1. Portland Timbers vs. New York Red Bulls – MLS
#5 in Western division hosts #4 in the stronger Eastern. This is the only MLS game on a typically thin Friday night, but it should be a doozy.
B. Tijauna vs. Santos – Liga MX
Tijuana won the 2016-17 Clausura (second half of last season), but is in dead last for 2017-18 Apertura (first half of this season). Santos isn’t doing much better. But it’s extremely early.
3. Burton Albion v. Birmingham City – English Championship League
Noob, why follow second-tier leagues? Thanks for asking, self.
USL and NASL – I track these because I’m American and seeing soccer through my local lens.
English Championship League – It’s been rated as high as the #14 most watched league in the world, higher than any other second-tier league. More, I have more opportunities to see these games on tv than lots of other leagues. You probably do, too. And in my first language. And it’s the feeder league for arguably the most important league in the world. Definitely the richest.
2. Bundesliga – The second-most watched second-tier league in the world. Feeder league arguably for the second- (and maybe first-)most important league in the world.
Ligue 2 – As strong as Ligue 1 is, I typically only trek this direction if a particular calendar date looks thin.
I think I’ve only once ever tracked a second division Spanish match. I don’t know why. It’s a feeder for a top four league (and some would argue #1 for it’s top-heaviness). This may be amended. Or not. I’m still learning the relative importance of all the top league still.
4. Swope Park Rangers vs. Real Monarchs SLC – USL
SPR is one of our adopted teams here in NoobLand, but they’ve struggled a touch of late, falling to #3 in the Western Divison. Noob disapproves of SLC. “Real” means “royal”. No kings and queens ruling us here. Amuricuh! But SLC -is- #1 in the West, so primo D2 matchup here.
Hawaii is the American state where there was once a monarchy.
And Noob wants it brought back super bad. King McLovin!
5. Orange County SC vs. Phoenix Rising FC – USL
Neither side is going to make the playoffs, but Phoenix has had some nice runs for an expansion club.
6. Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. L.A. Galaxy II – USL
We call soccer what the rest of the world calls football. FC, SC… I don’t know which we need to make up our mind on first- deciding what it’s going to be called in club names and abbreviations or whether we’re going with Arabic or Roman numerals for these reserve squads.
7. Racing Club vs. Mitre (SE) – Copa Argentina
Racing Club was the first team there to be mostly players of non-European descent. Mitre is a third-tier club and their stay in the Copa is likely ending.
8. Zesco United vs. NAPSA Stars – Zambia Super League
#1 hosts #4 in a very important league match. There’s a -ton- of parity in this league, including at the top.
9. Bidvest Wits vs. Cape Town City FC – South African Premiere
Last season’s #1 and #3 clubs face off very early for their new season.
10. Laos U23 vs. Singapore U23 – Southeast Asian Games
I think this is still in the group stage. For time’s sake, I typically just use ESPN.com and my Fotmob iPhone app for finding games, as they each hit a lot of different events and clubs once you get past the top echelons, and Wikipedia for historical season tables. But some events like this are a little harder to find. I’m hoping to find someone in the audience who knows if even a site or app with a broader reach than these.