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Orange County SC’s playoff hopes remain alive

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Odds aren’t astronomical, but there’s work to do.

Courtesy of Orange County SC.

Orange County SC are on a two-year streak of reaching the USL Cup Playoffs, and would certainly like to qualify again this year. So how are things looking?

They’re still alive, but it’s not looking great for the moment, frankly. The latest updated odds over at Sports Club Stats (which USL’s website references in their own stories) puts OC’s percentage chance of reaching the postseason at 20.8. Considering they are outside of the Top 8, in 9th place, one would not expect their number to be near 100 at this point, but the weekend results, notably Orange County’s scoreless draw against Real Monarchs (which was a good result in context, just not nearly as good as a win would have been) and 8th-place OKC Energy’s 2-1 win over Sacramento Republic, means Orange County have a lot of work to do to reach the postseason again.

Interestingly, OKC are only two points behind Sacramento, which is in 7th, and just three points back of Tulsa Roughnecks in 6th. With a handful of games to go, they could potentially rise higher in the table, and OC would have to try and beat back one of those other opponents to jump above the playoff line.

On the bright side, Orange County have a game in hand on OKC and two on Sacramento (although they are also playing Republic next week, so it’s a six-pointer). I know the “games in hand” trope was not kind to OCSC this year, as their longest slump corresponded to a spell where they had an absurd number of games in hand, but still, having an extra game to make up ground is way better than not having it, right? If OC win that game in hand, they would be level on points with OKC, and would actually move ahead in the standings on goal difference (the teams are currently level on goal difference, so any win would give OC the swing).

Beyond that, it’s pretty much essential that Orange County pick up as many points as possible in the coming weeks. They’ve got four games left: On the road at Colorado Springs, home vs. Sacramento, home against Reno, and on the road against Vancouver. Two of those teams are ahead of them in the standings, and two are below. But it doesn’t matter who the opponent is at this stage of the season, only that they are getting wins. Their odds aren’t great at the moment, but each win in the final weeks will boost their chances and winning out should get them into the playoffs for a third straight year, simple as that.

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