’10 to Track’ Sunday (12/2) soccer match previews – Liga MX, Premier League derbies lead the way

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

Noob starts local and with Western Europe, but never ignores the world at large.  I hope that means there’s something here for any fan, not just Noobites.

Follow on the tweeterbox @SoccerNoobUSA.  Check back for match results.  And remember to never travel in a straight line.   Noob keeps things weird.

Note:  Noob’s sources for some CONCACAF things are…inconsistent.   The Ascenso MX (Mexican second division) Apertura Finals second leg may be today.  Really good league, probably one of the best five in CONCACAF.  Use your Google machine powers to find out more.

Also, there may be a Nicaraguan semifinal today.   Same CONCACAF weirdness issue on the interblag.

1. Pumas UNAM vs. Tigres UANL– Liga MX

Opening round of the playoffs, leg two! The top eight from the Apertura (first half-season) qualified. Pumas are the third seed, Tigres sixth. The first leg was at UANL and they won 2-1.

All the momentum is with Tigres. They’ve won four straight. Pumas have only managed one win in their last four tries. Winner will get either CF America or underdog Toluca.   (1:00 PM Eastern, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Pumas   3-1      And so they take the series 4-3 and advance

B. Arsenal vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – English Premier League

This is the North London derby. Remember to pronounce that “ar” instead of “er”. You wouldn’t won to sound literate! For the rawest of Noobites, a derby means they’re bigtime rivals.

Being one of Europe’s best leagues, four clubs will qualify from it for the next UEFA Champions League. Noob-dreaded Hotspur are #3, Arsenal #5 with the season just over 1/3 over.

Arsenal lost their first two league matches of the season but quickly righted their ship and haven’t lost since. This, despite the fact that they don’t play quite the same caliber of defense that the other title-contenders do.

Hotspur have won six straight across all competitions. They have proven capable of winning both high and low-scoring affairs, may well be the top threat to #1 Manchester City. They are also named for historic traitor to multiple kings Harry Percy, are worthy of our scorn. Not that this is likely to affect a match result. Noob just can’t help but throw it in there.   (9:05 AM, Telemundo)

RESULT:   Arsenal   4-2        for great justice

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Sir Topham Hatt is displeased by the Harry Percy fawners.

3. RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Monchengladbach – Bundesliga

Germany’s top league has had a topsy turvy table compared to normal this season. Things are starting to look closer to normal, but M’Gladbach is a club they’re not used to seeing so high up. The enter today #B in the table, and it’s no fluke. Good offense, sterling defense. And they’ve won four in a row over all competitions.

Leipzig either play whatever is better than sterling for defense or parks the bus and doesn’t worry much about scoring. Either way, it worked for them early in the season. They’ve lost three of their last four now though and they sit in 5th place. Top four get into the 209-20 Champions League.   (9:30 AM, FS1)

RESULT:   Leipzig   2-0

4. Alaves vs. Sevilla – La Liga

Spain’s is another top flite that’s table has been filled with less-familiar names at the top. Last year, these were the 7th and 14th-placed teams, respectively. Currently they sit #4 and #1. Top four here, too, qualify for the next CL.

Alaves have lost two of three. They’re not consistently dominating teams much further down the table. They appear to have the defense to perhaps flirt with a top-four finish, but Noob’s not banking on it.

Sevilla are really well-balanced. If it weren’t for hard-charging Barcelona, Noob might think they could truly contend for the title. Plus, Real Madrid appear to be waking from their early season slumber. They’re 5th and will climb higher. For the moment, we get enjoy a breath of fresh air, some new scenery at the top of the table.   (2:45 PM, beIN Sports en Español)

RESULT:   1-1

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Eventually we’ll need these again.

5. Celtic vs. Aberdeen – Scottish League Cup

FA Cup – every club that’s a member or associate members of the Scottish Football Association. Challenge Cup – teams from levels 2-4 of the Scottish football pyramid, plus some lower clubs and a few non-Scottish invites.

And then there’s this one! It’s been being contested by the teams from the top four leagues. This is their one-off Final match. It’s in Glasgow, but not at Celtic’s actual home stadium. Not like they need a home-pitch advantage probably, either. They’ve been leading the Premier League there, while Aberdeen are down in 7th.

Celtic have only allowed six league goals all season, 15 matches. That’s insane. But while Celtic should be favored no matter what, Noob doesn’t have a sense of how big a deal this particular Cup is there. Some tournaments, some places, clubs use these as chances to give playing time to bench players.

RESULT:   Celtic   1-0       trophy time!

6. Manchester City vs. Arsenal – England Women’s Soccer League

It’s a battle of the two undefeated teams in the ladies’ top league in England! No one’s even gotten a draw with Arsenal, either. No wonder, they average over four goals per match.

Three teams have gotten draws with Man City. They score over twice as often as any other team in the league – yet only ¾ as much as Arsenal.

RESULT:   Man City   2-0

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Wish I could find the match on TV.   

Ready to party with leftover White Castle.

7. Heredinao vs. Alajuense – Costa Rica Premier

The Final! Noob loves some Costa Rican soccer. This league is every bit as strong as MLS. This is for the Apertura (first half-season) title. And this is the first leg, so they’ll play another match at Alajuense in a few days to complete things.

Alajuense tied for 1st in the regular season table, but lost out on goal differential. They had a quirky 22 matches in that not a single one ended in a draw. No other club had fewer than three.

Herediano tied for 3rd, but entered these Playoffs as the #4 seed, also losing out on GD. They’re a more traditional power there, but weren’t as strong on either side of the ball as their guests today.

RESULT:   Herediano   2-1

8. Deportiva Lara vs. Zamora – Venezuela Premier

Like most or perhaps all Latin American leagues, Venezuela divides their soccer year into separate Apertura and Clausura half-seasons. And for each half, they have a playoffs, crown a champions. But unlike many of those others, here the two tournaments champions face off at year’s end to decide an overall champion. Noob like-y.

Lara won the Clausura playoffs, despite finishing just 4th in the regular season. Zamora finished #B and then won the Apertura playoffs, but weren’t nearly so strong during the Clausura. There, they finished just 7th.

This is a two-legged, home-and-away series for the title. Zamora gets the honor of hosting the second leg, presumably by having the better overall record on the year. Both teams have already qualified for the next Copa Libertadores, so this is strictly for the shiny trophy.

RESULT:   1-1

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The runner-up trophy.

Maybe…

9. Emelec vs. LDU Quito – Ecuador Serie A

Ecuador call their two half-seasons simply Opening and Closing Stages. Concept is the same as Apertura and Clausura though. Or maybe they use those words there and Noob’s sources are just goofy about not translating for Ecuador for some reason. The world is weird.

In any case, there are just two matches to go in the Closing Stage. Opening Stage champions LDU de Quito trail Emelec by two points in the table. As many as four other teams appear mathematically alive for 1st, but one of these two is going to win it.

Emelec haven’t lost in six straight matches. De Quito have also been on a tear. Well, save for a weird loss for soon-to-be-Relegated Tecnico Universitario.

