Week 20 – Playoffs Come Early

Last week’s action clearly showed that the playoffs have come early.  In 3 matches, only 2 goals were scored as everyone was playing more conservatively.  The consequences of week 20 will be good for some and not so good for others.

Winners of their last 2, Nightmares are all of a sudden in the mix for 2nd place.  With a win they’ll be within 3 points of their opponents Red Bulls who currently sit in 2nd place.  Red Bulls have lost 2 in a row by an identical scoreline of 1-0.  You can’t win if you don’t score and a loss this week not only ends the hope for 1st place, but puts them in a 3-way battle for 2nd.  Let’s all hope that doesn’t happen..

Vaders and Emeralds have both made it clear that they prefer to face anyone other than Direwolves in the quarter-finals.  While the rest of us laugh and act like we’re not offended, these comments cut deep.  Vaders currently have a 1 point lead and with a win could reach as high as 4th, depending on the Nightmares-Red Bulls result.  Emeralds will be looking to St. Patrick to bring them some luck on Wednesday night.

Although Direwolves will almost certainly finish in 1st place, they still have to play out the season.  Lightning will not want to be the team that let them have it.  With the best goal differential in the league, they should feel confident heading in.  Similarly to Red Bulls, a win keeps them in the hunt for 1st but a loss could mean a battle for 4th.  Direwolves can just about even the Barons of last season in terms of point per game, If they win all their remaining games.  They can also finish with the best defensive record of all time.

I’d like to end with a friendly reminder that this is a fun league.  Being competitive is a good thing and it makes us all better players – but let’s keep the physical play down.  I just got off the phone with Barcelona’s chief scout and he will NOT be in attendance.  Also, when the referee misses a call, it’s fine to voice your displeasure but keep it clean and then move on with the game.

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