Isle of Sodor Premier League – matchday 28 (3/2-3) – Title contenders down to three

Matchday 28 (3/2-3) in Review

Sunday Feature Match:         ONE team got a road win today…and the magic ride keeps goin’!

Related imageAnd then there were three, realistically.   #5 Crovan’s Gate‘s loss leaves then ten points behind the league leaders.  And today’s Feature Match result saw #1 Dryaw FC obliterate #4 Kirk Ronan 3-10!  At nine points back with just nine matches to go, it’s safe to call the Churchmen cooked.

Winger Christopher Wilbertson was Dryaw‘s star, as he scored a gentleman’s hat trick (a goal and two assists) in each half.  After the match, Wilbertson, had this to say to Noob:

"We're neither tall nor fast.   We have to play intelligently.  Our game plan was to go for just those 50-50 balls we had an 80% chance of getting."

Dryaw is famous as a quiet vacation village for intellectuals, particularly authors.   Noob knows no one else could’ve spoken or written so…eloquently about the team’s game strategy.   (Ok, maybe Ian Darke  )

 

Sounds about  right for Wilbertson, who also nearly broke his fool neck trying to recreate the famous “Klinsmann dive”.

Sun., 3/3
#8      Glennock                7   vs.    5     T12     Vicarstown
#20   Arlesburgh Utd.   5   vs.    3     T12     Marron
#15    Lakeside                 2   vs.     1    #10      Suddery
#5      Crovan’s Gate      4   vs.     5     #9      Junction & Sheds
#4      Kirk Ronan            3   vs.     10   #1       Dryaw

Continue down for Saturday’s results and feature match recap.  Click [here]  for the updated league table.

Saturday Feature Match:     A change in the Relegation Zone!

Image result for Norramby crestIt’s hard to call it a true upset, but Noob predicted a draw.  Instead, Ulfstead have climbed above the Cutline with a resounding victory!   A 4-4 halftime score was inline with expectations, but Ffarquhar looked fatigued again just minutes into the second half.

Image result for FFFC football crestSo, Ffarquhar drop to 18th, two points behind today’s victors.  Ulfstead is up to 17th, next have struggling Brendam United in their sights in the table.

On the table’s top, Peel Godred eked out a low-scoring win, but that’s good enough to climb back into 2nd place!   How?  Because #2 Knapford Town went to Castle Rolf and got busted in the mouth.   Peel now sit just a point behind Dryaw, who have their hands full tomorrow as they visit #4 Kirk Ronan.

Here are the day’s full results.  The Page with the Table will be updated following tomorrow’s matches.

Sat., 3/2
#3     Peel Godred         2    vs.     0        #16    Brendam Utd.
#11    Castle Rolf          13    vs.    6          #2     Knapford Town
#7     Wellsworth          5    vs.    4          #6      E.C.D.
#19   Tidmouth City    6    vs.    1          #14    Brendam Harbor
#18    Ulfstead                8    vs.    4         #17     Ffarquhar

Isle of Sodor Premier League – matchday 27 – all results, updated table, new hotness

Matchday 27 in Review (2/23-24/19)

Saturday feature matchBrendam Darby goes United 0, Harbor 7

Image result for BHFC crest Saturday’s feature match may not have had league title implications, but a derby is a derby!   And sometimes a match can be a blowout, as Brendam Harbor took the first FA-official local derby 0-7 over Brendam United.

 

United are now in real danger of potentially sinking into the Relegation Zone after #18 Ulfstead‘s win.

KEPA HAS NOTHING ON SUDRIC GOALIE

Image result for sutton reserve goalie sitting The only drama came at 3′ when the match was delayed several minutes.

To honor retiring reserve goalkeeper Angus Waldroup, United chose to start him briefly.   When the planned time to pull him came, he sat, saying they could sub him out if they could carry him.  [Click to read the  ESPNFC article about Chelsea keeper Kepa refusing to be subbed out during yesterday’s FA Cup final.]

The solution?  Assistant Hugh MacDuff had the caterers set up the postgame food table early.  Word of that got Waldroup up off that fat ass and to the locker room at a terrifying speed.

Sunday feature match#2 closes gap on league-leaders

Image result for ktfc crest

Knapford Town rebounded from last week’s tough loss to defeat East Coast Diesel 2-8.  E.C.D. look wiped out after a grueling stretch of top teams faced in February.  KTFC lost their local derby last week 8-9, but their mettle was stronger.

 

Coupled #1 Dryaw FC‘s surprising home loss, Knapford now only trail the top table spot by two points.

