Ten to Track (8/16/2017)

1. Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire – MLS

The Impact have moved up to 7th place this past week, but they remain five points out of the playoffs. They need a result (win or tie) at the second -place Fire.

B. FC Astana vs. Celtic – UEFA Champions League

First leg of this tie. The Khazakhs play host, but Celtic should still get the win. If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap, after all.

3. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona – Spanish Super Cup

Real leads 3-1 on aggregate. They’ll be without Cristiano Ronaldo, as her was sent off during the first match. First he took off his shirt after a goal. (Big deal?) Then he got a second yellow card or flopping.. And all this is all of two minutes. Here’s to hoping the refs have it in for him all season long, just because that’d be mesmorizing.

Perhaps if Ronaldo looked this good, the ref might’ve let the shirt-offing slide.   The Noob leaves it to you, gentle reader, to decide if he’s referring to Swayze or Farley.   (Or is there even a wrong answer?)  (Remixed.  For her pleasure.)

 

4. Leon vs. Veracruz – Copa MX

Neither of this Liga MX sides should be vying for the title later, but this is a really evenly-matched fixture.

5. Andorra vs. Qatar – international friendly

What do you mean this behemoth won’t be on Fox Sports??

6. Charlotte Independence vs. Bethlehem Steel – USL

#1 looks to squash Bethlehem’s playoff hopes, as the latter just climbed into the #6 spot.

7. Gremio vs. Cruziero – Copa do Brazil

First leg of this semifinal. Cruziero’s been off to a surprisingly slow league start.

8. Botafogo vs. Flamengo – Copa do Brazil

The other semifinal, for the right to lose to Gremio.

9. Chicago Red Stars vs. Seattle Reign – NWSL

Both sides have seen others move past them in the standings this week. Chicago is still in the top four and looks to be playoff-bound, but Seattle slipped to #5.

10. FC Kansas City vs. Portland Thorns FC – NWSL

I’m pretty sure this league doesn’t to pro-rel, but if it did, KC would’ve just moved out of the relegation zone. Portland has climbed to 2nd place and should be fit to get three points on the road.

Noob D-Twos-day Interviews!

Welcome to the newest feature!  Second division American soccer (NASL and USL) coaches will now be interviewed each and every Tuesday – get excited!  I -know- they are.

Last Saturday, I snuck past Puerto Rico FC head coach Marco Velez’s gatekeeper like Christian Pulisic stealthily getting in behind a fullback.  The phone interview was short though.  I think I erred in judgement catching him so soon after that evening’s 0-0 tie against San Francisco Deltas.  So let’s go back to the well a second time!

Noob:  Coach Velez, thanks for agreeing to talk with me again.

Coach Velez:  Tio Jorge?

Noob:  Is that what your secretary told you?  *laughing* Oh, she’s a ham.  *cough*

Coach Velez:  Who is this?

Noob:  Of course it’s me, the SoccerNoob from soccernoob.com!

Coach Velez:  Dios mio, you’re that oddball who somehow had my cell number on Saturday.   When I find you–

Noob:  You don’t have to, we’re talking right here for our new D-Twosday coaching interview segment.  

Coach Velez:  I’m gonna–

Noob:  –give us fabulous insights into the breath-taking world of tier two footballl, I’m know, I’m excited!  You’re 1-0-1 now after an utterly miserable one-win Spring Season campaign.  Do you think Jacksonville Armada will be sleeping on your guys tomorrow since they have #1 FC Miami lurking a few days later?

Coach Velez:  You’re such an– Wait, that wasn’t bad.  Um, yes, we’re improving.  You really think we could take J’ville?

Noob:  Nope.

Coach Velez:  Ass hat.  *hangs up*

Well, those insights were rich and aromatic.  Thanks, Puerto Rico FC head coach Marco Velez.  You’ll always be number one in our hearts.  Even if you certainly sink back to #8 in the NASL again.

 

 

Ten to Track (8/15/2017)

1.  FC Cincinnati vs. New York Red Bulls – U.S. Open Cup

Cinci’s magical run continues to the semifinals.  The way they pull fans, this is an future MLS team if they have the stadium and want to.  Odd that they are outside looking in for the USL playoffs.

