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USL Eastern Conference Strength of Schedule Points Projections - Week 23

Playoffs could come down to final week for some

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v St Louis Cardinals - Game Four Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

You can find last week’s projections here, and an explanation of our methodology here. Projections are as of August 27th, 2017 (last week’s projected position is in parentheses).

Eastern Conference Points Projections

1 (Last Week- 1). Louisville City (61.8)

2 (2). Charlotte Independence (55.6)

3 (4). Rochester Rhinos (53.5)

4 (3). Charleston Battery (52.8)

5 (5). Tampa Bay Rowdies (50.5)

6 (8). Orlando City B (46.2)

7 (7). FC Cincinnati (45.6)

8 (6). Bethlehem Steel FC (43.5)

9 (10). Saint Louis FC (42.1)

10 (12). Pittsburgh Riverhounds (41.5)

11 (9). New York Red Bulls II (41.0)

12 (11). Ottawa Fury FC (38.1)

13 (13). Harrisburg City Islanders (31.5)

14 (14). Richmond Kickers (28.7)

15 (15). Toronto FC II (27.2)

Remaining Schedules

Hardest Remaining Schedules: Richmond Kickers (1.568 average points per future opponent), Pittsburgh Riverhounds (1.492), Ottawa Fury FC (1.477).

Easiest Remaining Schedules: Saint Louis FC (1.128 average points per future opponent), FC Cincinnati (1.225), Orlando City B (1.275).

Thoughts

While the exact clubs from the top eight remain unchanged from last week, the seeding took some overhaul from recent weeks. Rochester moved up a spot, to help cement their chase for a home playoff match this October. Orlando City B, who just two weeks ago were as low as tenth in our projections, have made tremendous gains off of their eleven match unbeaten streak and now sit in the heart of the playoff picture. Finally, Bethlehem drops two spots to a projected eighth finish, edging Saint Louis FC by just 1.4 points in our table.

Further back to the four clubs on the playoff bubble, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, NYRB II, and Ottawa all occupy new positions compared to where they were just a week ago. The shuffling should continue throughout the final weeks of the 2017 campaign, as it seems like each side has taken a step forward, only to backtrack on their progress.

One position battle of note to which I want to bring attention is Bethlehem in eighth and Saint Louis FC in ninth. These clubs are separated by the slimmest of margins and this is where the remaining schedule will begin to be a factor in the playoff race. Saint Louis have the benefit of the easiest remaining schedule in the Eastern Conference, and can play this to their advantage to sneak into the playoffs. For Bethlehem, five of their final eight matches are against clubs that currently occupy playoff spots in our projected table. In fact, Bethlehem host Saint Louis on the final day of the season in a match which could very well decide this race.

What are your thoughts on this week’s Eastern Conference Points Projections? Is their a team currently on the outside of the projected playoff picture that you think has the best chance at making the playoffs? Let us know in the comments below!