This one’s a big enough match that GOL TV is actually airing it internationally. You’d have to have a deep, deep satellite package to get it here stateside, but it’s on at 12:00 PM.

RESULT:   0-0

10. Basel vs. Young Boys of Bern – Swiss Super League

We finish our Track back in Europe. Noob’s saved this one for last because while it’s an irresistible #B-#1 matchup, there’s no title race going on here.

YBB are ahead by a whopping 13 points in the table less than halfway through the season. That said, Switzerland are a highly-enough ranked league in Europe that they’ll qualify two club into the next Champions League.

Basel have been the more recent studs, but might really only be the fourth-best team this season. The defense is down this season, the offense not enough to make up for that lack.

RESULT:   YBB   1-3

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So long from the Christmas Market in Basel, Switzerland!

 

Home of creepy, nightmare-inducing holiday mushroom figurines.

You’re welcome.

 

Extra Credit:   Liverpool vs Everton – English Premier League, any of the Second Round English FA Cup matches, #3 Hearts vs #2 Rangers – Scottish Premiership,  #4 Anderlecht vs #B Genk – Belgian First Division A

#2 Vidi vs #3 Budapest Honved – Hungarian NB 1, #3 Academy Pandev vs. #B Vardar Skpje – Macedonian Prva Liga, #3 Feyenoord vs. #1 PSV Eindhoven – Dutch Eredivisie, #4 Besiktas vs #3 Galatasaray – Turkish Super Lig

#5 Independiente vs. #6 Boca Juniors – Argentinian Primera, a Peruvian Primera semfinal, #B Al Nassr vs. #4 Al-Wehda – Saudi Premier, #4 Etoile du Sahel vs. #B Sfaxien – Tunisian Ligue 1

Quarterfinal matches from El Salvador and Guatemala, a semifinal from Honduras, #1 Village Superstars vs. #3 St. Paul’s United – St. Kitts and Nevis Premier, plus maybe a final from Panama.  Info on Panama is the worst.

’10 to Track’ Saturday (11/3) soccer matches – USL playoffs, Liga MX, Premier League lead the way

Noob endeavors to both help us learn about American soccer and the sport from points around the globe, but also to make it weirdly funny throughout.

Saturdays are hardly devoid my inanity, but MAN are the matches but good.  USL playoffs, Liga MX, Premier League, and a bevy of #1-#B matches.

And resident prognosticator Noobstradamus pops in to share what he knows today!

  1. Orange County vs. Phoenix Rising – United Soccer League playoffs

It’s the Western Conference Final in America’s second division playoffs!

These were the West’s top two scoring clubs during the regular season, and they’ve scored a dozen goals between them in four postseason matches.   Look for a shootout, look for it on ESPN+ (10:00 PM EST).

Winners gets defending champs Louisville FC in the Final   Noob thinks the team with the better seed will host.  O.C. are #1, Phoenix #3.   LFC were #B in the East.

RESULT:   Phoenix   1-2

B.  Arsenal vs. Liverpool – English Premier League

Liverpool is one of the three remaining undefeated teams in the league.   Last year’s star Mo Salah isn’t scoring at nearly the record-breaking clip he did last year, and the goals aren’t being replace elsewhere.

This might be a game where they can break out, though.  Arsenal are in 4th, yet play shite for defense.   That may be hyperbolic.  But not by lots.

On a Noob note:  Tenured Noobites know the scorn I have for Tottenham  Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur.  Named for a two-time historical traitor.   And they name a club after him.  Heathens.

Arsenal is their primary rival.  Yet Noob doesn’t hold them in much higher esteem than any club Hotspur is playing on a given day.   Is Noob doing the soccer wrong?   You can comment on this Post or hit me up on Twitter – @SoccerNoobUSA.   (1:30 PM, NBC)

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Interact with the Noob, or face the crossness

  1. Kashima Antlers vs. Persepolis – AFC Champions League

Time for another final!    This is the first match of a home and away two-legged tie.

Their domestic leagues are ranked closely together.   Japan’s J1 league is deeper than the Persian Gulf Pro League.  Noob would’ve guessed this meant the Iranians were to be favored.   But Noob’s fave site for Elo ratings (footballdatabase.com) is back up after a few scary days down.  It indicates these two are about perfectly equal.

Kashima play more quality competition.  But Persepolis plays fabulous defense.  Noob cannot handicap such an even-looking match!

It’s time to call on the prognostication powers of Ancient and All-Soccer Seeing Noobstradamus.

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It’s strange when a vision takes hold, what seems clear and what is mist.  Even without the hanging scrolls dedicated to Takemikazuchi,  I would know this for Kashima Shinto Shrine.   

 

Kunii Zen’ya I were sparring in classic Kashima Shinryu fashion.  Our swords were appropriately thick bamboo, with large hilts.  The spiraling nature of the discipline’s movements had us starting and finishing in identical positions.  It was a dance, even as we strove to strike one another.

Motion and Stillness.  Origination and Manifestation.  We danced the beginnings of the Universe through the FiveFold laws.  Offense and Defense.  Emptiness and Reality.  Each pairing always as One, just as our whirring swords seems to be One as well.  Yin and Yang as One.  More clacking bamboo.

I let my concentration slip when one of the many birds on the torii we practiced under moved.  CLACK.  Kunii Zen’ya had perfect control of his weapon, specifically chose to strike a whip-fast blow to my sword-arm.  A lesson.  

I bent down to retrieve my own dropped sword when a scroll wafted down in front of me.  The bird had knocked it loose from its hanging, the distraction.

The Shinto teachers say birds are messengers of the gods.   The Scroll read, “Kashima 3, Persepolis 1.”

So shall it be, Noobites.  Unless it’s not.  That’s happened once or twice before.  Don’t bet the farm.   But that’s a true Vision.  Yeah.

RESULT:   Kashima   2-0           Well, got the winner and margin right, anyway.

4.  CF America vs. Toluca – Liga MX

CF America are finally on top of the Mexican top flite table.   Noob says “finally” because e they’ve only lost two matches, yet have been merely lurking just outside that position all Apertura (first half-season) long.   They’re tied with Santos on points, but ahead on tiebreaking goal differential.

Toluca are in 5th.   They were undefeated in September and looking like they could contend for the title until they dropped a 2-0 match to putrid Atlas to end the month.  They’re going to make the Liguilla (postseason, top eight-finish) just about no matter what happens these last three matches.  They’re base stats are nearly as good as CFA’s.

Perhaps Noob’s not allowing that Toluca simply fell asleep for what they thought would be a cakewalk with Atlas.  But with the half-seasons only being 17 matches each, I’d think teams would be on top of their s**t at all times.   (9:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Celtic vs. Hearts – Scottish Premiership

This isn’t one of Europe’s very strongest leagues, but they’re cracking the UEFA top 20 right now!  Also making this match intriguing is who’s #1 in the league right now.

