It was a busy weekend in the South Central Division but that does not mean that we have any clearer idea as to how this division will conclude. We did get the inevitable clinching of the division by the Milwaukee Wave (16-3) but little else.
As I look at the “race” for the second playoff spot I am reminded of an old Monty Python skit. The skit starts with runners lined up in a track ready to begin a race. The announcer identifies the race as, “the 100 meter race for people with no sense of direction.” The starters gun then goes off and the runners take off in various directions.
That is how I feel watching the Kansas City Comets, St. Louis Ambush, and Orlando SeaWolves attempt to win that second spot. If one did not know better one might even think that nobody really wants the spot as improbably none of the three have been able to get in a roll. The only thing that has been consistent is that all three terms are consistently inconsistent when it comes to getting results.
Take the weekend put forth by the SeaWolves for example. Orlando gets a very big win on the road in a head-to-head match-up with the Comets. Richard Schmermund, he of the platinum blonde hair and booming left foot, picked a great time for his first career hat trick. Then the boys from the land of Disney get dog-walked 13-2 by the Wave. To be fair the second game was a bit of a scheduling nightmare as they played in KC on Friday night and then had an early afternoon start on Saturday in Milwaukee.
The weekend’s festivities left Orlando sitting in fourth place at 7-9, but only a game behind the Comets. Had they lost to Kansas City on Friday they could have been a nearly insurmountable three games back. Yes the SeaWolves have numerous games in hand. But at some point that argument for their playoff aspirations grows weary as they cannot put together any sort of winning steak. Their remaining schedule is also not an easy one. They play the Florida Tropics (5-13) and Comets twice apiece. They also have one remaining game with the Wave. So those five divisional games will be crucial. Yet they also play against the Baltimore Blast, Utica City FC, and a Harrisburg Heat side that has been anything but an easy out.
The Ambush had the best weekend of the three. They went down to Florida and beat the Tropics. St. Louis though only has three games left and two of those are against the Wave who they have not fared well against. The other is against the Comets who they have owned this season. But at 10-11 it would be hard to imagine them slipping into the playoffs without at least one win against the Wave and another win against the Comets, but even that would only get them to 12-12.
I had predicted that 14 wins would be needed to get that second spot in the division, but with the lack of form for all three it’s entirely possible that a 12-12 mark might do the trick.
The Comets had another weekend in which more questions than answers surfaced. They lost at home to Orlando before losing on Sunday in Baltimore. The Comets sit at an unremarkable 9-9 but still seemingly hold their fate in their own hands. That may or may not be a blessing based on their inability to win on a regular basis.
All of the Comets remaining games are within the division. They have two games against each of the sides from the Sunshine State and one against both the Wave and the Ambush. They say you are what your record says you are and if that is true the Comets are merely a .500 team. What remains to be seen is will that be good enough to slip into the post season.
The theater would be more griping if the teams were racing toward the finish line all guns a blazing. But while it maybe lacking in that regards there is no doubting there will be some big games down the stretch and that eventually someone will advance to face the Wave.