2023 W League Playoff: Central Conference Outlook
4 teams from the central conference: Great Lakes Division, Heartland Division, & Valley Division. The top teams from each division gained automatic playoff spots. The 2nd best team from Great Lakes & Heartland (combined,) obtained the 4th “wildcard” spot. For playoff seeding, the league bases it from points…unless the number of games played are not equal. For the Central Conference, the number of games is not equal. Great Lakes & Heartland played 12 while the Valley played 10. This is in large part due to the number of teams in each division. In the event of unequal number of games, the league will use Points Per Match to seed. The order of that goes as follows: Minnesota Aurora - 3.00 ppm, Indy Eleven - 2.50 ppm, Flint City - 2.50 ppm, & Chicago City - 2.08 ppm.
The road out of the conference will run through Flint. Flint City AFC was declared the host of all 3 conference matchups. The conference semi-finals will take place on July 6th. Minnesota Aurora FC will face off against Chicago City SC at 3pm ET. Indy Eleven will face off against Flint City AFC at 7pm ET. The winners of each game will square off on Saturday, July 8th, time is TBD.
Minnesota and Chicago will be facing off for the 3rd time this season. Minnesota have won both previous matchups by a combined 10-1. Minnesota reached the playoffs last season where they earned a 2nd place finish after falling to South Georgia Tormenta FC in the championship match. This year, Minnesota has continued their dominance in the Heartland division and went 12-0-0 with a GD of +56 and only allowed 4 goals throughout their 12-game season. The playoffs is a new look for Chicago City. They hope to knock off one of the best teams in the league for the first time since last years championship. Chicago finished their regular season 8-3-1 with a GD of +10.
As for the Indy Eleven v Flint City AFC matchup, it will mark the 3rd matchup all time between the 2 clubs. Last season, Indy dominated both matchup with a combined score of 9-1. However, this years Flint City side looks to be a heck of a lot different and better than last year’s inaugural squad. After finishing last year at the bottom of the Great Lakes Division going 2-9-1, Flint turned it around and finished this season 9-0-3 with a GD of +24. Indy Eleven will be looking to forget last years playoff blunders and turn a new leaf this season. After going 8-1-1 this season with a GD of +37, Indy will need to keep their heads on straight and focus on the end goal if they wish to finish what they started this year. Both sides are coming off of impressive wins. Flint finished their season with a 4-1 victory over Midwest United FC & Indy finished their season with a league record 16-0 victory in a rubber match against St. Charles FC.
Following the conclusion of the Conference championship, the central champion and western champion will square off in the league semi-final. The league semi-finals will take place over the weekend of July 16th-18th. Location and times are still TBD. The league championship will take place over the weekend of July 28th-29th and the location and times for that are also TBD. The league has stated that ALL playoff matches will be streamed. At this time, no further information has been given of how to watch the Central Conference playoff matches. Be sure to follow Indy Eleven on all social media platforms to get the most up to date information. Of course, once we find out more information, we will be sure to share it on twitter. So be sure you are following us @cuethesmoke.
To read more from the USL W League on the 2023 playoffs and see the bracket : https://www.uslwleague.com/news_article/show/1278252