Analysis / USL - Bethlehem Steel FC

If Bethlehem defeats Tampa Bay, they make the playoffs

These five points define Bethlehem Steel FC’s 2018 playoff prospects after Tuesday evening’s results:

  • They themselves are the current playoff cutoff line. They hold eighth place with one home game remaining.
  • They need wins Saturday and Sunday from:
    1. First-place Cincinnati at seventh-place Nashville (Sat.),
    2. Second-place Louisville hosting fifth-place Indy (Sat.),
    3. Third-place Pittsburgh at sixth-place New York (Sun.),
    4. Fourth-place Charleston at ninth-place Ottawa (Sat.),
    5. Eleventh-place Charlotte hosting tenth-place North Carolina (Sat.).
    6. Eighth-place Bethlehem hosting eliminated Tampa Bay (Sun.).
  • They have a winnable home game, and they play it the day after many – but not all – have finished. They will know exactly what they need to do.
  • Ottawa is two points behind, has an equal number of wins, and lags by 24 on goal difference.
  • North Carolina is two points behind, has one fewer win, and lags by five on goal difference.
Skip this section to avoid a 525-word outline of the details

SEBA data is from Chris Sherman’s post Wednesday. His material does not reflect Tuesday night’s results.

  1. Bethlehem
    1. Today: 47 points, 8th place
    2. Game left: They host 12th-place Tampa, Sunday, October 14.
      1. SEBA power scores: Bethlehem = 1.464; Tampa = 1.288
      2. PSP observation: Tampa is eliminated, so Bethlehem scoring first, early, would be huge.
    3. Expected additional points: 3
    4. Expected total points: 50
    5. Tie breakers: They have 13 wins, and their goal difference is 14.
    6. Expected finish: Gut says 5th; SEBA = 6.5
  1. Indy Eleven         
    1. Today: 49 points, 5th place
    2. Game left: They visit 2nd-place Louisville Saturday, October 13.
      1. SEBA power scores: Louisville = 1.884; Indy = 1.458
      2. PSP observation: Louisville clinched second place with Pittsburgh’s tie to Atlanta Wednesday night..
    3. Expected additional points: 0
    4. Expected total points: 49
    5. Tie breakers: They have 13 wins, and their goal difference is 4.
    6. Expected finish: Gut says 6th; SEBA = 6.5
  1. NY Red Bulls II
    1. Today: 49 points, 6th place, 1 game left
    2. Game left: They host 3rd-place Pittsburgh, Saturday, October 13.
      1. SEBA power scores: NYRB2 = 1.397; Pittsburgh = 1.708
      2. PSP observation:  Bob Lilley teams get results in big games.
    3. Expected additional points: 0
    4. Expected total points: 49
    5. Tie breakers: They have 12 wins, and their goal difference is 11.
    6. Expected finish: Gut says 7th; SEBA = 7.8
  1. Nashville
    1. Today: 48 points, 7th place
    2. Game left: They host league points record-setter and regular season winner Cincinnati, Saturday, October 13.
      1. SEBA power scores: Nashville = 1.503; Cincy = 2.100
      2. PSP observation: Cincinnati wants to set a record for most consecutive games undefeated.
    3. Expected additional points: 0
    4. Expected total points: 48
    5. Tie breakers: They have 12 wins, and their goal difference is 11.
    6. Expected finish: Gut says 8th; SEBA = 5.9
  1. North Carolina
    1. Today: 45 points, 10th place
    2. Game left: They visit 11th-place Charlotte Saturday, October 13.
      1. SEBA power scores: N C = 1.445; Charlotte = 1.213.
      2. PSP observation:  Charlotte versus NC is a derby, so Charlotte will care even though they are eliminated.
    3. Expected points added: 3
    4. Expected total points: 47
    5. Tie breakers: They have 12 wins, and their goal difference is 9.
    6. Expected finish: Gut says 9th; SEBA = 9.6
  1. Ottawa Fury                        
    1. Today: 45 points, 9th place
    2. Game left: They host 4th-place Charleston, Saturday, October 13.
      1. SEBA power scores: Ottawa = 1.331; Charleston = 1.542
      2. PSP observation: Both teams defend well but score poorly. Ottawa will be utterly desperate, but Charleston will not. Charleston is second in the league in away draws.
    3. Expected additional points: 1
    4. Expected total points: 46
    5. Tie breakers: They have 13 wins, and their goal difference is -10.
    6. Expected finish: Gut says 10th; SEBA = 8.9
Estimates summarized

Estimated Eastern Conference order of finish – places 5 through 10

PLACETEAMESTIMATED
POINTS
WINS
5Bethlehem Steel FC5014
6Indy Eleven4913
7New York Red Bulls II4912
8Nashville SC4813
9North Carolina4713
10Ottawa Fury4613

Consequent playoff matchups (Editor’s note: In the interval we have learned the actual playoff dates and start times. They now appear below.) 

SEEDTEAM SEEDTEAMCONFIRMED
GAME DAY &
START TIME
8Nashville SCat1FC CincinnatiSaturday October 19
4:00 PM
7New York Red Bulls IIat2Louisville City FCSaturday October 20
7:30 PM
6Indy Elevenat3Pittsburgh Riverhounds SCSaturday October 20
7:00 PM
5Bethlehem Steel FCat4Charleston BatterySaturday October 20
7:00 PM

The good

Winning the finale against Tampa would mean Bethlehem finishes better than last season while playing in a tougher conference.  They would travel away to Charleston for the first playoff game, a tough place for anybody to win. But the Battery have not finished strongly with two losses and a draw, and we think they will draw Ottawa in their finale. Bethlehem would have at least a puncher’s chance.

The bad

Draw the Rowdies and they might squeak through into last place. The playoff game would be against league-winner Cincinnati in Cincinnati, probably a day early on Friday night. Cincinnati might be riding a league-record 23-game undefeated streak.

The ugly

Lose, and the only long-shot playoff hope would be that all other results fall perfectly, then a superior goal difference might break a tie for eighth. A more likely result would be missing the playoffs entirely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com