Look, Noob is all about full disclosure. I admit it. Things got a little weird yesterday previewing matches. Yelling about Hotspur’s traitorous namesake. Predicting a terrible fate for Orlando, the city, since it’s built on a swamp. Re-publishing weeeird Japanese soccer photo…
Today will be SO different. All serious as we ogle the ten most important matches to follow for us, the new American fans of the global game. Honest.
Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas – Major League Soccer
After losing to Toronto in last season’s Playoffs, Seattle have looked anything but themselves. Now, at least, a four-match winning streak has them within shouting distance (8th in the Western Conference) of the postseason (top six from each conference get in). Their defense has always seemed pretty okay. They’ve finally found their stride on offense.
Dallas are not only #1 in the West, they’ve built a five-point cushion in the standings over #B Portland. This, despite their stunning 1-3 loss to San Jose. Noob doesn’t care if it was a road match for FCD. That’s horrible.
If Seattle want to continue to make a push, they need to keep getting goals from the midfield. Forward Will Bruin has largely tried carrying the load all season, but help has got to keep coming from behind him as it has the last week.
Of course, since the first soccer fan Noob ever knew was a Sounders fan and an utter putz, I will not be pulling for this to happen. Will Bruin must be left to struggle on his island! (10:00 PM EST, FS1)
RESULT: Seattle 2-1 Sounders are still in 8th, but now within three points of 6th place and the West’s final Playoff slot.
B. UANL Pumas vs. Pachuca – Liga MX
Pachucha finished 9th in the last Clausura (second half-season), just missing the Liguilla (postseason tournament). They played nearly the league’s worst defense, so if they can shore that up just a little without sacrificing goal-scoring, they can get above the line.
Pumas were 7th, not tons better on defense. This could be a real shootout. Find out at 5:00 PM on Univision Deportes.
RESULT: 0-0 So much for a shootout
Number B, that’s so random.
You really get me, don’t you.
Arsenal vs. Manchester City – English Premier League
Only the rawest of Noobites should be without a sense of Man City. Record-breaking 2017-18, crushing the league.
Arsenal were 6th, and won’t do better this year unless they start stopping goals like the biggest boys in this league. They allowed about a third again as many as their peers. This is the first match of the season for both clubs. (11:00 AM, NBCSN)
RESULT: Man City 0-2
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Bayern Munich – Germany Super Cup
Speaking of teams that crushed their leagues, will anyone be able to hold a candle to Bayern this year? They were nearly every bit as dominant as Man City in England was. Frankfurt won the nation’s FA Cup to earn their spot here, despite finishing just 8th in the league. They play hosts today.
Like most Super Cups, this is a glorified friendly to kick off the impending league season. Soooooper! Except that it doesn’t count. (2:30 PM, FS2)
RESULT: Bayern 0-5
Get ready for all manner of super-ness.
Barcelona vs. Sevilla – Spanish Super Cup
Same as above, almost. Barcelona cruised to their 2017-18 La Liga title, and won the FA Cup there as well. They get a Copa final rematch against Sevilla, who finished 7th in the league. They played literally just half the offense and defense of Barcelona. Ouch. This one gets played at Moroccan club IR Tanger’s new stadium. (4:00 PM, ESPNEWS)
RESULT: Barca 2-1
Saprissa vs. Herediano – Costa Rica Premier
Last year, Herediano won both the Apertura and Clausura half-seasons. They’re an absolute beast on defense. Both times, Saprissa was #B, and for the latter they were separated by just one point in the table.
Costa Rica and the U.S. top leagues are simply the two best in the CONCACAF region, after Mexico. And THAT calls for musical interlude.
RESULT: Saprissa 1-0
Rijeka vs. Hajduk Split – Croatia First League
Croatia is on the mind of soccer fans the world over after their amazing run to the final in the World Cup. Their league is rated in the top third of Europe (#16).
Last year, it was a three-horse race, and these two lost out do Dinamo Zagreb for the title and league’s only Champions League slot. Rijeka were statistically the best team of them all, but a whopping ten draws left them short.
Alianza vs. Santa Tecla – El Slavador Premier
Noob’s tired of fighting the typo, going to embrace it instead. Ehhhl Sllllllllavadoooohhhhr!
Alianza won both the Apertura and Clausura tournaments last year. Santa Tecla was #B both times. The race was much closer in the Clausura. In fact, they had the better goal differential. This league, too, is just getting its new season underway.
If “El Slavador” is good enough for the CIA, it’s good enough for Noob.
Luzern vs. Young Boys of Bern – Swiss Super League
The table was clearly stratified by the end of 2017-18 here. YBB won the league by 15 points. Luzern were 15 behind the #B club. Today’s hosts can compete again for a Europa League berth. But if they want a shot at the CL, they need buckets more goals than last year.
RESULT: YBB 2-3
Molde vs. Brann – Norway Eliteserien
In northern Europe, they’re over halfway through their league seasons. Brann have only lost one match, but five draws have meant the title is anything but decided.
Molde have all the shiny stats to look like they should be competing even more closely for the title. But their five losses are the most of any realistic contenders. At eight points behind in the table, this home match is must-win for The Fighting Sea Char.
The Management: Is that a kind of slamon? What an awful nickname. Good thing you just made it up, asshat.
The sllllllamon of El Sllllllllavahdoooooohhr!
The Management: Rrrriiiight…
RESULT: Molde 5-1
So long from Molde, Norway — home of contagious slamon!
The Management: Where do we even start fixing you?…