What’s Next to Clinch in FC Cincinnati’s Playoff Run?

The Orange & Blue clinched the first USL playoff berth; what’s next for the team to secure a home playoff match in their run towards the 2018 USL Cup?

Image: Joe Craven

Possibly you were out of tune this Labor Day weekend, but the Orange & Blue clinched a playoff berth with their 2-1 comeback victory Saturday. FCC is the first team in the conference and league to punch their postseason ticket. Talk about style points, what a way for Fanendo Adi to deliver his first Orange & Blue goal. Game winner…playoff clincher! Let’s continue our recent series postulating about FCC’s run to the 2018 USL Cup.

Now that the Orange & Blue have earned a playoff spot, what is next? FC Cincinnati’s next water level mark is to secure a top four Eastern Conference position. With this achievement, FCC would be guaranteed to host a first-round match at Nippert the weekend of October 20th. The same mechanism applies that did to clinch a playoff berth. For a top four placement, FCC’s point total will need to exceed the max points possible for 12 other teams in the East.

Eastern Conference Table

Of note, several things jump out by looking at the table above (ranked by ppg):

  • The “(x)” symbolizes the Orange & Blue playoff clinch. Thank you USL for coming around and agreeing with our math.
  • FCC’s 18 wins matches the 2017 USL Cup champion Louisville City’s regular season win total, in five less matches played.
  • The lead at the top has grown to a season high 13 points as Louisville, Pittsburgh and Charleston have all failed to win a match over the past few games.
  • FCC can finish no lower than 7th place in the East (nine teams are below 60 max points as highlighted in green).
  • FC Cincinnati can clinch a home playoff match this week, as there are four teams in the top four clinch zone (highlighted in yellow), meaning a possible six point swing between Cincinnati’s current 60 points and each team’s maximum points possible:
    • Charleston Battery (6 point differential)
    • Indy Eleven (3 points)
    • Nashville SC (2 points)
    • New York Red Bulls II (1 point)

In order to clinch that coveted home playoff match this week, FCC can simply win at Louisville City FC (+3 points automatically jumps Indy*, Nashville SC and the Baby Bulls), OR FCC can tie Louisville Saturday and need the following two results to both occur:

  • Indy and NYRB II draw Wednesday
  • Nashville draws or loses at the Dead Whales in North Carolina Saturday

Oh, that asterisk above means that we already own the first playoff tie-breaker over Indy, which is total wins in league games. In addition, if the Orange & Blue earn just 12 points in the next 7 games, they will clinch the Eastern Conference (as LCFC’s max total points are 71).

Fortunately, the mindset of the team and coach is onto the next game and final prize of the USL Cup. Listen to Alan Koch speak about enjoying the win versus Pittsburgh, but also moving onto the next game.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press as we continue to provide all of your 2018 FC Cincinnati regular season coverage and unveil possible first round playoff matches in the coming weeks.

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