The Independence still have a chance at second place and a first-round bye in the Women's Professional Soccer playoffs, but they are going to need some help.
After losing three consecutive games for the first time this season, the Independence enter Saturday's 8:30 p.m. regular-season finale at California's FC Gold Pride in third place with a 10-9-4 record for 34 points.
FC Gold Pride, 8-0-4 in its last 12 matches, has clinched the regular-season title of the seven-team league and has earned a bye into the Sept. 26 championship game, which will be played on its home field. The Boston Breakers (10-8-5, 35 points) are in second place and close their season with Saturday's 7 p.m. game at New Jersey's Sky Blue.
The top four teams will earn playoff berths. If Boston wins, then the Independence will be the No. 3 seed. To earn the No. 2 seed, the Independence must win and have Boston either lose or tie Sky Blue.
If the Independence tie and Boston loses and both teams end with 35 points, the Breakers win the tiebreaker based on a 2-1-1 regular season record against the Independence.
The Independence have clinched at least third place. The third-place team will host the fourth-place team in the opening playoff game on Sept. 19, with the winner playing the second-place team on Sept. 23.
The Independence are 0-2 against FC Gold Pride, having been outscored, 5-1. The regular-season champs are led by Marta, who has a league-leading 18 goals. Marta and Falk were teammates last season on the since-disbanded Los Angeles Sol. In a 3-1 win over the host Independence on June 13, Marta was at her best with two goals and an assist. "It's always a challenge to play against Marta," Independence all-star central defender Allison Falk said.
Sky Blue trails the Washington Freedom for the fourth and final playoff spot and will be highly motivated against Boston.