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NASL Look Ahead: Last playoff spot up still for grabs

Photo by Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports

The final weekend of the NASL regular season has finally arrived, and there is still one playoff spot up for grabs.

Rayo OKC and Minnesota United will vie for the fourth and final postseason berth, with Rayo firmly in the driver’s seat up three points on the Loons in the Combined Standings.

Elsewhere, three clubs wave goodbye to NASL regular season play for the last time. Tampa Bay and Ottawa play their final league matches after announcing their decisions to leave for the USL, while Minnesota will host their last-ever NASL home match ahead of their inaugural season in MLS in 2017.

Here is a preview of all the NASL action of the final regular season weekend.

Miami FC vs. FC Edmonton (Friday 8 p.m., ESPN3)

The inaugural year for Miami FC in NASL comes to a close when they host FC Edmonton Friday night at FIU.

While the Orange and Blue will not taste the postseason in their inaugural year, the club made plenty of improvements throughout the Fall Season, where they currently lie fifth in the Fall Season table. The Eddies on the other hand have known their playoff fate for a couple of matches now. They will face Indy Eleven in the playoff semifinals.

A victory for the Eddies coupled with an Indy loss would have Edmonton leapfrog its playoff opposition to second place in the table.

Ottawa Fury vs. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (Saturday 2 p.m., ESPN3)

The Ottawa Fury will play in their final match in the NASL when they host the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday afternoon.

The Fury announced this week that they will leave the NASL at seasons’ end and join the USL. The Strikers, on the other hand, will look to finish the campaign on a high note as they will miss the postseason and finish in the bottom half of the Combined Standings.

Puerto Rico FC vs. Carolina RailHawks (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., beIN SPORTS)

The Carolina RailHawks will cap off a disappointing end to the season with a visit to Puerto Rico. Despite beating playoff hopefuls Minnesota United last week, the RailHawks’ late slide in the standings hindered their chances at a postseason berth.

Puerto Rico will finish last in the Combined Standings, only six points behind Jacksonville with ten fewer matches played. The island club will hope that three points on Fan Appreciation Night allows it to finish 11th in the Fall Standings.

Minnesota United vs. New York Cosmos (Saturday, 8 p.m., ONE World Sports & ESPN 3)

In one of the two matches with playoff significance this weekend, Minnesota United hosts the NASL champions New York Cosmos on Saturday night.

The Loons are currently three points behind Rayo OKC in the Combined Standings for the fourth and final playoff spot. A victory over the Cosmos and a Rayo loss to Indy Eleven would pull Minnesota level on points with the Oklahoma City club, with United finishing ahead of OKC on a tiebreaker.

The match will also be Minnesota’s last at NSC Stadium in Blaine. The club will be joining Major League Soccer next season and will temporarily play home matches at TCF Bank Stadium.

Jacksonville Armada vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (Sunday, 4 p.m., CBS Sports Network)

Another NASL goodbye is in store as the Tampa Bay Rowdies head upstate to take on the Jacksonville Armada.

Tampa Bay announced this week that they will be leaving the NASL at seasons end to join the USL next season. Ottawa followed the Rowdies’ announcement on the same day and will join them in the USL next season.

Jacksonville will try and avoid finishing dead last in the NASL Fall Season with a win against their state rivals. A loss and a Puerto Rico win would have the Armada finishing dead last.

Rayo OKC vs. Indy Eleven (Sunday, 7 p.m., ESPN 3)

Rayo OKC will aim to punch their postseason ticket against Indy Eleven on Sunday night.

Rayo is currently three points ahead of Minnesota United in the NASL Combined Standings entering the final weekend. The Oklahoman club can advance with at least a draw against playoff-bound Indy.

Even if Rayo fails to gain a point they could still be in the playoffs, as Minnesota has to win their match and hope that Rayo fail to gain any points at Miller Stadium.

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