With just two weeks remaining in the Professional Arena Soccer League season, one thing is certain: the Chicago Mustangs have clinched the Eastern Division title and the automatic berth to the Ron Newman Cup playoffs. With an undefeated record, Chicago (14-0) were awarded the right to host the finals of the year-end PASL championship on March 15-16.
With the Mustangs earning the automatic berth into the semifinals, three Eastern Division playoff spots are still open. Cleveland Freeze (9-5) and Detroit Waza Flo (8-5) have earned their spot, but the final position is yet to be decided. Both clubs face Cincinnati before a season-ending matchup that could decide who earns the bye into the quarterfinals.
Two teams with losing records will battle for that position with Cincinnati Saints (5-8) currently holding a 1-game lead on Harrisburg Heat (4-9). The schedule advantage could be with Harrisburg, who face Illinois Piasa (1-12) on Saturday then close the season facing Chicago and Central Division leader Dallas Sidekicks. Cincinnati face the top three clubs in the East to finish their season and the Heat hold a tie-breaker advantage by winning two of three head-to-head games against the Saints.
MY PICKS: 1) Chicago 2) Cleveland 3) Detroit 4) Harrisburg
The three Central Division playoff teams are all decided, but the final order of finish is far from complete. Dallas (12-2) currently sit atop with Hidalgo La Fiera (11-2) virtually even. In their one matchup this season, Hidalgo came out on top winning 12-9 in late December. The Sidekicks finish with matchups against a tough Wichita B-52s (6-7) side and Harrisburg. La Fiera will close out against Texas (0-13), Rancho Seco de Saltillo (5-8) and Tulsa Revolution (1-12). Monterrey Flash (12-3) are in, but have dropped two of their past three games. They close their schedule with a home game against Saltillo next week.
MY PICKS: 1) Hidalgo 2) Dallas 3) Monterrey
One spot is still up for grabs in the West, but the defending Ron Newman Cup champion San Diego Sockers (12-3) and the Las Vegas Legends (11-3) are in. The teams split their season series, each winning at home. Both will end their season with games against Ontario Fury (5-8).
The battle for the final spot will be decided between Toros México (7-6) and Bay Area Rosal (7-8). The two play each other in the final game on February 16, but the Toros could clinch this weekend with a victory over the Turlock Express (4-10) or Sacramento Surge (2-12).
MY PICKS: 1) San Diego 2) Las Vegas 3) Toros