FCGP’s Only Remaining Hope: ‘Playoff Spoiler’By: David | July 21st, 2009
Hey! Remember that whole “Must Win Sunday” thing? yeah … that didn’t work out too well.
After losing three “Must Win Sundays” in a row (hosting Athetica, traveling to Chicago, and hosting Boston) … now it’s time for FCGP to play spoiler!
First, let’s dispense with the mathematics professors who would like to espouse that FCGP still have an 11% chance of making the playoffs. No, they do not. From the WPS “Playoff Factoid” updated daily:
FC Gold Pride won’t be officially eliminated if they lose to Los Angeles on Thursday but if they lose and Washington wins, the Pride will be officially eliminated. If Washington ties or loses to Chicago, FC Gold Pride would need to defeat Saint Louis to keep their playoff hopes alive.
They are currently 10 points out of playoff position (with five games to play), and could be mathematically eliminated as early as Sunday.
It’s a shame that they won’t make the playoffs. But someone has to miss out on the post-season playoff party, and it might as well be the the team that hasn’t won a game since that glorious road victory on May 16.
So, let’s look on the bright side!
They can keep some other teams from making the playoffs … and they could possibly avoid the ultimate humiliation of letting the Los Angeles Sol sweep their four games (netting all 12 points available) and clinching the WPS regular-season championship right here on our pitch on Thursday.
Here’s how FCGP can leave their mark on the 2009 Inaugural Season, starting from the top of today’s WPS Table:
- As mentioned, they can beat the LA Sol on Thursday. The Sol only need one more point to clinch, so beating them would serve no practical purpose, other than delaying the inevitable coronation of the league’s beloved Los Angeles franchise, who hosted the historic Inaugural Game, has the historic shut-out streak, the historic first best goal differential, owns the historic best player in the world, got the first pick in the historic first international draft (although history will reflect they didn’t actually “pick” first), and and will be the historic regular season champion.
- Having given Boston three points last Sunday, it’s hard to see how FCGP can spoil the Breakers’ playoff hopes. In fact, the only way they can impact the Breakers would be by losing to the teams chasing Boston for the second seed. So, I guess you can’t rule that out completely.
- Saint Louis Athletica. So FCGP could win in St. Louis on Sunday on national television. It’s their last appearance on TV this season (having been screwed out of the August 9 slot in favor of Boston versus LA), so they might as well make it count. Plus by beating St. Louis, they could at least drop Lori Chalupny’s team a notch or two.
… and speaking of Chalupny, did anyone notice that she’s back practicing with her team, even though all of the other US Womens National Team call-ups are getting ready for their game against Canada? Her grandfather died this week, so she left the USWNT to be with her family … and to practice with her team. Um, is that how you would grieve?
The Pride wrap up their Cursed Inaugural Season against St. Louis on August 9. The last game of the season might mean something to St. Louis, in which case we can crush their hopes of … something. Check back.
- Win the final battle of the non-geographical FC-monikered teams, against Sky Blue FC in New Jersey on Wednesday, August 4. You probably weren’t planning on skipping work to catch the team’s last road game, but if you do – to follow it live on Twitter at 4:00 pm – you can cheer for SBFC to lose and tighten the race with the Washington Freedom.
- Deny the Washington Freedom a playoff bid. Here’s where it gets fun. The Pride host the Freedom on August 1 (a rare Saturday matinee in the Bay Area). The last time DC was here, the Pride was hosting Abby Wambach’s WPS coming-out party, losing on the last play of the game on that week’s questionable call by a referee. It would be nice to turn the tables.
- Disrupt the Red Stars’ Last Stand. As American Soccer News points out, this Sunday brings high drama to Toyota Park, where the Chicago Red Stars have to beat the Washington Freedom to hold out any hope of catching that fourth playoff spot. It’s unlikely the Pride can actually play a role in Chicago’s demise, but if the Red Stars hang in there, the Pride can ruin their efforts by losing to SBFC and the Freedom if necessary. See! We can play spoiler no matter what!
- FC Gold Pride … Make the playoffs? …. Well, there’s always next year! … Actually one thing FCGP can do in their remaining three home games is exorcise the demons from Buck Shaw Stadium. The lovely pitch on the campus of Santa Clara University is home to the last place team in WPS and the second-worst in MLS, and needs a dramatic dose of offense to make the place exciting again. Score some goals!
Side Note: The Pride could back away from the historic precipice before even playing on Thursday. If St. Louis fails to beat Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, the Sol can back into (or technically, “clinch”) the championship on Wednesday.