By this time next week, we may know all our playoff teams. Instead of an “Also considered” this week, we’re going to look at the playoff races.
The big results this week: New England’s (controversial?) win over Boston, Atlanta’s draw at VSI Tampa.
1. Pali Blues (12-0-1, W-League Western; Last Week: 1) – roster
5-0 and 2-0 over the visiting Colorado teams. Last up in regular season: Sunday showdown with Seattle.
2. Chicago Red Stars (9-2-0, WPSL Elite; LW: 3) – roster
Slight struggle to beat Philadelphia 1-0. Remaining schedule is tough: Home vs. Western New York, then at New England and at New York.
3. Boston Breakers (9-3-0, WPSL Elite; LW: 2) – roster
Took care of business against Chesapeake 3-1 and seemed to be in control the next day against New England before conceding two very late goals and losing 2-1. Reminder: One of their losses (to Western New York) is on a technicality over player registration.
4. Western New York Flash (7-1-3, WPSL Elite; LW: 4) – roster
Beat Chesapeake 4-0. They haven’t played a pro team since June 13; Chicago and Boston await in their last two.
5. New York Fury (7-3-1, WPSL Elite; LW: 5) – roster
Practically clinched a playoff spot with 4-0 win over New England.
6. Seattle Sounders Women (8-2-1, W-League Western; LW: 6) – roster
No trouble with Victoria in home finale. The last week features a five-day, three-game California swing ending at Pali.
7. D.C. United Women (10-0-1, W-League Atlantic; LW: 7) – roster
Trounced Dayton 4-1 to clinch home field in the divisional playoffs.
8. New England Mutiny (4-5-2, WPSL Elite; LW: 9) – roster
The 4-0 loss at New York was deflating, but with two late goals vs. Boston, the Mutiny became the first amateur team to beat the pros in the Elite.
9. Ottawa Fury (10-1-0, W-League Central; LW: 10) – roster
3-2 over Laval; 1-0 over Toronto. Clinched first place in Central even though they have bye to Final Four as hosts.
10. Atlanta Silverbacks (8-0-3, W-League Southeast; LW: 8) – roster
Draw on Florida road trip leaves team needing a result this weekend in Charlotte.
11. Charlotte Lady Eagles (8-1-2, W-League Southeast; LW: 12) – roster
Held off Central SC Cobras 2-1 to set up showdown with Silverbacks.
12. Long Island Rough Riders (7-3-0, W-League Northeast; LW: NR) – roster
After two 1-0 wins over New York, the Rough Riders left a little less doubt in the teams’ third meeting of the season, winning 6-2 on Sunday.
Read on for the playoff picture:
New England (14 pts.) has only a mathematical chance of crashing the party. The top four: Chicago (27 pts.), Boston (27 pts), Western New York (24 pts.), New York (22 pts.). Boston has two games left; everyone else has three.
* Eastern – Atlantic: Atlantic champion D.C. United Women will host, and the second-place team in the Atlantic also will make the playoffs. Second-place Virginia Beach Piranhas (5-2-3, 18 pts.) will host D.C. United and play a rescheduled game with third-place Fredericksburg Impact (5-3-2, 17 pts.) after their Sunday showdown was stormed out.
* Eastern – Northeast: Still a three-team race, but Long Island Rough Riders (8-3-0, 24 pts.) can clinch by winning their finale Saturday vs. North Jersey Valkyries (7-2-1, 22 pts.), even if the Valkyries temporarily move into first by beating New Jersey Wildcats (5-2-2, 17 pts.) on Wednesday. If the Wildcats win and follow up with wins over New Jersey Rangers and New York Magic, they’ll get to 26 points and would take the lone playoff spot if the Rough Riders falter.
* Eastern – Southeast: Much simpler. Atlanta Silverbacks (8-0-3, 27 pts.) visit Charlotte Lady Eagles (8-1-2, 26 pts.) needing a draw or a win to clinch the division’s playoff spot. If Charlotte wins, the Lady Eagles get it.
* Western: All set — Pali Blues (37 pts.) first, Seattle Sounders Women (25 pts.) second. They’ll play a meaningless but interesting game Sunday, then meet again the next week in the playoffs. Both games at Pali. The talented Colorado teams (Rush and Rapids), Santa Clarita Blue Heat and Vancouver Whitecaps are all out.