—- ALL MATCHDAY 27 RESULTS, UPDATED TABLE ——-

Sat., 2/23
T15     Brendam Utd.          0   vs.    7      #14    Brendam Harbor
#13     Marron                       7   vs.    4       #3     Kirk Ronan
#19    Tidmouth City         1    vs.    5       #5     Crovan’s Gate
T11      Castle Rolf                6   vs.    0       #10   Suddery
T8       Junction & Sheds    1   vs.    2       #15    Lakeside

2/24
#20    Arlesburgh Utd.       0   vs.     1       #4    Peel Godred
#6      East Coast Diesel     2   vs.     8      #2    Knapford Town
T11      Vicarstown                4   vs.     7      #18   Ulfstead
#7       Wellsworth                5   vs.    4      #17   Ffarquhar
#1        Dryaw                          5   vs.     6     #9     Glennock

1 1 Dryaw 19 5 3 62 League Champions
B B Knapford Town 19 4 4 60
4 3 Peel Godred 18 4 5 58
3 4 Kirk Ronan 17 5 5 56
5 5 Crovan’s Gate 16 7 4 55
6 6 East Coast Diesel 13 7 7 46
7 7 Wellsworth 14 3 8 45
9 8 Glennock 12 5 10 41
8 9 Junction & Sheds 12 4 9 40
10 10 Suddery 10 6 11 36
T11 11 Castle Rolf 9 7 11 34
T11 T12 Vicarstown 7 10 10 31
13 T12 Marron 9 4 14 31
14 14 Brendam Harbor 8 6 13 30
T15 15 Lakeside 8 5 14 29
T15 16 Brendam United 7 5 15 26
17 17 Ffarquhar 6 5 16 23
18 18 Ulfstead 6 4 17 22 Relegated to Sodor Championship
19 19 Tidmouth City 4 3 20 15
20 20 Arlesburgh United 4 1 22 13

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition (11/27-29) soccer match previews – MLS Semis end the MWE!

The ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game” – hit their peak of importance today. MLS Semifinals! After tonight, we’ll know who’s playing for the big trophy.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s match results follow below. Remember you can always check back for results on every single day, plus often a note or two about who starred, or how the results affected what was at stake.

Thursday

9. Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer

Second leg of the Western Conference Finals! While any team would of course like to get a road win every time, #1 KC got the draw in Portland in the first match of this two-game series. Now they have the chance to take care of business at home.

But that scoreless draw has to be troubling for them. Goalkeeper Tim Melia of USMNT fame played well and Graham Zusi was a monster on the back defensive line. But Noob highlighted Daniel Salloi for that first match and instead of starring, he was the weak link, losing duels and not being terribly good with passes.

The 5th-seed Portland was better on passing, held the ball longer, and created more shots on goal. That didn’t and won’t matter if they can’t get better play from striker Jeremy Ebobisse though.

Ultimately, it’s hard to beat home cookin’. KC did what was necessary, if just, and should be a moderate to heavy favorite at home.   (9:30 PM Eastern, ESPN)

RESULT:   Portland    2-3           Diego Valeri with two Timbers goals, including the game winner at 90′

10. New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United – Major League Soccer

Some are calling the Eastern Conference finals the de facto league finals. Both teams had several more point in the the table than K.C.

#B Atlanta laid the smack down at their place in the first leg of this overall Semi, 3-0. Franco Escobar was the slightly-surprisng star with both a goal and an assist. This club has the best offense in the entire league. It will be interesting to see if they keep dancing with the girl that brought them and continue attacking, or try to take the air out of the ball with such a big lead from the first leg.

NYRB have a HYOOJ hole to dig themselves out of. Lots of goals will certainly mean the involvement of BrandonWright-Phillips, who looked like an MVP the first half of the MLS season. Not that he tanked after that, but his effectiveness definitely diminished. But if the right side of Red Bulls’ back line get manhandled again (Tim Parker, Michael Murillo), BWP’s possible resurgence won’t matter.   (7:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   NYRB   1-0         But it’s not enough!    ATL will host the single-match Final versus Portland.

Image result for the world of red bull funnySo long from…wherever the Red Bull box cart races were held.

Yeeeah.  Wow.

 

Extra Credit: Two Liga MX qf’s, a couple dozen group stage Europa league matches, Copa Sudamericana sf, El Salvador and Guatemala qf’s, second round Arab Club Championship

Wednesday

3. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur vs. Inter Milan – UEFA Champions League

You can scroll down to the Tuesday portion of the Midweek Track for a few extra details on the event, should you be a completely unseasoned Noobite.

