Wednesday in particular is going to be SO chock full of exceptional matches that Noob is expanding the usual three-day, one-post Midweek Edition into three full days!
I’ll wait for the applause to die down.
OK, splendid. Onward and upward to the ten most important matches for us, the newish Americans fans of the global game – to follow!
Portland Timbers U23 vs. Kitsap Pumas – U.S. Open Cup
It’s not so much that this one particular match is “important”, but Noob felt it was past time to post that the event had started. And it’s the only match from the event today.
This is America’s FA Cup. Competing are the 20 US-based MLS clubs, 22 of the second-division USL teams. Also in – through qualification rounds – are 41 teams from the unofficial fourth tier (there is no “third tier”) NPSL and PDL and 13 from local amateur leagues.
Kitsap (Bremerton, WA) are here from the Northwest Conference of the NPDL, winners of the playoffs there. Portland’s most seasoned youth squad won the Northwest Division playoffs in the PDL to get in. This is the First Round. The winner will take on Reno 1868 out of the USL.
Noobstradamus Sees: Nothing. I have a policy of not prognosticating when kiddins are involved.
RESULT: PTU23 5-0
Only madness can ensue from such.
B. Swansea City vs. Southampton – English Premier
Probably about a quarter billion pounds on the line. Two matches to go, and these two are tied in the table for 17th. Southampton lead on GD. Bottom three of the 20 clubs get Relegated to the second tier Championship League next season, so they’re straddling that line.
Swansea haven’t won a match since early March. Southampton actually have a win and a draw in their last two games. (2:45 PM Eastern, NBCSN)
Noobstradamus Sees: 1-1. More tension!
RESULT: Southampton 0-1 And with that, West Brom are now Relegated along with Stoke City. One more to be determined.
Number B, adding to the tension and high drama.
Les Herbiers vs. Paris Saint-Germain – Coupe de France
Minnow madness! Les Herbiers are from the third tier of French football. And they’re on the edge of being Relegated down another level this season. Yet here they are! Technically, this is at a neutral site, but only in that it is not on PSG’s home pitch. But it is in Paris. (3:05 PM, beIN Sports)
Noobstradus Sees: I’m not telling! Because I want to be wrong. PSG are tops in all France.
RESULT: PSG 0-2
Aberdeen vs. Rangers – Scottish Premier
Two matches to go, and these two are #B and #3, separated in the table by just a point. Hibernian lurk just two more points back, looking to steal one of their Europa League bids should either falter.
Noobstradamus Sees: Aberdeen 2-0 Rangers are going to be a mess, as their going through a late-season managerial change.
Falling off a cliff will mess up a Ranger as well.
Buriram United vs. Jeonbuk – AFC Champions League
It’s the Round of 16, first leg. These two are entrants from the #9 and #4 leagues in Asia. Noob’s doubtful either can reach beyond the next round, so let’s pay them attention while we can.
Noobstradamus Sees: Jeonbuk 1-2 The top leagues in Asia are simply much better.
RESULT: Buriram 3-2
Al-Ain vs. Al-Duhail – AFC Champions League
Your undercard today from this tournament is a tough one to handicap. Al-Ain – from UAE – only snuck in because the qualifying 3rd-place team from the top league there last year merged with a different club. They have to exist as they are for three years to be eligible.
Duhail are here by virtue of winning last year’s top league in Qatar.
Noobstradamus Sees: The crystal ball is cloudy. Either there’s not enough of a sample size with Al-Ain to know how good they might be, or I need to find some Windex.
RESULT: Duhail 2-4
Crazy-bad merger idea
Debrecen vs. Puskas FK Academy – Hungary FA Cup
These two mid-table teams from Hungary’s top division are facing off in a Semifinal. Puskas took the first leg 4-0.
Noobstradamus Sees: Puskas 1-3 Until their last match, they’d been in a seven-match unbeaten streak. Debrecen have been going the opposite way.
RESULT: Debrecen 2-0 But Puskas advance on aggregate, 4-2.
Cobh Ramblers vs. Longford Town – League of Ireland Cup
This is not the country’s FA Cup. Rather, mostly only teams from the top two divisions complete. They invite a few lower division and even junior teams sometimes to round things out. This is a Quarterfinal, featuring two second-tier sides. They are #8 and #6 in their league, respectively.
Noobstradamus Sees: Longford 0-1! Apparently Rambling doesn’t involve scoring much, but Cobh hasn’t much all season.
RESULT: Cobh 2-0
[insert self-deprecating joke about Noob’s own rambling HERE]
Atletico MG vs. San Lorenzo – Copa Sudamericana
It seems odd to Noob these two would be meeting in the First Stage. These are the top two entrants from South America’s top two countries, Brazil and Argentina. Maybe it’s a completely random draw. Weirdness. Also, it’s the only one of the three matches from this event today not televised on a network one might get here in America. More weirdness.
Aaaanywho, this is South America’s equivalent of Europa League. San Lorenzo won the first leg 1-0.
Noobstradamus Sees: …this very even matchup ending as it should. Atletico 1-0. then winning it in PK’s.
RESULT: 0-0 San Lorenzo advances on aggregate, 1-0.
Al Quwa Al Jawiya vs. Al Ahed – AFC Cup
This isn’t really analogous to Europa League, other than that this is a secondary tournament to the AFC Champions League. Top teams from leagues in what their confederation has deemed “developing soccer countries” play in this one.
AQAJ – out of the Iraqi Premier – have won the last two years. They are also the defending champions of AFC’s #11 league. Ahed are undefeated this year in the Lebanese Premier (league #21).
Noobstradamus Sees: Nothin’. Qawa Jawiya are messing with the Scrabble-part of my prognosticating brain.
RESULT: AQAJ 3-1
So long from Iraq, Noobites!