’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – eep! #11, too – USL Final

Midweek Edition – time to slow down, tease out ten most important matches, for us – the newish American fans of the global game – over three days.  Think of it as a soccer slow jam, if you will.   Listen to a 90’s R&B fave whilst you read.

OK, or maybe not.  That got weird.  Again.

Tuesday and Wednesday matches and results are further down.

More Thursday

11.  Louisville FC vs. Phoenix Rising – United Soccer League

Good LAWD!   You’d think Noob would learn a lesson.  I tend to scout out matches for Track inclusion five days in advance.    This FINAL  Amuricuh didn’t appear on my primary sched source because it doesn’t do TBD.  Phoenix played their Semfinal  four days ago.

But that’s the reason, not an excuse.  And at least it can be rectified now, hours before kickoff.

Louisville are the defending tournament champions.  In the Eastern Conference this year, they finished #B, well behind MLS-bound FC Cincinnati.  They get to host this one-off final.  No return to leg to Phoenix, this is it.    Phoenix Rising look becomes Phoenix Risen with an upset win.   Noob says upset because they finished 3rd in the West.

Phoenix conceded far fewer goals than many other Western clubs – including those that made the playoffs.  But they don’t play any better on that end than L’ville, and their hosts have more firepower.  Noob smells a title decided by penalty kicks, but on paper this is advantage reigning champs.   (8:00 PM, ESPN2).

RESULT:   Louisville    1-0        Hail to the champions!

Image result for close call soccer gif

 

Noob’er with the save!

 

If barely…

 

 

Thursday

  1. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer playoffs

The Conference Semifinals continue!  This is the second match of a two-legged tie.

The five-seed Portland won the first match 2-1 at their place.  This broke #B Seattle’s five-match win streak.  Noob has suggested this was a bad matchup for Portland.  Seattle’s offense had been playing their best ball of the season and defense is where Portland had often struggled.

That Timber defense did just enough to win.  Now we get to see if they can hold up on the road.  If they had a weakness, is up the middle some.  Expect to see Seattle run at defender New Zealander Bill Poni Tuiloma to try and get to and through veteran keeper Jeff Attinella.   (10:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Seattle   3-2       And they don’t use away-goals as a tiebreaker.  Still, congrats to Portland!   They won 6-8 on penalty kicks.

  1. Portugal vs. U.S.A. – women’s international friendly

The FIFA #1-ranked ladies head to Lisbon to face the 33rd-ranked team in the world.   They’ve only ever met six times and the U.S. has won all the matches.

With a win today, the USWNT will have it’s 500th-ever program win since forming in 1985.  They should get it by a goal or two, even on the road.   (1:00 PM, ESPN2)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-1

Image result for America gif funny

 

Murican treasure Danny McBride is revved up for the game.

  1. Argentina vs. Panama – Women’s World Cup qualification playoff

Panama finished the CONCACAF World Cup qualification tournament in 4th place.  Only the top three finishers gained entry.  But Panama gets one last shot.  Like their men’s national team counterparts did last year, if the women get in, this will be their first WC ever.

Argentina finished 3rd in the Copa American Feminina, a South American tournament held once every four years.  The top two finishers qualified for WC.

This playoff is a two-legged tie, so they’ll play again on 11/13.  The teams are ranked #66 and #37 in the world, respectively.  Given the oft-seeming lack of parity in the women’s game, that difference is mammoth.  Expect Panama to win on the road outright.

RESULT:   Argentina   4-0     

Honorable Mention:   Congrats to Platense, winners of the Honduran Copa Presidente!   Noob was going to preview this match, but it was played yesterday.  My scouting had shown it slated for today.

  1. Vidi vs. PAOK – Europa League

Good thing Noob keeps back-up matches handy for such occasions.

This is Europe’s second-most prestigious international club tournament.  The Qualifying Rounds are done and the “event proper” – the Group Stage – is halfway complete.

Clubs have been divided into Groups of four each, playing double round robins.  Top two finishers in each will advance to the Knockout Stage.  And remember, the winner of the whole shebang gets an auto-pass into next year’s Champions League.

There are a slew of matches today.   Noob’s highlighting this Group L match because of how things sit in the table.  Chelsea have won all three of their matches and will not be caught.  But all three other teams are tied!

MOL Vidi qualified for the Champions League by being last year’s Hungarian top-flite winners.  They were knocked out in one of the later qualifying rounds by AEK Athens, and so have been dropped into this tournament.

PAOK were Greece’s runners-up last season.  They also qualified for Champions League, falling one win shy of making the Group Stage there.  Portugal’s Benfica housed them.

On paper, PAOK are the favorites by a fair bit.   They play out of UEFA’s 14th-ranked league compared to Hungary’s at #33.  In terms of Elo rating, the Greeks are 100 points more highly-rated.  They should probably win 5/8 of the time on a neutral pitch.

But this ain’t no neutral pitch.  More, Vidi won the first matchup in Greece, 0-2.

RESULT:   Vidi   1-0

Image result for harold and kumar at white castle

 

One of Noob’s dream’s is to own a White Castle in Vidi’s home city of Szekesfehevar.

It translates, of course, to “white castle”.

 

Wednesday

  1. CSKA Moscow vs. Roma – UEFA Champions League

Today’s slate of CL games may not quite match up with yesterday’s matches.   But Group G may be about to turn into a super-tight race if the home team

CSKA-Moscow were the runners-up in the Russian Premier League.  This is a stronger league than many realize, ranked #6 by UEFA.  They’re in 3rd, but just two points behind their visitors today and Real Madrid.

That all said, Roma are a lot better.  They finished 3rd in last year’s Serie A (#3 in UEFA).  Noob-fave for Elo ratings footballdatabase.com is back up, indicates a pretty be gulf between the two.  Even on the road, Roma should win this by goal or two.  The Soviet side just doesn’t score enough.

Roma won the first Group Stage matchup with CSKA-M 3-0.

RESULT:   Roma   1-2

Image result for funny Russian sportsCome to Moscow for the surprisingly decent soccer. 

Stay for the chessboxing.  Yep.

  1. Plaza de Amador vs. Costa del Este – Panama National League

One of Central America’s stronger leagues?   Nope.   Getting to know all our CONCACAF neighbors just the same?  Aww yeeeah.

One last round of matches and the Apertura is complete.   Noob’s sources are in conflict, sio I reserve the right to correct this after the fact 😊   What I believe is that the top six clubs all make the postseason tournament.  The top two will get byes.

CdE can lead #B Tauro by three, others by four or more.  They can do no worse than #B and will get a bye.  They haven’t won any more matches than several other teams, but have earned a lot of draws and suffered only two losses.

PdA are in a three-way tie for 3rd, lead the other two on tiebreaking goal differential.  none of them can finish worse than 5th, so they’re qualified for the postseason.  This is the league’s Small Ball club – they appear to pack it in on defense and not score much themselves.

RESULT:       Noob has no idea.   It now appears this may have been a Copa match.  it may be that it ended 0-0.  Or it may have been cancelled.   The entire Copa may have been cancelled according to one source I saw.  *shrug*

  1. CD Aguila vs. Alianza – El Salvador Premier

El Sllllllllavadoooohhhhhrrrrrr!   Always am compelled to get that out of my system.

This is a bit stronger of a league.  Top eight of 12 make the Apertura postseason tournament.  Here, they have four more matches to go.

These are the #3 and #B clubs.   Aguila has almost no chance to catch Alianza, are playing to maintain their current table position.  This is a pretty well-balanced club, though perhaps a bit soft on defense.

Alianza are just a point behind #1 Santa Tecla.  They’re better than balanced.  A- defense and A++ offense.  Noob knows that’s not a real thing, but you get the idea.   They’re going to win the Apertura.

RESULT:   Alianza   1-2

Image result for el salvador gif

 

El Salvador Jr. – Mexican luchador.

Yeah,. Noob doesn’t get that, either.

 

Tuesday

  1. Napoli vs. Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League

It’s the most prestigious club competition in all world football, Europe’s championship.  The early “qualifying” rounds are long since done now and the biggest teams have joined the qualifiers here in the Group Stage.   Here, we have eight Groups of four clubs each. Top two finishers advance to the bracketed Knockout Stage.

This is where Noob very much takes liberty with the Track’s mission statement.   There are many CL matches today and nearly all are more “important” than any others anywhere.  But fans who want info on every single match aren’t typically here.   Noob and Noobite we be, and I will filter.

The most interesting match today appears to be this one.  Why?  Because PSG are really, really good.  They’re blowing away everyone at home in Ligue 1.