Noob-reviled Hotspur is nearly out of Champions League, as is good, right and appropriate. When your club is named for an historic traitor (Harry Percy), good things cannot follow.

The scourge of England’s Premier League, Hotspur trail Inter by three points in the table and won the first match between them (tiebreaker). Since Hotspur’s remaining match other than this one is at #1 Barcelona, they’re in desperate need of a win today.

Hotspur are winners of five straight across all competitions. Inter are in just 5th in Italy’s Serie A. Where Hotspur lack a little offensive punch compared to many other top teams, Inter have been sagging on defense. Bad matchup for the visitors, sadly.   (3:00 PM Eastern, TNT)

RESULT:   Hotspur   1-0

Image result for sir topham hatt furious

 

 

Sir Topham Hatt — flexing the pimp hand.  Gotta keep it strong for those Hotspur COYS.

 

4. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Liverpool – UEFA Champions League

This is the most competitive Group going here. Liverpool and Napoli are tied for first. PSG are just a point behind and Red Star Belgrade only a point behind them in turn.

PSG are running roughshod over Ligue 1 – no losses or draws. Yet many people Noob reads suggest the league is not very good this year. Liverpool have yet to lose in Champions League, putting them in second place there. Neither team allow goals.

Both teams are stronger than the ones in Track Match three here. If either doesn’t qualify for the Knockout Round, that’s big news.   (3:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   PSG   2-1

5. Porto vs. Schalke – UEFA Champions League

Three matches from one event? Thought you were filtering event like these, Noob.

Oh, but I am. But I won’t ignore important ones this late in the Group Stage just for the sake of it. Porto is Portugal’s #1 team. That doesn’t make them one of the very strongest clubs remaining, but they won’t be a pushover for anyone next round. They’re dominating the Primeira Liga and can score and defend amazingly.

Germany’s Schalke trail Porto by two in the Group C table. An upset win today would guarantee them a berth in the Knockout Round. And it would be a remarkable upset at that. In the Bundesliga, they’re playing so darn badly that they’re fighting just to stay out of the Relegation Zone.

They don’t defend half badly, but they didn’t wow on offense last year and don’t score much at all now. Still, they lead the Group 3rd-place team by four, seem likely to sneak out of the Group Stage no matter how today goes.

RESULT:   Porto   3-1

Image result for schalke 04 funny

 

 

 

Is that the German Mr. Magoo?

 

6. Monterrey vs. Santos – Liga MX

Let the playoffs begin! This is the Liguilla. The eight best teams from the Apertura (first half-season) qualified. This is a bracketed tournament. Each pair of teams will play two-legged, home-and-away series.

It is seeded just like the NCAA basketball tourney would be, and this is your 4/5 matchup. Santos has been a shade better on both sides of the ball. More, they haven’t lost to Monterrey in their last three matches. But Monterrey haven’t lost in three matches, while Santos didn’t win in any of their last three.   (10:06 PM, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:   Monterrey    1-0

7. Saprissa vs. Herediano – Costa Rica Premier

This is CONCACAF’s third-strongest league. They might argue they’re better than MLS. Mexicans might argue their second division league is better. Regardless, this is a sneaky-good football league.

And the Playoffs are already underway! The top four qualified for this postseason tournament. Apertura regular season champs Saprissa host this second match of the home-and-away Semifinal series. Herediano – the other perennial power here – finished 4th, won the first leg 1-0 at their place.

Saprissa was better on both sides of the ball all Apertura, but particularly so on offense. That one-goal deficit should be one they can overcome today, move on to the Final.

RESULT:   Saprissa   1-0       …which means the series was tied and they moved on to penalty kicks!    Herediano advances to the final on those, 2-4

Image result for costa rica premier logo

 

 

One foot-sport, one heart.  

But the logo’s more than a little puffy-nipply.   No.

8. Portmore United vs. Tivoli Gardens – Jamaica Premier

This, too, is one of CONCACAF’s stronger domestic leagues – almost certainly the best of the island nations in our federation. Hallooo, neighbors! Noob’s making a concerted effort to get to know ya. May I borrow a cup of sugar?

The top six finishers here will make the Playoffs, with the top two getting byes into the Semifinals. They’re a dozen matches into the season, and rhese two are #1 and #3. This is a classic best offense versus best defense scenario. An upset win wouldn’t move Gardens into 1st, but would tighten up an already good-looking race.

