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Tonight's Match & Impact On Playoffs

As the regular season comes to a close, the sense of urgency and anticipation surrounding the playoff standings seems to grow exponentially.

Teams that have already clinched spots in the playoffs are the Rochester Rhinos (51 points), Austin Aztex (49), Vancouver Whitecaps (44) and Portland Timbers (42). With four more spots up for grabs, the last few weeks of the season will be crucial.

Still realistically vying for playoff spots are FC Tampa Bay, AC St. Louis, Minnesota Stars, Montreal Impact, Carolina RailHawks and Puerto Rico Islanders.

For the Rowdies, the playoff picture is not as bleak as it may appear, as just six points separate Tampa Bay from number eight seed NSC Minnesota, and the Rowdies have the benefit of having played two less games entering tonight's match with Austin. The two teams face off in Minnesota's season finale in Tampa next Friday, September 24 in what is shaping up as a possible play-in game.

Tampa Bay still controls its postseason destiny if it can win a few key matches down the stretch. The result of Minnesota's contest this Saturday night against Vancouver will also have an impact on what the Rowdies need to do in their final games.

If Minnesota loses to Vancouver, a Tampa Bay win over Minnesota and a win in one of any of its other three remaining matches gets the nRowdies into the playoffs. If the Stars tie or defeat Vancouver, the Rowdies would need to match those points.

Here is a look at the playoff contenders with their current point total, maximum number of points they can reach and their remaining schedules.


Carolina RailHawks: 38 points (Maximum possible total: 47)
at Baltimore, vs. Puerto Rico, vs. Austin

Puerto Rico Islanders: 36 points (Maximum possible total: 45)

at Portland, vs. Carolina, at Miami

Montreal Impact: 34 points (Maximum possible total: 43)

vs. Tampa Bay, at Vancouver, vs. Austin

NSC Minnesota Stars: 34 points (Maximum possible total: 40)

vs. Vancouver, at Tampa Bay

FC Tampa Bay: 28 points (Maximum possible total: 40)

vs. Austin, at Montreal, vs. Minnesota, vs. Baltimore

AC St Louis: 26 points (Maximum possible total: 38)

vs. Austin, at Miami, at Austin, vs. Rochester

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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