In Noob’s admittedly brief time (a year and change doing this site), this league has always been about Celtic and Rangers.  And it may return to that again soon.  But for now, I’m enjoying seeing some new blood atop the table.  Thank you, Hearts.

Celtic are #B and will remain so no matter who this match turns out.  Both teams are well-balanced, but Celtic really are a shade better on both ends of the field.  At home, they should prevail, pull within a point of the league leaders.

RESULLT:   Celtic   5-0        Edsonne Edouard with a pair of scores

  1. Genk vs. Club Brugge – Belgium First Division A

Brought to you by the Dept. of Redundancy Department, it’s First Division A-time!

Perhaps Noob should not mock so.  It is the #8 league in UEFA, after all.  And lookit!   They brought is a shiny #1 versus #B matchup.  I know just where to display these in my blog-home.

Brugge are your defending champions, but it’s Genk who are undefeated.  Both score an absolute of crapton of goals, far more than any other clubs in this league.  See if you can find yourself an internet stream for this one.  And if their commentary available, let Noob know if the Belgians also enjoy non-standard measurements like “crapton”.

RESULT:   1-1

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David Schwimmer has the right of it.

  1. Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Dynamo Kyiv – Ukraine Premier

No new blood atop the table here In the #8 league in Europe.  Yup!   And for being so awesome, they get two slots in the next Champions League.   Unless FC Olexandria continue to surprise, these two will be the recipients of those CL invites.

Donetsk lead #B D.K. by five.  Their 36 goals scored in just 13 matches is so outrageous Noob had to doublecheck.   That’s twice as many as D.K.

Dynamo Kiev do sport the league’s top defense, but barely.  Just above – you guessed it.   Donetsk.  But!  The Dynamo have beaten Donetsk in all three of their last matches.

RESULT:   Shakhtar   2-1        Come from behind win, with the winner being scored at 90′

  1. Atromitos vs. PAOK – Superleague Greece

last season, Atromitos finished 4th, just behind the historic “Big Three” in Greece.   That triumvirate is rarely cracked.  this season so far, They’re #B, and four points up on two of the giants.  Today, they host the other titan, current #1 PAOK, in a battle of the last two undefeated clubs here.

This league will get two CL berths.  Noob thinks the usual suspects are just to balanced to let an interloper like Atromitos stay there long.   Perhaps they can earn a draw at home today, keep the dream alive for another week or more.

RESULT:   1-1

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As always, the Vegas line on will their be rioting and police in gear to stop it is OFF.

  1. Astana vs. Kairat Almaty – Kazakhstan Premier

Our last leg here in Europe takes us down the table to a very average league, but one that is on the rise (#28).

This isn’t a terribly meaningful match, but the siren song of #1 vs. #B is too much for Noob.  The season is already almost done here.  Astana has wrapped up the title and K.A. are cemented at #B.   This is the way of things, at the very least of late, in Kazakhstan football.

RESULT:   Astana   3-2

  1. Guangzhou Evergrande vs. Shanghai SIPG – China Super League

We finish our Saturday Track with one more #1 versus #2.   China’s league gets the maximum two slots in the next Champions League, and these two are all but mathematically locked in.  And to no one’s surprise.  Perennial powerhouses.

But Evergrande only lead SIPG by two in the table, so the title is very much up for grabs!  And SIPG have beaten their guests today in three straight.  Neither team has lost since forever, except three weeks ago when SIPG beat G.E.

RESULT:    SIPG   4-5       SIPG Are now your league #1.    And did you know they have a player who simply goes by “Hulk”?

The Chen Clan's Academy.jpg

 

 

So long from Guangzhou!

The Chen Clan’s Ancestral Hall and folk art museum

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (9/2) – MLS, Liga MX, more theme song work

The ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game.  A theme song is deserved.   Yesterday’s attempt was… well, let’s try again.

“Soccernoob rockin’ Amur-IH-cuh-huhuh /

Analysis!  *clap clap*/

Ten matches! *clap clapclap* /

Ordid Noobmiscooowwwwwnt?!  /  *crickets*

Soccernoob rockin’ Amur-IH-CUUUHHHHH!

  1. D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – Major League Soccer

Atlanta’s non-loss streak is up to seven, and yet New York Red Bulls have overtaken them for 1st place.  That they haven’t kept one clean sheet in their last six is mildly troubling, but mitigated by them scoring 2+ in them all.

Ever since Noob pointed out DCU’s unbeaten streak since playing all time English great Wayne Rooney, they’ve done nothing but lose.   It’s only two matches, but they were the only two in this period where they’ve faced really good competition.  It was a nice run up from the Eastern Conference basement to 8th, but the playoffs are looking unlikely now.

(Oh, and next D.C. travels to NYCFC.  Good luck with that.)   (7:30 PM EST, FS1)

RESULT:   D.C.   3-1     Rooney scored or assisted on every goal

Image result for Wayne Rooney annoyed

 

Got something to say to Noob, Rooney?

Go beat a Playoff-caliber team.

B.  Toluca vs. Santos – Liga MX

#10 hosts #4 in match Noob wouldn’t try picking if you threatened him with a whack-a-mole mallet.   (1:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   Toluca   2-1

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I’ll make a prediction.  MY calling, after all, Noob.  Don’t make me come over there.

Noobstradamus divines  a win for Santos after their three consecutive draws.

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

Reminder:  This is also the CONCACAF championships.  Two great footyball tastes tasting great together.  The top three finishers from this Caribbean Zone group of five advance to the “competition proper”, where the North American teams enter this event.

Jamaica is hosting all the matches and their national team leads the Group.  In fact, with just this fourth and final match to play in this stage, they’ve already qualified to advance.  T&T only need a draw to secure their own berth.  A loss and they leave the door open for Bermuda.

These two are FIFA-ranked #’s 50 and 71, respectively.  Jamaica has run roughshod over everyone so far.  T&T must keep the score low to hope for any kind of result.

RESULT:   Jamaica   1-4       Both teams advance to the next round

  1. Burnley vs. Manchester United – English Premier League

Last season, Man U had a fine enough season finishing #B, even as their intracity rivals at City were having a record one.

But right now they are a hot mess.  Starting the season with a home win over Leicester was expected.  A road loss to Brighton and Hove Albion was far less so.  Giving up three goals was a red flag.  Then getting crushed at home by Noob-reviled and traitorously named Tottenham  Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur 0-3 has to have them wondering if their new head coach is paying attention.

Burnley have stunk.  Who will right their ship?   0-0 draw anyone?   (11:00 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Man Utd.   0-2

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Wow, just think how cross Sir Topham Hatt gets when Hotspur’s actually playing.

  1. Celtic vs. Rangers – Scottish Premiership

There are basically ever two named to know in Scotland – these.   #1 and #B last season.  It’s very early in this campaign, but they’re both just sitting midtable.  The issue for both has been middling defensive play.

