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Switchbacks Push For Playoffs - Key Games To Watch in Week 29

By Joel Huber, 10/04/17, 10:45AM MDT

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While it might be quite a 1 in a million chance, it's no secret the Switchbacks need help to make the playoffs. With a tough stretch of results in August/September, Switchbacks are no longer controllers of their own destiny as they push for the 2017 USL Playoffs. Currently sitting in 9th place with 38 points, the Switchbacks need to make up a 5 point gap on 8th place OKC Energy FC or 7th place Tulsa who both have 43 points. Here's a look at how the Western Conference table looks:

Pos. Team Games Played W L T GD PTS
1 z- Real Monarchs 30 19 5 6 27 63
2 z- Reno 1868 FC 30 16 7 7 33 55
3 z- Swope Park Rangers 30 16 7 7 20 55
4 z- San Antonio FC 29 15 4 10 18 55
5 z- Phoenix Rising FC 29 14 8 7 7 49
6 Sacramento Republic FC 30 13 11 6 3 45
7 Tulsa Roughnecks FC 30 13 13 4 -2 43
8 OKC Energy FC 29 12 11 7 0 43
9 Orange County SC 30 10 10 10 -2 40
10 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 30 10 12 8 1 38
11 e- Rio Grande Valley FC 30 9 12 8 -9 35
12 e- Seattle Sounders FC 2 29 9 16 4 -15 31
13 e- LA Galaxy II 30 7 18 5 -32 26
14 e- Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 30 5 17 8 -19 23
15 e- Portland Timbers 2 29 3 20 6 -31 15

z- Clinched Playoff Spot
e- Eliminated From Playoffs

The breaking of ties in the final standings, playoffs and finals is accomplished by applying the following criteria, in order of importance:

  1. Total wins in League games.
  2. Goal difference in League games.
  3. Goals scored in League games.
  4. Ranking based on points earned against top four Conference finishers. 
    1. If number of games is unequal, then point percentage applies.
  5. FIFA Fair Play – Team with fewest disciplinary points in League games. 
    1. If number of games is unequal, points will be divided by games played to arrive at a common basis for comparison.
  6. Lottery conducted by USL.

So what does this mean? First off, this means the Switchbacks HAVE to win their final two matches to even have a shot at the playoffs. This also means The Switchbacks are going to want to pay really close attention to matches involving Tulsa, OKC, and Orange County. What results do the Switchbacks want to see? Take a look below at all the key games to watch.

October 7th

Tulsa Roughnecks FC vs Seattle Sounders FC 2 | 6:00 PM MT
Why it's important: Assuming Tulsa falls on the road to Phoenix in the mid-week matchup, another loss accompanied by a Switchbacks win against Sacramento will set up a season finale between the Switchbacks and Tulsa in the season finale should Orange county fail to get a win their game in-hand.
Best Case Result: Seattle wins
Unfavorable Results: Tulsa wins or draws 

Orange County SC vs Reno 1868 FC | 8:00 PM MT
Why it's important: The Switchbacks next rival to the final playoff spot is 10th place Orange County. Should the Switchbacks get three points against Sacramento at home, an OC loss or draw will widen the gap.
Best Case Result: Reno wins or draw
Unfavorable Results: Orange County wins

OCTOBER 8TH

OKC Energy FC vs Swope Park Rangers | 4:00 PM MT
Why it's important: Regardless of a Switchbacks win against Sacramento on Saturday, a win or draw by OKC could eliminate the Switchbacks from the playoffs unless Tulsa loses both matches this week.
Best Case Result: Swope Park wins
Unfavorable Results: OKC wins or draws 

So essentially, the Switchbacks need to:

  1. Win the rest of their games
  2. Hope Tulsa or OKC lose their next two games
  3. Hope OC loses or draws their game-in-hand

All of this provides an interesting scenario as the  Switchbacks get ready to host Sacramento this Saturday, October 7th at 6:00 P.M.  in their home finale in a match to be aired on ESPN 3. Fans 21+ should arrive early as a limited amount of free beer will be available once the gates open at 5:00 courtesy of Budweiser. The Switchbacks will be celebrating Fan Appreciation Night with an end of the year party theme. Tickets start at just $12 and are available here.