And they’re in 3rd in this Group.  The idea of them not advancing to the next Round is borderline unthinkable.  Yet with half the double round robin complete, they trail Liverpool by three as well as being a point behind Napoli.

Napoli – Italy’s Serie A runners-up – aren’t quite as good on paper, but not far behind.   If they can hold serve at home and get a win, that puts PSG in a bad way.

PSG has been scoring like crazy, will try to push the pace.  Napoli’s been relying on defense so far, so ball control midfield should determine who can control the pace.    (3:00 PM, TNT)

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for NBA on tnt crewNoob’s starting a petition to have the Charles & Co. do the Champions League!

Might be “turrible”, but so what.

B.  Pachuca vs. CF America – Liga MX Femenil

Three matches to go in the Apertura (first half-season).   These are Group One (of Two) #1 and #B.   Top four from each make the Liguilla (postseason tournament).  These two are already in, but Pachuca can pretty much wrap up the #1 seed with a win today.   They already have a three-point lead.

Both teams are very balanced, should maintain the top two seeds no matter how things go today.  #3 Toluca scores a ton but gives up too many to likely be a threat.

RESULT:   Pachuca   3-2

  1. Tigres UANL vs. Guadalajara – Liga MX Femenil

This is also a #1-#B matchup, but maybe not quite as dramatic.  UNAL lead the Guad Squad by seven.  A win would wrap up the top spot.

This is a bad matchup for the visitors.   They’re a touch better on defense, but can’t score compared to other top Group Two clubs.

RESULT:   Tigres   2-1

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sun. (10/7) – MLS playoff hunt, and an EPL doozy!

The ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game.

And today, introducing the efforts of a new staff member,  sort of.  🙂

  1. D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire – Major League Soccer

Saturday, #6 Montreal clubbed Columbus.  This leaves 7th-place D.C. United five points in back of that last Eastern Conference playoff berth.

But as late as the season is getting, this is in no way a done deal.  Montreal may have only two matches left now, but D.C. have five.  And speaking of five, that’s how many in a row DCU haven’t lost.   Chicago are down in 10th.   They haven’t won on the road since June.

But the Fire pulled a home upset last match out against the West’s #3, LAFC.  If they want to make it two surprises in a row, Serbian international Nemanja Nikolic needs to follow up on his super September.  He’s their scoring leader.  The star last in the last win was American Djordje Mihailovic.   (1:00 PM EST, ESPN)

RESULT:   D.C.   2-1       Wayne Rooney strikes again.  And then again.

Image result for nemanja nikolic

 

 

 

In Amuricuh, Nemanja, we keep the pants on to play the footyball.

B.  Liverpool vs. Manchester City – English Premier League

6-1-0.  The last two undefeated clubs in England face off.  Raspberry scones for everyone!   It’s a watch party.

Defending champs Man City have to be licking their chops though.  Undefeated in the league Liverpool may be, but they’re just 0-1-2 across all competitions in their last three.  The offense has stagnated badly.

Man City have one four in a row.  They’re scoring like the pitch is a pinball machine.  That said, they haven’t faced a difficult league team mid-August.   (11:30 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for eating letter B

 

 

SoccerNoob’s six year-old daughter — PersonNoob! –thinks this bee is licking it’s chops and about to eat Number B.

  1. Toluca vs. Pachuca – Liga MX

Top eight will make the Liguilla (postseason).  Toluca are tied for 5th, while Pachuca lead a four-way tie for that eight-spot.

Toluca should be in better shape, but they just handed Atlas their first win of the season.   When each half-season tournament is just 17 matches long, can’t give up “easy” points.

Pachuca do look like the best of their clump of four, but Noob thinks their margin for error is extremely thin.  I don’t expect them to climb any higher than 8th.  Tigres lead them by three for 7th, are better on both sides of the ball.   (1:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   Toluca   2-1

  1. Panama vs. U.S.A. – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

Earlier this week, the American women pummeled Mexico 6-0 to open the Group Stage.  Noob’s primary source site still doesn’t list that match on the correct date.   But mea culpa.  No excuses, only reasons.  Part of my learning journey is where to get the raw info.

So!  The top two from each Group of four will advance to Knockout Stage, where three of the teams will earn their World Cup berth.  The Americans are the #1-ranked team in the world and will advance easily.

Panama is ranked just #66.  They did pull a minor upset in their opening match of this stage, taking down Trinidad and Tobago.  But the US are a whole different deal, even without being the hosts (the match will be in Cary, NC).  Noob favors them by 9.5 goals.   (5:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-5          Wow, they held up better than Mexico

For your mid-Track listening pleasure – Panama!   But covered by Foo Fighters, so as not to be entirely cliche.  (FFW to 0:40 if you like)

  1. Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

So if either of these teams loses the nightcap in Cary, that’s about all for them.  A draw would give both a little hope, presuming Panama doesn’t pull off an all-timer miracle in the above match.  They are ranked #24 and #52.

Given the lack of parity in the women’s game, that should mean Mexico is a two-goal fave.   (7:30 PM, FS2)

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

No one has beaten or earned a draw against PSG.

Lyon are in 5th.  Noob thinks they’re at least the third-best team in the league, but it’s hard to see them proving that today.  Both teams allow just under a goal per match, so defense hypothetically gives the visitors a shot.  The problem?  PSG average’s 3.5 per of their own.

RESULT:   PSG   5-0        Mbappe with four goals

Image result for that's too many gif

 

 

Sorry, Edward Norton.  The number is what it is.

  1. Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Krasnodar – Russia Premier

Noob was surprised to see Krasnodar helping headline a #1-#B match.   But upon further review, I see they’ve finished 4th in the league three straight years.  That doesn’t put them in the league leader’s class, but not far out!   The #6-ranked league in Europe deserves and will keep getting more of our attention.

Could it be Krasnodar’s time?  They’ve won seven straight over all competitions.  Meanwhile, Zenit just lost to bottom-feeder Makhachkala before sneaking out a home win over a Czech team in the Europa League.

  1. Benfica vs. Porto – Portugal Primeira Liga

Portugal’s top domestic league is just a notch behind Russia’s, but it means they only get two into the CL.  These two perennial powerhouses are #B and tied for #3.

Despite being behind two teams, Benfica are undefeated.  #1 Braga and their guests today have each been just a touch better on offense to date.  But – stunningly to Noob – Porto haven’t lost to Benfica in seven consecutive matches.   (12:30 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   Benfica   1-0     the streak is ended!

Image result for FC porto funny

 

Noob does speak Portguese.

But I’m pretty sure “inscrever” is a foul, foul verb…

 

 

Noob?  That means “register”. 

Fine, The Management.  Spoil all my fun.

  1. Kashima Antlers vs. Kawasaki Frontale – Japan J1 League

The Management puts in long hours keeping Noob’s inanity in check.  Solid job today.  Bet ya’ sweated off five pounds.  Our Japanophile’s reward?   J1 match stays just above the honorable mention-line.

And this is an important match.  With just a half dozen matches to go, Kawasaki have pulled into a tie with suddenly-spiraling Hiroshima.  They’ve not lost in four straight matches.  But the two matches before that?  0-1-1 in the League Cup, with both matches against Kashima.

The Antlers just won the first leg of their AFC Champions League semifinal tie.  But even winning that whole shebang doesn’t get them entry into next year’s.  They’re #3 in the league and need to finish at least that high to get in.   They’ve won five consecutive domestic matches, peaking at exactly the right time.  They haven’t even allowed a league-goal in two weeks.

RESULT:   0-0

Honorable Mention:    Canadiaian Soccer League (non-FIFA, Ontario-nased)- two playoff Semifinals;  #2 Vega Real vs. #3 Atletico de SF – Dominican Republic Liga Mayor ligulla;  #1 Racing Club vs. #6 Boca Juniors – Argentina Primera;

#3 Stumbras Kaunas vs. #1 Suduva – Lithuania A Lyga;  #4 Muang Thong United vs. #2 Bangkok United – Thai League 1;  #3 Ulsan Hyundai vs. #1 Jeonbuk – South Korea K-League 1;  #1 Al-Sadd vs. #3 Al-Sailiya – Qatar Stars League

  1. Verdes vs. Bandits – Belize Premier

No mere honorable mention for Belize – we finish the track with more CONCACAF-feination!

Even just eight games in, these two are about finished with the rest of the league.  It’s #1 versus #B and the rest of the back is eight points back of the latter.  Bandits haven’t lost, but two draws have them a point behind the pacesetters.

Both score three times a game on average and give up about jack squat.  Hard to think there will be an internet streaming of this match, but let’s all try to find one.  Pirate it if you must!  Yaaaargh.

