USL Championship: Riverhounds cling to top spot in Eastern Conference

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds held on to the lead in the USL Championship's Eastern Conference when they beat Saint Louis SC, 1-0, on Haitian Steevan Dos Santos' goal in the 88th minute.



The Riverhounds will take a one-point lead over Nashville SC, a 2-0 winner over North Carolina FC, into the final weekend of the regular season. Indy Eleven dropped out of the race for first place when it was tied by the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 1-1.

Pittsburgh's charge to the top coincided with a 10-game unbeaten streak. It's been led by Neco Brett, who has scored 13 goals, and Dos Santos, whose goal was his 10th of the season.

The Riverhounds, who finish at Birmingham on Sunday, are unbeaten at Highmark Stadium with a 10-0-7 record.

The loss kept Saint Louis FC from clinching a playoff berth. It sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference two points ahead of Birmingham and Charleston, which both have a game in hand. The top 10 teams in each conference advance to the playoffs.

Western Conference Standings:
1. *Pittsburgh 65 points
2. *Nashville SC 64 points
3. *Indy Eleven 60 points
4. *Tampa Bay 58 points
5. *NY Red Bulls II 57 points
6. *Louisville City 57 points
7. *North Carolina FC 53 points
8. *Ottawa 52 points
9. Saint Louis FC 42 points
10. Birmingham 40 points
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11. Charleston 40 points
12. Loudoun United 36 points
13. Atlanta United 2 35 points
14. Charlotte 35 points
15. Memphis 901 34 points
16. Bethlehem Steel 31 points
17. Hartford 26 points
18. Swope Park Rangers 26 points
*Clinched playoff berth.

In the Western Conference, U.S. Open Cup quarterfinalist New Mexico United slumped to 11th place behind San Antonio FC when it lost to Tulsa, 2-1. Las Vegas' playoff hopes also took a hit when it fell to Reno, 2-0.

Seven teams remain in contention for the final four playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Western Conference Standings:
1. *Phoenix 75 points
2. *Reno 1868 57 points
3. *Fresno FC 57 points
4. *Real Monarchs 52 points
5. *Orange County SC 51 points
6. *Sac Republic FC 48 points
7. Austin 47 points
8. El Paso 47 points
9. LA Galaxy II 45 points
10. San Antonio FC 44 points
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11. New Mexico United 42 points
12. Las Vegas 41 points
13. Timbers 2 38 points
14. Rio Grande Valley FC 38 points
15. OKC Energy FC 38 points.
16. Tulsa 34 points
17. Tacoma 27 points
18. Colorado Springs 26 points
*Clinched playoff berth.

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