The View From Q – Breaking Down the Stretch Run(s)

Both of Mass United’s State League squads are hoping to use strong finishes to jump ahead several places in the table. A prospect that excites me so much, I couldn’t resist writing a column. I just love this um, stuff. OK, I’m just going to start now.

The Massachusetts State Soccer League squad has the possibility of finishing as many as four places ahead of the 9th place spot they’ve been mired in most of the season. Having games in hand over the three teams directly ahead of them is what makes this possible. United could add 15 points to their total and, theoretically, end up ahead of all 3 teams directly in front of them. While it’s unlikely all three of those clubs will lose all of their remaining games, we can at the very least announce our intent for next season by taking care of our own end and going out very loudly.

The schedule is a bit uncertain because there are two make up games to be played, one against Boston Ethiopians and the other a rematch with the sure-to-be-remembering-the-7-goal-loss Homenetmen Armenians, but the remaining scheduled games look like this- West Africans United on October 2nd at Greater Lowell Regional Vocation Tech School in Tyngsboro; the only match up against one of the ‘3’, Celtic FC on the 9th at East Boston Memorial Park; and on October 16th the regularly scheduled league finale against Boston Ethiopians, also in East Boston.

The Bay State Soccer League squad, on the other hand, doesn’t need help from anyone but themselves to finish in first and win promotion to the BSSL’s Division 1. (United can also be promoted by finishing second but who wants that? Seriously.) There is a 5 (6, really) team dogfight going on and with 3 of their remaining 5 games against other teams in said dogfight, United, more so than almost any of the other teams, controls its own destiny. Our remaining games breakdown like this- Analog (23 pts.) on October 1st; Rovers FC (16 pts.) on the 8th; FC Americana (0 pts. due to penalties) on the 15th; Middlesex (23 pts.) on the 22nd; and Milford Portuguese Club (22 pts.) on October 29th in the league finale.

If any club has an advantage in this race it would be Middlesex, owners of a game in hand (which must be a make-up game as it’s not on the schedule) on the other four teams in the mix. They also get to fight this battle from the top of the hill, so to speak, already being in possession of first on goal differential. The Mass United-Middlesex matchup on October 22nd could be, in effect, a championship game, as could the final game of the season against Milford Portuguese Club. If we can go into those final two games riding a 4-game winning streak the Division 2 crown may be ours to lose.

There is, however, a dark horse contender in all this that I have yet to mention. Union Brew House has a whopping 7 games remaining and are only 4 points behind United and Boston Gunners. Should the two games in hand turn out to be UBH wins, it could be they, and not any of the teams currently within sight of first, that takes the championship. Sheesh, no wonder leagues hire mathematicians to figure this stuff out.

The bottom line for United, in both leagues, is that nothing other than winning will put us where we want to be. And yes, I fully understand how difficult it is to win 6 in a row, in any sport, but, why the hell not?