Following Oakland Roots 3-3 tie at Sacramento Republic, coach Juan Guerra started our postgame interview by mentioning that their focus is to finish the regular season with at least 45 points. After 21 matches, they currently have 25 points and a 5-10-6 record–meaning they must churn out another 20 points over the last 13 games. The mission continues this Saturday at Laney against fourth-place El Paso Locomotive.
“It hurts but we’ll take a point; there’s 13 games left. I asked the boys that I wanted 21 points in the last 14, tonight we take a point and I put it in my pocket. I tell the guys that we start thinking about the next three home games that we have. In the next 13 matches that we have left, we need 20 points. We want to reach 45 points, we believe that’s the mark that will get us into the playoffs. If we keep playing productively like we did tonight for 13 matches, I believe the boys will get us the points we need to get into the playoffs,” said Guerra following the Sacramento draw.
So how do Roots get the job done? Here is a table of Oakland’s remaining games:
|7/16||El Paso Locomotive||33||H|
|7/23||Las Vegas Lights||25||H|
|8/24||San Diego Jan. 6 Apologists||34||A|
|9/17||New York Baby Bulls||6||H|
Let’s start with teams Oakland is ahead of on points in its remaining fixtures. It’s not much, but Roots currently hold an advantage over Phoenix (play twice), New York, and Hartford. The big surprise at this point of the season is Phoenix Rising’s issues, but provides an obvious must-win. New York and Hartford of the Eastern Conference are not good; with wins, these four matches provide 12 of the 20 sought-after points.
Roots will need to take points from Western Conference teams in the hunt. Oakland is tied for points with Las Vegas, which holds three games in hand. They cannot let Vegas walk out of Laney with anything, a victory brings the tally to 15.
Now the tough teams; San Antonio, Colorado Springs, and San Diego are the top-three in the West and taking points from any of those teams would be welcome. Oakland tied San Diego 2-2 back on April 13 and San Antonio 1-1 on June 18, so Roots have a proven ability to hang as the underdog. To make it interesting, let’s say Roots come away with zero from these three.
Roots have another three Eastern Conference foes on the docket in Detroit away, Birmingham for the Laney finale, and Pittsburgh away. I haven’t been overly impressed by the East, meaning these could all be achievable wins. Of the three, Roots should be most confident against Birmingham for the last home match of the season, so I’m saying that’s three points–now at 18. Detroit at Keyworth will be difficult, but doable, while Pittsburgh for the season-finale could provide an already clinched Riverhounds versus a Roots team on the edge of a playoff berth. Taking one of either will bring Oakland above Guerra’s 20-point threshold to 46 points.
This leaves the immediate match against El Paso at home and Sacramento away on August 27. Oakland tied both sides, 1-1 at El Paso on April 23 and the recent 3-3 draw versus Republic. We touched on RootsPod that the target to reach the playoffs may be closer to 51 points than 45, a win against both teams would hit that 51 point threshold. Sac still hasn’t defeated Roots in its existence, so perhaps that trend continues.
It’s going to be another table-watching, stress inducing run to the season-finale. Can Roots get the job done? The job continues tomorrow versus El Paso and a win would settle a lot of nerves.