As the USL Championship playoffs approach, Rising sits in prime position to make another postseason appearance. The team has four games remaining on the schedule and currently occupies the top spot in Group B with an 8-2-2 record. With the top two teams in each group qualifying for playoffs, Rising's 26 points have the team two-games clear of second-place San Diego Loyal. Phoenix also has a game in hand.
Loyal (19 points) are in a tight race for the second playoff position with LA Galaxy II (18), and Orange County SC (18). Los Dos also have a match in hand on Rising while Orange County is even in games played. Rising’s magic number to clinch a playoff position is now just five points. The magic number for clinching first place in the group is only eight points. Rising could clinch a playoff this Saturday, but need to wait another week to officially clinch first place in the group and a first-round home match.
Keeping the rest of Group B at bay is important but Rising is also fighting for a chance to get the overall No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and secure home field throughout the Western Conference playoffs. As of today, Rising has the second-most points in the conference behind only San Antonio (27 points). Phoenix sits just two points ahead of its first-round playoff opponent - Reno 1868 FC or Sacramento Republic FC. Both have 25 points. Road to the Western Conference Final Rising’s road to the Western Conference final will not be an easy one. If the season ended today, Rising would host Sacramento Republic FC, who is currently second in Group A. Assuming the higher-seeded teams win, Rising would then have to host Group A leader Reno 1868 FC and then have to travel to San Antonio for the Western Conference Finals. So, while winning group B may seem like a forgone conclusion based on the numbers, there is still plenty to play for in the final four matches of the regular season.
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