RESULT:   Bandits   0-1       And we have a new #1!    (Oh, and for the record, this match may well have been played Saturday it turns out.)

Image result for benque viejo del carmen funny

 

So long from Benque Viejo, home of Verdes!

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church.

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – an exhausted Noob says “mea culpa” for late Tuesday entry

Note:  Match previews and the usual inanity are now UP through Thursday.   And for Noob’s mea culpa, I have included two bonus match-previews.  Oh ho, you’re so welcome, interwebs!

Noob is human.  And so this is the latest into a day of matches I’ve ever posted a mini-previews.  16 hours on the job last night, I just couldn’t hold thoughts together long enough in last  night’s wee hours.

But this is a reason only, never an excuse.  If you’re interested and kind enough to be here, then Noob has happy obligation.

There were some interesting CAF Champions League matches earlier in the day.  Activate your Google powers to see how the end of the Group Stage of that event turned out.   Noob will pass on “previewing” them after the fact, start today with a match just in progress as I write.

  1. Bayern Munich vs. Chicago Fire – international friendly

Bayern are one of the best clubs in the world.  Chicago have been a line of port-o’-potties conflagration all MLS season.

Noob’s perfectly confused as to why this match is happening and at this time of season for both.  Bundesliga is just beginning and Chicago aren’t hoping to play up to this level of competition and suddenly become competent.  If they are, they are fools.   Let us not suffer such gladly.

RESULT:   Bayern   4-0

Image result for dumpster fire funnyNoob originally wrote “dumpster Fire” for the pun.

Noobites, never travel in a straight line.  And never settle 🙂

B.  Reno 1868 vs. Las Vegas Lights – United Soccer League

El Clasico.  El Trafico.  The Hudson River Derby.   Meet “The Gamblers Anonymous Derby”.  Help Noob in getting this one to catch on.

How?  Oh, I’ve no idea.

Reno are fighting for their playoff lives -tied for 6th – in the Western Conference.  Top eight will get to the postseason.  Clubs are really clumped in this part of the table.  Neither team has won in their last four outings.

RESULT:   Reno   2-1       Reno with the game-winner at 90′

Image result for letter B cartoon

 

Don’t you turn your back on Noob, Number B.  I made you!

Just because you didn’t like my derby name idea.   But I’m hurt, not angry.

  1. Tigres UANL vs. Morelia – Liga MX Femenil

Mexico’s women’s league plays two separate divisions.  These two are #B and #6 in theirs.

UANL is an offensive sight to behold.  Here in the early season goings, they’re averaging three goals per match.  Meanwhile, Morelia haven’t even managed to average one per contest.

RESULT:   Tigres   4-0

Wednesday

  1. D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union – Major League Soccer

Since all-time great English striker Wayne Rooney came over to D.C. well into the season, they’ve been climbing out of the basement of the Eastern Conference.  Now in 8th – two spots out of a playoff berth – they finally were beaten.  There’s no shame in losing to #B New York Red Bulls on the road.

Still, if United are to really make the postseason, they’re going to have to beat some actual playoff-caliber sides.  They didn’t have to over their win streak.  They get another shot at one today.

The Union are in 5th and achieved some space between themselves and Montreal and New England with a win against the latter last time out.  Those three are realistically the ones fighting for the East’s last two postseason slots.

Philly’s Jamaican keeper Andre Blake has led the team to two consecutive shutouts.  He’s been anything but consistent this season.  But if he can be now, Blake can lean on excellent right side of his back line and focus himself more on the left, they will make the Playoffs.   (8:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Philly   0-2       Charles Sapong with a goal and an assist

Image result for Andre Blake funny

 

“I beg of you, Noobites, how may I better keep goal and please you?”

  1. PAOK vs. Benfica – UEFA Champions League

Last year’s league runners-up meet for the second leg of their “Playoff Round” two-legged tie.  This is the last “qualification round” before the Group Stage, where the competition proper is said to really begin.

We Tracked the first match between this two.  PAOK went to Portugal, earned a 1-1 draw.  On paper, Benfica are the better side, coming from the stronger league.  But now they need to at least return the favor and earn a road draw of their own just to force penalty kicks.  And it can’t be just a scoreless draw, since PAOK scored at their place (away-goals being a tiebreaker).   (3:00 PM, Galavision)

RESULT:   Benfica   1-4

  1. Juarez vs. Toluca – Copa MX

The Apertura (first half-season) Cup tournament in Mexico chugs forward.  All the Liga MX teams and the ten best from the second-division Ascenso league have been playing double-Round Robins in their groups of three.  All the Group winners plus most of the runners-up will advance to the Knockout Stage.

Juarez are currently #B in the Ascenso, playing masterful defense.  This is their fourth and final match.  They’re unlikely to catch Tijuana and win the Group, but are very much alive to advance a a runner-up.

Toluca are in 8th in Liga MX right now.  The defense hasn’t been good, but the same has been true of nearly everyone there this season, strangely.  They’ve lost both their Copa Matches so far.  Still, if they wake up, they could storm back and advance as a runner-up.

Noob likes Juarez to kick the ball waaaaaay up into the air as early and often as possible, secure a low-scoring draw today.  That would eliminate Toluca.   (10:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   2-2      Amaury Escoto of Toluca with the match’s first and last goals.   The latter came at 90′, a few minutes after his team went down a man due to a red card.

  1. Jeonbuk vs. Suwon Bluewings – AFC Champions League

Fun Fact:   This is the second year in a row that the defending title-holders are not in the event.  Urawa Red Diamonds out of Japan did not qualify this year.  The year before, Jeonbuk were disqualified over match-fixing.  Nawteeeeee.

Today’s match if the first of a two-legged Quarterfinal tie.  Defending South Korean league champs Jeonbuk take on their league peers who finished in 3rd.  Jeonbuk have already mathematically wrapped up the 2018 league title as well.  Meanwhile, Suwon are in 4th, need a surge there to crack the top three and qualify for this event next year.

Noob thinks the home side today will win by two.  Anything short of that and it’s a moral victory for the Bluewings.

RESULT:   Suwon   0-3       Bluewings told Noob to stow it with talk of a moral victory – WOW!

Image result for The Situation abs

 

“Just say Urawa Red Diamonds and I’m -back-!

As #1 supporter and (unofficial) spokesman, it’s my job to jump out and point at my abs. 

I wish Urawa was better this year, getting Tracked.  I desire to remind people where the sushi still goes.”

The Situation, everyone!

  1. Barcelona SC vs. CSD Macara – Ecuador Serie A

Noob finished today’s portion of the Midweek Track with my addiction – #1 versus #B matchups!   It doesn’t matter that this isn’t Brazil or Argentina.  Top two-top flite matches – Noob wishes to mainline them.  Sweet, sweet footyball fixxxxxx.

In truth, it must be admitted Macara are unlikely to remain near the table’s top.  They’ve overachieved here early in the season, are really of just midtable ability.  That will become clearer today.  Barcelona are the best in the league on both sides of the ball.   (7:3o PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   1-1      Weird one.   Both teams lost players to red cards right at end of first half.

Image result for you can't handle the truth meme

 

 

Well, maybe not over Ecuadorian footyball.

 

Thursday

  1. Cuba vs. Bermuda – CONCACAF women’s World Cup qualification

Reminder:  This event is really the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.  It dually serves as WC quals.  And then they pass the savings on to YOU, Noobites.

Five teams from the Caribbean Zone survives the first round of qualifying, winning their pods.  Now those are battling in one single Group, out of which the top three will advance.  They’ll play a single round robin.  All matches are in Jamaica.

Cuba’s offense last stage was only exceeded by Trinidad and Tobago.  They’re in 3rd after two matches in this Round.   Bermuda’s only played once, an 0-4 loss to Jamaica. They didn’t exactly wow anyone last Round, with just a 6-4 GD.  Their FIFA rankings are #85 and #115, respectively.  Cuba should be favored by a goal at this neutral site affair.

RESULT:   Cuba   2-0

  1. Universitario vs. Herediano – CONCACAF League

Now we shift to the men’s game for our federation.  16 teams from the Central American and Caribbean zones play this knockout tournament to determine one entrant into the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

This is the second leg of a Quarterfinal match.  It shouldn’t be much of one, really.  Herediano out of Costa Rica should easily be a two-goal favorite, even on the road.  They won the first match 3-0.  Universitario aren’t even one of the ten best teams from Panama.

To give a sense of perspective, Herediano would be among the very favorites to win MLS.  Panamanian side Universitario might make the Playoffs.

