USSF D2 Pro League Playoffs Set
With nearly six months of regular season games in the books for USSF D2 Pro league teams it came down to the last weekend of play to determine the final playoff matchups. All 8 playoff teams had already been determined last weekend but there were still a number of seedings up for grabs.
One of those seedings would be the number 2 spot for the team that won the NASL conference. It was a tight race between the Carolina RailHawks and the Vancouver Whitecaps with both teams tied with 44 points. The two teams had drawn each other twice during the regular season and they each had a +10 goal differential, the next tie breaker for determining the top spot.
A convincing 3-1 win for the RailHawks over the Austin Aztex on Friday night combined with a Whitecaps 2-2 Portland Timbers draw on Saturday evening meant that Carolina wins the NASL Conference and nabs the #2 seed.
With Rochester’s 2-1 win over St. Louis on Saturday and Austin’s two losses this weekend to Carolina and Montreal, the Rhinos win the league outright with 54 points and take the top spot. They will face the Puerto Rico Islanders (#8) in a home and away series on Thursday and Saturday evenings.
With the Carolina RailHawks taking the top NASL Conference spot, they will face off against the NSC Minnesota Stars (#7) starting Wednesday evening in Minnesota with the return leg at WakeMed Park on Saturday evening.
Even with two consecutive losses, Austin ends the season with the second highest point total in the league of 53 pts. but they end up with the #3 seed since they came in 2nd place in the USL Conference. They will now play the Montreal Impact and will have to face them three consecutive games. Austin lost to Montreal on Sunday 2-0. Austin will stay in Montreal to prepare for their Wednesday evening game and return to Texas for the home leg on Saturday evening.
With Vancouver’s draw and Carolina’s win, the Whitecaps drop to the #5 seed and like Austin and Montreal will now have to play Portland (#4 seed) three games in a row.
Here is a listing of the top seeds’ records in the last 4 regular season games going into the playoffs:
Rochester: W, L, L, W
Carolina: L, W, W, W
Austin: L, W, L, L
Portland: D, W, W, D
Vancouver: W, L, L, D
Montreal: L, W, W, W
Minnesota: W, W, W, W
Puerto Rico: W, L, L, D
The entire USSF D-2 Pro League playoff schedule is as follows (all times CST):
No. 1 Rochester vs. No. 8 Puerto Rico
Leg 1: @ Puerto Rico, Thursday, 7:05 p.m.
Leg 2: @ Rochester, Saturday, 6 p.m.
No. 2 Carolina vs. No. 7 Minnesota
Leg 1 @ Minnesota, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Leg 2: @ Carolina, Saturday, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Austin vs. No. 6 Montreal
Leg 1: @ Montreal, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
Leg 2: @ Austin, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
No. 4 Portland vs. No. 5 Vancouver
Leg 1: @ Vancouver, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Leg 2: @ Portland, Sunday, 5 p.m.
The first legs of the semifinals will be played Oct. 13 or 14 and the return legs Oct. 16 or 17.
The first leg of the finals will be played on Oct. 23 or 24, and the return leg will be on Oct. 30 or 31.