Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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Minnesota United FC plays at Edmonton tomorrow afternoon at 3pm, about which more tomorrow. In the meantime, though, their chance at the spring league championship could be over by 8pm tonight.
Carolina and Atlanta kick off at 6pm tonight, in Carolina, and if the RailHawks win - potentially thanks to a late goal or two, which is becoming something of a Carolina specialty - they will clinch the league title. Minnesota needs an Atlanta win, or a draw, to stay mathematically alive.
Even if Atlanta does get a result, San Antonio - which kicks off in Fort Lauderdale at 6:30 - could put a damper on things, as well. Minnesota and San Antonio are tied in the standings, with Minnesota one goal ahead on goal differential; If the Scorpions put four or five past Fort Lauderdale and blow out the Strikers, United could have three teams to climb over in the standings, not two.
My gut feeling is that it'll be over tonight. Carolina is perfect at home this year in the league, with five wins from five games; they even won all three of their home games in the US Open Cup, including two against Major League Soccer teams. Atlanta has been good, but not good enough that they're the pick to break that deadlock.
It's worth nothing, though, that even if the title race is over, there's still something to play for. If the same team wins both the first and second half title this year, the championship game will be between that team and the team that has the most points across both halves of the season. So there is, in some ways, a second place to play for - but it's definitely a consolation prize.
Both games will be live on nasl.com tonight, if you're interested.
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