Tonight brings Winter Season's final matchday in Portland Futsal's Division Three. Four teams are fighting over the second and final playoff berth in Conference Argentina—a ticket to a madcap one-day tournament against the top teams in Conference Brazil, with bragging rights and promotion to the promised land of the Second Division at stake.
It's hard to imagine a more dramatic conclusion to an excellent, hard-fought season. Let's take a look at the table and tonight's key fixtures.
After seven of eight rounds:
1. SOFA KINGS :: 18 points // +23 goals
2. DUDES FC :: 12 points // +7 goals
3. ALBINA GOING FC :: 12 points // +6 goals
4. LEGION OF DOOM :: 12 points // +3 goals
5. URBANHONKING AC :: 9 points // +1 goal
6. CHEETAHS :: 0 points // -40 goals
As you see, Sports Fans, Sofa Kings are well clear of the pack and have booked their top seed in the Finals. Then comes a Mexican standoff at 12 points featuring my own Albina Going. UrbanHonking is outside looking in, but hasn't been mathematically eliminated. Cheetahs have their name on the Wooden Spoon, and are the only team completely out of contention.
That brings us to tonight's climactic fixture list:
19.25: ALBINA GOING V. CHEETAHS. My beloved Albina Going won two of three while I was "scouting" in Argentina, putting us in prime position to claim a playoff berth. Cheetahs haven't been able to make much of an impression this season, obviously, but they have given some of our closest rivals decent games. This is important because of goal differential—the league caps GD at a maximum +7 per match. Ideally we'd like to come out of tonight with 15 points and a +13 differential, but we're taking nothing for granted.
20.20: SOFA KINGS V. DUDES FC. Arguably the night's glamour match-up, a top-of-the-table reunion of the Round 7 pairing that saw the rampant Sofa Kings win 9-4. The big question comes down to motivation: the Kings have nothing to play for, while the Dudes, a feisty and competitive bunch, have their season on the line. Obviously, I'm hoping the Kings decide to forget the table and conduct an imperious demonstration of their power.
21.15: URBANHONKING AC V. LEGION OF DOOM. A weird one, and possibly irrelevant to the play-off scenario. UrbanHonking may well be eliminated before the match (if we win and/or Dudes win, UHAC is out). Legion needs to win and win big—how big, and whether they still remain in contention at all given the +7 GD maximum, depends on the outcome of the first two games.
So there it is. Drama, my friends. Tickets are free!