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First-place Union Omaha clinches USL League One playoff spot

First-place Union Omaha clinches USL League One playoff spot

Dirk Chatelain and Jon Nyatawa are joined by Union Omaha head coach Jay Mims for a conversation on year one for the Owls, his journey coming back to Omaha and embracing diversity in soccer and life.  Jon and Dirk also look at how the college basketball season will try to exist amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Union Omaha is the first team to clinch a spot in the USL League One playoffs.

The Owls sit in first place in the 12-team league. The top six qualify for the playoffs at the end of the regular season.

Union Omaha still has four matches left, but it knows it will be competing for a championship. With 44 points, the Owls are 11 points ahead of seventh-place North Texas, which can finish with a maximum of only 42 points following its loss over the weekend.

Union Omaha is in its second season of existence but has already proved to be one of the league's best teams.

The Owls finished in second place last season. Because of the pandemic, there were no playoffs last year, and instead there was supposed to be a championship match between the top two teams. Union Omaha was set to face Greenville Triumph for that title, but COVID issues canceled the match, awarding Greenville the championship.

This year USL League One — the third tier of professional American soccer — is using a six-team playoff format for the first time in its history. The top two teams in the standings will receive a bye to the semifinals.

The Owls could potentially clinch that first-round bye this weekend with a win over last-place North Carolina FC and a Greenville Triumph loss to New England Revolution II. Union's match is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Werner Park.

USL League One standings

1. Union Omaha: 44 points (24 matches played)

2. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: 43 (25)

3. Greenville Triumph SC: 38 (25)

4. Richmond Kickers: 37 (25)

5. New England Revolution: 34 (24)

6. FC Tucson: 33 (24)

7. North Texas SC: 33 (25)

8. Toronto FC II: 32 (25)

9. South Georgia Tormenta FC: 30 (26)

10. Forward Madison FC: 29 (23)

11. Fort Lauderdale CF: 28 (26)

12. North Carolina FC: 19 (24)

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