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League One Power Rankings – Week 28

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 10/12/21, 4:20PM EDT


Terzaghi, Fitzgerald get hot to lead Kickers’ charge toward postseason berth

There’s an old cliché that comes up, especially when it comes to crunch time either right before or during the playoffs.

You need your best players to be your best players.

It’s a cliché for a reason, because most of the time it’s true. Just look at the Richmond Kickers.

Over the past three weeks they’ve reeled off four consecutive wins to move within reach of potentially clinching a playoff berth this week if things fall correctly for them, and it’s been greatly influenced by two of their best players, forward Emiliano Terzaghi and goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.

Terzaghi’s provided the goals, three of them to be precise in three consecutive 1-0 victories. Fitzgerald has provided the saves, not only in his three shutouts but also in Sunday’s 2-1 win against North Texas SC where the visitors had easily more clear-cut chances but couldn’t put the game away. A thunderbolt by Zaca Moran and towering header by Ivan Magalhaes later, and here we are.

Terzaghi, everyone knows about at this point. He’s got 25 goals over two seasons and might win his second consecutive Golden Boot at the end of this campaign, maybe even a second MVP award. But you should know Fitzgerald too, who’s been a consistently good player wherever he’s got a chance. In the past four games, his underlying numbers have also been dynamite, putting up a -2.65 Expected Goals Against mark, and a +2.86 Goals Added mark according to American Soccer Analysis, the best among goalkeepers over that span.

That’s your best players being at their best, and it’s come at just the right time for the Kickers’ playoff chances.

Here’s how everything else looks right now. As always, feel free to come and yell at me on Twitter (@NJEMurray).

Biggest Movers






1 Greenville Triumph SC
Week 28: vs. NE
Last Week: 3
Greenville gets the top spot after knocking off previous No. 1 Omaha on its own turf. Now Triumph SC is undefeated in six games and has a chance to clinch a playoff spot by the end of the week if things go right.
2 Richmond Kickers
Week 28: vs. MAD
Last Week: 6
The Kickers’ four-game winning streak has matched the longest in League One this season. If they make it five against Henny Derby rival Forward Madison FC on Saturday, there could be a playoff celebration to accompany it
3 Union Omaha
Week 28: vs NC
Last Week: 1
Omaha got knocked off at home again, and while that’s not a serious dent to its chances of finishing first in the standings, it doesn’t help the intimidating aura the club had build up around Werner Park going into the playoffs.
4 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Week 28: vs TOR
Last Week: 2
The Red Wolves got a serious game from North Carolina FC. They’re heading to the playoffs – maybe as early as Tuesday night – but the ways you can win against this side are still visible.
5 Toronto FC II
Week 28: @ CHA
Last Week: 8
The Young Reds have won two in a row thanks to their victory against the Revolution II. The problem is it might be too little, too late for a playoff berth.
6 New England Revolution II
Week 28: @ GVL; vs. MAD
Last Week: 2
New England took a hit north of the border, but they’re still above the playoff line with a game in hand on those below it. Bouncing back against Madison on Tuesday evening would be massive.
7 FC Tucson
Week 28: vs. NC; vs. TRM
Last Week: 5
There was no team happier outside of the Richmond Kickers than Tucson to see that comeback against North Texas on Sunday night. Now Tucson gets two eminently winnable home games this week with a chance to solidify its spot.
8 North Texas SC
Week 28: @ FTL
Last Week: 4
There are defeats, and then there are defeats. Sunday’s was the latter for North Texas, and put its playoff chances in serious jeopardy.
9 South Georgia Tormenta FC
Week 28: @ TUC
Last Week: 10
Tormenta FC isn’t going to the playoffs, but we’d love some more of the sort of entertainment that Sunday’s game with Fort Lauderdale brought us, thanks very much.
10 Fort Lauderdale CF
Week 27: vs NTX

Last Week: 10
Fort Lauderdale’s in the same boat as South Georgia, so, let’s keep that attacking mindset, right?
11 Forward Madison FC
Week 28: @ RIC
Last Week: 9
Madison is winless in four games and has been shutout in its last two. If something doesn’t happen fast – like on Tuesday night – the season will slide out of view.
12 North Carolina FC
Week 28: @ TUC; @ OMA

Last Week: 12
It might be four consecutive losses for NCFC, but Saturday afternoon’s outing had some bright showings for the side.

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