B.  TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs. Liverpool – UEFA Champions League

The bigger league boys are coming out to play in this round, if the ones who barely qualified.  Germany.  England.  Fiiight!  Oh wait.  Don’t.  History.  Loud noises…

3.  Young Boys vs. CSKA Moscow – UEFA Champions League

YB is from Bern.  This should be the most competitive of today’s selected Champions League matches.

4.  Sporting CP vs. FCSB – UEFA Champions League

Portuguese vs. Romanian sides in a battle.   Sporting CP is typically known in English-speaking countries as Sporting Lisbon to avoid confusion regarding other clubs with the name Sporting.  Portugal, I was confused long before your football came into my life.

5.  APOEL Nicosia vs. Slavia Prague – UEFA Champions League

The Cypriot team name just looks prettier, and one should put their euros or koruny on “The Legend”, as it is known.

6.  FK Qarabag vs. FC Copenhagen – UEFA Champions League

The Azerbaijani squad has the best crest I’ve seen yet, simply elegant!   Copehagen is rated higher, but has been off too a rough start early in their league season.

Qarabağ FK Post script:  Maybe those horses are being a little too frisky with the circle emblem.

7.  Queretaro vs. Pachuca – Copa MX

This event is still in the group stage, and nether of these teams is likely to advance farther than the next round.

8.  Leeds United vs. Fulham – English Championship League

These are two of the better sides to not have gotten promoted to the Premiere last year.

9.  Urawa Red Diamonds vs. Chapacoense – Suruga Bank Championship

This feels like a mid-tier NCAA college bowl game-level event to the Noob.  This annual game features the previous season’s J1 (Japanese) League champions versus last year’s Copa Sudamericana (2nd best South American tournament) winner.

The Management and I enjoy Urawa immensely.  Not the town, as it no longer exists in name, being absorbed by Saitama (Saaaaiiiiitamaaaaaah!).  The Management has described this part of the Greater Tokyo area as being akin to the New Jersey portion of NYC.   Noob immediately wanted to adopt the “gym-tan-sushi!” lifestyle he imagines, and so this is our adopted J1 team.

Image result for the situation  We agree, The Situation.  Too much puppy can be a bad thing.  They’d chase those cute kitties away.

10.  Shanghai Shenhua vs. Shanghai Shenxin – Chinese FA Cup

Shenxin is the FC Cincinnati of China right now.  They should, however, get throttled by this very good Super League side.

Ten to Track (8/14/2017)

1. KR Reykjavik vs. Valur – Iceland Urvalsdeild

Before we dive in here, Noob must profess mea culpa. In the previous T2T, I wrote IBV stunk like yesterday’s fish. They promptly went out and defeated FH – the historically best FA Cup team in Icelandic history- for the FA Cup title! It turns out IBV is a perennial power that happened to have a subpar 2016 league season and does not suck.

So how can Noob say he’s sorry, oh mighty Westmen? I’ll figure it out by and answer at post’s end.

B. VPS vs. FC Lahti – Finland Veikausliiga

Not sure I’ll ever get used to some of these double-I’s from northern Europe. Red Bull gives Laplanders wiings.

3. Nimes vs. Nancy Lorraine  – French Ligue 2

Hey, it’s Monday. The Noob has to dig a little deeper for prime matchups. Nimes was one of the best squads that didn’t get promoted. Nancy Lorraine was demoted from Ligue 1.

4. Nagaworld FC vs. Hougang United FC – Singapore Cup

Nagaworld FC is actually a Cambodian team.

I only just learned that “naugahyde” is the correct spelling of the very dated fabric. The company that produced it invented this fake animal for a marketing campaign.  And relax, PETA.  not only is it not a real animal, but the company indicates that the animal is not slaughtered for its hide, but rather that it molts.

Image result for naugahyde No.  That chair is ugly.  Judge not the Nauga lest YE be judged.

5. MSV Duisburg vs. Nurnberg – German FA Cup

It’s really called the DFB-Pokal. Whatever. Give me some Muricuhn cognates, Germany!

6. Hansa Rostock vs. Hertha Berlin – German FA Cup

HR is one of the better teams to have come out of former East Germany, but is third tier today. They should get handled by the Bundesliga side

7. Dynamo Berlin vs. Schalke 04 – German FA Cup

Dynamo is the best from former East Germany I’ve read, yet now only plays fourth tier football. Another easy win in store for a Bundesliga squad.

