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Minnesota United blows opportunity, Strikers take control of final playoff spot chase

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's North American Soccer League matches had a big impact on the playoff race, both for the final spot in the party, and for the seeding at the top. All four matches played on Saturday night had major implications on November's championship hunt, with all of FC Edmonton, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and Minnesota United in action.

The big one for fans of the Cosmos involved Minnesota, who could still finish atop the combined table if they won out, and assuming Ottawa Fury FC dropped enough points for the Loons to win the fall season title, could wind up with the top seed as a result. Minnesota lost 3-1 to Indy Eleven FC, however, all but ensuring that the Loons will now finish the season as the number three seed.

Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale did themselves a huge favor, crushing Carolina by a 4-0 score, putting them alone in third on points, with at least one game in hand on each of their closest rivals.

FC Edmonton looked like they had a real chance at making the postseason several weeks ago, but their 3-2 loss to Jacksonville Armada FC all but ensured their season will end once they play their final match.

That leaves just the Tampa Bay Rowdies who could realistically take a spot away from the Strikers, but their 0-0 draw left them needing an awful lot of help to finish in the final four. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, neither side have made highlights available.

Ottawa Fury FC and the San Antonio Scorpions will wrap up the weekend's action on Sunday, bringing the Fury level on matches with the table-topping Cosmos. The boys in green need Ottawa to drop points in one of their final three matches in order to have any chance at finishing top, so we'll all be fans of the defending champs today.