After a sizzling round of playoff action in the USL Championship playoffs, the Eastern Conference Final is set for a decisive match between a team that hadn’t made a Conference Final since 2013 – Charleston – and another that had qualified for every Conference Final from 2015 onward – Louisville. Out West, the reigning champs went down in flames, and a historic juggernaut got back into the title contention mix.
How did we end up with Louisville, Charleston, Sacramento, and Phoenix still standing? Why did the four eliminated clubs crash out? Let’s dig into a fascinating set of playoff matches and find out who’s standing out in the title hunt.
Result: W 3-1 v. San Antonio
Last weekend in the first round out West, Sacramento overloaded the central midfield to beat an aggressive press down the middle and get a win.
Against San Antonio on Friday, the Republic hedged their bets again, pairing Nick Ross and Keko as a narrow pairing behind the striker atop the usual 3-4-3. Ross, who played on the right last week, moved left this time around, targeting the weaker side of the opposing defense. The Republic played more direct passes with the ball than in a typical match, and that compact structure often allowed them to meet second balls more quickly than their guests.