RESULT:   Celtic   1-0

  1. Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Spartak Moscow – Russian Premier

Here in Europe’s 6th-ranked league, traditional powers are performing as they should.  Zenit are running people over, 5-0-0 with a 10-1 GD.  Spartak are tied for #B, have played one less game than peer Rostov.  Their offense is not Zenit’s, but the defense has been just as good.

RESULT:   0-0

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Is it too late for Noob to get 2018 World Cup souvenir Matryoshka dolls?

  1. Dinamo Zagreb vs. Rijeka – Croatia First Division

For al Croatia’s success in the World Cup, their domestic league is still trying to catch up a wee bit with the bigger boys.   At UEFA-ranking #16, they are the best league that still gets just one invitation to Champions League.

With one less match played than Osijek, D.Z. is still tied with them for #1.  Rijeka are also a match off and are just two points back in 3rd.  These two will overtake the table’s top, and sooner rather than later.    Dinamo sport the top D in the land, while Rijeka have the best balance.  (Osijek’s mediocre defense will catch up to them.)

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Hapoel Be’er Sheva vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv – Israel Premier

Last year’s #1 and #B face off here at beginning of Europe’s (well, UEFA’s) #18 league.  If little to nothing has changed, MTA will have a hard time scoring today.  Everyone had that trouble last year with HBS.

MTA were the second-best D, so this match may not see lots of goals.  But it’s a desperately important match, even this early in their season.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for geography wrong funny Israel

Hey, you let Israel play in UEFA and all bets are OFF.

  1. Ferencvaros vs. MOL Vidi – Hungary NB 1

Not that Hungarian football is on the radar of many (UEFA rank #36), but just in case:   MOL Vidi was Videoton last year.   Sponsorship change = name change.

These two finished 2017-18 #B and #1, and that is always on Noob’s radar!  Statistically they were nearly carbon copies of one another.  No other clubs threatened them.  They’re also both undefeated early this season.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Nomme JK Kalju vs. Flora Tallinn – Estonia MeistrilIIga

The capital I’s in the league name are Noob’s own addition.  Just look at them.  A symmetrical, beautiful pair.  Perfection.

With ¾ of the season in the books, Kalju have a five-point lead in the table on today’s visitors.  The only other team in contention is FCI Levadia.   This match is the classic best offense versus best defense.  If Flora loses, that may mean the title is all but decided.

RESULT:   1-1

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Pope John Paul II is down with the double i’s.

  1. Gyeongnam vs. Jeonbuk – South Korea K-League 1

What madness is this?  11??

Occasionally, it’s just too hard to pare down to ten.   Just look at the matches I had to cut:

Three USL matches (though none of highest import; AS Monaco vs. Marseille (last year’s Ligue 1 #B vs. #4); Alajuense vs. Saprissa (Costa Rica’s #1 and #3); Brondby vs. Midtjylland (Denmark’s #3 and #B); Siroki Brijeg vs. Zeljeznicar (Bosnia and Herzegovina’s #3 and #B); and two top-four matchups from Norway’s Eliteserien.

This is yet another #B versus #1 match.  Even though Jeonbuk have already sown up 1st place, such still gets Noob’s salivary glands watering.

Plus, The Management is in South Korea right now!  He flew into Incheon, which has the worst football club there this year.  I tried to tell him where the better footyball was being played, but does he listen to Noob?

RESULT:   Jeonbuk   0-3

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So long from Erwangni Beach, Incheon, Korean Republic!

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – three days of your footyball fix

The 10 most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.  Noob delights in them, and hopes you do as well.

All the leagues we care about most are in action now.  Soon, the Midweek Edition will be expanded in glory once again to three separate days.

Tuesdays match previews and results follow below Wednesday’s.

Also, please consider following Noob on Twitter:  SoccerNoobUSA.  Thanks.

  1. LAFC vs. Real Salt Lake – Major League Soccer

As yesterday, Noob takes us out West for a pivotal match.  Expansion-LAFS looked so very good for a couple months.  Have they been solved?  They haven’t won a league match since early July.  Other than a scoreless draw at home against Portland, they’ve allowed 2+ goals every time out.  They’re in 5th, but fading, and only the top six make the Playoffs.

Speaking of 6th, here we find RSL.  They should’ve been feasting on a weak stretch of their schedule lately, but have only nibbled.   They haven’t lost in their last four, but only won once.  Goal-scoring remains an issue for them, and Vancouver and Seattle are licking their chops behind them.

RSL’s fall should, of course, be destined.  Noob’s ranted before and shouts to the heavens yet again:  No “real” in Amuricuh!  Royal?   We carry no truck with monarchs this side of the Pond.  Remember that war?

RESULT:   LAFC   2-0      Christian Ramirez – a name Noobites need to know – scored both goals.

  1. Seattle Reign vs. Chicago Red Stars – National Women’s Soccer League

The top half of NWSL’s eight-team league makes the Postseason, and Chicago are making a push to be included.  They’re in 5th, have gotten two wins – and an impressive draw against 1st-place North Carolina – in their last three outings.

The Reign are in the midst of a solid run as well, seem to be shoring up the #B spot.  That’s critical, because finishing 4th would mean getting North Carolina in the first Playoff round.  Only sadness and the never-ending Void are to be found there.

RESULT:   0-0      *The Price is Right” loser-sounder*

Image result for The Void funny

 

Noob – home of all soccer serious content, all the time…

  1. Tijuana vs. Juarez – Copa MX

See Tuesday’s Copa MX match preview for format and such.

‘Cause Noob wants to get straight to ogling Tijuana’s seemingly new and improved defense.  I can tell you’ve been working out Tijuana.  Would you mind doing a slow, goal-keeping spin?  Oh yes.  The results are obvious.   Mmm hmmm.

Yes, that got weird.  Noob knows.  Noob has no cares!  Tijuana didn’t make the Clausura (second half-season) Liguilla (postseason tournament) this year, but the climbed to midtable.  How?  Los Xolos cut their opponents goals by half while maintaining their previous offensive output.

Now they’re tied for first in this Group with Ascenso MX’s Juarez.  “The Brave Ones” nearly win the 2017-18 Apertura before falling on their faces in the Clausura.  And while the 2018 Apertura is only a few matches in, they’re in first.  No matter which team shows up, it’s still a road match against a Liga MX squad.  Tijuana by two goals today.

RESULT:   Tijuana   3-1

  1. Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid – UEFA Super Cup

Domestic Super Cups typically pit a league’s defending champions against that country’s most recent FA Cup winner.  The international European version here is the latest Champions League winners against the Europa League champs.  A small oddity, Atletico actually finished higher in last year’s La Liga table than Real.  (#3, #B).

They’re playing this in Tallinn, Estonia of all places.

RESULT:   Atletico   2-4   AET         Diego Costa for Atletico had both Atletico’s goals in the first 90′.

Image result for Where am I? funny

 

 

We’re right here in Estonia.

Noob hears it’s Super.

  1. Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Canadiaian Championship

This is the second leg of the Final.  The winner gets Canadia’s berth in the next CONCACAF Champions League.  Only four teams have been vying for it annually.  These are the 7th and 9th place teams in their respective MLS conferences.

