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Race to the 2023 USL League One Playoffs - Week 25

By ETHAN TRIEBSCH -, 09/01/23, 2:45PM EDT


Less than two months away from 2023 USL League One Playoffs

With seven weeks and 46 matches remaining in the regular season, the pressure is rising with all 12 clubs remaining in contention for the 2023 USL League One Playoffs. Detailed below are some high-stakes matches to keep an eye on along with current standings with playoff-clinching details

Friday, September 1
7:30 PM
Stadium IconOptim Sports Medicine Field at Tormenta Stadium

A high-stakes matchup between the pair of clubs most likely to disrupt the current top-six standings, the potential winner of Friday night’s contest could position itself just one point shy of breaking into a postseason position.

Saturday, September 2

First against last, Central Valley have a real opportunity to build on its recent offensive outpourings against the team leading the pack. A North Carolina win will push their magic number to single digits, while a Central Valley loss will place the second-year side in a difficult position.

Sunday, September 3

An incredibly consequential match in the quest for the Players’ Shield, the regular season finale between the Hailstorm and Independence will go a long way in determining which side can inch up the standings to challenge North Carolina and Omaha for the Shield and a first-round bye.

1. North Carolina FC
Record:13-5-5, 44pts

Playoffs Odds: >99%

Magic Number: 10

Max Points Available: 71
Strength of Schedule: 11th

Projected Finish: 1st (59%)

Up Next: vs. CV (9/2)
Chasing its first regular season title since 2013, North Carolina FC is now guaranteed to finish above 11th place in what will be its best finish since at least 2019.
2. Union Omaha
Record:12-5-7, 43pts

Playoffs Odds: >99%

Magic Number: 11

Max Points Available: 67
Strength of Schedule: 7th

Projected Finish: 2nd (32%)

Up Next: vs. NC (9/6)
The Owls have completely turned it around after a slow start to the Dominic Casciato era. One more win and Omaha will claim the league’s longest win streak at seven.
3. Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
Record:11-5-7, 40pts

Playoffs Odds: >99%

Magic Number: 14

Max Points Available: 67
Strength of Schedule: 10th

Projected Finish: 2nd (30%)

Up Next: vs. CLT (9/3)
scintillating start followed up by a slow summer has positioned the Hailstorm in the middle of the hunt for the Players’ Shield. Still, there’s a very likely probability that Northern Colorado will clinch its first-ever playoff berth in the coming weeks.
4. Charlotte Independence
Record:11-7-7, 40pts

Playoffs Odds: 97%

Magic Number: 14

Max Points Available: 61
Strength of Schedule: 8th

Projected Finish: 4th (31%)

Up Next: @ NCO (9/3)
The Jacks are close to confirming their sixth postseason appearance across their nine seasons of existence. The transition from the USL Championship to League One has been pleasant from a Charlotte perspective.
5. Forward Madison FC
Record:10-7-7, 37pts

Playoffs Odds: 93%

Magic Number: 17

Max Points Available: 61
Strength of Schedule: 6th

Projected Finish: 5th (29%)

Up Next: @ CHA (9/2)
Two wins away from confirming their most successful season in club history, the ‘Mingos are closing in on their first postseason appearance since the club and league’s inaugural 2019 season.
6. Greenville Triumph SC
Record:10-8-6, 32pts

Playoffs Odds: 88%

Magic Number: 18

Max Points Available: 60
Strength of Schedule: 12th

Projected Finish: 6th (35%)

Up Next: @ LEX (9/1)
Triumph SC has a solid chance to become the only team in league history to make the playoffs in all five seasons. At the moment, Greenville have the easiest remaining schedule.

7. South Georgia Tormenta FC
Record: 9-11-5, 32pts

Playoffs Odds: 11%

Magic Number: N/A

Max Points Available: 53
Strength of Schedule: 1st

Projected Finish: 7th (40%)

Up Next: vs. KNX (9/1)
The Ibises just need to get their defense together in order to avoid becoming the first defending champion to miss out on the postseason. The offense is clicking but Tormenta FC will have to navigate the toughest remaining schedule.
8. One Knoxville SC
Record:8-9-8, 32pts

Playoffs Odds: 9%

Magic Number: N/A

Max Points Available: 53
Strength of Schedule: 3rd

Projected Finish: 8th (34%)

Up Next: @ TRM (9/1)
The first-year League One side is pushing to make things interesting as its first professional season winds down. Knoxville are just a couple of wins away from a playoff position as it stands but do face one of the toughest remaining schedules.
9. Lexington SC
Record:8-9-8, 27pts

Playoffs Odds: 2%

Magic Number: N/A

Max Points Available: 51
Strength of Schedule: 5th

Projected Finish: 9th (36%)

Up Next: vs. GVL (9/1)
Lexington just have not been able to consistently piece things together. Even with special individual performances, LSC will likely finish their first season in a respectable position, although below the playoff line.
10. Richmond Kickers
Record:6-10-10, 28pts

Playoffs Odds: <1%

Magic Number: N/A

Max Points Available: 46
Strength of Schedule: 9th

Projected Finish: 10th (49%)

Up Next: @ OMA (9/9)
It’s looking more and more likely that the Kickers will become the first defending regular season champion to miss out on the postseason in league history. The offseason losses of Jonathan Bolanos, Ethan Bryant and Jalen Crisler have certainly played a part in that.
11. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Record:5-14-6, 21pts

Playoffs Odds: <1%

Magic Number: N/A

Max Points Available: 42
Strength of Schedule: 4th

Projected Finish: 11th (51%)

Up Next: vs. MAD (9/2)
A terrible season defensively, the 2022 USL League One finalists have been hampered by injuries, offseason losses of key contributors and a carousel of coaches. Exciting performances down the stretch likely won’t be enough for Chattanooga.
12. Central Valley Fuego FC
Record:5-15-4, 19pts

Playoffs Odds: <1%

Magic Number: N/A

Max Points Available: 43
Strength of Schedule: 2nd

Projected Finish: 12th (60%)

Up Next: @ RIC (8/30)
In what will go down as one of the worst seasons in league history, Fuego FC has looked lost for most of the season. The loss of Christian Chaney and absence of Ofek Antman has been difficult to overcome.

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