Oakland Roots SC prepares for USL playoffs in San Diego

The Oakland Roots Soccer Club is headed to the playoffs and preparing for their first postseason game Sunday against the San Diego Loyal.

The Roots lost their final game of the season against Pittsburgh last weekend, but secured a playoff position following the Las Vegas Lights tie against the LA Galaxy II.

"Playoffs is a special time of the year. It’s my favorite time of the year," Roots Captain Emrah Klimenta said. "I like to think of it as who will step up for the big occasion."

The team has already overcome hurdles with coaching changes mid-season.

Head Coach Noah Delgado said the biggest challenge has been getting the group together and working together.

"It’s important to us that we come in every day and work hard," Delgado said. "And try to get the maximum out of every player."

From the fancy footwork, to the proficient passing, the players know they only have one shot to win and advance.

"At this point, your legs, your mind, your body might be tired, but you’ve still got to keep pushing," Klimenta said. "Everybody knows what the playoffs entail."

All week the Roots say they plan to run intense drills, fine-tune their skills, work on structure, and focus on teamwork.

"We’ve been the underdog since the beginning of the season," Roots player and Bay Area native Jesus "Chuy" Enriquez said. "We just got to go out there and give it our all and do it for the people of Oakland."

The USL Conference Quarterfinals is set for Sunday, October 23 at 7 p.m. PT in San Diego. It will be broadcast live on KTVU Plus.