: 9/5 vs. Rio Grande Valley FC, 10 p.m. ET; 9/8 at San Antonio FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Phoenix can’t overtake Real Monarchs SLC on Wednesday night with a win against Rio Grande Valley FC – Real would still hold the total wins tiebreaker – but with three consecutive victories going into the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 momentum certainly seems to be on the side of the favorite to represent the Western Conference at USL Cup, even with a tough trip to San Antonio on Saturday night to follow.

4. Sacramento Republic FC
Current Record:
 13-7-7, 46pts
Maximum Points Available: 67
Points Needed to Clinch: 14
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 4.2
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 2%
Last Game: W 2-1 at Reno 1868 FC
Next Game: 9/8 vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2, 10:30 p.m. ET
Republic FC will have been buoyed by both Real Monarchs SLC and Orange County SC dropping points during its bye week and will welcome Seattle Sounders FC 2 to Papa Murphy's Par on Saturday night looking to try and find a way into the top three with a strong finish to the regular season.

5. Portland Timbers 2
Current Record:
 14-11-3, 45pts
Maximum Points Available: 63
Points Needed to Clinch: 16
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 6.0
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 1%
Last Game: W 1-0 vs. Saint Louis FC
Next Game: 9/9 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 5 p.m. ET
Victor Arboleda’s stoppage-time winner on Saturday night against Saint Louis FC could end up as one of the biggest goals of T2’s season, and potentially the club’s history, as it reupped Portland’s position in the playoff positions while creating a six-point gap to the now ninth-place STLFC. Backing that win up with another against Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Sunday afternoon would be very good news indeed for Portland.

6. Swope Park Rangers
Current Record:
 12-9-7, 43pts
Maximum Points Available: 61
Points Needed to Clinch: 18
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 6.6
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: W 1-0 vs. OKC Energy FC
Next Game: 9/9 vs. Fresno FC, 5 p.m. ET
Back-to-back wins in the past week vaulted the Rangers up to sixth place in the West, and with Sunday’s win coming against 10th-place OKC Energy FC, the side was also able to put some distance between itself and the chasing pack. The games don’t get easier from here, though, with Fresno FC looking to gain ground as it opens the week below the playoff line when it visits this Sunday.

7. Reno 1868 FC
Current Record:
 11-6-9, 42pts
Maximum Points Available: 66
Points Needed to Clinch: 19
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 5.9
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: 3%
Last Game: D 1-1 at Fresno FC
Next Game: 9/8 at Saint Louis FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Four points from two games kept Reno firmly on track for a playoff berth, although the side now needs a little help to earn a top-four finish after its draw against Fresno FC this past Saturday. Booking a place in the playoffs to start off with remains the focus for now, and plenty of attention will be on 1868 FC’s visit to Saint Louis FC on Saturday not just from fans of both clubs but others around the league as well.

8. San Antonio FC
Current Record:
 11-9-7, 40pts
Maximum Points Available: 61
Points Needed to Clinch: 21
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 7.4
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: W 2-1 at Real Monarchs SLC
Next Game: 9/8 vs. Phoenix Rising FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Back-to-back road victories in the past week, including Monday night’s win against Western Conference-leader Real Monarchs SLC, have put San Antonio back into the top eight after its previous four-game slide. Now SAFC can look to solidify its position as it returns home on Saturday night to host Phoenix Rising FC while hoping for positive results from the Swope Park Rangers, Orange County SC and Reno 1868 FC that would also help its cause.

9. Saint Louis FC
Current Record:
 10-7-8, 38pts
Maximum Points Available: 60
Points Needed to Clinch: 23
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 8.4
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 1-0 at Portland Timbers 2
Next Game: 9/8 vs. Reno 1868 FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Saint Louis did plenty right on its road trip to Cascadia but only came away with one point to show from its two games to slip below the playoff line after San Antonio’s surge. That puts added pressure on Saturday’s return home against Reno 1868 FC for the side to take all three points and potentially find its way back into the top eight.

