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Playoff Picture Coming Into Focus
Battles for regular-season title, playoff positions

USL PRO News Release

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. – The USL PRO Regular Season Championship, and the final place in the 2013 USL PRO Playoffs, will be decided this week as the season concludes with 10 games in its final four days. The Richmond Kickers and Orlando City will battle for top spot in the standings, while the Dayton Dutch Lions, VSI Tampa Bay FC and the Wilmington Hammerheads will battle for the final ticket to the postseason.

Orlando City has claimed the regular season title the past two seasons, but Richmond sits on top of the standings as the two teams prepare to meet on Wednesday night at City Stadium (7 p.m. ET, USLNation.com). The teams are tied at 51 points, but the Kickers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Lions after their 2-0 win at the Florida Citrus Bowl last month.

Either the Kickers or Lions would claim the regular-season title with a victory on Wednesday night, since Orlando would hold an unsurpassable 16 wins should it defeat Richmond on its home turf. Total wins is the second tiebreaker in USL PRO, and would enter play with a Lions victory, leaving the season series between the teams even at three points apiece.

A draw Wednesday night keeps the Kickers in the driver’s seat, and leaves them needing victory against Pittsburgh on Saturday night. Should Richmond slip up against the Riverhounds, however, the door would open for Orlando to move into first with a victory against Charlotte, also on Saturday night.

The competition will be just as fierce for the final place in the playoffs, with the Dayton Dutch Lions sitting in prime position to advance to the postseason for the first time. The Dutch Lions need a win against Harrisburg in their final game of the season to complete the postseason field, and could finish as high as sixth should other results go their way.

Should the Dutch Lions lose, however, the Wilmington Hammerheads’ unlikely run to the postseason could be realized. Wilmington has two games remaining, and would overtake Dayton for eighth place with a pair of victories, and either a loss or a draw for the Dutch Lions.

The Hammerheads’ contest on Wednesday night at Legion Stadium against Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. ET, USLNation.com) holds the key to not only their playoff fortunes, but also those of VSI Tampa Bay FC. Tampa Bay faces a must-win against Charlotte on Friday night if it is to advance to the playoffs in its first season, but also needs a loss by Dayton, and a win and a draw by Wilmington in order for the pieces of the puzzle to fall together.

Should all three teams finish with 34 points, Tampa Bay would advance via the third tiebreaker, goal difference, unless the Hammerheads were to set a new USL PRO record for margin of victory in wins against either Pittsburgh, or Antigua Barracuda FC on Saturday night. A loss by Wilmington in either of its contests would send Dayton into the playoffs, as the Dutch Lions hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against VSI Tampa Bay.

Stay up to date with all of the action in the final week of the USL PRO regular season through the league’s free online streaming service, USLNation.com, and also follow the race for the playoffs via Twitter (@USLPRO), Facebook and Google+ for live updates from every game, plus news, previews and recaps of all the action.

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