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USL League One Playoff Projections – Week 28

By Staff, 10/12/21, 11:30AM EDT


Omaha books first place after weekend’s results, Chattanooga could soon follow

The final Henny Derby of the season between the Richmond Kickers and Forward Madison FC at City Stadium will be a key game in the bigger picture of the League One playoff race this weekend. | Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks / Richmond Kickers

Union Omaha might not have claimed victory on Saturday night against Greenville Triumph SC – which did its own postseason chances a world of good with victory on the road – but los Buhos became the first team to book its place in the 2021 USL League One Playoffs after North Texas SC’s defeat on Sunday night to the Richmond Kickers.

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC could be the next to follow and could also clinch before it takes to the field itself on Saturday night pending the results of Tuesday and Wednesday’s action. Greenville and Richmond are also closing in as well after their recent runs of success, and each has an avenue to clinch a playoff place on a busy Saturday night.

Here are two games to watch this week, and where everyone stands overall with three weeks to go in the campaign.

Matches to Watch

Richmond Kickers
Saturday, October 16
6:30 PM EST
City Stadium
Forward Madison

The Richmond Kickers’ last-gasp victory against North Texas SC saw the side claim its fourth victory in a row, and while there’s still pressure to continue its excellent run of form, the final Henny Derby this season could be a decisive moment beyond deciding the regular season series between the clubs. Regardless of Madison’s result on Tuesday night against the New England Revolution II, a victory for the Kickers would add a notable cushion on their rivals and could clinch a playoff spot if the right results happen elsewhere, while a Madison win would pull Richmond’s potential final total down and make it a tight race to the finish.

Greenville Triumph SC
Saturday, October 16
7:00 PM EST
Legacy Early College
New England Revolution II

Greenville Triumph SC and the New England Revolution II both control their paths to the playoffs as the week begins, but both also still have little margin for error as the finish line approaches. The Revolution II kick off the week with a home game against Forward Madison FC, and should it take victory there it would move within a point of Greenville for third place in the standings. If things go right elsewhere for Greenville, this game could see the side clinch a playoff place with a win, and so could not only determine whether one, or in the case of a draw both, of these teams advances to the postseason, but which might claim a home game in the Quarterfinals when the playoffs arrive.


