Richmond and North Texas meet this Sunday in a potentially decisive match in the race for the postseason / Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks
With only four weekends left of the 2021 League One regular season, and six points separating third place from tenth, we’re in for a wild race to the finish line.
Five games are set to take place over this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, and with only FC Tucson and Forward Madison FC inactive, the table is sure to be shaken up further. Here are three storylines to look out for across the action.
Union Omaha’s dominant attacking display in its 4-1 Wednesday night win over Fort Lauderdale CF moved los Buhos to within two points of becoming the first team to clinch a place in the 2021 League One Playoffs. The earliest opportunity for them to do so is against none other than rivals Greenville Triumph SC, who will pay their first-ever visit to Werner Park on Saturday night (7 p.m. ET | ESPN+).
Should Omaha take victory in that game, it would be mathematically assured of postseason soccer. But even with a draw or loss against Greenville, Omaha could still clinch if North Texas SC fails to win in its game against Richmond the following night. Things are looking good if you’re a member of the Omaha Parliament right now.
Don’t look now, but the Richmond Kickers are surging up the table. A three-game homestand produced three consecutive 1-0 wins, with each of the goals scored by Emiliano Terzaghi. That run has moved Richmond up to fifth place and above the playoff line with four games left on its schedule.
But keeping the winning streak alive will be no easy feat this weekend, as the Kickers visit a North Texas team on Sunday (7 p.m. ET | ESPN+) which has lost just once at Choctaw Stadium this season, and is riding a three-match unbeaten streak of its own. With the teams separated by only one point in the table and on either side of the playoff line, this has the potential to be a decisive result either way.
Sunday night’s meeting between Fort Lauderdale and South Georgia Tormenta FC at DRV PNK Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN+) is essentially an elimination game. The sides are the only two to have already played 25 games, meaning they have the fewest possible points left to gain - and also both currently sit on the wrong side of the playoff line.
For Fort Lauderdale, a loss coupled with any points gained by North Texas would mean mathematical elimination, as would a draw and a North Texas win. Tormenta is two points ahead of FTLCF, and thus has a little bit more wiggle room, but not much - it would take a lot of specific results for South Georgia to be eliminated this weekend, but a loss would put Ian Cameron’s side on the brink.