With four weeks remaining in the United Soccer League regular season, the Western Conference's eight berths in the 2016 USL Playoffs are all up for grabs. Where do the Swope Park Rangers (9-9-6, 33 pts) stack up in the postseason picture? Find out below in the debut of SportingKC.com's weekly "USL Playoff Math" series.
For starters, there are 15 teams in the USL's Western Conference. The top eight make the playoffs and positioning is pivotal for home field advantage. In each round, the higher seed hosts the lower seed in a single-game elimination match. Win and advance.
TABLE AS OF TODAY
|1. Sacramento Republic FC||26||12||6||8||44||3-0-2|
|2. Rio Grande Valley FC||25||11||5||9||42||4-0-1|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2||25||11||6||8||41||1-2-2|
|4. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC||26||11||8||7||40||2-2-1|
|5. OKC Energy FC||24||10||4||10||40||2-1-2|
|6. LA Galaxy II||24||9||6||9||36||0-4-1|
|7. Orange County Blues FC||26||10||12||4||34||2-3-0|
|8. San Antonio FC||24||9||8||7||34||3-1-1|
|9. Swope Park Rangers||24||9||9||6||33||2-1-2|
|10. Real Monarchs||25||9||11||5||32||3-1-1|
|11. Arizona United SC||25||8||11||6||30||2-3-0|
|12. Saint Louis FC||25||7||10||8||29||0-2-3|
|13. Seattle Sounders FC 2||24||7||11||6||27||2-2-1|
|14. Portland Timbers 2||24||7||13||4||25||2-2-1|
|15. Tulsa Roughnecks FC**||25||5||17||3||18||0-5-0|
**Eliminated from playoff contention
WHO'S HOT? WHO'S NOT?
Sacramento Republic FC, unbeaten in seven, and Rio Grande Valley FC, on a nine-game undefeated streak of their own, have vaulted to the top of the Western Conference. On either side of SPR in the standings, San Antonio FC and Real Monarchs have each won three straight.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and LA Galaxy II -- the only MLS owned and operated teams ahead of SPR in the table -- have each fallen off their form as of late, earning a single win between the two clubs in the past month. Closer to Kansas City, cross-state rivals Saint Louis FC have only one victory in their past 10 matches.
SPR PICKS UP PACE
The Rangers came from behind on Saturday to defeat reigning Western Conference champions LA Galaxy II on goals from Christian Duke and Mark Anthony Gonzalez. It marked the club's third straight win at Children's Mercy Victory Field in Swope Soccer Village. Moreover, those three wins came against the three teams directly ahead of SPR in the standings.
RANGERS' PATH TO PLAYOFFS
The Rangers' pursuit of a postseason berth will play out in a frantic finish featuring six matches in the season's final four weeks.
- Wednesday, Aug. 31 vs. San Antonio FC
- Saturday, Sept. 3 vs. Rio Grande Valley FC
- Saturday, Sept. 10 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC
- Sunday, Sept. 18 at OKC Energy FC
- Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Tulsa Roughnecks FC
- Saturday, Sept. 24 vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2
For a club currently one point outside the playoff picture, every match matters. That said, this week's double dip against fellow expansion teams San Antonio FC and Rio Grande Valley FC looms large. Both opponents sit in postseason position. Both matches come at home. Secure your seats, starting as low as $12, online at Ticketmaster.com.