The race for the final spot in the North American Soccer League playoffs is down to just two. The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers are now separated by just one point, following an exciting Saturday evening which ended the hopes of three more clubs.
Fort Lauderdale were in the driver's seat entering Saturday, and a win combined with the Rowdies dropping points could have locked up fourth place with a week to go. The Strikers dug themselves a hole, however, falling behind Indy Eleven FC by a pair of goals, before eventually losing 2-1.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rowdies managed a tough 1-0 victory, moving them one point ahead of the Strikers with just one match to play. The Rowdies now need a win in their final match next Saturday to make Fort Lauderdale's finale meaningless, though they'll have a tough test against the New York Cosmos at Hofstra.
Saturday's final match saw Minnesota United defeat the Atlanta Silverbacks by a 1-0 score, a match which ultimately meant nothing following the Tampa bay win. The Minnesota victory does move them into second in the combined table for the moment, though they'll travel to either New York or Ottawa regardless.
For the Rowdies, the path to the playoffs is simple. Win in New York, and they're in. With a draw, they'll need Fort Lauderdale to drop points in their finale, and should the Cosmos defeat the Rowdies, Any Fort Lauderdale points would get the Strikers into the post-season. Regardless of whether or not it means anything for the Cosmos, the final regular season match at Hofstra is going to be a big one.