The Western Washington Premier League (WWPL) season goes through July 21 and it just might take that long to crown a champion and filter out the clubs destined to be relegated to a new second division in 2020.
An online poll posted before the season is currently spot-on in terms of the Top 6 and the Relegation 5. Here’s the WWPL table through June 9.
Race to the Top
Tacoma Narrows are scoring lots of goals and making a run, but their current status is in genuine jeopardy because they have already played 7 of their 10 league matches. Nido Aguila Seattle have played 6 of 10 but could end up regretting a 3-3 draw against XF Redmond last weekend. The Eagles were down 3-0 at the half and made a strong rally, but the single point leaves them vulnerable to XF. XF Redmond (Crossfire) don’t need any help to win the league. If they run the string and win their final 5 matches, they will be WWPL Champions. Grays Harbor Gulls are on a streak that has raised them out of relegation danger and all the way up to 4th. The Gulls have 4 tough matches left. Snohomish County Steelheads have half their season still to go, including 4 matches in July. They play 3 clubs above them and have already beaten Tacoma. It would be a tough ask, but the Steelheads also control their own destiny. Win out and they would be Champions. Kirkland FC are defending WWPL Champs. They have 4 matches left and can get to a 22-point total if they win out.
Still to Play
Top 6 + club with 5 matches left: Sure seems like Grays Harbor Gulls have the toughest remaining schedule. Tacoma Narrows’ 3 remaining matches are all at home. Nido Aguila Seattle have 3 of 4 away. Federal Way are included in the list because they still have 5 matches to play and could get to 21 points if they catch fire.
Standings Points Per Game (PPG), when applied over a 10-match season, can give us some indication of how things might play out. If current form holds for all 11 clubs (this is unlikely, of course) then the PPG totals suggest the following points and standings at the end of the campaign.
1. XF Redmond (26)
2. Nido Aguila (23)
3. Snoco FC (22)
4. Tacoma Narrows (21)
5. Grays Harbor (20)
6. Kirkland (17)
7. Federal Way (12)
8. ISC Gunners (9)
9. Harbor Force (5)
10. Lacey FC (2)
11. BeSea FC (0)
Title Race Summary
XF Redmond is in the best position to win the 2019 WWPL Title. They are unbeaten (4-0-1) half-way through and have matches in hand over Tacoma, Nido Aguila Seattle and Grays Harbor. They end the season with matches against 3 straight contenders. Snohomish County are the other club that holds their own destiny (not reliant on other clubs for results.) If the Steelheads win out (huge task) they would be on 26 points. XF Redmond’s top total if that were to happen would be 25. It seems most-likely that the top clubs will knock each other around and the race could well be decided on Thursday July 18 at Redmond High School when XF hosts Snohomish County.
When the WWPL decided to adopt a promotion / relegation format for 2020 it was also implemented for 6 clubs to make a First Division and the rest to make up a Second and perhaps even a Third Division. So the Top Six from 2019 will stay “up” and make up a new D-1 in 2020 with home and away fixtures. Meanwhile the Bottom Five are relegated to launch a new D-2. The writing is on the wall for some clubs already.
It looks like Harbor Force and Lacey Pocket Gophers are going down. Their bad seasons have put them in great peril. BeSea FC have yet to score a standings point, but they do have 6 matches still to play. They must start winning now or all they will have left to play for is practice, pride and spoiling it for their opponents. This leaves 2 clubs hoping to jump up and stay ‘safe.’ Federal Way FC still have 5 matches to play, but their 2-0 home loss to previously winless Harbor Force was a big blow to their hopes. ISC Gunners have already played 8 matches. Topping out at just 13 points if they win out leaves them very vulnerable. Both of those sides must take care of their own business and hope two of Grays Harbor, Snohomish County or Kirkland FC fall apart.