Watch the standings: crippling playoff race for Angel City FC

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Angel City FC currently sits 7th in the NWSL regular season, and with the end of the campaign approaching, what does their road to making the playoffs look like in their inaugural season?

The good news is that ACFC are really in the running at this stage, something expansion teams can’t normally tell at this late stage. Better yet, for now, they are in control of their destiny by securing a playoff spot, even if they are not currently in the playoff spots.

The top six teams will qualify for the playoffs, so Angel City needs to drop at least one team above them in the standings for business to end the season. But again, they have the ability to do it all on their own, which is the best case scenario if you’re a team below the playoff line.

Here is the current point situation for teams around the playoff bubble:

It is, of course, pretty, quite tight. I think Kansas City will qualify for the playoffs based on the blistering form they’ve had for months at this point, but everyone is at least in contention, including the Courage, even if they’re at drift away from the rest of the fighter squad.

That brings me to where Angel City has an element of control here, in that they have a game in hand over every team around them right now, except for North Carolina. The Courage, in fact, have two games in hand on most teams and one on Angel City (ACFC’s game in hand, in fact, will be against North Carolina in September in Cary). So if North Carolina wins this game against Angel City, plus their other game in progress, they’ll be in on it, and if Angel City beats the Courage again, they’ll help everyone keep North Carolina at bay. . And if ACFC beat Courage, they’ll overtake Reign and Red Stars when the games are tied.

But it’s not just about this one game, Angel City still have seven games to play in the regular season, so around a third of their remaining squad. A lot of things can happen – they could win and really climb up the leaderboard, they could stumble mightily and slowly slide out of the count, or they could do what they’ve been doing this season, instead staying in the middle with a mix of results. The latter option seems the most likely, but time will tell, of course.

Here is the upcoming roster and current standings position of upcoming teams (remember, Top 6 teams will qualify for the playoffs this season):

  • Saturday August 28: @ Gotham FC (12th place)
  • Sunday, September 11: @ Houston Dash (3rd)
  • Wednesday, September 14: @ North Carolina Courage (9th)
  • Saturday September 17: @ San Diego Wave FC (2nd)
  • Wednesday, September 21: vs. Washington’s Spirit (11th)
  • Sunday September 25: vs Racing Louisville (10th)
  • Sunday, October 2: @ Chicago Red Stars (6th)

There’s no easy game in the NWSL in 2022, but it’s a pretty favorable run-in? Angel City faces four teams below the playoff line, three of them already quite well out of playoff contention this season, plus the team currently directly above them in the standings on the final day, so this could be a de facto playoff game if the standings remain fairly similar. But overall not a bad break from games.

On the other hand…five of the last seven games are on the road, and while ACFC has a respectable 2-2-2 road record so far this regular season, that mark will certainly be put on. challenged during the season. stretch. Additionally, two of the remaining six weeks of the regular season are double-game weeks for Angel City, so either the players need to stay sharp somehow or Freya Coombe will need to rotate her XI.

But the point remains: for now, Angel City remains in control of its playoff destiny. If they can win, starting with this weekend’s game against Gotham FC, then they will strengthen their case and continue to control their destiny. If they don’t take three points? They will have to get other results and depend on other teams to progress and make the playoffs, and that will be more risky. But we’ll see how it goes for the home stretch of the Angels.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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