1. Union Omaha
1. Union Omaha
Record: 12-4-8, 44pts
Max Points Available: 56pts
Magic Number: Clinched
Upcoming: vs. NC (10/16)
Omaha is in, and now it can take aim at claiming first place as it hosts North Carolina FC on Saturday night. Los Buhos shouldn’t underestimate NCFC, though, given the scare they put into fellow first-place contender Chattanooga Red Wolves SC last weekend.
2. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
2. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Record: 11-4-10, 43pts
Max Points Available: 52pts
Magic Number: 2pts
Upcoming: vs. TOR (10/16)
The Red Wolves have reached the point of win and they’re in, but the side could clinch before it faces Toronto FC II on Saturday night. Should Forward Madison FC fail to take victory against the New England Revolution II on Tuesday evening, or FC Tucson lose at home on Wednesday night to North Carolina FC, Chattanooga would join Omaha in the postseason before it picks up its challenge for top spot at CHI Memorial Stadium.
3. Greenville Triumph SC
3. Greenville Triumph SC
Record: 10-7-8, 38pts
Max Points Available: 47pts
Magic Number: 7pts
Upcoming: vs. NE (10/16)
There is a path for Greenville to clinch a playoff place by the end of this week should enough dominos fall with the New England Revolution II, FC Tucson, and Forward Madison FC each playing twice, and Triumph SC hosting the Revolution II. Should Greenville take victory on Saturday night against New England to move to 41 points, it would then be looking for results that would drop the maximum available points of three teams out of five still in contention to below 41 – those circumstances could include the Revolution II (two defeats), Madison (one defeat/two draws – in the case of one defeat, the Flamingos’ available points would drop to 41, but Greenville would hold the tiebreaker on total wins), Tucson (two defeats/one defeat, one draw), Toronto FC II (one draw) and North Texas SC (one draw). Long story short, there’s going to be plenty of scoreboard watching in Greenville before and during its game against the Revolution II as it looks to take victory at Legacy Early College on Saturday.
4. Richmond Kickers
4. Richmond Kickers
Record: 10-8-7, 37pts
Max Points Available: 46pts
Magic Number: 9pts
Upcoming: vs. MAD (10/16)
The story for the Kickers is somewhat similar to that for Greenville, only it would be looking for teams to drop below the 40-point mark it can reach with a victory against Forward Madison FC on Saturday night. The easiest way for that to happen is if the Flamingos either lose or draw with the Revolution II on Tuesday night, allowing the Kickers to move clear of Madison with a victory, and then for both Toronto FC II to lose to Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on Saturday night and North Texas SC to lose to Fort Lauderdale CF on Sunday night, but there are other combinations close to those Greenville needs – including FC Tucson losing twice – that could also push Richmond over the line with a regular-season clinching win against its rival on Saturday.
5. New England Revolution II
5. New England Revolution II
Record: 10-10-4, 34pts
Max Points Available: 46pts
Magic Number: 11pts
Upcoming: vs. MAD (10/12); @ GVL (10/16)
Unlike Greenville Triumph SC and the Richmond Kickers, the math isn’t quite there for the Revolution II to clinch a playoff place this week, but New England could clear the path for both those clubs and make its own chances of reaching the postseason that much better if it takes victory on Tuesday evening against Madison. Then comes Saturday’s key game against Greenville Triumph SC, where if the Revolution II have taken victory against Madison, it could grab at least a top-four position by the end of the week. If New England drops points, though, it could face a challenge from North Texas, too.
6. FC Tucson
6. FC Tucson
Record: 9-9-6, 33pts
Max Points Available: 45pts
Magic Number: 12pts
Upcoming: vs. NC (10/13); vs TRM (10/16)
This is the moment for FC Tucson and freshly appointed permanent Head Coach Jon Pearlman to take control. Facing two sides in the bottom four of the standings – including a North Carolina FC side that has been eliminated – two home wins should be the expectation while hoping its fellow contenders like the New England Revolution II, Richmond Kickers and Chattanooga Red Wolves SC can hand defeats to the potential challengers below the playoff line.
7. North Texas SC
7. North Texas SC
Record: 8-8-9, 33pts
Max Points Available: 42pts
Magic Number: N/A
Upcoming: @ FTL (10/17)
North Texas’ defeat to the Richmond Kickers was a gut-punch that could end up as one of the biggest results of this playoff race. Now the chances are NTSC is going to have to win out, starting with its visit to Fort Lauderdale CF on Sunday night, while hoping that the teams ahead of them in the standings find ways to drop points in midweek and on Saturday night.
8. Toronto FC II
8. Toronto FC II
Record: 8-9-8, 32pts
Max Points Available: 41pts
Magic Number: N/A
Upcoming: @ CHA (10/16)
Toronto FC II’s home form has kept it in with an outside chance of reaching the postseason, but if it fails to take victory on the road against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on Saturday night, the road is going to be a very difficult one, even with the club’s final two games coming at the BMO Training Center.
9. South Georgia Tormenta FC
9. South Georgia Tormenta FC
Record: 8-12-6, 30pts
Max Points Available: 36pts
Magic Number: N/A
Upcoming: @ TUC (10/16)
Tormenta FC will likely be playing to avoid elimination on Saturday night when it heads to FC Tucson, which could be the lone team South Georgia could still catch mathematically if both Tucson and the New England Revolution II both win in midweek.
10. Forward Madison FC
10. Forward Madison FC
Record: 6-6-11, 29pts
Max Points Available: 44pts
Magic Number: N/A
Upcoming: vs. NE (10/12); @ RIC (10/16)
It’s not an exaggeration to say this week is do-or-die for the Flamingos. If it loses both of its games to the New England Revolution II and the Richmond Kickers, and then sees the Revolution II defeat Greenville Triumph SC while FC Tucson wins both its games, then Madison would be mathematically eliminated by the end of Saturday night, with Greenville uncatchable on 38 points due to the total wins tiebreaker.
11. Fort Lauderdale CF
11. Fort Lauderdale CF
Record: 7-12-7, 28pts
Max Points Available: 34pts
Magic Number: N/A
Upcoming: vs. NTX (10/17)
Fort Lauderdale could be mathematically eliminated by the end of Wednesday night. A draw for the Revolution II and win for FC Tucson would put both out of reach, with the top four already clear of the South Florida club.
Eliminated from playoff contention: North Carolina FC

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