Speaking of East Germany, I was mildly disappointed with the movie “Atomic Blonde”. Engaging fight scenes to be sure. But if you’re making a thirty million dollar film, spend an extra 30k and get a good script editor. Not a single character save the minor supporting role of a French government agent has any sort of emotional arc whatsoever.

Image result for Atomic Brunette At least John Goodman’s beard scored an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.

And…soccer!!

8. Boca Juniors vs. Gimnasia y Tiro (Oran)-  Copa Argentina

Round of 64. Boca is a powerhouse and is going to play Whac-A-Mole on  division three GYT.

Image result for Whack-a-Banker  Whac-A-Banker was a real thing.

[Noob!   It’s me, The Management.  Focus.]

Dammit, man!   I work the kolhoz all day, drink vodka all night.  I am strong like bull!  Smart like tractor.

9. Myanmar U23 vs. Singapore U23 – Southeast Asian Games

I’ve no idea why the only football competition in this event involves youth squads.

10. Malaysia U23 vs. Brunei U23 – Southeast Asian Games

But I think it’s kind of cool that each time a country hosts this, they get to radically change what events are offered across the board. Each nation typically includes games and sports that they excel in, or are only even played in the host nation period.

OK, IBV. As promised. But how can I honor you here? You’re only an archipelago of about 4200 people. Lots of commercial fishing. At least you’re leaning toward a subpolar oceanic climate. But that’s not much for me to work with.

Best I can do. Let’s all enjoy the best song from Icelandic band Kaleo. They’re not from Vestmannaeyjar like you, but at least Mosfellsbaer is generally southern in your country. And this cut rocks, has enough pace to mitigate lead singer JJ Juliusson’s usual annoying, Ethyl Merman-y vibrato.

Ten to Track (8/13/2017)

1. Guincamp vs. Paris Saint-Germain – Ligue 1

The Neymar debut is at hand! His former team it sounds like had been fumbling around related paper work on purpose. It’s been as if Barcelona is sending him off with “que te la pique on pollo”.

A visual explanation, courtesy of President Dubya, will follow at end of list.

B. Manchester United vs. West Ham United  – English Premiere League

I know I could just refer to it as “EPL” or “the Premiere League”.   Noob feels this is a little too informal so soon in our relationship.  English Premiere League, let’s get to know each other a little first.

 

3. Santos vs. Veracruz – Liga MX

Veracruz only won one game and achieved no draws during the Apertura (last half-season).

4. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid – Spanish Super Cup

This is the first Super Cup I’ve run across that isn’t a one-off. It is also the first time these two teams have met – known as “el Clasico” when they play – in the Super Cup since 2012.

5. Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – United Soccer League

If there were pro-rel (oooooh, Noob is fancypants) with a third division in U.S. Soccer, these two teams would be vying to stay up. But at least it’s a regional rivalry. Go, Canadia.

6. Kawasaki Frontale vs. Kashima Antlers – Japanese J-League

Hey, The Management, we actually have a game to offer you here as other than a sop! #4 vs. #1.

7. Seattle Reign vs. North Carolina Courage – National Women’s Soccer League

#4 vs. #1. And Seattle has Orlando Pride and (New Jersey’s) Sky Blue FC breathing down their necks for that final playoff spot.

8. Limon vs. Saprissa Costa Rican Premier

Last season’s #3 at #1. Noob understands Saprissa to be North America’s best clubs.

9. Plateau United vs. MFM FC Nigerian Professional League

#1 hosts #2. Noob was unable to quickly track down on the interblag if this league as a postseason tournament. If not, this may well be MFM’s last best chance to make up Plateau’s three-point lead in standings.

Go back a few posts to see the desperately weird and interesting bit about Mountain of Fire and Miracles.  And know that Noob’s first thought had been they were sending out African Jeremy Renners to knock off J.K. Rowling, et al.

I just read there’s going to be a “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” sequel.  So let me have my fun, Jeremy.            Image result for Black Jeremy Renner

10. Juventus vs. Lazio Italian Super Cup

This match should be higher on the list, but Noob missed it off his notes initially. That said, this match may only be competitive because it’s actually on Lazio’s home pitch. Juventus won last season’s Coppa and League titles, so Lazio sneaks in by being that Coppa’s runner-up

Hail to the Chief…

carteles fj desmotivaciones

Ten to Track (8/12/2017)

1. Seattle Sounders FC vs. Sporting Kansas City – MLS

KC is number one in a very tight Western Division, Seattle 4th.