RESULT:   Portmore   2-0

Extra Credit:   the other UEFA Champions League matches, Costa Rican semifinal, Liga MX qf; 

Also, Spain’s Copa del Rey round of 32 match, Copa Argentina sf, Copa Sudamericana sf, Czech Cup Round of 16, Guatemala National League sf

Also, #1 Shkendija vs. #3 Academy Pandev in Macedonai’s Prva Liga, Russian FA Cup qf, very early round CAF Champions League, #3 Brittania vs. #2 Nacional in Aruba’s Division di Honor, second round Arab Club Championship

Tuesday

1. Lyon vs. Manchester City – UEFA Champions League

But make no mistake, I’m glad it’s back, baybeeeeee! A quick reminder for the newest Noobites what the it is:. League champions and other top teams of Europe in the crown jewel of all club tournaments. They’re currently in the Group Stage. Pods of four playing double round robins. Top two finishers from each will advance to the Knockout (single elimination, bracket-style) Stage. Everybody’s got two matches to go.

Man City is thought by many to be the #1 team in the world currently. They’re undefeated in Premier League play, lead Lyon by three point in the Group F table. But they’ve lost one match.

To Lyon. At Man City! The French team is a distant #B to undefeated Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 there, but #B nonetheless. They haven’t lost to anyone, anywhere, besides PSG since August. Yet strangely, that win over Man City is their only win in Group F. All their other matches have ended in draws.

So what’s at stake? Noob’s laser-focused of late on stakes, letting you know why any given match is important. Man City are almost 100% to advance to the Knockout Round now, and any result (win or draw) will seal that deal.

A win for Lyon would do the same. Anything else, and the door is very much open for the other two Group F clubs, trailing by three and four points, respectively. So yes, remaining undefeated with a draw would leave the, in jeopardy yet. What a tournament.

Oh, and based on ELO ratings (thank you, footballdatabase.com), Noob thinks Man City will win easily, 1-2 goal margin, in France.

RESULT:   2-2         Maxwell Cornet with a goal and an assist for Lyon as they blew two leads.  

B. AS Roma vs. Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League

Noob is often reluctant to feature multiple matches from the same league or tournament on a given day. I wish to act as filter for we newish fans, allow us to focus on the most important things, yet with a broad gaze. Eight matches today for UEFA CL. We can do two.

It’s an easy decision when the three-time defending champions are in the mix, too. Real and Roma are tied for the Group G lead. The next team down is five points behind. Look, these two are going through to the Knockout Stage no matter how the match ends today. But finishing 1st or runner-up matters for seeding in the next Round, so this match is still monster.

Defending champs or not, this isn’t the same Real team of recent years. Losing the greatest active player in the world – Cristiano Ronaldo – will have that effect. They’re in just 5th place in La Liga and just suffered a blistering 3-0 loss to Eibar. If you don’t know that name, that’s the point. And their newfound issues are on both sides of the ball.

Yet after a 3rd place Italian Serie A finish last year, Roma have slipped as many places as Real – down to 7th at present. They’d appeared to have the righted their ship to some degree of late, but than lost to Udinese last time out. Once again, if you don’t know that club, that’s the point.

Real’s crash back to earth this year has been the steeper fall. Still, Noob wouldn’t put Roma at any better than an even match for them at home.

RESULT:   Real   0-2

New feature! EXTRA CREDIT will appear with some frequency now – these are events, matches Noob scouted for a given date but that didn’t make the cut for the Track.

Extra Credit: Early round-Coupe de France, Scotland’s FA Cup, very early round 2018-19 CAF Champions League, later round EFL Cup (tournament of tertiary importance in England), and Semifinals of Africa’s women’s Cup of Nations – all are in action.

ALSO! Congrats to Guadalajara, UANL, America and Pachuca of Liga MX Femenil. They all just qualified for the Semifinals of the Apertura (first half-season) there.

Noob’s trying to learn women’s and more CONCACAF soccer in general, but the site I use (for the moment) screws up dates something fierce. I’d scouted the Quarterfinals I thought were today, but they’re in the books already. Part of the learning for Noob is finding the best resources.

 

’10 to Track’ Sunday (11/25) soccer match previews – MLS semifinals lead the way!

The ten most important matches to follow, fur us – the newish American fans of the global game.   Hopefully with just enough kick from coverage of leagues occasionally far and wide to provide a little something for our more seasoned fan-friends as well.

Note:  No Isle of Sodor Premier League this week.   With the season there set to be a few matches shorter than most European domestic leagues, they’ve scheduled a break every few weeks.    Sodor’s a laid back place, if you’ve never been.

1. Atlanta United vs. New York Red Bulls – Major League Soccer

The Semifinals! Like the quarters, these will be decided with two-legged ties (home-and-away series). And it’s between the Eastern Conference’s two top finishers. Dreamy.

