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Winning the USL West

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Looking at the chase for the top seed in the USL West - seven teams are still in it.

Republic FC leads the way, but WFC2 could sneak into the top spot
Republic FC leads the way, but WFC2 could sneak into the top spot
Alex Leguizamo/Indomitable City Soccer

As the season comes to an end, we must think about the playoff picture in the West, and one of the biggest questions is none other than the classic, "Who will get the top seed?"

With only seven teams remaining in the hunt for the first seed, we dive into who can win it, and what they need to do to get there.  Remember that in the USL the first tiebreak is total wins, followed by goal differential.

All teams are introduced based on maximum possible points, from greatest to least.  Any team who cannot obtain at least 48 points has been eliminated.

Sacramento Republic (13-9-6) -€” 48 Points (54 Max)

Remaining Games:

vs LA Galaxy II (11-7-10)

at Tulsa Roughnecks (5-18-4)

The formula for Sacramento is simple.  Win out and they take the top seed; it's the Republic's to lose. At this point, anything else will require others to stumble.  Six points will send the road to the playoffs through Bonney Field.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (13-8-7) -€” 46 Points (52 Max)

Remaining Games:

vs Seattle Sounders 2 (9-11-8)

at Orange County Blues (11-13-4)

Colorado Springs is currently in control of the second seed; winning out will guarantee them the ability to host the first two rounds of the USL playoffs.  If the Switchbacks win out, and Sacramento fails to win both of their final games, Colorado Springs will claim the top overall playoff spot.

Rio Grande Valley Toros (12-7-9) -€” 45 Points (51 Max)

Remaining Games:

at Orange County Blues (11-13-4)

vs San Antonio FC (9-11-8)

The Toros will need points and help to take over the top seed.  First, they will need Sacramento to take less than four points from their final two games.  If Sacramento gets a draw against Los Dos and a win against Tulsa, the best the Toros can settle for is 2nd.  Additionally, they will need to obtain a minimum of two more points than the Switchbacks down the stretch.  The only scenario where the Toros would finish ahead of Colorado Springs while only outscoring them by one, is if the Switchbacks draw both of their remaining games, as the Toros register a win and a loss.  This would put the Toros ahead on second tiebreaks (Goal Differential).

Oklahoma City Energy (10-5-12) -€” 42 Points (51 Max)

Remaining Games:

vs Swope Park Rangers (11-10-6)

at Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (11-8-9)

vs Saint Louis FC (8-11-9)

The first of the group that will require plenty of help to make the playoffs, Oklahoma City must first win out.  While two wins and a draw could be enough, it would require Sacramento to lose out, Colorado Springs fail to win both games, the Toros to gain less than four and LA to not win out.  Being realistic, OKC must win all remaining games, but still will require help.  Hitting their maximum of nine remaining points, the Energy will still require Sacramento to fail to win either game, and have the Switchbacks and Toros fail to win out.

Los Angeles Galaxy II (11-7-10) -€” 43 Points (49 Max)

Remaining Games:

at Sacramento Republic (13-6-9)

vs Real Monarchs (10-12-6)

Another team that will require a minor miracle to come out with the top seed, Los Dos must win out.  Any loss or draw leaves them unable to catch Sacramento.  LA will additionally require Sacramento to lose or draw to Tulsa, Colorado Springs to lose or draw all remaining games, the Toros to take less than 4 points from their final games, and Oklahoma City to not win out.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (11-8-9) -€” 42 Points (48 Max)

Remaining Games:

vs Portland Timbers 2 (10-14-4)

vs Oklahoma City Energy (10-5-12)

Long shot is kind here.  The Thundercaps will need absolutely everything to break their way to make the finals.  The laundry list starts with needing to win both of their remaining games, while Sacramento loses both of their remaining games, with enough of a goal differential between the two to make up a current-eleven goal advantage for Sacramento.  Vancouver will also need Colorado Springs to gain less than two points, and if the Switchbacks draw both games, the Whitecaps will need to beat Portland and Oklahoma City by a combined twelve goals to end up ahead of the Switchbacks.  If the Toros win a game, or if Los Dos or Swope Park win out, Whitecaps 2 are eliminated from the hunt for first as well.  If Vancouver wins out, Oklahoma City is eliminated due to total win tiebreaks, so no other Energy results would matter to Vancouver.

Swope Park Rangers (11-10-6) - 39 Points (48 Max)

Remaining Games:

at Oklahoma City Energy (10-5-12)

at Tulsa Roughnecks (5-18-4)

vs Seattle Sounders 2 (9-11-8)

Much like Vancouver, Swope Park is technically in the hunt for first, but they are still in the hunt.  The route for Swope Park is nearly identical as the route for Vancouver, but with one more win required.  They must win out, have Sacramento lose out, have Colorado Springs and the Toros never win, and have Los Dos fail to win out.  In the event that Swope Park wins out, they would finish ahead of Oklahoma City and Vancouver based on first tiebreaks of total wins

So that is what can happen.  What do you think will happen?