– September 17th, 2008
(Rochester, NY)… Rochester will conclude their regular season slate tonight when they kickoff against the Miami FC Blues at 7:30 p.m. from Tropical Park Stadium. The Rhinos have qualified for postseason play for the 13th consecutive season and after tonight will await the conclusion of regular season league play to learn who their opponent will be in the opening round of the league’s «second season» beginning next week.
The opening round of play will feature a two-legged, aggregate goals series with teams seeded #2 – #7 facing each other to determine who will advance to the semifinal round. The Puerto Rico Islanders need just one point in their final two matches to secure the top seed, giving them a first round bye.
The current playoff seedings and playoff scenarios for each team include:
(USL-1 Regular Season ends on Sunday, September 21)
#1 Puerto Rico: (15-6-7, 52 pts.) Qualified and need one point in final two matches (vs. Atlanta, at Montreal) to clinch Commissioner’s Cup as top seed. They can finish no lower than second.
#2 Vancouver: (14-7-8, 50 pts.) Have clinched a playoff spot and can earn the top seed with a win (at Seattle) and if Puerto Rico loses its final two matches. They can finish no lower than second.
#3 Montreal: ( 12-11-5, 41 pts.) Has clinched a playoff spot and is currently in third place by virtue of a tie-breaker with Rochester (most wins in league games – 12-11). The Impact can secure the third place spot with a win at either Minnesota or at home against Puerto Rico. They can finish no lower than sixth.
#4 Rochester: (11-9-9, 41 pts.) Currently in fourth place and will secure at least the fourth place finish with a win in Miami tonight. Can finish third with a win tonight and if Montreal fails to win at least one of its final two matches. They can finish no lower than sixth.
#5 Charleston: (11-11-7, 40 pts.) Has clinched a berth in the playoffs and trails Rochester by just one point. A win over Carolina in the season finale will guarantee them at least a fifth place finish. A win and a Rochester loss at Miami will give them the fourth place spot. That same scenario combined with Montreal losses at Minnesota and at home against Puerto Rico will secure third. They can finish no lower than sixth.
#6 Seattle: (10-9-10, 40 pts.) Has also clinched and rests in sixth place. They trail Charleston by virtue of a tie-breaker scenario (11 league wins to 10). Seattle can finish no lower than sixth but can finish as high as third if Rochester, Montreal and Charleston all lose their remaining matches and they defeat Vancouver at home.
#7 Minnesota: (9-11-9, 36 pts.) Currently hold the seventh and final playoff spot with 36 points. Three points ahead of eighth place Atlanta and five points ahead of Carolina. The Thunder can finish no higher than seventh. Minnesota hosts Montreal Saturday, but must finish at least one point ahead of Atlanta regardless of the result as Minnesota would lose any tie-breaker with Atlanta based on their regular season head-to-head matchups which Atlanta won 2-0-1. Minnesota needs a win to avoid a possible tie with Carolina, who holds the regular season head-to-head tiebreaker with a 1-0-2 record against the Thunder. Minnesota can finish no lower than ninth.
#8 Atlanta: (8-11-9, 33 pts.) Can clinch a playoff spot with wins over both Puerto Rico and Miami, or with one win over either Puerto Rico or Miami FC combined with a Minnesota loss to Montreal, and a Carolina loss or draw in one of its final two games. Atlanta would need at least four points to clinch a berth should Carolina win both of its final two games. Atlanta holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with both Minnesota (2-0-1) and Carolina (1-0-2) should they finish in a tie with either club. They can finish no lower than ninth.
#9 Carolina RailHawks: (7-11-10, 31 pts.) Can clinch a playoff berth with wins in their final two matches (at Charleston and vs. Portland) combined with a loss by Minnesota in its last game and losses by Atlanta in both of its remaining two games.
#10 Portland: (7-12-10, 31 pts.) Portland has been eliminated from playoff contention. Portland can finish as high as eighth if Carolina and Atlanta each lose their final two games (four total).
#11 Miami FC Blues: (6-12-10, 28 pts) Miami has been eliminated from playoff contention. Miami can finish as high as eighth if Atlanta loses its final two games, and Carolina loses at Charleston and ties at home versus Portland in their final two games. Miami would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with Atlanta (2-0-1) should they finish tied, but Carolina holds the head-to-head tiebreaker versus Miami (2-1-0). Portland and Miami are equal in their first two tiebreakers with goal differential as the next determinant if they finish tied (current GD: Portland -6, Miami -8).