Red Bulls are your Supporters Shield winners, meaning they had the best record in the regular season for the entire league. They’ve won six of seven matches, the only loss being last round to Columbus Crew. They trailed Atlanta in the Eastern Division all season, catching them just at the end. Names to know are: Tyler Adams, young, talented US Men’s National Team midfielder; Brandon Wright-Phillips, star striker; and most of all, Luis Robles. This is the best defensive team in the league and he’s the goalie.

Atlanta blew the Shield on the last day of the regular season, getting routed by non-playoff Toronto 4-1. But it’s not like they entered on a losing streak or anything, have been as hot as NYRB. They’re the scoring juggernaut of the league. Josef Martinez is their record-setting scorer, Miguel Almiron the name to know in their midfield, and USMNT veteran Brad Guzan is the netminder.

There – enough to get you through water-cooler chat, watch the game and have some info to go on. Now go, be free! If you are desirous of more in-depth preview info, it’s out there. I’m going to! But this is Noob and this level of preview is our niche.   (5:00 PM Eastern, ESPN)

RESULT:   Atlanta   3-0         Franco Escobar with a goal and an assist

B. Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City – Major League Soccer

Don’t like to usually over multiple matches from any league on a given day, even MLS. Noob’s job is to filter. But it’s the Semis! An

Portland entered the Western Conference side of the playoffs as the #5 seed. They’ve been up and down since late spring, but never dropped out of the postseason mix thanks to an early, bigtime non-losing streak. But they won the Battle of Cascadia against runners-up Seattle last round. Can’t discount them.

One wonders when Kansas City might just drop from exhaustion. They were in a dogfight for the #1 seed all season long with FC Dallas. They won the U.S. Open Cup that ran concurrently with the MLS season. Noob feels winded just thinking about it. But it helps that this is the most balanced team in the league – second-best on O and D both.

They haven’t lost since September, hottest team remaining, doing it in both high and low-scoring matches. Danny Salloi might star with a goal and assist. Or USMNT man Tim Melia might and last year’s Defensive POY Ike Opara might put on a shutout.   (7:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for sleepy letter B

 

 

 

Very funny, Number B.   *yawn*   C’mon, knock it off.

3. Pumas UNAM vs. Santos – Liga MX

Match 17, the last for each in the Apertura (second half-season). Top eight teams make the Liguilla (postseason tournament). These two are tied for 3rd on points in the table, Pumas leading by a point on tiebreaking goal differential. In other words, a draw would be enough for Pumas to get that #3 seed.

UNAM have just once since September, and that was to #1 Cruz Azul. Santos are on a similar streak, though theirs is peppered with a lot more draws. It’s their offense that’d faded a bit.   (1:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   1-1      After this and all other results, there was a three-way tie in the table for 3rd.  But these two stayed where they were in the pecking order after GD tiebreaker.

4. AFC Bournemouth vs. Arsenal – English Premier League

Huzzah, Noob’s favorite two teams from EPL! Always a Fighting Cherry first. Go, home team. But Arsenal, you have a piece of my heart as well, as rivals to the traitorously-named and always-reviled Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur.

5th-place Arsenal are on a 12 match non-losing streak. Two early losses in league and no marks against them since. Top four finishers will make the next Champions League. Arsenal haven’t shown they can quite defend or score like the very best, but they’re lurking.

Bournemouth are tied for 8th, have a game in hand over the two teams that passed them yesterday. This is a small market team performing incredibly well. Sadly for Noob, talk is that their current manager Eddie Howe is likely to get hired away by a big, big club sooner rather than later for his tremendous performance there.

The magic may be fading just a little, though, as they’ve lost two in a row. Not that a couple of 2-1 losses are redefining their season or anything. They’re another notch down the scale from Arsenal on offensive prowess, but defend about as well. And they have a knack for come-from-behind wins the last couple seasons. Even if Arsenal score first, they won’t be able to just sit on the ball.   (8:30 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   1-2   Arsenal          AFCB did come back from down the first goal, but Arsenal is a bit better on the attacking end.   Well-played match by both sides.

Image result for fighting cherries

 

 

Infighting Cherries…

5. Lazio vs. AC Milan – Italy Serie A

The top four in Italy also qualify for the next Champions league. These are two clubs very likely to be battling for that fourth and final spot in the table. Juventus is running away with the league already, and the next two have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

Lazio are lacking a bit of the scoring punch they had last year as they battled for the season title. Milan are more balanced, will give their hosts all they can handle and more. Before a loss to Juve last time out, they hadn’t lost in four matches.   (12:00 PM, ESPNEWS)

RESULT:   1-1

6. Beijing Gouan vs. Shandong Luneng – China FA Cup

The Final! Unlike most or all European Cup tournaments, as well as America’s, this is a two-legged, home-and-away tie. This is the first match.

