Only three matches remain in Missouri soccer’s regular season. Three chances to save its postseason hopes and qualify for the 10-team SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama.

The Tigers aren’t the only team whose bubble looks like it may collide with a pin. Missouri sat at 13th in the SEC going into Friday’s match against No. 6 Arkansas, which ended in a 6-1 loss. Kentucky sits at the bottom of the conference, winless in SEC play and nearly without hope of rallying to make the tournament. Mississippi State and LSU, the latter of which was ranked as high as No. 5, round out the bottom four in the conference.

Texas A&M, which held the 10th-place spot Friday, earned a 1-1 draw with Alabama. The Aggies travel to Starkville, Mississippi, to take on Mississippi State in a crucial match for both sides. The Bulldogs need points to get to Orange Beach, and there won’t be a better time or opponent to take them from than A&M.

The Tigers have two big matches this week as well. Hosting No. 18 Mississippi on Thursday at this point of the season and needing points is less than ideal for coach Stefanie Golan’s side, with the Rebels coming in on four consecutive wins. Missouri’s better chance for points comes Sunday in Lexington, Kentucky, against the conference’s current bottom feeders. Both sides need a win to save any chance of qualifying for the SEC Tournament.

All 14 teams play Thursday. Elsewhere in the playoff push, LSU hosts South Carolina, and Kentucky hosts Alabama. The heavyweight bout is No. 6 Arkansas against No. 23 Auburn, with both sides eyeing the top seed in the conference tournament. The other matches are Florida vs. Georgia and No. 10 Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt.

Every team is slated to play Sunday as well, with Missouri’s match at Kentucky being the one where the most is at stake. Auburn travels to Mississippi for a ranked matchup, with Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M getting the national TV treatment. LSU travels to Florida, South Carolina hosts Alabama, Arkansas faces Mississippi State and Tennessee takes on Georgia.

Some teams are likely to have their postseason bubble burst this week. The Missouri-Kentucky match Sunday could end one of those sides’ hopes. The Tigers still have work to do, even if they get three points in Lexington. The same applies for all the teams in and around that 10th spot. The race to “Reach the Beach” is coming down to an exciting finish.

  • Missouri soccer and men's basketball beat writer, Fall 2021. Reach me at anthony.kristensen17@gmail.com, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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