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Best Case, Worst Case – League One Stretch Run

By Staff, 08/21/19, 1:45PM EDT


With everything to play for in the final quarter of the season, what could lie ahead?

Greenville and Madison match up later in the season, which will heavily affect playoff positioning

Wednesday night sees the final quarter of the inaugural 2019 USL League One season kick off as we enter a fascinating stretch of games spread over the next two weeks of action. With plenty left to be decided, most of all which four teams will reach the 2019 USL League One Playoffs, we took a look at what the best-case and worst-case scenario might be for each of the league’s 10 clubs.

1. North Texas SC
Record: 11-4-5 | 38 points
Playoff Ods: 99%
Games Left: 8
Key Remaining Game: @LAN, 8/22
Best Case
North Texas’ victory against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC set it on course for first place in the league, and the top seed in the playoffs when they arrive in October. A good final stretch of the season should see Ronaldo Damus lead the attack as he claims the Golden Boot with five goals in the final eight games of the campaign to take him to 15 for the season, giving NTSC momentum as it looks to claim the league title.
Worst Case
The club’s attacking jitters that saw it held scoreless in four out of five games from early July to early August return, allowing the clubs below them to put the pressure on the top slot. Defeats on the road to Tormenta FC and FC Tucson in two of the final three regular season games see NTSC slip to third place, and a path to the title that will be away from Toyota Stadium.
2. Lansing Ignite FC
Record: 9-5-9 | 36 points
Playoff Ods: 80%
Games Left: 5
Key Remaining Game: CHT, 9/14
Best Case
Ignite FC may only have five games remaining, but four of those are on home turf, and the club cleans up with three victories and one draw – including wins against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on Sept. 14 and South Georgia Tormenta FC a week later – that allow Lansing to cruise into the postseason as the No. 2 seed.
Worst Case
Lansing suffers a confidence-sapping defeat to North Texas on Thursday night, and after failing to take victory on the road in Tucson the pressure continues to build as others take advantage of their games in hand. Needing to take three home wins to guarantee a playoff place, the pressure proves too much as Ignite FC slides to sixth place in the standings.
3. South Georgia Tormenta FC
Record: 8-5-7 | 31 points
Playoff Ods: 61%
Games Left: 8
Key Remaining Game: @LAN, 9/21
Best Case
Tormenta FC builds momentum over the remainder of the month, taking two home wins and a draw on the road against North Texas to solidify its top-three position. Then victory on the road against Lansing Ignite FC on September 21 moves South Georgia into second place, a position they maintain as Pablo Jara records shutouts in the final two games of the season to bring a League One Semifinal to Erk Russell Park.
Worst Case
South Georgia’s attacking struggles continue – the club has scored only six goals from open play since June 1 – as it fails to take advantage of its five remaining home games. A road defeat to Forward Madison FC on September 7 sees the side slip below the playoff line, and Tormenta then fails to take victory over its final four games of the season to end a year that held early promise without a postseason berth.
4. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC SC
Record: 8-6-7 | 31 points
Playoff Ods: 50%
Games Left: 7
Key Remaining Game: @LAN, 9/14
Best Case
The Red Wolves manage to find six points from the four-game road trip that kicks off on Wednesday night, including a crucial road win against FC Tucson that keeps the side inside the top four. Chattanooga then sweeps into the playoffs with three consecutive wins against Orlando, Richmond and Toronto that earns the side the No. 2 seed behind North Texas SC and positive momentum going into the League One Semifinals.
Worst Case
Chattanooga goes winless over its four-game road trip, including a key defeat to Lansing Ignite FC on September 14 that pushes the side below the playoff line. Then a shock home defeat to the Richmond Kickers in the penultimate game of the season on September 28 allows South Georgia Tormenta FC and Greenville Triumph SC to solidify their positions in the top four, ending the Red Wolves’ postseason hopes before they kick off the final game of the season against Toronto FC II.
5. Greenville Triumph SC
Record: 8-6-6 | 30 points
Playoff Ods: 59%
Games Left: 8
Key Remaining Game: @MAD, 8/28
Best Case
Greenville carries the positive momentum of its four-game undefeated streak into its visit to Toronto FC II and earns another victory as Jake Keegan’s bid for the Golden Boot continues. A three-game winning streak – including home victories against Tucson (Sept. 13) and Toronto (Sept. 20) – moves the Triumph into the playoff places for good, and the side wraps up second place in the standings with a draw on the road against South Georgia in the final game of the season.
Worst Case
Triumph SC’s scoreless performance against Madison on Saturday begins another downturn in attacking form that sees goalkeeper Dallas Jaye and his defense put under pressure to keep earning points for the side. A road defeat to the surging FC Tucson on September 24 sees the Arizona side leapfrog Greenville, which slips below the playoff line, and while Greenville defeats Orlando City B in its penultimate game a loss to Tormenta FC on the road means no postseason action for Head Coach John Harkes’ squad.