The winner of this tie will advance to face Arabe Unido, the best team in Panama.

RESULT:   Herediano   1-2

Image result for perspective funny

 

 

 

Perspective is a funny thing.

  1. Sweden vs. Ukraine – UEFA women’s World Cup qualification

This is the Group Stage of a tournament to determine eight qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup.  And it’s nearly done.

The seven Group winners will all make WC.   The four best runners-up will then play a mini-tournament for one more invite.

With two matches to go, Sweden and Denmark are tied on points in the table, the former leading by just one in goal differential.  The runner-up from this bunch is likely to make the Playoff at least.   Ukraine are mathematically alive for possibly making the Playoff.  Barely.

These two are 11th and 24th-ranked by FIFA.    There’s less parity in the women’s game, so that’s a massive gulf.  Sweden will win, and by multiple goals wouldn’t be even a little surprising.

RESULT:   Sweden   3-0       And only because they let up after the half.

  1. Libertad vs. Boca Juniors – Copa Libertadores

South America’s Champions League is in it’s Round of 16.  Two-legged ties for everyone!

Seeding was based exclusively on Group Stage results.  Argentina’s Boca Juniors are #14, Libertad out of Paraguay #3.   But those numbers are misleading and then some.  Boca J won the first leg 2-0 at home.  And if today’s match were the first leg, Libertad would still be doing well do get a draw.

The winner of the tie will get one of two Brazilian teams, Cruziero or Flamengo.   (6:30 PM, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:    Juniors   1-2

Image result for Asuncion weird

 

So long from Asuncion, Paraguay, home of Club Libertad!

Castillo Pindu

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Saturday (8/25) – MLS, NWSL, Noob’s fave Fighting Cherries

The ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game.

Plenty of ‘Muricuh, North ‘Muricuh, Caribbean spice and then footyball flavors from the world over.   Savory.  Let’s eat.

  1. Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution – Major League Soccer

Hard to believe New England are still in the playoff hunt, just four points behind Philadelphia for 6th and the last postseason berth.  They haven’t won a match since June and have given up multiple goals every match but the first in this nasty streak of seven.

The Union, meanwhile, have won three in a row, including one that puts them in the Final for the US Open Cup next month.  The defense has been good, but the offense has been superb.  If the teams continue to trend as they have, this match could get out of hand in a hurry.

If New England hope to right the ship, Matt Turner’s got to get it together in goal.  But Noob thinks that the weak link in the back line has been on the right side.  Andrew Farrell was an all-star in 2016, but he’s playing like an all-stooge right now.   (7:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Philly   1-0       Statistically, Farrell and Turner were the second and third-worst defenders for either team today.

Image result for andrew farrell new england revolution funny

 

 

Somehow, Andrew just doesn’t look… ready.

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

A quite probable preview of the postseason Final is on tonight for NWSL.   With two matches to go in the regular season, North Carolina has (long since) clinched the Supporters Shield and.   Seattle is also now guaranteed a playoff spot, #B in the standings, up four on Portland.

Noob thinks they’ll both play like this IS the playoffs, not rest many or any starters.  If so, Seattle is only an even match at best tonight, even at home.  NCC score nearly twice as much.

RESULT:   1-1     The Courage got the equalizer at 90′

Image result for BB

 

 

Twice the Number B?

What’s not to love?

  1. Monterrey vs. Morelia – Liga MX

Plain and simple, two of Mexico’s best face off tonight.  Everyone’s chasing Cruz Azul right now, but these two are #B and #4.  The story tonight might be Morelia’s defense.   Every win but their first has been by just one goal, with only one clean sheet over that stretch.   (10:06 PM, FS2)

RESULT:   2-2

  1. AFC Bournemouth vs. Everton – English Premier League

Noob tries not to play favorites in determining which matches are track-worthy.  But it truly looks like my Fighting Cherries hosting last year’s #8 in Everton is the best, most competitive British match o’ the day!

AFC finished in 12th, tied with a couple teams that had better GD’s, last season.  This year, they’re one of six clubs to have one their first two matches.  Everton are 1-1-0, and this is the sort of match they didn’t always win last year – and need to – if they want to climb even just one more notch in the table and get at least a Europa League berth.

RESULT:   2-2      What a wild one.  Everton went down a man just before the half, but took the lead in the second.   Then a Cherry got a red card and Everton scored again.  Two late-ish goals – including one from kit model-Josh King, earned AFCB the draw.

AFC Bournemouth home

 

 

Josh King, sporting the new AFCB kit

  1. Juventus vs. Lazio – Serie A

These are last year’s Italian champs and #5 finishers, respectively.  This could be one wild, woolly match.

Juventus now have the world’s best player, Cristiano Ronaldo.  They add him to what was already the best offense in the league, save one club.  And that one club was Lazio, though they scored very much at the expense of their defense.

Juventus barely beat lowly ChievoVerona 2-3 in their opening match, getting the game-winner in the 93’.  Lazio lost their first on the road at last season’s runner-up, Napoli.  Talk about your tough matches to start a year.   (12:00 PM, ESPN2)

RESULT:   Juve   2-0

  1. Cuba vs. Trinidad and Tobago – women’s World Cup qualification

This is the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, dually serving as WC qualifying event.  The first qualifying group stage just concluded.  Five Groups of Caribbean national teams played, out of which only the winners advanced.

In this next qualifying round, those five all play in one pod.  Three will advance to the final round.  (Another pod of Central American teams also starts play at this round, out of which two will advance.)

Cuba is ranked just 85th  in the world, while T&T is 50th.  Cuba outscored opponents last round 22-3.  T&T surpassed even that, racking up a 27-1 to one margin (and still only advancing on tiebreaker!).

RESULT:   T&T   2-3

Image result for Trinidad and Tobago women's soccer 2018

 

 

T&T women’s national team

  1. Benfica vs. Sporting CP – Portugal Primeira Liga

Portugal’s top flite league has held steady in the UEFA rankings at #7.  That means they’re the best league that will still get only two Champions League berths.

Last season, Benfica got the second one, with Sporting just missing out in 3rd.  Benfica were a lot better on offense and Sporting’s equal on defense, more or less.  They’ve each one both their matches to start to the 2018-19 campaign.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Cerezo Osaka vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima – Japan J1 League

A 1-5 matchup in a league this size isn’t usually quite shiny enough to capture Noob’s wandering gaze.  But this site has its the Management and he is a Japanophile and must be appeased!

The top three will make the next AFC Champions League, and there’s a seven-point gap between 3rd and the rest with two thirds of the season in the books.  Hiroshima had a chance to practically wrap up the league title with a win their last match out, but current #B beat them on their own pitch.

C.Osaka statistically aren’t really much better than average, and so are probably just an even shot to win or draw at home today.

RESULT:   Hiroshima   0-1

Image result for management funny

 

 

Do you see, do you see what Noob must live with?

  1. Atletico Junior vs. Independiente Medellin – Colombia Primera A

In Colombia, the top eight (of 20) clubs will make the postseason tournament.  These two are part of a three-way tie for 3rd just a few matches into the Finalizacion (second half-season, same as a Clausura in other leagues).

You probably need a pretty deep satellite package to get RCN Tele Nuestre, but the match will be there at 9:00 PM.

RESULT:   Junior   2-1

  1. BATE Borisov vs. FK Vitebsk – Belarus Premier

Let’s end the Track with a 1 versus B-matchup!

Just over halfway through the season, BATE are up seven points in the table on both their guests today and Dinamo Minsk.  All three play about the same defense, but these two are a load better than D.Minsk on offense.  This will be a two-horse race soon enough.

RESULT:   1-1     BATE gets the equalizer right at 90′

Image result for Barysaw Belarus

 

 

So long from Borisov Stadium!

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – filtering the finest footyball beans for YOU

The soccer scheds are getting fuller, the Track’ed matches all the sweeter.

Tuesday’s matches are below Wednesday’s here now.  Thursday’s are coming soon.

Thursday

Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas – Major League Soccer

10.  It’s hard to fathom that Houston could win the U.S. Open Cup.  They’re hosting the Final against Philly in late September.  A good thing they’ve put all their eggs in that basket, because their league basket is mildewy and coming unwoven.

They’re in 10th in the Western Conference after five straight league losses.  The competition’s been strong over that stretch, true.  But this is the big league and you’ve got to pick some points. Now they’re 10 points behind 6th place and the last playoff spot.  The Dynamo are cooked.  The offense is gone.

Dallas, meanwhile recovered from a two-game skid last time out with a W over Minnesota.  Good thing, too, as KC has won three straight and was looking prime to take 1st place back.   (9:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for HOuston weird

 

So long from the Art Car Parade in Houston!