The first match in Vancouver ended 2-2.  Vancouver, though, has won three of their last five matches with no losses in that run.  Defending league champs Toronto will have anything but a gimme today playing this on their home pitch.

RESULT:   Toronto   5-2      Toronto is once again Champions League-bound

  1. Vissel Kobe vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima – Japan J1 League

Noob ends today’s Tracking in the land of the rising sun.  Hiroshima barely missed getting Relegated in 2017, yet lead the league this year by eight in the table.  Kobe are improved as well, 4th now versus low-end midtable last year.  Only two will make the AFC Champions League.  KV look unlikely to really get in the running, behind #3 Kawasaki by seven.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for Kobe Japan weird

 

So long from Kobe, and from Tetsujin 28-go!

(Fine, “Gigantor”, if you must.)

 

 

Thursday

Go, be free!  If the international friendly between Guatemala and Cuba tickles your fancy, perhaps Noobites can Google up an internet stream.  As for Noob – see you on Friday!

Tuesday

  1. L.A. Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids – Major League Soccer

On August 4, Colorado hosted and beat the Galaxy 2-1.  The 11th-place Rapids have now won two in a row, tying their longest streak in a lousy year.

Los Angeles sort of rebounded from that loss, earning just a draw at home against improving Minnesota United.  They’re till tied for 4th, but even a top-six finish is far from guaranteed.  The middle of the Western Conference is packed like a sardine can.

While the Galaxy’s back line haven’t been golden of late, it’s the goalkeeping that’s really let them down.  Backstop David Bingham has been anything but, having allowed multiple goals in their last four matches.   (10:30 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for david bingham

 

 

Will Bingham even be able to keep goals from being scored in his pie-hole?

B.  AEK Athens vs. Celtic – UEFA Champions League

This is the Third Qualifying Round of Europe’s premier club tournament.

These two faced off about a week ago, playing to a 1-1 draw in Scotland.  This is the second-match of the two-legged tie.  It always seems like Celtic struggle mightily in international competition.   Hard for Noob to think the Greeks won’t take care of business at home today.

The winner will get either Malmo from Sweden or Hungary’s MOL Vidi in the “Playoff Round”.

RESULT:   AEK   2-1

Image result for B is for business

 

 

 

Number B taking care of its own business as we quest to replace worn out old Number Two.

  1. Leon vs. Zacatecas – Copa MX

The Group Stage continues in the first of two Copas to be played during the 2018-19 season.  Pods of three.  Winners and most of the runners-up will advance to the Knockout Round.

If you know Noob, you know I love rooting for Minnows.  Halfway through the Group Stage, second-division Zacatecas are tied with both Liga MX’s Leon and Queretaro in the table.  The “Mineros” will be doing well, though, to keep today’s match within a goal.  Even against a weaker Liga MX club like Leon.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Leon   2-1

  1. UANL vs. Monterrey – Liga MX Femenil

UNAL won the 2017-18 Clausura (second half-season) after a 3rd-place regular season finish.  Today the Pumas host the team that won that Clausura regular season.  UANL had the third-best offense last year, though with a sizable gap between them and the top two.

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for biggest GAP store

 

“Sizable GAP”.

Nice work, Nashville

 

 

Wednesday and Thursday

coming soon!

’10 to Track’ midweek Edition soccer matches – US Open Cup Semis lead the way

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

As the big Euro leagues start to roust themselves, it’s getting harder to justify a single Midweek Edition Track!  Soon, there will be re-expansion.

For now, Noob remains efficient.  Match previews are now posted through Wednesday.

Twitter:  @SoccerNoobUSA

Tuesday

  1. Dorados de Sinaloa vs. CF America – Copa MX

Welcome back to the Apertura (first half-season) Mexican FA Cup.   We’re still in the Group Stage – nine pods of three teams playing a single-round robin, with winners and the seven best runners-up advancing.

Veracruz lost both of their matches so far, so one of these two will win the Group.  Cups tournaments, for Noob, are all about looking for Minnow until their late stages.  Sinaloa is our underdog del dia.  They finished #B in their Clausura in the Ascenso MX (second tier) last season.

CF America is really good, so los Dorados will need all the home pitch advantage they can squeeze out of today.   (10:00 PM EST, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   0-0      With a match to go, these two have now both clinched at least runner-up status in the Group.  Still, two of the runners-up in this stage will not advance, so all still bears watching.

B.  Chelsea vs. Lyon – International Champions Cup

Most teams that aren’t already done are playing their third and final matches of this event.  That is the case for these two.  It’s just glorified friendlies, so the results don’t matter really, but these two are tied for 10th.  This is a home match for Chelsea, which is weird for this event.

Soon, their leagues will begin, so maybe the club will actually start their real lineups.   (3:00 PM, ESPNEWS)

RESULT:   Chelsea   0-0  /  5-4  pk

Image result for letter B sunglasses

 

 

Number B, already keepin’ it real.

Charming the ladies.  Unlike that poser Number Two.

 

Wednesday

  1. Houston Dynamo vs. LAFC – U.S. Open Cup

It’s the Semifinals of America’s FA Cup today!  This is a knockout format, so no return leg to Los Angeles.

Both teams have been on skids in MLS.  Houston has lost three in a row, sunk all the way to 10th place in the West.  Since they’re almost certainly not Playoff-bound, perhaps this means they’ll be super focused on chasing this trophy.  Not every team is necessarily.

That brings us to LAFC, who are also winless in their last three.  They’re in 4th out West, seem very much in line for a postseason berth.  That’s hardly guaranteed, but they are also shooting for a top two-seed, good for one or more home pitch Playoff games.

LAFC seems more likely to sprinkle in more reserves and/or subs today.  between that and the GD between these two not being too far apart – despite the difference in table position – and Noob finds himself believing in Houston.  Not that Noob would ever, ever root for a city built on a swamp.  Down with bad urban planning!  (Don’t judge me poorly.  That cause is JUST.)

RESULT:   Houston   3-3  /  7-6  pk       Diego Rossi had all three goals for LAFC in the loss.

  1. Utah Royals vs. Washington Spirit – National Women’s Soccer League

This isn’t likely a match with playoff implications, but expansion Utah isn’t totally out of that picture.  The top four will advance.  Utah is in 6th, and got a surprising point two matches ago against might NC Courage.  They followed that up with a solid road win at so-so Houston.

Washington has lost six straight and sit in second-to-last.  They’re so bad, Noob wonders if they would even beat MLS’ D.C. United…

OK, that was mean.  But was it unfair?

RESULT:   Utah   1-0

Image result for that was mean

 

You’re no Richard Dawson!!  

Get off Noob’s back, Harvey.

  1. UNAL Tigres vs. Tapachula – Copa MX

The Group Stage rolls onward!  Nine pods of three.  Double round robin format.  All winners and seven runners-up will advance.