China’s Super League season just ended, and these two finished in 4th and 3rd place. Those spots are good for AFC Champions League berths.

What’s strange-seeming to Noob is that the winner of these Finals will qualify for straight through to the Group Stage of CL, with the loser having to first play in qualifying round before that stage. Would these have been the stakes were these Finals being contested between clubs in other parts of the Superleague standings?

In any case, this should be a very evenly-matched Finals. Beijing are the more defensively-focused side, so look for today’s match to be lower-scoring at their place.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for confused by CHinese

 

 

If Jackie can’t figure it all out, what hope does a Noob have?

7. La Guaira vs. Lara – Venezuela Premier

Mas Finals? You betcha. This is the Clausura (second half-season) tournament. Unlike some leagues, the Apertura and Clausura champions will not meet to play for an overall title for the year.

Last week, defensive whizzes Lara did their thing, holding La Guaira scoreless. But Lara didn’t score, either. Now the #4 seed has to travel to #B and outscore them in the second leg.

RESULT:   Lara   0-1          Hail to the victors!  Lara got the only goal of the two-legged tie at 90′ mark.

8. FC Olexandria vs. Dynamo Kiev – Ukraine Premier

#3 hosts #B in Europe’s 9th ranked league. That’s high enough that they qualify two teams into the next Champions League. Good thing for these two, too, as Shakhtar Donestk is way up on the field.

D.K. Only lead upstart Olexandria by two points in the table. Dynamo are a perennial power, but FCO didn’t even make the top half of last year’s standings. Dynamo also only give up a goal a little less often than once every other match. Noob’s doubtful FCO can pressure their guests enough to get a win today.

RESULT:   Olexandria   3-2          So much for no pressure!

Image result for fc olexandria

 

 

 

FC Olexandria, getting our Cyrillic on.

9. Copenhagen vs. Midtjylland – Denmark Superliga

UEFA’s #13 league gives us a shiny #B-#1 matchup.

They’re actually tied on points in the table, with the guests today leading on GD. They’ll both easily qualify for Champions League, having separated themselves by quite a bit halfway through the season.

Midtjylland are the defending champions and current scoring leaders, the only Danish team to be clipping along at more than 2.5 goals per match.

RESULT:   Copenhagen  2-1       Jan Gregus gave up an own-goal that tied that game before scoring the winner for the league’s new #1.

10. Lechia Gdansk vs. Jagiellonia Bialystok – Poland Ekstraklasa

We finish our weekend Tracking in the #25 league in Europe. That’s only good for one Champions League berth. They’ve got one whale of a race shaping up for it.

Gdansk are the current leaders, but J.B. and one other team trail by just three points in the table. A total of six teams are within single-digit points of the lead. Still, these two are statistically the best, if not by leaps and bounds. Particularly for Gdansk and the margin they’d get, a win today could be season-defining.

RESULT:   Gdansk   3-2            Noob’s pick of Wisla Krakow to win the league is looking seriously in jeopardy 🙂

Image result for Gdansk funny

 

 

So long from Gdnask, Poland!

Come for the footyball, stay for the time of your life.  Apparently.

’10 to Track’ Sunday (11/18) soccer matches – UEFA Nations League leads us once again

European International break doesn’t stop the ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game!   Can’t even slow this train down.

1. England vs. Croatia – UEFA Nations League

Here’s the link to my brief Explainer on what this event is:

http://www.soccernoob.com/2018/01/01/uefa-nations-league-explainer/

This is the last match to be played in this League A group of three. Spain is done, two points up on both these teams. So if either wins, that team goes to the Playoffs. If the match ends in a draw, Spain advances.

FIFA-ranked #5 England surely had no trouble with the USMNT in their recent friendly. They haven’t lost in their last four matches overall, between this event and friendlies. And the offense has picked up, with six goals in their last two matches.

#4 Croatia will be a stern test. They struggled after losing to France in the World Cup final. But a friendly win over Jordan and 3-2 win over Spain in this tournament seem to indicate they’re back in form.

Key players to watch today will be Raheem Sterling for England (two goals in the Spain match) and Tin Jedvaj for Croatia (two goals in their Spain match).   (9:00 AM EST, ESPN2)

B. Switzerland vs. Belgium – UEFA Nations League

This is another League A match. Different Group, of course. #1-ranked Belgium – who haven’t lost in six straight – lead the Swiss by three heading into this last match. But they’re tied on goal differential, so win of any margin for #8-Switzerland puts them in the Playoffs on the GD tiebreaker.

