With the race to the USL League One Playoffs set to come down to the final weekend of play, we have one question for every club vying for third and fourth place.
Greenville Triumph SC
Will they have a shot at second place?
With just one loss in its last eight matches, Greenville has found its best form of the season at the right time. The Triumph have four games remaining, including home matches against Toronto FC II and Orlando City B who have a combined two wins on the road this season. Despite a tough trip to FC Tucson, Greenville looks likely to end up in the playoffs, but the question remains of whether they can grab the No. 2 seed and a home semifinal. If Lansing Ignite FC slips up in one of its final two matches, it opens the door for Greenville to finish second if it can run the table.
Forward Madison FC
Can they get a result in Lansing?
Whether or not Forward Madison is involved in the inaugural League One Playoffs may come down to the final day of the season. If that’s the case, the Flamingos will have to go on the road and get a result against Lansing Ignite FC. The Ignite possess one of the best home records in the league at 8-1-3 and have beaten Madison in both the previous meetings between the clubs this season. With Lansing potentially needing a win to seal second place, there is a possibility of pressure on both sides to push for three points, meaning the Flamingos will have to be at their best to leave Michigan with a playoff spot secured.
South Georgia Tormenta FC
Can they score multiple goals in their remaining matches?
Playing without many of its key players, Tormenta FC is in the midst of a nine-match winless run. Despite the poor run of form, the side sits just three points outside the playoff picture with three tough games ahead of them. The question is whether the side can find any form in front of net, as it hasn’t scored multiple goals in a match since its 4-1 win over Orlando City B on July 10 and, with road contests against two of the league’s highest scoring teams in Lansing and Toronto FC II coming up, that trend needs to change quickly. At this point, draws won’t be much help in the race for the playoffs, so Tormenta FC will need to take goals from anywhere it can.
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Can they capitalize on their advantageous schedule?
The bad news for the Red Wolves is that they haven’t won a match in six weeks; the good news is their final three matches of the season are at home against the bottom three teams in the league. Chattanooga will need to find the form that led to a 6-1-4 record at home this season as it hosts Orlando City B, the Richmond Kickers, and Toronto FC II with a shot to finish on 42 points. Should they take nine points from their final three matches, it would put a lot of pressure on fourth-place Forward Madison FC to take two wins from its last three games, which it would need to stay ahead of a late charge by the Red Wolves on the first tiebreaker of total wins.
Can Jordan Jones carry them to the playoffs?
Striker Jordan Jones has carried FC Tucson in the back half of the season, and he’ll need to continue to shoulder the burden if FCT is going to make the League One Playoffs. Five of the club’s eight wins have come when Jones has tallied a goal or provided an assist. With four home matches left on the schedule, Jones is going to need to rediscover his goal-scoring form from August that’s gone missing in the club’s last two outings if Tucson is going to have a shot at sneaking into the fourth and final playoff position.
Toronto FC II
Can they win on the road?
Seven points out of the playoffs with four matches left to play, Toronto is going to need some major help to get into the playoffs. In terms of helping itself, the club will need to find a way to win on the road. TFC II can play spoiler, and help its chances of grabbing a playoff spot, if it can find a way to win away from home against Greenville, Richmond, and Chattanooga. Toronto’s record on the road is 2-6-3 this season, so it looks like it’ll take more than a stroke of luck to come up with wins in its final three matches away from home.
Can they win out?
In a similar spot as TFCII and FCT, Richmond will have to win its final four matches to finish in the top four; and even then, it’s not a guarantee. Only two of the Kickers’ final four matches are against teams above them in the table, and neither currently occupies a playoff spot, which puts Richmond’s chances of ending the season in the top four at just 2.4 percent. However, a four-game winning streak to end the season would send the Kickers into the offseason with an optimistic outlook on 2020, regardless of whether they reach the postseason or not.