Tapachula are one of the two Ascenso MX clubs in Group 9.  We Tracked them once already this stage, so we’re going to have some fun continuing to follow them. They got a draw in their first match with San Luis.  They’ve been on a great roll, having won the 2017-18 Clausura Ligulla.

UNAL needs to show why they’re a Liga MX team today, after dropping their first match to San Luis.

RESULT:   0-0     

  1. Celtic vs. AEK Athens – UEFA Champions League

This is the Third Qualifying Round.  After this, there is a Playoff Round to determine final entrants into the Group Stage, where the big boys of Europe enter the tournament.

This round is where Athens enters as the Greek Super League (15-ranked) champs.  Celtic, out of Scotland’s league (ranked #26) entered two rounds ago, has so far clobbered Armenian and Norwegian teams.

Despite the difference in league ranking, Celtic is the more accomplished team internationally in recent years, should be favored by a goal at home.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for AEK supporters riot

 

 

But are you ready for the standard Greek fans, Scotland?

  1. Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC – Canadiaian Championship

This is just a four-team affair between Canadia’s three MLS teams and the USL’s Ottawa Fury.  The winner gets Canadia’s berth into the CONCACAF Champions League though.  As the country’s soccer federation soon has it’s own broader league (though without the MLS teams), Noob wonder’s if this Championship will field a lot more clubs in the coming years.

Vancouver is 7th place in MLS’ Western Conference, fighting for a top six regular season finish and Playoff berth.  Will they play all starters here?  Toronto are 9th in the east.  As they made the Final of the last CONCACAF CL and are less likely to get an MLS playoff berth, perhaps the will be more inclined to throw total effort into this affair.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Cerezo Osaka vs. Independiente – Sugura Bank Championship

This is a strange annual match.  It’s always in Japan, so Noob assumes sponsor Sugura Bank just pays both teams a pile of yen to show up for a glorified friendly.

This pits the J.League Cup winner – not the J.League regular season champ – from last year against the defending Copa Sudamericana (South America’s answer to Europa League) titleholder.

To give some idea of the relative strengths of the clubs, know that C.Osaka would be among the very favorites to win MLS if they played here.  And Argentina’s Independiente would probably beat them about 2/3 of the time on neutral pitches.

RESULT:   Independiente   0-1

Image result for scrooge mcduck pile of money gif

 

 

Winners get to go to the bank CEO’s house, go full Scrooge McDuck dive into a bottomless pit of yen.

  1. Home United vs. Ceres-Negros FC – AFC Cup

This is Asia’s secondary Cup tournament for clubs, though not really analogous to Europa League or Copa Sudamericana.  Clubs participating in this qualify out of countries identified by the AFC as soccer “developing” and “emerging” soccer nations.   Google up the criteria specifics if you are so inclined Noobites.  We streamline things here.

There are five geographically-based “zones” out of which clubs will advance to Inter-Zonal Finals and then final Finals.  This match is the second leg of the ASEAN (southeast Asia) Zonal Final.  They drew the first match.

Home United qualified by finishing 3rd in Singapore’s top league, which is ranked just above average in Asia.  This would not be high enough, but the champs are a Japanese club satellite team, and so ineligible for international competition.  The #B team got into AFC Champions League.

Ceres-Negros are from the Philippines, the runaway winners of their slightly better top-flite league.  It is ranked #17 in Asia.  They actually played in the pre-Group Stage of the AFC CL, but didn’t make the Group Stage, so they can still play in this one.  That’s nice.

RESULT:   Home   2-0

Thursday

  1. Cerro Porteño vs. Palmeiras – Copa Libertadores

The Round of 16 in South America’s version of Champions League is here.  This is the first match of the two-legged tie for these two.

Palmeiras qualified for the CL by finishing runner up in Brazil’s Serie A last year.  They went undefeated in the Group Stage to get to this Round, with an average match result of a two-goal victory per.

Paraguay’s top entrant finished #B in their Group, even goal differential.  They’re good.  But even at home, their only maybe an even match for their guests today.  The winner will take on either Chile’s Colo-Colo or Corinthians from Brazil – a traditional behemoth either way.

RESULT:   Palmeiras   0-2

Image result for General Pablo Rojas Stadium

 

 

So long from La Olla Nueva, Asuncion, Paraguay!

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – UEFA Champions League, Copa MX lead the way

The ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.  This is Noob’s mission, our mantra, a recipe for learning successness.

America, Mexico, CONCACAF, Western and all of Europe, South America, and anywhere at all in the world.  This is Noob’s very general guideline for measuring that importance from out perspective.

(Matches are grouped in reverse chronological order by day.)

Thursday

  1. LAFC vs. L.A. Galaxy – Major League Soccer

As a famous Spanish derby is nicknamed “El Clasico”, so the City of Angels have decided their intracity rivalry is “El Trafico”.  This time around, we even get a match that actually matters in league terms!

Expansion-LAFC continue to impress.  They score the most in the Western Conference, league-wide are only surpassed by Atlanta United.  They trail FC Dallas by just four point for 1st place.

Only four more points and two slots in the standings we find the surging L.A. Galaxy.   They may actually be playing better offense than anyone now, including LAFC.  They haven’t been held scoreless in a league match in 14 straight matches.  They’ve won three in a row, and no one (outside U.S. Open Cup) has beaten them since May 30.

LAFC gets scoring from all manner of places nowadays, but there’s no denying that Zlatan is the catalyst.  He leads the team in scoring, despite not starting the year with them.  The one-time (perhaps) best player in the world and still comically-egomaniacal, talented Swede opens things up for everyone.  Midfielder Chris Pontius has seen particularly huge benefits – a name to continue to look for in the stat line if they are make a push to be a Playoff #1 seed.   (10:30 PM EST, ESPN)

RESULT:   2-2    LAFC blows a big lead at home, giving up goals in the 81′ and 86′.

Image result for dinosaurs playing soccer

 

 

Suggested reading.  Alternate title — “El Jurassico”.

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

This event is an annual invitational with just four teams.  The matches are friendlies – no bearing on any other events.  they’re playing a round robin and that will be that.   But apart from being Amuricuh and our interest automatically being peaked, this match features the #1 and #6-ranked teams in the world.  Color me intrigued.  This is one’s in Kansas City.   (7:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   USA   4-2    Alex Morgan goes for three goals

Image result for America jingoism funny

 

 

Steven Colbert is ready for Muricuhn soccer, are you?

  1. Atletico Madrid vs. Arsenal – International Champions Cup

You know the story now for this event.  Pile of big European top clubs, glorified friendlies.   These two finished #B and a disappointing #6 in their respective leagues last season.

Noob’s intrigued to see this one on TV.  Singapore’s National Stadium just opened a few years ago.  The tiny nation is really pushing to upgrade the quality of their football.   (7:30 AM, ESPNU)

RESULT:   Atletico   1-1  /  3-1  pk

  1. Gremio vs. Sao Paulo – Brazil Serie A

Noob might not normally feature this match.  But #7 versus #B still really matters there.  And Gremio is really in a three-way tie for 5th, just happen to be down on goal differential.  As the top-rated league in South America, Brazil gets six teams into Copa Libertadores (think: Champions League).  Throw in that Gremio are the defending Libertadores champions and we’re in.