* Central: Ottawa Fury will skip the first week of the playoffs, and four of the next six teams will advance. Quebec City Amiral (6-2-1, 19 pts.) has the inside track on hosting the divisional playoffs with three games this week. Toronto Lady Lynx (6-4-1, 19 pts.) have only one game left to get points, traveling to Hamilton on Sunday. Laval Comets (5-3-2, 17 pts.) can vault into the lead with a win Wednesday at Quebec and could hold it by beating Rochester at home on Saturday. Hamilton FC Rage (3-5-2, 10 pts.) should be set for the playoffs unless Rochester Ravens (2-8-0, 6 pts.) can win out.
Take these with a grain of salt. Some teams may be unable to participate in the playoffs, some formatting may be in flux. Thanks to Scott French and Kevin Parker for digging up what we know so far.
* Pacific South (one berth): San Diego SeaLions (5-1-0) clinched the division in anticlimactic fashion when Beach Futbol Club (4-2-0) and its three WPS veterans lost 1-0 to Ajax America on Saturday. That result rendered Sunday’s showdown moot, though Beach FC ended on a high note with a win.
* Pacific North (one berth): Try sorting this out — North Bay FC Wave (15 pts.), California Storm (15 pts.), West Coast Wildkatz (13 pts.), Bay Area Breeze (12 pts.) and Central California Heat (12 pts.) are all still in the running. California Storm, including Sissi and Brandi Chastain on the roster, have one game left. The other contenders have two.
* Northwest (one berth): Not much simpler. Issaquah Soccer Club (5-1-2, 17 pts.) has two games left, with a game in hand and a three-point lead over Timbers-affiliated Portland Rain (4-3-2, 14 pts.). But then the next two teams — Emerald City FC (13 pts.) and Spokane Shine (11 pts.), so they’re all mathematically alive while Portland, which loses the head-to-head tiebreaker with Issaquah, is not.
* Big Sky North (one berth): Salt Lake United (18 pts.), which we think is also in the Open Cup semifinals, is six points ahead of Utah Stazz (12 pts.) with two games to play. Both teams travel to Phoenix to play Phoenix Del Sol (6 pts.) and Phoenix U23 (6 pts.). The two Phoenix teams have played two fewer games but don’t seem to have plans to make them up by playing each other.
* Big Sky South (four berths): FC Dallas (9-1-0, 27 pts.) has lost only to Oklahoma Football Club (7-1-2, 23 pts.). Other information about this division is spotty, but the race for the other two spots seems to be between American Eagles Soccer Club (20 pts.), Houston South Select (18 pts.) and Tulsa Spirit (16 pts.). The top teams all have two games left.
* Midwest (no berths): FC Milwaukee leads the race to nowhere, with a rematch coming up against Madison 56ers. Also in the mix: Ohio Galaxies.
* Northeast Atlantic-North (two berths): Aztec MA (8-1-1, 25 pts.) clinched the top divisional seed and first-round bye in the conference playoffs.
* Northeast Atlantic-Mid (two berths): New York Athletic Club (6-1-2, 20 pts.) has already reached the Open Cup final four and will split its squad if it advances in the WPSL playoffs as well. NYAC beat playoff-bound Syracuse Lady Knights (5-3-2, 17 pts.) to clinch first place in the division.
* Northeast Atlantic-South (two berths): Maryland Capitols FC (7-1-2, 23 pts.) cruised to the division title and just added reinforcements for the playoffs. FC Bucks (4-1-5, 17 pts.) took the second spot.
* Sunshine (four berths): Tampa Bay Hellenic (6-0-0, 18 pts.) has run the table so far and clinched first place. Also in: Florida Sol FC, South Florida Strikers, Team Boca Blast.
* Southeast (one berth): Gulf Coast Texans (7-0-0, 21 pts.) scored 31 and conceded 3.
GAMES TO WATCH (times Eastern and possibly incorrect)
Wednesday, July 11
W-League Central: Laval Comets at Quebec City Amiral, 7 p.m.
W-League Northeast: New Jersey Wildcats at North Jersey Valkyries; 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 14
W-League Southeast: Atlanta Silverbacks at Charlotte Lady Eagles; 5:30 p.m.
WPSL Elite: Western New York Flash at Chicago Red Stars; 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 15
W-League Western: Seattle Sounders Women at Pali Blues, 6 p.m.