(Don’t worry.  Noob knows it’s an atrocity.  The town was built on a swamp.  It will all sink into oblivion soon enough.)

Wednesday

  1. NYCFC vs. New York Red Bulls – Major League Soccer

#3 hosts #B in the Eastern Conference.  Both are almost certain to make the Playoffs (top 6 in each conf.).  But since the top two seeds will get a bye in the postseason, this edition if the Hudson River Derby is particularly important.

NYCFC just got ambushed in Philly, 0-2.  They’ve given up nine goals in their last four matches.  NYRB have been simply taking care of business this month, with results in their last three outings.  They’ve played one less match than The Blues – an advantage in the table, if not on the pitch today.

Sean Johnson hasn’t been helped by his back line much of late.  They’ve not leaned on the defense much all season, truth be told.  But the goalkeeper’s got to staunch this bleeding if they’re to stop this fade.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for sean johnson nycfc funny“I will hug it and squeeze it and call it George.”

(Random? Sure.  Does Noob care?  Not a whit!)

  1. Portland Thorns vs. Sky Blue FC – National Women’s Soccer League

Sky Blue have two draws in last three matches!

New Jersey’s last place NWSL club hasn’t had much to celebrate this season.  They still only have five points, half as many as second-to-last place Washington.  So they’ll take these little successes and run with them.

The Thorns are in 3rd with just three matches to go before the Postseason.  Four clubs are within four points of them in the table, so they shouldn’t be sleeping today.  A win today would all but guarantee them a top-four finish, which means playoffs.

RESULT:   Portland   2-1

Image result for Sky Blue FC funny

 

 

 

“If you go into their net more than ours -just this once- I’ll take you to the Shore.  Please??”

  1. Cruz Azul vs. Toluca – Liga MX

After making the Liguilla (postseason) in the 2017-18 Apertura (first half-season), they fell into the table depths in the Clausura.  They are back.  They’ve allowed just one lone goal in their five matches this new season.  No other team has conceded fewer than four.

But now they get their first tough test of the season.  Say hello to the last Clausura’s regular season champion.  Toluca is in 6th, but with their offense, they’ll rise.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Cruz Azul   1-0

  1. Young Boys of Bern vs. Dinamo Zagreb – UEFA Champions League

Switzerland’s and Croatia’s European league-rankings aren’t far apart – both in about the teens.  Still, YBB is only just now entering the competition.  (See Tuesday’s UEFA CL match below for Round details.)

D.Z. have had to advance through two rounds already.  They walloped a club from Israel and skunked one from Kazakhstan.

Based on the Elo ratings Noob uses, YBB would be favored even at a neutral site.  While I don’t think formal football gambling works this way, I would still take Dinamo if given a goal.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for soccer gambling funny

  1. Portland Timbers II vs. Orange County FC – United Soccer League

Given that the top eight in each conference of America’s second-tier league, these two are looking very good.

Portland’s reserve side has climbed to 5th in the West on the back of three straight high-offense victories.

The O.C. have also been getting goals like gangbusters, winning three in a row as well.  In fact, they haven’t lost since July 7 and have scored twice or more in all their contests.    Noob ends the Wednesday portion of the Midweek Track with what could look like a pinaball-ish score.

Tuesday

  1. Seattle Reign vs. Houston Dash – National Women’s Soccer League

Welcome to the only top-division match in America today.  This match is sneaky-important for both teams.

Seattle seem to have a firm grip on #B in the table with three matches to go, yet that four-point lead over the Portland only looks big because of how close the next several teams are to one another.

That’s where we find the Dash.  They’re tied for 6th, yet trail Chicago for the fourth and final Playoff berth by just two points.

Houston have scored six goals their last two matches, but Seattle maybe be more impressive of late on the other side.  The Reign haven’t conceded a goal their last three games.

RESULT:   Seattle   2-0

Image result for where did you go funny

 

 

Can’t find offense anywhere here!

(And no, Noob is not above using cute aminahl pictures to lure in readers.)

B.  UNAM Pumas vs. Queretaro – Liga MX

Noob would mock 12th-place UNAM without end for their lack of goal-scoring, but Atlas haven’t scored once this Apertura (first half-season).

Pumas are scoring twice a game on average, sit in 5th place.  But they scored all those goals the first couple games, haven’t found the back of the net in their last three outings.  Check this one out on ESPN Deportes at 8:00 PM to see if either can get on the board.

RESULT:   Queretaro   0-1

Image result for letter B wild animal

 

 

 

Sorry, Number B.

No B in “puma” anywhere.

  1. Benfica vs. PAOK – UEFA Champions League

They’ve reached the “Qualification Round” in Europe.  12 clubs paired off, the survivors of these two-legged ties all make the Group Stage.   That’s where the competition is considered to truly begin.

PAOK finished #B in Greece’s Superleague last season, had to make it through two Rounds already just to get this far.  They most recently beat Spartak Moscow.

Benfica also finished #B in their league.  But since it’s a more highly-ranked league, they’ve only had to play one Round so far.  They defeated Fehnerbace out of Turkey to get here.

True to the league strengths, the Elo rankings this two have on footballdatabase.com indicate to Noob Benfica is easily a one-goal favorite at home.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Independiente vs. Santos FC – Copa Libertadores

South America’s version of Champions League is in its Round of 16.  These are the last pair of clubs to not have played the first match of their two-legged tie.

Independiente finished just 6th in Argentina’s Premier last season – not quite good enough to qualify for CL.  They’re here by virtue of having won the 2017 Copa Sudamericana, the continent’s second-tier competition.  They’re a sound, defensive-minded bunch.

Santos finished 3rd in Brazil, CONMEBOL’s best league.  They’re considered the fifth entrant from Brazil.  Santos also plays a tight defensive game typically.  Look for this to go 1-0 or 0-1 at most.  Independiente is a full-goal fave based on the Elo ratings.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for Copa Libertadores cartoon

 

 

Noob’s not sure what harpooning a rabbit has to do with CL or Santos FC.

But I’m down with it.

 

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Saturday (8/4) – MLS back from All-Star break

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.

  1. 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+)

RESULT:   3-3

Image result for matt turner new england revolution funny

 

 

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

Image result for letter B on the go

 

 

Number B is all about the road.

And won’t swerve to avoid Number Two if it comes to it.

  1. 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

  1. 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

Image result for pile of panda bears

 

 

 

Pile o’ friendly pandas

  1. 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.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. 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.jpg

 

 

Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre, Guangdong province

  1. 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

  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

Image result for dutch football funny

 

 

 

Good thing the fans won’t get weird…

  1. 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

  1. 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.

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for Helsinki weird

 

 

So long from Helsinki (HJK’s home city)!

Noob’s still trying to “read” the Sibelius Monument.

’10 to Track’ Weekend Edition soccer matches – all the best from America, Mexico, UEFA, CAF CL

It won’t belong now until the big European leagues are in full swing and Noob likely expands back to doing separate Tracks for Saturday and Sunday.

For this weekend though, the ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game – the best from our soccer perspective span both days.

That’s my way of saying these weekend is all trim meat, Noobites.  Slice of piece of the grade-A soccer.

  1. Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas – Major League Soccer

KC spent most of the first half of the season leading the Western Conference, but now Dallas is on top (and LAFC is #B).  The difference.  KC has given up two or more goals in five straight matches, not winning any of them.

Dallas, meanwhile, have only conceded four in their last five games.   (And they won the one where they allowed multiple goals.)  Dallas’ defense is only surpassed league-wide by New York Red Bulls.  Jesse Gonzalez is their netminder and a title run is likely If he keeps playing at this level.   (8:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Dallas   2-3     Michael Barrios with all three Dallas goals

Image result for Jesse Gonzalez FC Dallas

 

Jesse likes cold drinks, hot Texas nights, and wearing Mickey Mouse goalie gloves on dates.

His number is…

B.  Montreal Impact vs. Atlanta United – Major League Soccer

And now to the East!

Impact haven’t lost in their last seven times out, pushing into the Playoff picture (5th place).  Noob’s betting they won’t stay there.  Their defense has been more than suspect on the season, though better lately.  It’s helped them into two four-game losing streaks in 2018 so far.

Atlanta are #1, and that’s some tough business with both New York teams breathing down their necks.  Josef Martinez is their offensive star.  Noob mentions him again because he scored all three scores in their last match and win against D.C. United!   (7:00 PM, ESPN+, Fox Sports Southeast)

RESULT:   Atlanta   1-2    Ueber-star Josef Martinez with two goals

Image result for letter B star

 

Number B thinks himself a star.

