One USL-1 playoff spot for final week

September 4, 2007

Going into the final week of the USL First Division season, one remaining playoff spot and the race for the Commissioner's Cup for the regular season championship highlights the action.

Trailing the Charleston Battery and Carolina RailHawks by one point heading into their final game of the season, Miami FC took a must-win decision Sunday night against the Battery in a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 affair.

Stephen Armstrong buried a free kick four minutes in and Aaron King pushed the visitors' lead to 2-0 in the 13th to give Charleston what appeared to be control of the match.

Miami clawed back in nine minutes later when Brazilian World Cup champion Zinho cut the lead to 2-1 in the 22nd minute. Five minutes later Eric Vasquez converted a penalty to put the game on level terms.

The next hour-plus of action proved to be a stalemate as the two battled for advantage in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth, but a lengthy period of stoppage proved critical as Miami saved their playoff hopes with a winner from Nico Mosquera.

Miami now holds a two point advantage over Charleston and Carolina. The Battery have one game remaining while the RailHawks have two. A win by either would eliminate Miami, who holds the tiebreaker against Carolina should the RailHawks only earn two draws to create a tie for eighth. Carolina holds the tiebreaker over Charleston should the two both record a win and finish tied.

At the top of the table, the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact are battling to finish first.

The defending two-time Commissioner's Cup holder Impact downed rival Rochester 2-0 Friday night for the second straight week to pull squarely into the mix to reclaim the title for a third straight campaign. Helping their cause was a surprising 2-1 upset later that night by the Minnesota Thunder over first-place Seattle, who is preparing for their US Open Cup Semifinal clash Tuesday against FC Dallas on USLlive.com.

The following night the Timbers climbed back into first with a late 1-0 win in Carolina over the RailHawks squad fighting for the final playoff berth while also getting set for their US Open Cup Semifinal in Connecticut against the New England Revolution Tuesday. With one game remaining, Portland leads by two points over Seattle, who has two matches left. Montreal, also with two games remaining, is three back of the Timbers.

Defending champion Vancouver clinched its return to the postseason to defend its league championship by opening the week's action Thursday with a narrow 1-0 victory over Minnesota.

The Atlanta Silverbacks moved into commanding position for the fourth spot in the playoff seeding with a 3-1 victory Saturday over Puerto Rico, who now sits three points back along with Vancouver.