Photos by Scott Houghtaling, Kyle McBard, Brandon Wu and Burt Granofsky – UltiPhotos.com
Week 9 provided few answers in terms of who we’ll see in the postseason. Out West the Dogfish still have hope, and the Nighthawks are hanging on by a thread. In the East, the Spinners dropped a game that would have secured a playoff bid had they won, although their postseason aspirations are still likely. The defending champions, the D.C. Current, are now in a precarious position having lost at home to a strong Whitecaps team. Almost any scenario is still on the table this week.
If the Current win out, the Spinners beat the Whitecaps and the Rumble don’t steal another game, then we’ll have a three-way tie at 6-4. Normally in a three-way tie, the tiebreaker goes to head-to-head matchups, but in this special situation we’ll see the Whitecaps with the tiebreak over the Current, the Current with the tiebreaker over the Spinners and the Spinners with the tiebreak over the Whitecaps. I haven’t lost anyone have I? In this situation where the head-to-head can’t decide a clear winner, the tie is broken by point differential. Of the three teams, the one with the lowest point differential gets dropped from the playoffs. The number one seed will then be decided by whoever has the head-to-head tiebreaker.[tb_standings limit=”4″ comp=”15″ season=”27″ linktext=”View all standings” stats=”w,l,f,a,gd” title=”Eastern Conference Standings”]
Despite dropping a game this late in the season, the Spinners are still in good position to make it to the playoffs. A win over the Current will seal the deal for the Spinners, but it doesn’t mean they’ll get the number one seed in the conference; Boston can still take that honor. With a loss the Spinners aren’t out: A win over Boston could force a three-way tie. Two losses and the Spinners are out. Fueled by the real possibility to see the postseason for the first time in MLU history, the Spinners will be fired up this weekend at home.
Last week’s win puts the Whitecaps in a great position to make the playoffs and even take the number one seed in the conference. With the head-to-head matchup tiebreaker over the Current, the Whitecaps have taken care of their biggest threat to getting knocked out of the playoffs. A win over the Rumble guarantees the Whitecaps a seat at the tiebreaker table, while a loss means they’ll need to beat the Spinners in Week 11 to have a guaranteed spot, but only if the Spinners don’t win this week. If Philadelphia wins this weekend, it will knock D.C. out of contention as the best the Current can do is tie the Whitecaps at 5-5, and the Whitecaps win in the head-to-head in that case.
The Current are on the edge of missing the postseason for the first time in MLU history, but they still have a pretty good shot. A single win won’t get them a spot, but a win over the Spinners this week puts them in great position. At that point they’d need to either beat the Rumble in Week 11 or have the Spinners lose to the Whitecaps, although that sets them up for the possibility of a three-way tie they don’t necessarily want to be a part of. This will be a big week for the Current as a loss will put them out of range of the Spinners and the Whitecaps have the tiebreaker over them. This is a do-or-die kind of weekend.
New York Rumble
The Rumble’s victory over the Spinners has thrown a wrench in the playoff picture. While the Rumble now have a chance to beat both the Whitecaps and the Current, they can’t knock anyone out of contention. However, delivering a loss would dramatically hurt any team’s playoff position at this point. One of the most exciting prospects for the Rumble is the chance to move into third place to finish the season. If they can win their next two games and the Current lose to the Spinners, the Rumble move from last place in the East to third since they would tie with the Current at 4-6 and have the tie breaker over them. While it won’t give them a chance at the playoffs it would certainly be a nice way to end the season.
[tb_standings limit=”4″ comp=”14″ season=”27″ linktext=”View all standings” stats=”w,l,f,a,gd” title=”Western Conference Standings”]
The Stags are so good they’re boring. They’ve already earned their bid, and they are on bye this week. Let’s move on.
Of the remaining teams, the Rainmakers have the most control over their postseason. With the Dogfish win last week the Rainmakers only need a single victory to face the Stags in the Western Conference Finals. If they don’t manage to win another game, all they need is one Dogfish loss and one Nighthawks loss for a trip to Portland. With just a Dogfish loss, the Rainmakers can hope to make it to the playoffs via point differential.
San Francisco Dogfish
The Dogfish have kept hope alive with their victory over the Nighthawks, but they are going to need more than a little luck to see the postseason. The Dogfish had a close game against a Nighthawks team missing a lot of key pieces (mainly, the Nighthawks scoring leader, Brendan Wong). As they embark on their double-header road trip this weekend, they are going to need to beat a Nighthawks team that isn’t so depleted and a Rainmakers team hungry for the postseason. Even if they manage to do that they are going to need the Nighthawks to beat the Rainmakers in Week 11. The Dogfish can also stay in it with a three-way tie with the Nighthawks and Rainmakers all finishing 4-6, although that has the same issue with the East’s three-way tie that goes to point differential. And with the Dogfish sitting at -26, they are going to need some high-scoring wins for that to work out.
If the Dogfish’s chances were slim, it is even worse for the Nighthawks. Vancouver can no longer hope to win straight out. In their best case scenario, they must rely on the three-way tie to match Seattle and San Francisco at 4-6 and then hope to have amassed enough points to surpass both the Dogfish and the Rainmakers. It’s an unlikely scenario, but you can’t count the Nighthawks out just yet. They’ve got three games to go and at least two will be at home, but the third will be on a double-header weekend – first game at home against the Stags, and the second on the road against the Rainmakers.
At the end of the weekend, at least one team in the West will be out of contention. If the Rainmakers can beat the Dogfish (on the second day of their double-header road trip), then the West will be decided. The East can be sewn-up if the Spinners win; however, if they lose it becomes anyone’s game once again. Last week looked like it would answer a lot of questions, but it didn’t. Maybe this week we’ll get some of those answers.