While it can be easy to overvalue friendlies, a home 0-1 loss to Qatar in their last outing isn’t promising for Switzerland. They haven’t beaten anyone but Group-last place Iceland (twice) since June.   (2:45 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Switzerland 5-2         Playoff time for the Swiss

Image result for icelandic letter B

buRES

 

Two letter A’s in the Icelandic alphabet.  Fine.

But there’s only one Number B.

3. Guinea vs. Ivory Coast – Africa Cup of Nations qualification

The ACN is next year, Africa’s top tournament for men’s national teams. Groups of four are competing in this current event, with the top two finishers in each getting in.

Two matches to go in Group H. Guinea lead Ivory Coast by three in the table. Between the two of them, they haven’t lost in ten matches overall. They’re ranked #65 and #64 in the world, respectively.   (12:00 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   1-1

4. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lyon – France Division 1

This is the French women’s top flite. Lyon is the major power in all Europe, has been for years. They’re undefeated again, have outscored opponents 37-1.

Today represents their toughest test of the year. PSG are also undefeated, though someone got a draw on them. Their GD is 24-3. Noob thinks they can keep this within a goal, but no better.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for angry French women

 

Never doubt that the women of France aren’t tough tough tough.

5. SS Jeanne d’Arc vs. Besancon Football – Coupe de France

Like yesterday, we’re catching another early (7th-) round match of the French FA Cup in order to spy on a CONCACAF team.

Noob’s not sure how Reunion qualifies its two teams into this event. JdA only finished 5th in last year’s Reunion Premier. Neither did they win the territory’s own Cup tournament. They’re #B in this year’s league season, which is nearly done. They still don’t score much, but the defense has been much improved.

Besancon play in Championnat National 3, France’s fifth-tier league. This league has many regional divisions (groups). They play in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (Group E). They’re in 5th place in their league season. They don’t score much, either. Noob’s not got the experience to handicap a match like this, but doens’t look like it’s likely to be a high-scoring affair.

RESULT:   Besancon   0-1  AET

6. Tauro vs. Arabe Unido – Panama National League

They’ve reached the Apertura (first half-season) postseason Semifinals here. This is the first match of a two-legged tie to see which will play for the title. Tauro are the #3 seed, play much more offensively than anyone else in that league. Arabe Unido won several close matches to get the #B seed. If Tauro score early in this, Noob predicts a rout will ensue.

RESULT:   Tauro   2-0

Image result for tauro fc

 

 

Noob is not down with the bull half-face thing.

That feels like nightmare-fodder.

7. Nicaragua vs. Haiti – CONCACAF Nations League qualification

Six of CONCACAF’s best men’s national teams are not having to participate in this event. They will be placed in League A of the inaugural Nations League next year. All the other member nations are battling for placement in the various League levels, just like UEFA’s NL set-up. The top ten finishers in this event will also qualify for the Gold Cup, the federation’s biennial championship.

Since each team plays just four games, there’s a lot of room for volatility. And we’re getting it. Haiti are ranked just #102 in the world, yet are in 1st in this event with just this last match to go. They’ve outscored opponents 17-1.

Nicaragua are ranked even lower (#127), but also vying for a Gold Cup slot. They’re in 9th. They likely need a win to maintain their GC invitation, though a draw today doesn’t leave them out automatically. They only score half again as much as Haiti have been, are just an even match on their own pitch today.

RESULT:   Haiti   0-2

8. Brendam United vs. Brendam Harbor – Isle of Sodor Premier League

Noob’s exclusive coverage of the Isle’s inaugural FA league continues! I haven’t been able to yet give the IoSPL the attention I intended to, especially given how closely I documented the first-ever IoS FA Cup here over the summer. I’ve been hopping the pond quite a bit, soccer and other obligations keeping me stateside oft times.

Suffice it to say for now that these are historically two of the best teams on Sodor. Of course, that “history” is tons of friendlies and loose, sporadic league-like organizations that have come and gone over many years here. Now that they’re organizing their football on this national scale, it’s hard to know how much water past results hold.

Also, Harbor won the FA Cup. And on defense, a soccer virtue not typically held in particular esteem on the Isle. Shockingly, B-Utd didn’t even make it out of the Group Stage, finishing third there. Just couldn’t find the offense (four goals in three matches).

RESULT:   Brendam Utd   10-3         As often happens on Sodor, once a team is 2-3 goals late,  what little defense might’ve been happening evaporates.

Image result for what happened?