But has he replaced numeral 2 in your hearts?

He should.

  1. Benfica vs. Juventus – International Champions Cup

Fans at Red Bull Arena certainly have been hoping to see Italian league champs’ new acquisition in action – world’s greatest Cristiano Ronaldo.   Sadly, he won’t be involved today though.  Benfica had won four Portuguese Primeira titles in a row before missing the mark last year.

It’s hard to handicap events in this tournament, since reserves may start or get substantial playing time as teams tune up for domestic leagues with the friendlies that make up this tournament.  Both teams won the first of the three matches they’ll each play in this event.   (1:00 PM, ESPN2)

RESULT:   Juventus   1-1  /  2-4 pk

  1. Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC – National Women’s Soccer League

New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC have lost four in a tow and have yet to win a match all season.  They’ve allowed a dozen goals in their last for matches, all losses.

Despite losing only once in their last seven outings, Chicago are in 5th place, just outside the Playoff picture.  A likely win today will vault then all the way to 3rd though.

Sky Blue FC forward Nadia Nadim (9) celebrates her goal against the Houston Dash.

 

SBFC’s Nadia Nadim celebrates a goal.

Maybe someday she’ll get to celebrate a W.

  1. CF America vs. Atlas – Liga MX

Atlas is the city of Guadalajara’s “other team”, as the headliners there are Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas).  Last Clausura (second half-season), Atlas actually outperformed their rivals.  That said, the two were just 15th and 17th place, respectively.

Liga MX is just starting it’s 2017-18 season.  But if things remain similar to last year, America’s defense should be able to get the three points today.   (8:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   CFA   3-0    Guido Rodriguez nets a pair

  1. Wydad Casablanca vs. Horoya AC – CAF Champions League

Ah, Wydad, Noob’s Moroccan favorite!  Only club I’ve found named for an actress/singer.  Or either one.  If either is a fan of the sport, maybe someday we’ll have a Club Timberlake or Joe Jonas FC…

Aaaanyway, Wydad are the defending champions of Africa’s CL.  Horoya qualified out of the unheralded top-flight league in Guinea. This event is in its Group Stage.  These two and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns are all tied for 1st out of the four teams in this Group.  Also, they all earned just draws against one another in their first matches in the Round Robin. After tiebreakers, the table goes Sundowns, Horoya, Wydad.

On paper, there shouldn’t be any reasonable way to expect Horoya to compete with Wydad.  But they play the matches on grass, not paper.  That would be weird and crumply-noisy probably.   (3:00 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:    Wydad   2-0

Image result for paper soccer players

 

 

 

What witchcraft is this??

 

 

Sunday

  1. U.S.A. vs. Australia – Tournament of Nations

To whom can Noob write a strongly-worded letter about the boring and yet still misleading name for this event?  It’s not wrong, but there are just four teams participating.  Granted, these are really good national teams.

And so, reminder:  This is essentially a tournament of glorified friendlies.  With Women’s World Cup next year, this can be considered a tune-up for that.  They’re playing a round robin, no additional round.

#1 FIFA-ranked U.S.A. beat #6 Japan 4-2 in their first match, in which Alex Morgan netted a hat trick (three goals).  #8 Australia (“the Matildas”) pulled the minor upset over #7 Brazil 3-1 in theirs.  Those matches were in Kansas City.  Both matches today are being played in East Hartford Connecticut, at UConn’s home field.   (7:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   1-1

  1. North Carolina Courage vs. Lyon – women’s International Champions Cup

Another four-team event, all matches being played at Miami Gardens.  Noob doesn’t know enough yet to say that NC’s victory over Paris Saint-Germain was an upset or now.  Courage are easily the best American women’s team.  PSG is the secondary power in perhaps Europe’s top league.

Today, NCC get the real test.  Lyon as won three straight World Cup’s, and their own league 12 straight seasons.  Noon suspect’s the Courage will need even more than a career day from Alex Morgan.  Their other big star is Rapinoe, who also scored in the win over PSG.   (9:00 PM, ESPN2)

RESULT:   Courage   1-0

Image result for alex morgan funny

 

 

And when you score three goals in a match, you can rock whatever coif you want.  Right, Ms. Morgan?

  1. L.A. Galaxy vs. Orlando City – Major League Soccer

At time of this writing, Real Salt Lake is in action.  By the time some of reading this, they may have passed the Galaxy for 4th.  No matter what happens there, what a turnaround it’s been for the home team today.

Noob featured the Galaxy on Thursday.  “El Trafico” – the intracity rivalry match with LAFC – ended 2-2.  LAFC stormed back with two very late goals.  Will Zlatan & Co. be able to rev up after that derby?

Will it matter?  9th-place Orlando stink out loud.  This is good, right and appropriate.  The Management and Noob consider it a priority to espouse the evils of bad urban planning.  Nothing – NOTHING – good can ever come from building a city on a swamp.   (9:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Galaxy   4-3

  1. UANL vs. Tijuana – Liga MX

It’s early in this league’s new season.  These are two teams that made last year’s playoffs for the Clausura (second-half season).  OK.

What Noob really can’t stop thinking about is how embarrassed I should be about the fact that I didn’t know until I started covering soccer that Tijuana is spelled without an A before the J.  That pronunciation is cited as common and perfectly acceptable.  Still, Noob feels more shame heaped upon shame.  Just thought I would’ve picked up that there was a phantom sound in there long before now.   (7:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Tigres   1-0

Image result for shame funny

 

 

Use the phrase “chromosomally-challenged”.    It’s more PC.

  1. Cruziero vs. Sao Paulo – Brazil Serie A

To be a truly knowledgeable soccer citizen of the world. gotta follow Brazil.  South America’s best.  Sorry, Argentina.

Six clubs from here will qualify automatically for the Copa Libertadores Group Stage next year.  Cruziero are in 6th now, despite struggling a little on offense for a top club.  Noob would say their just-OK defense won’t make up for that lack, but they had similar stat lines a year ago and finished 5th.

Sao Paulo just keep continuing to surprise.  They’re #B in the league now, after a dismal 13th-place finish last year.  They’ve shored up their defense some.  Not enough to maintain a spot quite this high in the table for the whole season, but they sure look CL-bound at the very least.    (3:00 PM, Premiere Futebol Clube)

RESULT:   Sao Paulo   0-2

  1. MLS Homegrown vs. UANL U20 – MLS All-Star week

The MLS All-Star game will be on Aug. 1 in Atlanta.  This game is a lead-in, and in some ways maybe the more interesting affair.

Noob’s not exactly sure how MLS defines a “homegrown” player.  Could mean that the player is a U.S. native, or refer to anyone who came through an MLS soccer youth academy.  Or both, or neither, or involve some other variable.  Think I’m on the right track though, roughly.

They’ll be taking on UANL Tigres Under-20 team, their Mexican league’s champions.   This is matchup is part of a broad, multi-year partnership effort between America and Mexico to promote and develop the youth game.

Players to watch and who have been in this before are Kellyn Acosta from FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams, and Justen Glad who plays for Real Salt Lake.   (8:30 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1    Mexican kid got a red card at 78′, just a minute after his team got the equalizer.

Image result for Lil Jon soccer

 

So long, from Noob and ATL soccer fan Lil Jon.

A-what?  Okay.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (5/13) – led by MLS double-feature!

The ten most important soccer matches for us – the newish American fans of the global game – to follow.   For all the rampant caaamedy, there’s actual football nougat inside this candy bar!   Come, savor it, Noobites.

  1. Orlando City vs. Atlanta United – MLS

The Management and Noob shake our collective fist at you, Orlando City!   Constructing a city on a swamp is the worst idea ever, but footyball facts are undeniable.  The #3 team in the East is en fuego.  They’ve won six consecutive matches, including an impressive 4-3 win over New York Red Bulls.

Can Atlanta rekindle their fire after a road loss to Western #1 Sporting Kansas City?  Probably!  They’re #1 for a reason.

Noobstradamus Sees:   MLS #1-ranked (tied with Tim Howard, COL) Brad Guzan standing on his head today and shutting down The Orlando City Lions Bad Urban Planners.   ATL 0-2.

RESULT:   ATL   1-2.   Any man alive were Orlando fans upset at the end of that one.  Throwing bottles all over the field.  Stay classy, central Florida.

Image result for bad urban planning funny

 

 

 

Orlando, FL Urban Planning Office

B.  LAFC vs. NYCFC – MLS

The Alphabet Soup Derby – could it catch on as a moniker?  Noobites, let’s get this silliness done.  Today, it’s a battle of #B’s, too.  They’re both second place in their respective divisions.

