Nashville SC took care of business on Saturday, beating Atlanta United 2, 3-0, to move — temporarily — into first place in USL Championship Eastern Conference standings.
Nashville currently sit at the top of the table with 67 points after winning four straight to close out its regular season.
This sets the stage for the Riverhounds SC, currently with 65 points, needing a win at Birmingham on Sunday to claim the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Most of the remaining playoff spots in the Eastern Conference were sorted out on Saturday.
Charlotte Independence, the Hartford Athletic, and North Carolina FC all produced late winners to defeat Ottawa Fury FC, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Saint Louis FC respectively, dealing blows to all three’s playoff standings. NCFC’s win and Ottawa’s loss means the former enter the Play-In Round as the No. 7 seed, while Ottawa will enter as the No. 8 seed.
St. Louis’ loss also clinched a playoff spot for the Hounds’ opponent on Sunday, Birmingham Legion FC. This now sets up an interesting scenario where Birmingham may consider resting numerous key players, as they will have to play on Wednesday night in a play-in match. If they win, they’ll clinch the 9th seed, and travel to Ottawa. With a loss on Sunday, Birmingham will travel to North Carolina.
In other results, Loudoun United FC outscored New York Red Bulls II in a 10-goal affair that saw the hosts close out the regular season with a 7-3 win at Segra Field, pushing the Baby Bulls, who were once in first place, to a sixth place finish.
Hard-charging defending USL champions, Louisville City FC clinched a home playoff game for the fifth straight season thanks to Hartford and Loudoun United’s results on top of a 2-1 win over Memphis 901 FC at AutoZone Park.
The Charleston Battery punched its ticket to the postseason with a 5-1 win over Bethlehem Steel FC in the club’s final game at MUSC Health Stadium.
The Eastern Conference quarterfinal match-ups that are set for next weekend include: Indy Eleven hosting NY Red Bulls II and Louisville City FC hosting the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
All of the other playoff match-ups will still be determined by what happens in Birmingham on Sunday.
||Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC||33||18||4||11||27||65||
||Louisville City FC||34||17||8||9||17||60||
||Tampa Bay Rowdies||34||16||8||10||28||58||
||New York Red Bulls II||34||17||11||6||23||57||
||North Carolina FC||34||16||10||8||20||56||
||Ottawa Fury FC||34||14||10||10||7||52||
||Birmingham Legion FC||33||12||14||7||-15||43||
||Saint Louis FC||34||11||14||9||-1||42||