SAFC Clinches Playoffs, What’s Still to Play For

San Antonio FC clinched a spot and the top spot in Group D for the 2020 USL Championship playoffs with a chance to make it to the USL Cup last Wednesday night with a 3-2 victory over local rival Austin Bold. While SAFC has accomplished it’s objective of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2017, there is still much to play for.

San Antonio FC is still in the running for the best record not only in the Western Conference but the entire USL Championship. SAFC is currently tied with Tampa Ray Rowides for the most points in the league. SAFC holds the edge with one less loss, a match in hand and a better goal differential. Reno 1868 is currently only two points behind SAFC for the most points in the Western Conference but Reno has a match in hand and could surpass SAFC if they win out or SAFC stumbles down the stretch.

Race for the Western Conference top spot:

  1. San Antonio FC – 13 Matches 9 Wins 3 Draws 1 Loss 30 Points
  2. Reno 1868 – 12 Matches 9 Wins 1 Draw 2 Loss 28 Points
  3. Phoenix Rising – 12 Matches 8 Wins 2 Draws 2 Loss 26 Points

Race for Home Field Advantage for the USL Cup Final:

  1. San Antonio FC – 13 Matches 9 Wins 3 Draws 1 Loss 30 Points
  2. Tampa Bay – 14 Matches 9 Wins 3 Draws 2 Loss 30 Points
  3. Pittsburgh – 13 Matches 9 Wins 1 Draw 3 Loss 28 Points
  4. Reno 1868 – 12 Matches 9 Wins 1 Draw 2 Loss 28 Points
  5. Phoenix Rising – 12 Matches 8 Wins 2 Draws 2 Loss 26 Points
  6. Louisville City – 13 Matches 8 Wins 2 Draws 3 Loss 26 Points

Rest the Starting XI or go for glory?

How important is finishing in the overall top spot for Alen Marcina and company? Should he consider resting his starters the last three matches of the regular season, by reducing minutes or sitting them out for a match or two?

The advantage would be to rest his starters and let them get a chance to recover any nicks or minor injuries they may have and give some valuable time to the bench players who are starving for minutes. It would give the bench valuable in game experience for the playoffs, if they are called upon.

The disadvantage is SAFC could lose the potential for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If SAFC makes it to the USL Cup Final, would they want to chance it playing in Pittsburgh in late Ocotber or early November. Also resting the starting XI too much could take them out the sync they have been in all year.

If the Playoffs Started Today

If the playoffs started today (09.18.2020), San Antonio FC would face New Mexico United in the first round and face the winner of El Paso Locomotive v FC Tulsa at home in the Conference Semi-Final.

The final match of the 2020 regular season for San Antonio FC is October 4th at Austin Bold. The playoffs begin October 8-11, the Conference Semi-finals will be held October 15-18, Conference Finals October 22-25 and the USL Championship final is TBD.

https://www.uslchampionship.com/race-to-the-playoffs

https://www.lagalaxy.com/post/2020/09/14/usl-championship-confirms-2020-postseason-structure

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