10. OKC Energy FC
Current Record:
 10-13-5, 35pts
Maximum Points Available: 53
Points Needed to Clinch: 25
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 11.3
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 1-0 at Swope Park Rangers
Next Game: 9/8 at Orange County SC, 10 p.m. ET
Energy FC’s loss to the Swope Park Rangers dealt a severe blow to the club’s postseason chances as it now sits five points out of the playoff positions with six games to go in the regular season. OKC will need to pick up points in its visit to Western Conference contender Orange County SC, a game that will seriously test the side’s mettle as it heads for a two-game trip to Southern California.

11. Fresno FC
Current Record:
 8-9-11, 35pts
Maximum Points Available: 53
Points Needed to Clinch: 26
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 10.8
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: D 1-1 at Las Vegas Lights FC
Next Game: 9/9 at Swope Park Rangers, 5 p.m. ET
The Foxes are up against it after back-to-back draws with the club’s 1-1 result against Reno 1868 FC this past Saturday a game that it really needed to take all three points from. Now Fresno heads on the road to take on a Swope Park Rangers side that has won three games in a row needing to take victory to keep the playoff positions within reach.

12. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Current Record:
 10-15-4, 34pts
Maximum Points Available: 49
Points Needed to Clinch: 27
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 11.7
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 3-1 at LA Galaxy II
Next Game: 9/15 vs. Rio Grande Valley FC, 8 p.m. ET
The Switchbacks went from the high of its midweek victory against Real Monarchs SLC to the low of Saturday night’s defeat to the LA Galaxy II, which put its playoff chances in serious jeopardy with only five games to go in the regular season. Now, it enters a bye week hoping for results that will keep it in touch with the top eight.

13. LA Galaxy II
Current Record:
 8-13-6, 30pts
Maximum Points Available: 51
Points Needed to Clinch: 31
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 12.7
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: W 3-1 vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Next Game: 9/8 at Las Vegas Lights FC, 11 p.m. ET
The Galaxy II took a major piece out of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s playoff hopes with its 3-1 victory on Saturday night and could do the same to Las Vegas Lights FC as it heads to Cashman Field this Saturday night.

14. Las Vegas Lights FC
Current Record:
 7-13-6, 27pts
Maximum Points Available: 51
Points Needed to Clinch: 34
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 13.6
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 2-1 at Reno 1868 FC
Next Game: 9/8 vs. LA Galaxy II, 11 p.m. ET
Las Vegas’ playoff hopes dropped off the edge of the table when Reno’s stoppage-time winner hit the back of the net, and now, Lights FC will need plenty of wins and plenty of help to try and find a way back to contention.

15. Rio Grande Valley FC
Current Record:
 4-10-12, 24pts
Maximum Points Available: 48
Points Needed to Clinch: 37
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 14.9
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 3-1 vs. San Antonio FC
Next Game: 9/5 at Phoenix Rising FC, 10:30 p.m. ET; 9/8 vs. Real Monarchs SLC, 9:30 p.m. ET
The Toros couldn’t help out the rest of the playoff pack as it fell to San Antonio FC last Wednesday night, and now, it faces two contests against top-three opposition over the course of this week with a visit to Phoenix Rising FC and a home contest with Real Monarchs SLC.

16. Seattle Sounders FC 2
Current Record:
 5-16-4, 19pts
Maximum Points Available: 46
Points Needed to Clinch: 42
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 15.9
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: D 1-1 vs. Orange County SC
Next Game: 9/5 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 10 p.m. ET; 9/8 at Sacramento Republic FC, 10:30 p.m. ET
S2 took points off Saint Louis FC and Orange County SC to make its impact on the playoff race for the week, and after it squares off with Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Wednesday night, there will be a few clubs hoping it can land a surprise in its visit to Sacramento this Saturday.

17. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Current Record:
 2-12-10, 16pts
Maximum Points Available: 43
Points Needed to Clinch: 45
SportsClubStats.com Avg. Finishing Position: 16.7
FiveThirtyEight.com USL Cup Odds: <1%
Last Game: L 2-1 at Swope Park Rangers
Next Game: 9/5 at Seattle Sounders FC 2, 10 p.m. ET; 9/9 at Portland Timbers 2, 5 p.m. ET
The Roughnecks head to Cascadia for the week, with some of the conference’s playoff contenders hoping they can find a way to take points off the Portland Timbers 2 this Sunday afternoon before they head back to Tulsa.

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