Another week in the South Atlantic has passed by! Let’s see where it leaves us in a fascinating battle for supremacy and a national playoff place.
- NC Fusion U23, +0 from last week (W 4-1 over Wake). Another quality win for Fusion, who took the opportunity to distance themselves a bit from a West Virginia team who was off this week. Fusion are currently the team to beat and have a five-point cushion. Their destiny is in their hands!
- West Virginia United, +0 from last week (no match). United were off this week, but they’ve still got a bitter taste in their mouths from their most recent match, a 3-0 loss to Otters. They’re still very much in the race for the title, so there’s plenty to play for in the remaining few weeks of the regular season.
- Lionsbridge FC, +0 from last week (W 2-0 over VA Beach). This was a quality win and a clean sheet at home against a side that can do damage. With the three points, Lionsbridge are into second place for now. If Fusion are to falter a couple of times, LFC will be in position to feud with WVU for the number one spot.
- Tri-Cities Otters, +0 from last week (W 3-0 over Tobacco). Another big win for the Johnson City-based Otters. They’ve been churning out large wins of late and their home stadium of TVA Credit Union Ballpark has been a fortress in the last few matches. An outside shot at a national playoff spot may be a stretch, but a top-half finish is a very reasonable expectation right now.
- Virginia Beach United, +0 from last week (L 0-2 to Lionsbridge). Beating Lionsbridge away from home is a tough ask, but it was also a great chance for the beach boys to get back on track against their in-state rivals. VA Beach now drop to fifth and will have to best a streaking Otters team to find their way back to the top half of the table. As for national playoff hopes, those can essentially be kissed goodbye.
- Tobacco Road FC, +1 from last week (L 0-3 to Otters). Tri-Cities are on fire lately, so it’s not an atrocious loss this week. That said, 3-0 never looks good and Tobacco Road are well off the pace of the top half of this division. They just blew a big chance to get themselves back into the top four conversation.
- Wake FC, -1 from last week (L 1-4 to Fusion). Wake are struggling in a big way defensively. They leaked four-plus goals for the second straight match, and their back line issues are keeping them from any top-half ambitions.
- North Carolina FC U23, +0 from last week (no match). NCFC are still in last and aren’t likely to go anywhere else, in all honesty.
Now that the mostly unchanged rankings are visible, let’s see what the current standings show us:
- NC Fusion U23 – 24 pts, +27 GD. Form: LDWWW
- Lionsbridge FC – 19 pts, +12 GD. Form: WWLWW
- West Virginia United – 19 pts, +8 GD. Form: DWWLW
- Tri-Cities Otters – 10 pts, +6 GD. Form: WLDWW
- Virginia Beach United – 9 pts, -3 GD. Form: LLDLL
- Wake FC – 8 pts, -9 GD. Form: LWDLL
- Tobacco Road FC – 7 pts, -18 GD. Form: LLWLL
- North Carolina FC U23 – 4 pts, -23 GD. Form: LWDLL
Here’s what’s on tap for the league as mid-table clubs jostle for position and the top three start staking their final claims to the South Atlantic throne.
next week’s fixtures
1 ) Fusion v 4) Otters
Prediction: NCF 3 – 2 TCO
2) West Virginia v 3) Lionsbridge
Prediction: WVU 1 – 1 LFC
4) Otters v 5) VA Beach
Prediction: TCO 1 – 1 VBU
7) Wake v 6) Tobacco
Prediction: WFC 0 – 1 TRFC
1 ) Fusion v 8) NCFC
Prediction: NCF 3 – 0 NCFC
2) West Virginia v 5) VA Beach
Prediction: WVU 2 – 1 VBU
4) Otters v 3) Lionsbridge
Prediction: TCO 2 – 1 LFC
What a week for the top four! Otters face three foes in one week, West Virginia goes up against Lionsbridge and VA Beach, and Lionsbridge gets both West Virginia and Otters. The winner of this week will put themselves in great position to challenge for the title.
Until then, thanks for reading and support local soccer!