BY TOM TIMMERMANN | St. Louis Today
Sunday, September 19, 2010
AC St. Louis does not control its own playoff fate. It needs other teams to lose a game or two, and so far, none of them seem to be doing that.
Minnesota’s win over Vancouver on Saturday all but put the Stars out of reach for AC. And on Sunday, Montreal, another team it was chasing, beat Tampa 3-0.
So now the team AC is chasing is Puerto Rico. The Islanders are the rare team that AC St. Louis has the tiebreaker on. AC is in a position where it needs to win its final three games, or, to catch Puerto Rico, two wins and a tie. AC’s next loss eliminates it from playoff contention, which could happen Wednesday in Miami. Or the next win for Minnesota, Montreal and Puerto Rico would do it. The only thing even remotely working in AC’s favor is that the other teams have fewer games lefft. Minnesota has one, against Tampa. Montreal and Puerto Rico have two. So that is fewer chances for those teams to get points.
But the odds are long, considering AC has to play at Austin on Saturday and then finish against Rochester. Austin rested some of its regulars for Saturday’s game. They’re not likely to do that again.
As someone in the press box said Saturday, AC St. Louis needs a perfect storm of events to make the playoffs. So far, that’s not happening.
By the way, if AC St. Louis had beaten Minnesota last week, it would probably need four points from its final three games to make it. So while qualifying for the playoffs wouldn’t be a cinch, it would be a lot simpler than needing seven or nine.
Also, AC St. Louis is the only team not in the top eight that still has a chance. Ninth place Tampa Bay is out of the running, because it has only two games left and is seven points out of eighth. And Austin is kicking itself because if it had beaten AC, or even gotten in a tie, it would have been in first place in the league. Now, it’s one point back of Rochester, but with a game in hand.