With most clubs only having six matches left in the Fall Season, the push for the playoffs is truly gaining its steam this weekend in the NASL.
Almost every single match this weekend has some type of playoff hunt ramification, as five clubs are currently separated by only four points from fourth place in the Combined Standings and that glorious last spot in the postseason.
Miami FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies are at the head of that playoff hunt, as the two squads, who are even on points, square off in West Florida. Both sides are only one point behind Minnesota United for fourth place and that crucial playoff spot.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s important action.
TAMPA BAY ROWDIES vs. MIAMI FC (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN 3)
Playoff hunters Miami FC head across the state of Florida to Al Lang Stadium to face off against the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
With six matches left in the Fall Season, Miami still have high chances of making the postseason. Miami is currently six points behind the New York Cosmos in the Fall Season Standings, as well as one point behind fourth place in the Combined Standings. Tampa Bay are even with Miami in the Combined Standings, and both clubs know a victory on Saturday could go a long way into securing a playoff spot.
The South Florida club could still win the Fall Championship, as they have six matches to make up the six point deficit to New York, including a big matchup with the Cosmos themselves.
MINNESOTA UNITED vs. JACKSONVILLE ARMADA (Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN 3)
Speaking of the postseason, Miami and Tampa are chasing Minnesota United FC for fourth in the Combined Standings. The Loons’ advantage for fourth has diminished after the MLS-bound club dropped two straight matches to Ottawa in consecutive weeks.
A loss to the Jacksonville Armada could leave the Loons out of the playoff picture when Monday morning comes, but a win could reassure the supporters that Minnesota can hold on in the fight for fourth.
The Armada come into the match unbeaten in three straight matches, albeit three straight draws.
OTTAWA FURY vs. PUERTO RICO FC (Sunday, 2 p.m., ESPN 3)
The Ottawa Fury’s late season push for a postseason berth came to a large speed bump after a 2-1 loss to Miami FC, breaking the Fury’s seven-match unbeaten streak.
While making up a seven point gap for fourth place with six games left is not impossible, the Fury know the would practically need to win all their matches left to be in the postseason. It seems the Fury’s late push will all be for nothing.
Puerto Rico FC are unbeaten in their last five matches, including a two-match win streak, the first ever in club history. The Island club has also not lost on the road in four straight matches.
FC EDMONTON vs. INDY ELEVEN (Sunday, 4 p.m., ESPN 3)
FC Edmonton host the Indy Eleven in a very important matchup at Clarke Stadium. The Eddies, who remain third in the Combined Standings, have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four matches played. The Eddies drew 0-0 at the Jacksonville Armada on Wednesday, where goalkeeper Matt VanOekel tied an NASL record with his 14th clean sheet.
Indy Eleven comes into the match with bags full of confidence after beating the table topping New York Cosmos, 3-0. Eamon Zayed, Dylan Mares, and Justin Braun all got on the scoresheet for the Eleven.
The Eleven and Eddies are playing for playoff positioning, as only one point separates second and third in the Combined Standings.
NEW YORK COSMOS vs. FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS (Sunday, 4 p.m., ONE World Sports)
The league-leading New York Cosmos host a struggling Fort Lauderdale Strikers team Sunday on Long Island. The Cosmos are currently unbeaten in their last 17 games at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
New York suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Indy Eleven last weekend, but the Cosmos rebounded well during the week when they defeated the Carolina RailHawks 2-0.
The Strikers, who are embattled in ownership problems, are coming off a 2-1 defeat to Puerto Rico FC on Wednesday. Despite all the ownership issues and lack of victories in recent matches, Fort Lauderdale still have a shot at making the postseason. The Strikers are only four points out of fourth place in the Combined Standings, and the Florida club are also unbeaten against the Cosmos this year.
RAYO OKC vs. CAROLINA RAILHAWKS (Sunday, 7 p.m., beIN SPORTS)
Rayo OKC host the Carolina RailHawks at Miller Stadium on Sunday night. Rayo OKC are unbeaten in their last four games, and are five points from fourth place in the Combined Standings.
The Carolina RailHawks’ defeat to the New York Cosmos this week ended the team’s nine-game home unbeaten run. Despite only scoring one goal in their last five matches, Carolina are only three points behind Minnesota United for fourth place in the Combined Standings.