I had a TA in college who was a big Sounders fan. I intercepted this medical communique of his back in the day.

Image result for douchebag teacher assistant

B. Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes – MLS

San Jose is just a point up on Vancouver for the final Western Division playoff spot. Houston is #2, but they can bugger off. Once again, Noob and the Management don’t like cities built on swamps!

3. Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns – NWSL

#2 vs. #3 in the standings. Neither one is in serious danger of falling below the playoff 4th place line with four games to go.

4. West Bromwich Albion vs. AFC Bournemouth – English Premiere League

The Noob is doing genealogy research and believes his forefathers may have been form the south of England., so Bournemouth may soon be an adopted team. In the meantime, neither of these teams seems to be predicted for great both both finished top ten last season.

5. Monterrey vs. Guadalajara – Liga MX

Neither side as lost early on this season. Guadalajara hasn’t won either – 0-3-0. These are last season’s #2 and #3 sides.

6. Consadole Sapporo vs. Ventforet Kofu – Japanese J-League

Two lower-rung teams, but we must get The Management his fix

7. Puerto Rico FC vs. San Francisco Deltas – NASL

I interviewed Puerto Rico FC head coach Marco Velez recently. I asked him

Noob:  “What’s been the key for yout club’s Spring Season 1-1-0 start after only winning game during the Fall campaign.”

Marco Velez: “Ass hat. Who are you with again?”

Well-said, Coach.

8. Swope Park Rangers vs. Orange County FC – USL

Our adopted Rangers have fallen to 3rd in the Western Division. Orange County FC is only in 9th, must start getting upsets like this opportunity to move up to top six for a playoff spot.

9. CSKA Moscow vs. Spartak Moscow – Russian Premier League

#2 vs. #1 last season, these teams are only off to so-so starts.

10. IBV vs. FH –  Icelandic Cup Final!

IBV sucks and it’s a miracle they made it to the Final. FH will rule at neutral Laugardalsvollur.

Ten to Track (8/11/17)

Around the Western World in 10 Games!   The weekend’s first evening is usually a little light, but here are your still pretty solid matchups —

1. Arsenal vs. Leicester City –  English Premier League

The Premiere is back! I may be Noob, but even I know to get excited.

I started tracking soccer – just a little – two seasons ago, towards the end of Leicester’s championship campaign. I now understand just how much of a breath of fresh air it was, as the league is normally dominated by seven particular teams, and Leicester ain’t one.

B. Atlas vs. America – Liga MX

Amuricuh!

And it’s a matchup of two top half teams from last season’s Clausura (second half! Nooooooooob learningness), this should be the more competitive of the this league’s offerings this date.

3. Stade Rennes vs. Lyon –  Ligue 1

Lyon just missed out on making this year’s UEFA Champion’s League last season, finishing 4th. Stade Rennes was a top half club.

4. Edmonton vs. NY Cosmos – North American Soccer League

NASL is the much smaller Tier Two League, compared to USL, and so their postseason only has four teams. The fabled Cosmos finished third in the leagues Spring Season, and so is in decent position to perhaps finish with one of the two best overall non-division champion records and get in the playoff mix. Edmonton, Canadia should fall to them, even at home.

5. Zulte-Waregem vs. Brugge – Belgian Jupiler League

Last season’s #2 hosts #3.

UEFA ranks’s Belgiums’s top flite league as 8th best on the continent, right behind surprising-to-me-is-this-high Russia and surprisingly-low-to-me Portugal.

6. Ballymena vs. Crusaders – Northern Irish Premiership

Crusaders were the only team to seriously challenge Linfield last season for this group’s Champions League slot. But like Crusaders, Ballymena also got into the Europa League, with a 4th place finish.

7. Bangor City vs. T.N.S. – Welsh Premier

The New Saints lapped the field last season, though have already lost in the early stages of the 2017-18 Champions League. Bangor City finished 4th and achieved a Europa League slot.

8. America de Cali vs. Deportivo Cali – Copa Colombia

The battle for Santiago de Cali is on! This semifinal FA Cup match is the second of the two-legged tie. Deportivo leads 1-0 on aggregate.

9. FCI Tallinn vs. Levadia Tallinn – Estonian Meistriliiga

This league’s top four teams are all from Tallinn. This matchup features #3 and #4.

