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Birmingham clinches fourth place; Hounds will start playoffs on the road

It’s been a choppy ride for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the last month of the regular season.

They have done little to help themselves toward getting a favorable playoff draw and one that could include a home match, as they’ve endured through a winless streak that has now reached five games following a 1-1 draw against Sacramento Republic FC on Sunday afternoon.

The Hounds (15-8-9, 54 points) have clinched a playoff spot for weeks now, but are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings, where the final order and playoff seeding is very much up in the air from the number two through seven spots.

UPDATE:  10/12/2022 – 10:05 p.m. ET – Birmingham clinches fourth place.

 

Current USLC Eastern Conference Table
  1. Louisville City FC (69 points) – 1 match remaining… HFD (10/15)
  2.  Memphis (65 pts) – 1 match remaining…   @TUL (10/15)
  3.  Tampa (64 pts) –  1 matches remaining….NY (10/15)
  4.  Birmingham (58 pts) – Def Indy Eleven, 3-1, in regular season finale (10/12)
  5. Pittsburgh (54 pts) – 1 match remaining.   OAK (10/15)
  6. Detroit City FC (54 pts) – 1 match remaining.  MIA (10/15)
  7. Miami FC (52 pts) –  1 match remaining.  @DET (10/15)

The Hounds will be hosting the Oakland Roots for the first time ever at Highmark Stadium in the regular season finale while, Detroit and Miami will be facing each other.

Following Wednesday’s result, here are some of the most likely remaining playoff scenarios for the Hounds:

Pittsburgh will secure fifth place and will travel to BIrmingham in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round if… 

  • beat Oakland on Saturday
  • OR draw Oakland AND Miami either plays Detroit to a draw or Miami wins that match.

Pittsburgh will finish in sixth place and will travel to either Tampa Bay or Memphis in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round if… 

  • draw or lose to Oakland on Saturday AND Detroit wins
  • lose to Oakland AND Miami wins

Memphis and Tampa Bay are battling for the second seed heading into the final Saturday.  Memphis, who hold a one-point edge on the Rowdies, can hold off Tampa for the second place spot, if they can defeat Tulsa on the road. However, a Memphis loss or draw could pave the way for Tampa, who play NY Red Bulls II, in the Baby Bulls’ final USL Championship match ever.

Either way, Head Coach Bob Lilley and his team are focused on getting ready for playoff competition and making a deep run in this year’s USL Cup Playoff tournament.

“My focus is on us going to the playoffs.” Lilley said following his team’s 1-0 loss to Western Conference leaders San Antonio on October 1.

“We need to be playing at a high level going into the playoffs.”

Look for more on the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference playoff race and the Riverhounds-Oakland Roots contest in the coming days here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now as we plan to have full coverage from Highmark Stadium on Saturday night.  

 

 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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