CHICAGO (Oct. 3, 2010) – The USSF D-2 Pro League playoff schedule was determined earlier today after the regular season came to a close. Out of the eight teams that advanced to the postseason, five are from the USL Conference and three are from the NASL Conference.
The Rochester Rhinos, the top team in the USL Conference, clinched the regular season crown and No. 1 seed in the playoffs, while the Carolina RailHawks earned the No. 2 seed overall by finishing in first place in the NASL Conference. Austin Aztex finished with the second most points in the league to finish second in the USL Conference and earn the third seed, while the Portland Timbers rounded out the top four by finishing third in the USL Conference.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC took the No. 5 seed after finishing second in the NASL Conference, while the Montreal Impact finished two points behind to earn the No. 6 seed. The NSC Minnesota Stars are the No. 7 seed, while the Puerto Rico Islanders close out the playoff field at the No. 8 seed.
The race for playoff seeding came down to the final weekend of the season with seven of the eight playoff-bound teams still jockeying for position in the postseason. Rochester reached the No. 1 spot after they won 2-1 on Saturday against AC St. Louis and jumped over Austin, who could not manage any points from their last two games, losing 3-1 on Friday evening in Carolina and 2-0 this afternoon in Montreal. Carolina’s win on Friday against Austin forced Vancouver to win by at least three goals against Portland on Saturday afternoon to take first place in the NASL Conference – a feat they would not accomplish as the match ended in a 2-2 draw at Swangard Stadium.
In other Week 26 action, Puerto Rico visited Miami FC on Saturday night and earned a 1-1 draw, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies won an action-packed 6-3 match against Crystal Palace Baltimore to close out their season.
The USSF D-2 Pro League playoffs will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 6, with Montreal hosting Austin at 7:30 p.m. ET at Stade Saputo and Minnesota squaring off against Carolina at 8 p.m. ET at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. The following day, Rochester will face Puerto Rico at 8:05 p.m. ET in Bayamon, while Portland and Vancouver renew their rivalry at 10:30 p.m. ET at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia.
The playoffs consist of a two-leg, aggregate goals series in the first round, semifinals and finals. Away goals will not be considered a tie-breaker in the aggregate goal series. If teams are tied on aggregate goals after the conclusion of the second leg, they will play two 15 minute overtime periods. Penalty kicks will follow overtime if the teams have not broken the deadlock.
USSF D-2 Pro League Playoff Schedule
First Round, Leg 1
|Oct. 6||Montreal Impact vs. Austin Aztex||7:30 p.m.||Stade Saputo; Montreal, Quebec|
|Oct. 6||NSC Minnesota Stars vs. Carolina RailHawks||7:30 p.m.||National Sports Center; Blaine, Minn.|
|Oct. 7||Puerto Rico Islanders vs. Rochester Rhinos||8:05 p.m.||Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel; Bayamon, Puerto Rico|
|Oct. 7||Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers||10:30 p.m.||Swangard, Stadium; Burnaby, British Columbia|
First Round, Leg 2
|Oct. 9||Rochester Rhinos vs. Puerto Rico Islanders||7 p.m.||Marina Auto Stadium; Rochester, N.Y.|
|Oct. 9||Carolina RailHawks vs. NSC Minnesota Stars||7 p.m.||WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.|
|Oct. 9||Austin Aztex vs. Montreal Impact||8:30 p.m.||House Park; Austin, Texas|
|Oct. 10||Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC||9 p.m.||Merlo Field (Univ. of Portland); Portland, Ore.|
Semifinal, Leg 1
Matches will be played on Wednesday, Oct. 13 or Thursday, Oct. 14
Semifinal, Leg 2
Matches will be played on Saturday, Oct. 16 or Sunday, Oct. 17
Final, Leg 1
Match will be played on the weekend of Saturday, Oct. 23
Final, Leg 2
Match will be played on the weekend of Saturday, Oct. 30