LAFC has been so impressive for a first-year expansion club.  Uruguayan national Diego Rossi is their big goal-scorer to have an eye on.

Noobstradamus Sees:   …that the early season crown of being #1 lay too heavy on the heads of NYCFC.  They’ve lost two of three, including an 0-4 curbstomping by NY Red Bulls.  Momentum.  LAFC 1-0.

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for letter B swarm

 

 

No need to fear Number B’s.

Unless you like Number Two.

Then you shall feel the stinging wrath!

3.  Toluca vs. Tijuana – Liga MX

Tijuana mildly surprised by winning the first leg of this postseason Liguilla semifinal, 2-1.  Going to ten-time champions Toluca’s house today is another matter entirely though.

Noobstradamus Sees:  …the defensive battle I thought the first leg would be.  Toluca 1-0, with a goal just before the half.

RESULT:   Toluca   4-1   They advance!

  1. Newcastle United vs. Chelsea – English Premier

Chelsea really screwed the pooch last match, drawing lowly Hudderfield come to their stadium and achieve a draw.  Now they’re two points behind Liverpool for 4th and the league’s final Champions League berth.  To be fair, they’d been on a five-win tear right before that.

Newcastle seem to have thrown in the towel on the season two weeks ago, losing four straight.  But all Liverpool need to hang on to 4th is a draw at home against the Brighton & Hove Albion Nobodies.  (Nickname verified.)

(The Management here:  Nickname verified as false, asshat.)

Noobstadamus Sees:  Trouble brewing at the office between me and The Management.  Let’s rumble!

RESULT:   Newcastle   3-0     And The Management and Noob ended up doing a test run of a movie review podcast, so all is well.

Image result for fighting with management funny

 

 

 

Quarter neither asked nor given, The Management!!

  1. Maritimo vs. Sporting CP – Primeira Liga

Things are looking grim, if not impossible, for Sporting CP and their CL aspirations.  Portugal’s league gets two berths.  They’re tied for #B, but down insurmountably on goal differential.  And today they get a reasonably tough test on the road at #7 Maritimo.  Far worse, Benfica (fellow #B) have a gimme against low-run Moirirense at home.

Noobstrdamus Sees:  …Europa League in Sporting’s future, even with a 1-2 win today.

RESULT:   Maritimo   2-1    So it’s Europa League for Sporting CP

  1. Standard Liege vs. Club Brugge – Belgium First Division A

This has become won of the best title races in Europe!

Standard Liege just took down Anderlecht, now get their shot at the #1 club.  But they trail by four points in the table, and there’s just one league match to be played after this.  This is must-win for SL regarding title hopes.  Of more concern might be that they’re only ahead of Anderlecht by a point for the second and only other CL invite.

Noobstradamus Sees:  …that Standard Liege has been unbeatable since the league split into championship and relegation subdivisions.  They ratchet up the high drama with a 4-2 win today!

RESULT:   1-1     And so, congrats to Club Brugge, your 2017-18 league champion!

Image result for stoner drama funny

 

 

There may be confusion about “high drama”.

  1. Nurnburg vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf – 2. Bundeliga

For the league title!  So what if it’s second-tier.  This still may well be one of the top-half quality leagues in Europe.

These two are tied and this is the last match of the season.  Someone in charge of scheduling knew what they were doing a year ago!  Nurnburg lead on GD, so FD has to have the win to get the hardware.   But they’re both Promoted to Bundesliga next year, so they’’ll probably go out drinking together afterwards no matter what happens.

Noobstradamus Sees:   …hangovers for everyone!

RESULT:   Dusseldorf   2-3    The game-winner at 90′!   Kudos, champions.

  1. Motagua vs. Marathon – Honduras National League

The Final!  Leg one anyway.  They were #B and #1 in the Clausura (second-half) regular season, deservedly made it through the postseason bracket to duke it out here.

Noobstradamus Sees:   …that, once again, defense travels!  0-1 Marathon.  They’ve the best in the country.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for honduran military funny

 

Honduran defense confused by clown.

It doesn’t HAVE to make sense.  This is Noob.

  1. Saprissa vs. Alajuense – Costa Rica Premier

It’s the last game of the season, and these two are tied in the “Quadrangular”.  The top four from the Clausura regular season have been playing a double round robin.  Saprissa leads on GD, so Alajuense must win on the road to net the title.

Noobstradamus Sees:  Saprissa taking the title, 2-0.   Saprissa are one of North America’s sneaky-best clubs.

RESULT:   1-1  

  1. Corinthians vs. Palmeiras – Brazil Serie A

They’re only a few matches into the season in Brazil, so Noob features last seasons #1 and #B titans facing off!

RESULT:   Corinthians   1-0

Bonus matches:   #1 and league champ Celtic are hosting #B Aberdeen in Scotland.  Also, I’ll offer The Management an olive branch after the earlier rumbling and mention that #2 FC Tokyo is hosting #3 Consadole Sapporo in J1 League.  Happy?

Image result for sao paulo odd

 

 

 

So long from Sao Paulo!

’10 to Track’ for Saturday (5/5) – MLS goodies and Liga MX Liguilla lead the way

Ah, the weekend!  Where Noob takes his soccer coverage (comparatively) seriously).

Let’s dig right into the ten best matches for us – the newish American fans of the game – to follow.  Commence!

  1. LAFC vs. FC Dallas – MLS

Which will be the better expansion club in their first season – LAFC or the NHL’s Golden Knights?  LAFC are #B in the Western Conference while Dallas lurk in 4th, just three points behind.   (1:00 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6)

Noobstradamus Sees:  Dallas   0-1    Defense travels, and Dallas has the best in the West.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for rodeo soccer gif

 

 

No defense for this in Dallas…

 

B.  New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC – MLS

It’s Hudson River Derby.   That’s cool.  Not as cool as Hudson River School, but cool.

#6 hosts #1 in the East.  Red Bulls score just about as much as their hosts today, and are just as good on defense.

Noobstradamus Sees:   NYRB   3-2     And every goal will be scored in the second half.  *bonnngggg*   (10:00 PM, ESPN)

RESULT:   NYRB   4-0

Image result for hudson river school

 

 

Noob- where footyball and art history collide.

 

  1. Monterrey vs. Tijuana – Liga MX

It’s a Quarterfinal in the Liguilla.  #3 Monterrey achieved a draw in the first leg, 1-1, can now take care of business at home.  Tijuana finished the regular season 6th.

Noobstradamus Sees:   An upset!   Once again, defense travels.  Tijuana goalie Gibran Lajud stands on his head, and time ends with 0-0.   Then the Xolos take it in pk’s!

RESULT:   Tijuana   1-2    Los Xolos advance to the Semis!

  1. Sporting vs. Benfica – Primeira Liga

These two are tied for #B in Portugal, and only two will get invited to Champions League – high drama!

They look about the same on paper.  They trail #1 Porto by five in the table.  Someone has to win to stay in the title chase.  Loser is out.  If they draw, both are likely finished.

Noobstradamus Sees:   Sporting 3-2 in a shootout!   Offensive whirlwind Bas Dost scores two for Sporting, including the game-winner.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for Bas Dost goal

 

Bas wants to know if you are entertained.  Are you not?

 

  1. Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne Victory – Australian A-League

The Semifinals featured a stunner as league behemoth Sydney FC went down to the Jets.  Now they get to host the Final!  Melbourne V. finished 3rd in league play.

Noobstrdamus Sees:   …that this was a two-team league.  Newcastle 3-1.

RESULT:   MV   0-1    “Half your luck” to MV!  Champeeeens

  1. Slavia Prague vs. Viktoria Plzen – Czech First League

The Plzen-ers have the league title nearly wrapped up, leading #B Slavia Prague by nine points in the table with four matches to play.  S.P’s more worried about hanging onto the league’s second Champions League invite, as Olomouc are just two points away.

Noobstrdamus Sees:   Plzen win 1-2 in pk!

RESULT:   Slavia Prague   2-0

  1. Beitar Jerusalem vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva – Israeli Premier

Plzen-er?  Be’er?   Noob’s looking for a sponsor, and has no problem with it being a boozahol producer.

Since the league divided into championship and relegation subdivisions, Beitar Jerusalem have only expanded their small lead over today’s gusts.  Four matches to go, and that change in the air you feel is a changing of the guard coming.

Noobstradamus Sees:   Beitar Jerusalem 2-1

RESULT:   Be’er Sheva   1-4

Image result for you're not funny

 

 

 

Quiet, tot!  You’re not old enough to be judging my boozahol jokes.