10. Maribor vs. Donzale – Slovenian Prva Liga

Maribor is the superpower of this league, should handle last season’s #4 squad easily.

 

Ten to Track (8/10/2017)

Bury vs. Sunderland  – EFL Cup

The only game for this event this date. Bury is a League One (3rd tier) club from the Greater Manchester area. Sunderland got demoted to The Championship (2nd tier league) by finishing dead last in the Premiere.

The traditional dish of Bury is black pudding. Sounds tasty until one learns that isn’t a dessert.

Image result for recipe for black pudding sausagePork blood?  So, so treyfa.

Tulsa Roughnecks FC vs. Saint Louis FC   – United Soccer League

Tulsa is just two spots out of the playoffs. Saint Louis is not good and best forgotten. That goes for the soccer team, too.  Ohsnap.

Image result for Saint Louis sucks    Interwebs, you so cray-cray.

Arabe Unido vs. Central FC  – CONCACAF League (Round of 16)

Panamanian vs. Trinidadian…Tobagonian-? sides.  Both demonyms are accurate, yet that’s unhelpful to me.

The group stage is over and the bracketed portion of the even is begin.   Home and away two-legged ties for each pairing.  Winner gets a slot in the next federation Champions League.  Arabe leads 2-1 on aggregate.

Alajuense vs. Olimpia  – CONCACAF League (Round of 16)

Costa Rican vs. Honduran sides. Olimpia leads 2-0 on aggregate.

Belmopan vs. Walter Ferretti –  CONCACAF League (Round of 16)

Footballdatabase.com ranks club teams from all over the world. I don’t know if Belizian side Belmopan doesn’t get rated because they just don’t play enough or at all internationally, or if they just stink like an oyster in the sun. Their Nicuraguan counterpart here leads 4-1 on aggregate.

Botafogo vs. Nacional –  Copa Libertadores (Round of 16)

Brazilian vs. Uruguayan sides. Botafogo leads 1-0 on aggregate. This should be the most competitive of these three Copa matches Noob is Tracking for this date.

San Lorenzo vs. Emelec  – Copa Libertadores (Round of 16)

Noob asked The Management (and asks you, comments encouraged) whether “Emelec” sounds most like a South American soccer club name, baby formula brand, or crabs-treating ointment.

The Management: “It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!”

Santos FC vs. Paranaense  – Copa Libertadores (Round of 16)

Argentinian vs. Ecuadorian sides. The Noob is not getting overly into the prediction game this soon, but though Santos only leads 3-2 on aggregate, this should be the Copa game with best chance of being a blowout this date.  Santos should dominate.

Albirex Niigata vs. Tampines Rovers  – Singapore Cup (quarterfinal)

Albirex is essentially a reserve team for the Japanese J-League club of the same name. Funny to me that this squad dominates while the parent club is mired in last place.

Esteghlal vs. Tractor Sazi Tabriz  – Persian Gulf Pro League

This league, I believe, is all Iranian clubs. The 2017 season is just starting, but pits last season’s #2 and #3 sides against one another. I also recognize Esteghlal from the last Asian Football Championships, Asia’s version of Europe’s Champions League.

Ten to Track (8/9/2017)

1. Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes – U.S. Open Cup

It’s not clear to me how seriously teams take this event since it’s during the MLS regular season. I suspect they care more than European teams do over their Super Cups.

B. Juarez vs. Guadalajara – Copa MX (group stage)

Juarez finished 4th in the tier two Ascenso MX last season (Well, half season. More on that another time.). They’ve probably got a lot more than they can handle in last season’s Liga MX 5th place side. But Juarez gets to host, so fun to see if this minnow can swim.

I know they call smaller league teams minnows in England. I wonder if it’s used in Mexico. “Pececillos”. Let’s practice.

“Por que tengo pececillos in mis pantalones?” *nod*

Excelente.

3. Palmeiras vs. Barcelona SC – Copa Libertadores

Most competitive-looking of the Round of 16 games slated for today.

4. Colchester United FC vs. Aston Villa – EFL Cup

Colchester plays in League Two, three levels off Premiere. The Noob thinks they reside in the professional dregs because of their crappy nickname – “the U’s”. They were or are also The Eagles, and their badge actually has a Roman eagle standard. Infinitely cooler.

Image result for roman eagle standard

[Actual photo preceding The Battle of Teuteborg Forest]

The Noob loves his history.

