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A Look Into The Playoffs

The playoff race is in full swing heading into Week 23 of USSF D-2 play. So far only two teams out of the qualifying eight have clinched spots in the playoffs - the Austin Aztex and the Rochester Rhinos, both in the USL Conference.

Only nine points separate the fifth and ninth seeds, which will lead to very competitive final matches this season.

The Carolina RailHawks (fifth place) have been struggling recently with four losses in their past seven games. In their last season in second division, the Portland Timbers (fourth place) are pushing for a higher seed - with a current six-match unbeaten streak. The FC Tampa Bay Rowdies (ninth) and NSC Minnesota Stars (eighth) are both struggling for wins but have been able to slowly pick up points this past month by earning five or more ties each in July and August.

This week will be very crucial with some key matchups between Puerto Rico and Montreal on Wednesday, and Carolina and Portland on Sept. 11. Nine games will be played within the next week, making this time of the season very important to all teams competing for a playoff spot.

The last match of the season will be on Sunday, October 3, with the Austin Aztex taking on the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo Stadium. After the last match, the U.S. Soccer Federation will determine the dates and locations of the playoffs. 

The top eight teams, including the top team of each conference, qualify for the USSF D-2 playoffs.  The first seed will play the eighth seed, the second will play the seventh, the third will play the sixth and the fourth will play the fifth.  The earliest a team will play in the playoffs is on Wednesday, October 6. 

Each playoff round consists of a home and home series, with the higher seeded team selecting which game they will host. The schedule for the playoffs is as follows:

 

  • October 6 or 7 and October 9 or 10 - Quarterfinals
  • October 13 or 14 and October 16 or 17 - Semifinals
  • October 22, 23 or 24 - Championship Game 1
  • October 29, 30 or 31 - Championship Game 2
Advanced ticket purchases for FC Tampa Bay Rowdies playoff contests will be available in the next few weeks.
 
 
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Standings

NASL Conference PLD PTS
Carolina 29 44
Vancouver 29 44
Montreal 29 40
Miami 29 32
AC St Louis 29 29
Baltimore 29 24
USL Conference PLD PTS
Austin 28 53
Rochester 29 51
Portland 29 48
NSC Minnesota 30 40
Puerto Rico 29 36
FC Tampa Bay 29 29