 

  1. Trnava vs. Dunajska Streda – Slovakia First League

Three league matches to go, and Trnava lead D.S. by seven in the table.   A win today all but mathematically wraps up the title and only CL slot.

Trnava are a rare breed, as they’re winning it all without having anywhere near the league’s best offense.  And their league-leading defense isn’t that impressive on paper (20 goals given up in 29 matches).

Noobstradamus Sees:   0-0    *sad sound effect*

RESULT:   Trnava   2-0

  1. Videoton vs. Ferenczaros – Hungary NB 1

#B hosts #1 in a two-horse race for the title and only CL berth!  They’re separated by only a point in the table, and about statistically even as well.

Noobstradamus Sees:   Nothing.  I’m blocked mentally by the idea that Videoton sounds like a place where I can rent “Better Off Dead” on VHS.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Kawasaki Frontale vs. FC Tokyo – J1 League

This is a slight The Management-sop.  Not that this isn’t a quality matchup – #3 hosting #2 – but there are plenty of equally good and important matches around the globe to follow.  But The Management is a Japanophile and must be appeased.

FC Tokyo luuuhhhv a wide-open game.  Score aplenty, let the other side try and keep up.  And it’s worked to date.  Kawasaki play some amazing defense, giving up about half a goal per game average.

Noobstradamus Sees:   …having to restrain The Management to keep him out of seedy soaplands if and when we ever go East at the same time.

RESULT:   FC Tokyo   0-2

Image result for soapland police

 

Aftermath of soapland fire in Saitama, Tokyo.

Listen to the Noob.  They are bad.

Goodbye from Japan!

’10 to Track’ for midweek 1/2-4 – Premier League meets Thomas the Tank Engine-edition

The ten most important soccer matches of the midweek, they await us, Noobites!  We get a spicy mix of league and Cup matches, a Premier League team gets a new name, I scare my volunteer with a thinly-veiled maiming threat, and so much more..

NEW FEATURE:  Staff seer Noobstradamus – who may or may not be merely an alter ego of Noob’s – is challenging The Management and Dan-o “the Interno Inferno” to a contest of prognostication.

We’ll all pick winners and losers for all games except Monday’s.  We won’t pick draws, because Amuricuh!   One point is earned for getting a game right, two for picking a big underdog to win in games I’ll designate with a “u”.

Monday, 1/2

  1. Manchester City vs. Watford (u) – English Premier League

The City train just keeps rolling, seemingly unstoppable.   Noob’s Tracking them because there’s talk about this being a Greatest Ever-sort of team.  And they won’t be sleeping on 10th-place Watford, since they don’t have another League match for two weeks.

RESULT:   Man City   3-1

Image result for watford fc crest

 

Watford, your crest still looks like an upside-down PSA for reminding people to use a licensed doctor for vaginoplasty.

B.  Napoli vs. Atalanta (u) – Coppa Italia

Number B.!  Italy’s FA Cup has reached its Quarterfinals.

League #1 Napoli plays host.   They’ve won four matches in a row.  #9 Atalanta has been rolling for a while, but got ambushed at home by lowly Cagliari in their last match.  The winner will get league #2 Juventus in all likelihood.

RESULYT:   Atalanta   1-2    Noobstradamus succcess!  Not that, you know, I’m surprised or anything  *cough*

Image result for noobstradamus

 

Napoli is in a dogfight for the league lead.  They will let their focus slip today.  Atalanta shall win.  Noobstradamus has bespoken!

Bespake.  Bespeaked?    Blaargh.

 

  1. Iraq vs. U.A.E. – Arabian Gulf Cup

Reminder:  Seven Gulf area teams, plus Yemen.  These two both rate in the 70’s in FIFA rankings, should be the higher-quality of the Semifinals.

Iraq looks like the class of the field.  U.A.E. somehow finished 2nd in their Group scoring only one goal in the three games.  (They gave up none.)  The winner likely gets Oman in the Final.

RESULT:   U.A.E.   0-0  /  2-4  pk      The Emirates’ shutout streak continues.  On to the Final to face Oman.

Tuesday, 1/3

  1. Arsenal vs. Chelsea – English Premier League

This should be the match of the midweek!  Neither club has lost since early last month.

Chelsea is in 3rd.  Arsenal stands at 5th place, a guaranteed 2018 Europa League slot.  They’re well behind 4th-place Liverpool, but could use some space against hated rival and all-around scorned 6th-place Tottenham.

New Year’s resolution!   Noob will now regularly refer to accursed, named-for-a-traitor Tottenham more regularly as “Tottenham  Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur”.

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for sir topham hatt thomas the tank engine

 

He’s a much more palatable figure than dastardly Henry “Hotspur” Percy.

 

 

Hello, Noobites- The Management here.  The Management would like to apologize for Noob’s incessant ranting on this topic.  He’s had his head med upped recently, but the hoped-for effect can take weeks to show up.  Thank you for your time and patience. – The Management.

Hey, The Management.  Noob doesn’t remember signing away his HIPAA privacy rights.  But let’s move on.

  1. Sydney FC vs. Newcastle Jets – Australian A-League

#1 vs. #2!   Noob’s always down for it.   Even if barely more than a dozen games into the league season Sydney is up eight points on Newcastle, who are in turn up seven on 3rd place.

These are the only two finishing positions that are AFC Champions League slots.  Sydney leads the league in scoring and defense.

RESULT:   2-2      Sydney salvages a point with a goal in the 87′

  1. Formentera (u) vs. Alavés – Copa del Rey (Spain FA Cup)

This is the Round of 16.  Unlike with many FA Cups, teams here play two-legged ties (two-match series).

Formentera is our pececillo – Minnow.   They’re a so-so third-tier team that have made it a long way.   Their guests are a poor La Liga team, and they’ve already beaten much better Atletico Bilbao.  Noob’s got a thing for island teams, and Formentera are based in the Balearics.  Gofightwin!

RESULT:   Alavés   1-3

Image result for formentera

 

Someday Noob’s ashes will be scattered in that lagoon.  Heaven.

  1. Juventus vs. Torino (u) – Coppa Italia

This is not the Quarterfinal matchup league 10th-place Torino was hoping for.  They’re defense is pretty suspect, and Juventus are the goal-scoring monster of Serie A.

  1. Benfica vs. Sporting CP – Primeira Liga

Porto leads Portugal’s top league, but Sporting Lisbon is tied with them.  Benfica is close behind in 3rd.  This league only gets to Champions League spots this year.  Torcida importante!

RESULT:   Juve   2-0

        Um, Mr. Noob, sir?   I don’t mean to interrupt.

Yet here you are, doing just that, Dan-o the Intern-o Inferno.

        Are you trying to write “important match” in Portuguese?  

I’m not “trying”.  I did.

        Er, that’s actually “important candle-wick”.

I once took a man’s eyeball out with a mellonballer.

        Right.  Carry on!

  1. Apollon Limassol vs. AEK Limassol – Cypriot First Division

The battle for Cyprus’ second-largest city is ON.  Intracity rivalries reign supreme for Noob!

3rd hosts 5th place here.  The top six will have a postseason tournament for the league title and Champions League berth.   Apollon are the best team in the league and are undefeated.  They’ve played three fewer league games than the others because of their international competition play.

RESULT:   1-1

Wednesday, 1/4

  1. Tottenham   Sir Topham Hatt Hotpsur vs. West Ham United (u) – English Premier League

Sir Topham Hatt is in 6th place.   Feels good to use the new moniker in a sentence.  Not that Noob’s bile and vitriol for the Traitorous Ones will ever diminish!   But it is nicer.

West Ham suck out loud and need to knock that crap off, get the big upset here.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for misplaced anger funny

Prognistication Challenge

Noobstradamus:   Man City, Atalanta, Iraq, Arsenal, Sydney,  Formentera, Juventus, Benfica, Apollon, West Ham

The Management Watford, Atalanta, Iraq, Chelsea, Newcastle, Alavés, Torino, Benfica, AEK Limassol, West Ham

Dan the Interno Inferno:   Man City, Atalanta, I-Rock (the name is sheer bravado), Arsenal, Alaves, Sydney (“the thunder from down under”)*, Apollon, Torino, Benfica,  “I -Tottenham- some good learnins’ so they’d better score some of them goals -Hotspur-“.

*Noob points out the intern unintentional comedy:   1)  “thunder from down under” could, of course, refer to either or any Australian team, and B) would be less likely to refer to Sydney FC since they are nicknamed the “Sky Blues”.   🙂   (Now watch him win.)