Sao Paulo didn’t even make that Copa last year, but they’ve won four in a row to climb within three of the league-leaders (Palmeiras).  Gremio continue to play small ball, and it’s hard to argue with last year’s 4th-place league finish and the continent’s top trophy in their case.  It will be fun to see if a traditional powerhouse can stem the momentum of their streaking hosts.   (6:30 PM, Premiere Futebol Clube)

RESULT:   Gremio   2-1     Come from behind win, two goals for player simply named “Everton”.

Image result for streaking Frank the Tank gif

 

So long from Noob, and a streaking Frank the Tank!

 

Wednesday

  1. Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union – Major League Soccer

Here we have two clubs scrapping for playoffs berths, which go to the top six in each of the two divisions.  So far, it’s not been working out.

Houston must’ve fallen even farther than Noob had realized.  They’ve actually not lost in five straight matches, yet are still in just 8th place in the West.  Over this stretch, they’ve been winning high and low-scoring games – good signs for a team that has disappointed compared to expectations to date.

#7 Philly just went down to surprising surging L.A. Galaxy in their own house.   Prior to that, though, they’d two consecutive wins!  A road upset wouldn’t move them into the East’s top six, but the Union would be knocking on the door.

A victory today would move the Dynamo in a playoff slot.  Veteran midfielder Romell Quioto from Honduras leads the team in assists.  His name has been popping up a lot in the stats sheet recently for those and his own goals.   Houston needs his play to stay elevated for their climb to continue.   (9:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Philly   1-3     Houston scored first, but the Union tied before the half.  in H2, Dynamo lost a star player to a questionable straight red car and went down easily with just ten men for the remainder.

Philadelphia remains in 7th, Houston slips to 8th because of other match results.

  1. Veracruz vs. Dorados de Sinaloa – Copa MX

When Noob features league games, teams both from about the top quarter of a league meet the standard.    But when it comes to Cup/Copa tournaments – especially early I love to shine a light on Minnow.  These are underdogs from lower divisions, often in positions to maybe earn an upset.

The first of Mexico’s two season Copas is just beginning.  27 clubs from the top two divisions of football divided into Groups of three compete for 16 spots in the Knockout Round.   Veracruz finished very low in Liga MX standings during last season’s Clausura (second half-season.), averaging well under a goal per game.

Meanwhile, Sinaloa finished #B in the Ascenso.  They sported one of the best defenses at that level.  Noob’s not sure how many changes these clubs make in their shortened off-seasons, but if their makeups largely remained the same, Dorados could perhaps earn a draw here.   Any result is necessity for advancement, as neither of these clubs is going to beat Club America in this Group.

RESULT:   Dorados 1-2     Sinaloa with the upset after starting down 0-1.

Image result for Mexico funny

 

 

Noob truly hopes so.

I’ll bet those birds played futsal when they were little to learn that ball control.

  1. Celtic vs. Rosenborg – UEFA Champions League

Noob has perhaps a bad habit in re-explaining each event in each post in more details than is necessary for Noobites who read here regularly.  So, see match #1 in this Track for a few general details.

Once again, Noob’s selected a match to feature here out of many slated for today simply because this one involves the westernmost team in action.

Celtic are the super-dominant Scottish powerhouse perennially.  This hasn’t translated into tons of international tournament success.  But they destroyed an Armenian squad last round 6-0 in two matches and they carry a higher Elo rating (footballdatabase.com) than Norwegian champs Rosenborg.

Rosenborg’s one advantage today is that they are in form, halfway through their league season.  The Scottish Premier hasn’t started up yet.  Still, they’d be satisfied with a draw today and then taking their chances at home in the second match of this two-legged tie.

Their leagues are both middle of the road in the UEFA rankings.  The winner gets AEK Athens in the next round, which enter the competition at that stage.

RESULT:   Celtic   3-1

  1. AC Milan vs. Manchester United – International Champions Cup

Reminder:  ICC is a big pile of really good European clubs playing in the US and around the world playing friendly, warming up for their domestic leagues about to begin.  So it’s hard to handicap them, as any given club is as likely to be playing reserves as starters.

Still, they’re big names, and the games in the U.S. draw very well.  This one is at the Stub Hub Center in L.A. (Carson).  The teams finished #6 and #B in their leagues last year, respectively.   (11:00 PM, ESPN)

RESULT:   Man Utd   1-1  /  8-9  pk     Wait, why are they using penalty shootout in a non-knockout tournament?

Image result for big pile funny

 

Phil Hartman.  Not soccer-relevant.

Noob neither has no needs a reason.

 

Tuesday

  1. PAOK (Greece) vs. FC Basel (Switzerland) – UEFA Champions League

The best thing about PAOK playing outside Greece is that maybe their hooligan fans won’t be in so riled up and in such force.  Noob and The Management cheer for Basel.  Just because he saw their stadium once.   And they’re not Greek soccer hooligans.

This is the Second Qualifying Round.  The event-proper isn’t considered to be really starting until the Group Stage begins.  There are several matches from this tournament today.  Noob rather arbitrarily chose this one by virtue of it involving the westernmost club of the bunch.

These two qualified to enter at this round, did not have to play the First QR.  These and two other clubs entering here got in by finishing runners-up in their domestic leagues.  This is called the “League Path”, as opposed to the “Champions Path”.  Really doesn’t matter as far as Noob can see.

Their leagues are rated 16th and 12th, respectively, within UEFA.   Their Elo-ratings (footballdatabase.com) are pretty close as well.  This two-legged tie should be a very competitive one.  The winner will take on Standard Liege, Belgium’s FA Cup winner, in the Third QR.

RESULT:   PAOK   2-1

Image result for PAOK hooligans

 

News outlets probably just keep violent PAOK soccer supporter-footage a button-click away at all times.

B.  Zacatecas vs. Leon – Copa MX

Just as Mexico’s Liga and Ascenso MX seasons Apertura (first half-season) are beginning, so is their Apertura Copa tournament.  The Group Stage is nine pods of three clubs each.  The winners and the seven best runners-up will all advance to the Knockout Stage.

Noob’s chosen to feature this match out of several today because it looks like the best chance for an upset.  Leon finished just 13th in the 2017-18 regular season Clausura, being ghastly on defense.  Zacatecas won the second division Ascenso.

Zacatecas would’ve been Promoted to Liga MX for this year, but Noob heard Mexico’s FA changed the rules in some way so they couldn’t potentially see big-money Guadalajara get Relegated.  So no club’s moved between the two.  Noob thinks “The Miners” can get a draw today.

RESULT:   Zacatecas   4-3     Leon came on fast and furious with two late goals to make this a riveting match.

Image result for letter B in trouble

 

Not soccer-relevant, but we also quest to learn about Number B here.  

Funny how Number B’s belly gets pointed out, but Letter D’s big backside gets a pass.