6. Forward Madison FC
Record: 8-8-5 | 29 points
Playoff Ods: 28%
Games Left: 7
Key Remaining Game: GVL, 8/28
Best Case
Madison vaults into the playoff places in early September with back-to-back victories against Greenville Triumph SC and South Georgia Tormenta FC before a win on the road against the Richmond Kickers and a home draw with North Texas solidify the side’s place in fourth. Victory on the road against FC Tucson that also ends the Arizona club’s bid for the playoff places leaves the Flamingos needing only a point to be certain of the postseason against Lansing Ignite FC on the final day of the season, which they achieve in a 1-1 draw on the road.
Worst Case
The Flamingos fail to take revenge on the Richmond Kickers in their rematch at Breese Stevens Field on August 24, and the side struggles to gain ground on the clubs ahead of them from there on as they can only draw with Greenville and South Georgia to leave it with just three points from a three-game home stand. In need of victory on the road at North Texas, Madison’s aggressive set-up is hit by NTSC’s counterattack, resulting in a defeat, and a road loss to Tucson sees the side’s playoff bid end before the final game of the season.
7. FC Tucson
Record: 6-7-7 | 25 points
Playoff Ods: 15%
Games Left: 8
Key Remaining Game: 9/6
Best Case
After weathering its road-heavy middle-third of the schedule, Tucson takes full advantage of its home-heavy remaining schedule, going 5-0-2 at home to close out the season. The results include victories against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (Aug. 30), Lansing Ignite FC (Sept. 6) and Greenville Triumph SC (Sept. 24) and Forward Madison FC (Sept. 27) and a draw at home to North Texas on the final day of the season sees Tucson clinch the No. 4 seed in the postseason.
Worst Case
Tucson opens its home stand well enough with victory against Orlando City B but draws against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC and Lansing Ignite in back-to-back outings leave it still needing to bridge a significant gap. A loss to Greenville Triumph SC in its final road game adds pressure to the final four home games of the season, and a loss to Forward Madison FC on September 27 eliminates Tucson from contention with a game to go.
8. Toronto FC II
Record: 6-8-6 | 24 points
Playoff Ods: 4%
Games Left: 8
Key Remaining Game: @CHT, 9/28
Best Case
Toronto’s comeback against the Richmond Kickers sparks the club’s attack back into life as it rolls up multi-goal performances at home to defeat Greenville Triumph SC (Aug. 23), Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (Sept. 6) and Orlando City B (Sept. 13). That momentum carries the side to the brink of the postseason, and a second consecutive win against Triumph SC – this time on the road – moves Toronto into fifth place. A home win against South Georgia Tormenta FC on September 27 then sends the side above the playoff line before victory on the road against the Kickers and a draw to close the season against Chattanooga earns TFC II the No. 4 seed.
Worst Case
The Reds’ excitement over their comeback against ninth-place Richmond is short-lived as the team’s defense continues to leak goals. Defeats on the road to North Texas SC (Sept. 1) and Greenville Triumph SC (Sept. 20) effectively end the club’s postseason ambition as Toronto finishes the season second only to Orlando City B in goals conceded, allowing 50 goals in 28 games.
9. Richmond Kickers
Record: 6-9-4 | 22 points
Playoff Ods: 3%
Games Left: 9
Key Remaining Game: @CHT, 9/28
Best Case
The Kickers shake off the disappointment of missing out on a four-game winning streak this weekend and stun Forward Madison FC. Their undefeated streak reaches seven games including five victories with a win against Greenville Triumph SC at home on September 7 before a midweek road loss to North Texas SC. Richmond picks right back up, however, closing the season on a five-game undefeated streak that includes road wins against FC Tucson and Chattanooga Red Wolves SC and home victories against TFC II and Orlando City B that earn the No. 4 seed.
Worst Case
Richmond’s draw with Toronto deflates the side, and after Forward Madison FC takes revenge for the Kickers’ win at Breese Stevens Field earlier in the month with a 3-1 victory, Head Coach David Bulow’s side never quite recovers. The side is mathematically eliminated on September 21 as it loses on the road against FC Tucson, leaving it 11 points adrift of the playoffs positions with only three games remaining.
10. Orlando City B
Record: 3-15-4 | 13 points
Playoff Ods: 0%
Games Left: 6
Key Remaining Game: NTX, 9/6
Best Case
Orlando pulls the upset of the season in its home finale, defeating North Texas to break a seven-game losing streak before earning a road draw against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on September 21 that plays a crucial role in the final playoff field.
Worst Case
OCB limps to the end of the season, failing to take victory in any of its final six games as it finishes 16 points adrift at the bottom of the standings.

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