NASL Championship Field Is Set

Jaime Chavez's stellar August has Miami FC on top of the Fall Season table and a commanding lead in the Combined standings. Photograph by NASL

nasl logoThe final seeding for The Championship, the North American Soccer League’s four-team postseason tournament, came down to the final minute of the last match of the regular season.

North Carolina‘s Billy Schuler tallied a pivotal equalizer late on Sunday to secure a 2-2 draw against Indy Eleven, locking North Carolina in as the third seed. If not for Schuler’s goal, the New York Cosmos would have taken the third spot. The Cosmos instead must settle for the fourth seed.

As the third seed, North Carolina earned a trip to the West Coast to face the San Francisco Deltas, who claimed the No. 2 spot by taking second place in the Combined Season standings. The expansion side pushed Miami for the Fall Season crown, but ultimately fell short by finishing the year with two draws and a loss. San Francisco edged North Carolina head-to-head with two wins and two draws in the regular season. Kick off between the Deltas and North Carolina is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern at Kezar Stadium.

If the Cosmos hope to repeat as NASL champions, they will have to get past Miami, which captured the top seed after becoming the first team to claim the Spring and Fall Season titles in the same year. Miami may be the favorite as the regular season front-runner, but it will need to be cautious in the single-elimination postseason. The Cosmos are one of only three teams to beat Miami in league action this year.

The Cosmos managed to best Miami twice this year, while they tied once and lost out in the other two. Their last meeting ended 3-3 in Miami when Javier Márquez notched a last-minute equalizer. This is the fifth straight trip to the postseason for the defending champion Cosmos, but in their lowest seeding. Miami will host New York next Sunday at Riccardo Silva Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern.

Both semifinal matches will be carried on beIN Sports.