Memphis 901 FC vs. El Paso Locomotive preview: regular season home finale
Memphis 901 FC entered their penultimate home game against the Birmingham Legion last Saturday having already clinched a playoff spot but still looking to finish in the top four of the Eastern Conference and thereby earn a home playoff game. Birmingham meanwhile, was desperately needing a win to make sure they stayed in the thick of the playoff picture with very few games remaining. Overall it wasn’t a particularly good game from either team as 901 FC took the lead on a penalty and then Birmingham scored two quick goals at the start of the second half and got all three points to keep their playoff hopes intact.
For Memphis, the loss to Birmingham was not nearly as disastrous as it could have been. Heading into that game they were in 4th place in the East, tied with Louisville City on 49 points but ahead on both goal difference and the head to head tiebreaker. Fortunately for 901 FC, Louisville City lost as well meaning that both teams are still on 49 points and Memphis still leads on goal difference and head to head. With two games left in the season there are still mathematically four teams alive for that fourth spot: Memphis and Louisville each with 49 points, Indy Eleven down in sixth place with 45 points, and Birmingham with 43 points. Fortunately, the only one of those other three teams that has a better goal difference that 901 FC is Indy Eleven, who has not beaten Memphis in either of their two games this year.
901 FC’s next game should see them get an absolute home run effort by their opponent. The El Paso Locomotive come into this game, much like Birmingham last Saturday, desperately needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. And much like Birmingham, they too sit in 4th place in their respective conference. With 44 points it could very well come down to the final game for the Locomotive as just behind them in 8th place is the Oakland Roots with 42 points. Most interestingly is that only one of the twelve Western Conference teams has been officially eliminated from playoff contention (that would be the Las Vegas Lights). The three teams on the outside looking in that are still alive are Monterey Bay FC in 9th with 41 points, New Mexico United in 10th with 40 points (and also 901 FC’s final opponent of the regular season) and finally Rio Grande Valley in 11th place, also with 40 points. El Paso is also getting hot at the right time as they are unbeaten in five of their last six games.
Despite there only being two games left in the regular season, there is still plenty left to be decided for 901 FC and their final two opponents. It all sets up for what should be an enthralling finish to the regular season.
Date: Saturday, October 7, 2023
Venue: AutoZone Park
City: Memphis, Tennessee
Time: 7pm CT
TV: WMC 5.2, ESPN+
Tickets: Single Game Tickets
Memphis 901 FC: 4th in East (49pts, clinched playoff spot)
El Paso Locomotive: 7th in West (43pts)
Date: Friday, October 13, 2023
Competition: USL Regular Season
Match-Up: Memphis 901 FC @ New Mexico United
Venue: Isotopes Park
City: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Time: 8pm CT
TV: WMC 5.2, ESPN+
Photo Credit: D’Angelo Connell Photography
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