Sacramento Gold FC concludes the 2019 NPSL regular season tomorrow, with plenty at stake. Currently in third place in the Golden Gate Conference, Sacramento will clinch a postseason berth with a win, be eliminated with a loss, and wait and see with a draw. A lot can change, depending on what might unfold.
Here's a look at the Golden Gate standings, featuring the teams still alive for the postseason.
With 23 points, FC Davis has clinched place. San Ramon FC is second with 19, while Sacramento is third with 16. Though San Ramon has no more games left, the Gold cannot pass them due to head-to-head results (a 4-1 San Ramon win) being the first tiebreaker. This means, at best, Sacramento can finish third, which would clinch the third and final playoff spot allocated to the conference.
However, the Gold is not the only team with a shot at the postseason. El Farolito is just one point back at 15, and Academica SC has 14 points. All three teams are in action, with one particular matchup having the biggest impact on who gets in.
Sacramento Gold FC vs. El Farolito
More than three months after they began the season against each other (a 1-0 Gold win), Sacramento and Farolito will meet to close out the campaign -- with a playoff spot on the line. While Farolito has home field advantage (and coming off a bye week while riding a two-game winning streak), Sacramento is in a better playoff position. Farolito can only clinch a postseason berth with a win, while the Gold will be in with a win and will not be eliminated right away with a draw. If both teams play to a deadlock, the final spot will come to a game later on in the day.
Academica SC vs. East Bay Stompers
Though in the worst position of the three eligible teams, Academica still has a shot at the playoffs. But that shot cannot connect if Academica loses to or draws the East Bay Stompers, who they beat 4-3 on the road earlier. If Sacramento and Farolito play to a draw, and Academica wins, the Gold and Academica would be tied at 17 points.
The first three tiebreakers (head-to-head results, goals in head-to-head results, and conference wins) would be even, as both teams split 1-0 results and will finish with a 5-4-2 record in Golden Gate play. The decider would then be goal difference. Currently, Sacramento is +5 and Academica is -2. This means Academica would have to also beat East Bay by eight goals in order to leapfrog the Gold. Should the most improbable result happen and Academica win by exactly seven goals, the final playoff spot will be determined by a coin flip.
What each team needs tomorrow:
-- Sacramento: win, draw and Academica loss/draw
-- Farolito: win, draw and Academica loss/draw
-- Academica: Gold/Farolito draw and win by 7+ goals