After months of compressing the weekend matches into a single Track! No more! MLS in full swing again, the best of Europe rousing from its slumber. Back to full Tracks for Saturday and Sunday. Let’s dig in.
Orlando City vs. New England Revolution – Major League Soccer
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. The Management and Noob waggle our fingers at you and laugh, Orlando. You can’t exist in a city built on a swamp and expect anything but bad ends. Losers of four in a row. Only one win in the last, oh, two months and change (and that over over-aged Toronto). 9th place in the Eastern Conference.
Not that New England’s doing much better of late, losers of three straight. At least they’re still holding onto the East’s 6th and last playoff berth. Matt Turner and that back line have allowed seven goals over those losses. Philly will catch them posthaste if that doesn’t get shored up pronto. (7:30 PM EST, ESPN+)
Turner might consider turning his superpowers back on.
B. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City – Major League Soccer
The Management will be breaking out the pork rinds and sushi boat for this one. Add his KC ties to the righteous loathing of Swamp Cities and you’ve got him pulling out all the stops.
He should be bringing out any lucky charms he has as well. Sporting’s lost three in a row and didn’t win a league match all June. They’ve fallen from 1st to 5th in the West.
While the road is never easy, they could be catching Houston at the right time though. Dynamo have lost two in a row, courtesy of some porous defense. They’re down in 9th now, four points out of a playoff slot. (8:00 PM, Univision)
RESULT: KC 0-1
Number B is all about the road.
And won’t swerve to avoid Number Two if it comes to it.
Pachuca vs. CF America – Liga MX
Pachuca improved their offense over the course of 2017-18, moving from 12th in the Apertura (first half-season) to 9th in the Clausura. Not quite enough to make the Liguilla (postseason tournament). It’s their defense CFA will look to exploit as they look for another top-three finish.
RESULT: CFA 1-3
Inter Milan vs. Lyon – International Champions Cup
These may two of the weakest teams in this event, but there are no slouches to be found anywhere. Inter finished fourth in Serie A last year while Lyon was third in Ligue 1.
While some clubs have already finished their three matches in this shiny pile o’ friendlies- tuneups for the impending league season starts – Inter is playing just their second now. They lost to Chelsea in penalty kicks. Lyon has played just once so far as well, topping Portugal’s Benfica. (2:00 PM, ESPN)
RESULT: Inter 1-0
Pile o’ friendly pandas
FC Cincinnati vs. Nashville FC – United Soccer league
Cinci haven’t lost a league match since May, and so now lead the Eastern Conference and are tied for the most points in the entire league. The only losses they’ve suffered over that stretch have been in penalties to MLS’ Minnesota United and a narrow one to Spanish La Liga club Espanyol.
After a fabulous spring and early summer, expansion cub Nashville are wilting in the dog day-heat. They haven’t beaten anyone outside of lowly Toronto II since early June. The offense is flat-out gone. That said, they’re still in 7th and in line for a Playoff berth.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. AS Monaco – France Super Cup
The “big” European leagues are all about to start up. That means it’s Sooooooooooooper Cup time! These don’t count towards league standings or anything else, but a shiny trophy will still be awarded.
PSG won both Ligue 1 and the FA Cup last year. As the league runner-up, ASM gets to make the trip. Trip? Yep. They’re playing it in the Guangdong province of China for some reason. (8:00 AM, beIN Sports En Espanol)
RESULT: PSG 4-0
Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre, Guangdong province
FC Porto vs. Deportivo das Aves – Portugal Super Cup
This one will almost certainly go to Porto, the defending league champion. Aves had a magical run to the FA Cup title, but finished just 13th in league play, woefully on goal-scoring. This one’s in Portugal, though at a neutral site.
RESULT: Porto 3-1
PSV Eindhoven vs. Feyenoord – Netherlands Super Cup
They’ll play the Dutch version at PSV’s place, their reward for winning the Eredivisie last year. Feyenoord won the FA Cup, finished 4th in the league.
RESULT: Feyenoord 0-0 / 5-6 pk
Good thing the fans won’t get weird…
Gremio vs. Flamengo – Brazil Serie A
Gremio are tied for 4th and host the league #1 today. The top six will all get invites to the next Copa Libertadores, but only the top four will get ushered through right to the Group Stage. These two allow fewer goals than any other clubs in the league.
RESULT: Gremio 2-0
HJK vs. RoPS – Finland Veikkausliga
We finish our Track with a 1-2 matchup! It may be just the 38th-ranked league in Europe, but this and other northern European summer leagues are over halfway through. The stakes are heating up.
HJK are the defending league champs and lead all others in offense by a mile. RoPS are ten points back now. The desperately need a road upset today to keep any credible hope alive for catching the leaders.
So long from Helsinki (HJK’s home city)!
Noob’s still trying to “read” the Sibelius Monument.