5. Vissel Kobe vs. Kashima Antlers – J-League

The Management, as we’ve learned previously, is a big Japanophile. The Noob is afeared of mighty retribution if he fails to Track a J-League game and one or more is available. His wrath may be swift and terrible!

Maybe we can crowdfund a gift certificate to a soapland for The Management’s trip to Land of the Rising Sun.

6. Honduras Progreso vs. Chorrillo – CONCACAF League (group stage)

Count thy blessings, Panamanian Chorrillo team. You’re only in this thing because The National Football Federation of Guatemala was suspended from all international competitions over political interference of some kind by your actual government.

Oh and leave Belize alone.  American Realtors have 6% to keep earning.

Image result for belize independence

 

7. Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Botev Plovdiv – Bulgairan Super Cup

You can’t end so many words in V, Bulgarian Soccer! Learn you some American.

8. APOEL Nicosia vs. Apollon Limassol – Cypriot Super Cup

I -think- this in @ Nicosia. I blame Turkey for interfering, as usual in Cyprus.

9. Unversidad de Catolica vs. Talca – Copa Chile (Round of 16)

If you don’t think the Noob likes writing “Cope Chile”, you don’t know me. Of course, I don’t know me. I’m so tired all the time.

Night/overnight job.

Kindergartner daughter.

Severe sleep apnea.

What is this place? Where are my pants? Did I have a good time?

10. Toronto FC II vs. Charlotte Independence – USL

Because American Tier Two soccer r00ls. And Canadia.

Ten to Track (8/8/2017)

1. Real Madrid vs. Manchester United – UEFA Super Cup

Last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners face off in an event which confuses the Noob mightily. Europa League is like the American NCAA basketball NIT – for league also-rans. So the winner of the second-rate event vs. the best in the world? The Noob will track it for the names, but is confused mightily.

Also worth noting:  host city Skopje, Macedonia rated with Trip Advisor as the #4 City in the World that Makes You Say “Whowhere?”

B. Yeovil Town vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers – EFL Cup (first round)

The Noob is learning! I now understand the EFL Cup is not the FA Cup. This one is restricted to teams in The Football League – the top four divisions of play in England.

Yeovil is from League Two, the fourth tier in England. Prior to achieving this level, they had one of the best records in the FA Cup for “non-league” (below fourth tier) teams. The Noob loves big little guys, and so The Glovers are adopted.

3. Red Star vs. Auxerre – Coupe de la Ligue (first round)

More learningness! This is France’s equivalent of the EFL Cup. Only teams from their top three leagues can qualify.

Red Star is a small, Division 3 Parisian team from the northern burbs; a working class team to be sure. Their name is not translated from French.  It’s the actual name. It’s like the Norman linguistic invasion, but in reverse. Or not…

4. Necaxa vs. Morelia – Copa MX

Best combination of teams in group stage play this day.

5. Hibernian vs. Ayr United – Scottish League Cup

I -think- this is analogous to the two Cups above, where there’s another FA Cup that is broader in scope at some point in the year. Ayr U. is the reining 3rd Division champ, might have a puncher’s chance against a lower-rung Premier League side.

6. Lanus vs. The Strongest – Copa Libertadores (round of 16)

Bracketed play begins in the Copa, though this one’s not knockout/single match. This match is the second “leg” of the two-legged “tie” between these two clubs, a home and home affair. “Aggregate” is knotted at 1-1.

7. Real Esteli vs. Aguila – CONCACAF League (group stage)

-Not- the CONCACAF Champions League, though related. Qualifying teams from Latin American and the Caribbean face off in this tournament for a slot in the actual federation Champions League. Mexico, Costa Rica and the U.S. are the only countries that likely matter there.

8. Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit – NWSL

The Management does not enjoy teams from cities built on swamps! The Noob is inclined to go along, whether out of fear or likeness of mind.

Orlando is in 6th place, in striking distance of a league postseason top four slot. But time is running out on their comparatively short season.

9. Orange County SC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks – USL

The Switchbacks – a nickname we love, but is not enough for Noob Adoption Status yet – tenuously hold the 6th and final league postseason spot.

10. Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Rochester Rhinos – USL

The Noob has is surprised about the Islander nickname for Harrisburg, and wonders if he should be embarrassed about that. They have a shot at home against 5th place Rochester. Away from “the island”, H City sucks out loud.