 

Tuesday and Wednesday

Coming soon!

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Saturday (5/19) – MLS and more FA Cup finals action!

The ten most important matches for us- thew newish American fans of the global game – to follow.  Noob’s mantra.

But share with your experienced friends!  Noob’s coverage of leagues the world over might interest even the most seasoned fans.  Let’s dig in, Noobites.

  1. Portland Timbers vs. LAFC – MLS

Expansion LAFC haven’t lost in six straight matches.  Portland have one four in a row.  Something’s got to give!

They shouldn’t have trouble getting up for a home match against the #3 team in their conference, but 5th-place Portland are coming off a match with regional rival Seattle Sounders.  Much will hinge on the goalkeeping, and Timbers’ Jeff Attinella hasn’t conceded one in the three matches he’s played.   (3:00 PM Eastern, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:   Portland   2-1     Timbers climb to 3rd (though league matches are still pending at time of this update)

Image result for Jeff Attinella funny

B.  Seattle Reign vs. Chicago Red Stars – NWSL

#B hosts #4 in America’s top women’s league.  Seattle have scored seven in their last two games.  Look for the Reign’s Megan Rapinoe to continue her solid striking.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for animated letter b gif

 

 

Solid, striking Number B!

  1. Chelsea vs. Manchester United – English FA Cup

It’s the Final at Wembley!

Chelsea absolutely crapped the bed in their last league match, but presumably they can wake up with a trophy on the line.  And Manchester United only scored twice in their last three games.  Noob wouldn’t put money on this game even if sports gambling were already legal all across America.   (12:15 PM, Fox Deportes)

Noobstradamus Sees:   0-0, then Chelsea in PK’s!  They redeem themselves for a league 5th-place finish and missing out on the next Champions League.

RESULT:   Chelsea   0-1     So Chelsea win the league last year, the FA Cup this year, and word is they may well sack their manager.  Harsh.

  1. Bayern Munich vs. Eintracht Frankfurt – DFB Pokal (German FA Cup)

It’s the Final in Berlin!

Frankfurt faded down the stretch in the Bundesliga, finishing 8th.  Bayern did very Bayern-y things to everyone in winning the league title.  No reason to think they won’t crush today.  If Frankfurt keeps it within a goal, it will only be because Bayern has everyone fall back defensively after getting the lead.   (2:00 PM, ESPNEWS)

RESULT:   Frankfurt   1-3    Well, color Noob shocked!   Bayern dominated everywhere by the scoreboard.

And now Bayern’s manager retires and Frankfurt’s manager is his replacement.  Wild schtuff.

Image result for frankfurt funny

 

The Frankfurt Hotel.

Your team has whatever beating it takes today coming.

  1. Celtic vs. Motherwell – Scotland FA Cup

Staying in the British Isles, it’s another Final!   While not on their actual home pitch, this one is held in Glasgow, Celtic’s home city.  However rough a time Frankfurt will have above, double it for Motherwell.  Celtic won the league again, while “The Steelmen” didn’t even crack the top half of the table.   (10:00 AM, GOL TV)

Noobstradamus Sees:   Celtic ‘however many they want’ – 0

RESULT:   Celtic   2-0

  1. Lyon vs. Nice – Ligue 1

These days, France only get three teams into Champions League, down from the max of four.  That’s bad news for either Lyon or Marseille.  #3 Lyon leads Marseille by just a point in the table.  They have the tougher matchup, hosting #6 Nice, who are fighting for a Europa League berth.  Marseille host #13 Amiens.

Lyon has oodles more offensive firepower than Nice, but all they need is a draw.  Look for this to go very low-scoring, probably that draw.   (3:00 PM, TV5MONDE)

RESULT:   Lyon   3-2    And so they hold off Marseille for 3rd place and the last Champions League berth.

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Disallowed!

  1. Goztepe vs. Galatasaray – Turkey Super Lig

Turkey’s top-flight title race remained as good as any in Europe, right through today!

Galatasaray lead two clubs by just three points.  More, they are currently only tied in tie-breaking goal differential with one of them (Fenerbahce).  So they could win today and still not finish 1st.  More, they’re not even guaranteed a top-two finish and CL slot.

Galatasaray also have the toughest matchup today of all contenders.  Their opponent is higher in the table than their rivals’ opponents today, and they’re on the road to boot.   (12:00 PM, beIN Sports)

Noobstradamus Sees:   A 3-1 win.  Goztepe is barely average, despite they’re reasonably good spot in the standings.

RESULT:   Galatasaray   0-1     All four top teams won on this, the last day of league play.  Congrats to the G’men- champions!  Fenerbahce claim Turkey’s second and final CL berth with a come-from-behind win as well today.

  1. Rijeka vs. Hajduk Split – Croatia First League

#B Rijeka could tie #1 Dinamo Zagreb on points in the table on today, the last day of league play.  But the tiebreaker is already won by D.Z. (and congrats to the champs!)  They lead #3 Split by just a point.  They’re both headed to Europa League, but whoever finishes higher will get to enter that competition one qualifying round further in.

RESULT:   Rijeka   3-1

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Come to Rijeka for the football.

Stay for a pie at Gvardijan Pizzeria.

  1. Maribor vs. Olimpija Ljubljana – Slovenia Prva Liga

Slovenia’s first tier might not be quite in the top half of UEFA leagues, but #1 vs. #B will never fail to win Noob over!  Three league matches to go, and Maribor lead O.L. by just a point.  And only one can go to Champions League.

Noobstradamus Sees:  …that while Ljub may not have lost a match since last December, they haven’t won that many, either.  Maribor have been doing almost nothing but winning for months.  Hosts win 2-1 today.

RESULT:   Ljub   3-1      We have a new #1 in Slovenia!   Come-from-behind win with the decisive goal scored at 90′.

  1. Dynamo Kyiv vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – Ukraine Premier

Congratulations to league champions Shakhtar Donetsk!  There will be nothing but pride on the line today, but Noob never ignores a #1 vs. #B matchup.  Kyiv qualify for Europa League for their season’s efforts.

RESULT:   D.K.   2-1

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So long from Kyiv!

(Isn’t the world just weird and magical?)

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (4/30) – MLS rolls on, western UEFA leagues in the home stretches

Noob is here.  And he’s in effect.  Makin’ you work up a sweat…

OK, that’ll make comparatively more sense soon.

The 10 most important matches for us, the newish American fans, to follow!   Let’s push right into them.

  1. NYCFC vs. Dallas – MLS

At time of posting, NYCFC lead the Eastern Conference.  If Atlanta United come back against Montreal impact, they could be tied or in position #B.  Dallas are #3, but could get jumped by New York Red Bulls tonight.

Dallas crapped the bed the entire final stretch last season, wasting an otherwise strong season and just missed the Playoffs.  But they’re defense is stepped up and then some now; they’ve given up just three goals so far in ’18.

NYCFC can dominate on either side of the ball, will likely try to push the pace at home.

RESULT:   NYCFC   3-1