 

I don’t know.  The font just went weird.    

I blame having switched from MS Word to OpenOffice.

9. Tahiti vs. New Caledonia – Women’s World Cup qualification

Eight teams from the OFC are vying for one spot in World Cup next year. They’ve been divided into two Groups, with the top two finishers in each advancing to a Knockout Round.

This is the first match for both teams. They’re ranked #157 and #155 in the world. This makes them the fourth and third-best teams in this federation.

RESULT:    N.C.   2-4

10. Vitoria Setubal vs. Tondela – Portugal League Cup

The Taca de Liga has just reached its Group Stage, where 16 teams remain. They’ve been divided into Groups of four. Only the winners of each will advance to the Knockout Round.

This is not the country’s FA Cup, but rather a secondary Cup tournament contested by only clubs from the top two leagues. V.S. is a midtable Primeira Liga team, while Tondela is a fair bit worse. The point here isn’t so much this particular match so much as to just introduce Noobites to the tournament period.

RESULT:   Tondela   1-2

Image result for Setubal funny

 

So long from Setubal!

Come for the soccer, stay for the boutique apartments.

’10 to Track’ Sunday (11/4) soccer matches – MLS playoffs lead the way!

Noob is just 2-6 in the top division in his Scrabble tournament this weekend.  And I haven’t even faced the former national champ yet.   Welp.

So serving up the ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game – is sweet relief to me.  I’m still previewing a match from there this week, but I can’t wait to go salve my wounds with a return back to my fall-winter Sodor home next weekend.

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

It’s the Quarterfinals!   In this and the next round, teams face off in two-legged, home-and-away ties.  The lesser seed hosts first.  That’s #5 Portland.

The Timers have had quite the roller coaster season.  Their springtime was simply divine, filled with rain showers and blooming lilies and never a stormy cloud or loss to be seen.  But the summer heat made them inconsistent as could be.

Noob-reviled Sounders come in red-hot, on a five-match win streak.   The defense carried them most of the year.  Of late, it’s been their offense shouldering the load.  If that continues, this is a bad matchup for Portland, which struggled on defense compared to most Playoff clubs.   (5:30 PM EST, ESPN)

RESULT:   Portland   2-1

B.  NYCFC vs. Atlanta United – Major League Soccer playoffs

Atlanta were annihilated in their final regular season match by defending champs yet non-playoff bound Toronto.  That cost them the East’s #1 seed and the Supporters Shield.  But as the #B team, they still got a bye into the Quarters.

The New York Blues beat Philly in both of their last two matches.   That’s good work.  But Atlanta were the scoring champs of the entire league and played just as good of defense as New York City FC.   (7:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Atl   0-1

Image result for grouchy soccer

 

 

how Noob imagines the supporters for New York and Philly — grouchy

 

3.  Wellsworth vs. Ffarquhar – Isle of Sodor Premier

Since Noob’s in Asheville, NC, I’ll miss this fun matchup in the IoSPL’s inaugural season.

Wellsworth were going to be in the bottom of the three divisions.  But they made the Quarterfinals of the first-ever FA Cup this summer.  As reward, they get to play top flite.

Ffarquhar plays in one of the larger towns of the same name, also made the Quarters.  They were slated for PL status already.

These teams were about mirror images of one another statistically.  it’s hard not to lean on the visitors as favorites.  Suddric clubs all draw pretty much from their immediate locales for players.  Wellsworth is a small village — it’s just a numbers game.

Neither played much defense in the FA Cup, even compared to other teams.  That’s saying something.  Aggressive defense is quietly considered uncouth on Sodor.

RESULT:   Ffarquhar   1-5

  1. UNAM Pumas vs. Cruz Azul – Liga MX

With three matches to go in the Apertura (first half-season), Noob believes at least six teams have a realistic shot at the regular season title.

These two are in 4th and 3rd place, respectively.   Cruz Azul play the league’s tightest D, but their offense has scuffled this month.  Some of that may be the extra matches as they advance deeply in the Copa MX going on.

Pumas haven’t lost a match in a couple months.  I’m not sure they will catch CF America for #1. but I’d bet on them moving up a couple spots to #B.

RESULT:   Cruz   1-2          Cruz is the new #1

Image result for six is crazyZero to do with soccer, but PersonNoob (my daughter) loves M.L.P.’s “Mane Six”.

  1. Arsenal vs. Birmingham City – England Women’s Super League

Last season, Arsenal missed a top-two finish and invite to the Champions League by just one point in the table.  And they’re still feeling raw about it.  6-0-0, 31:3 GD.  It was Chelsea pulling the unbeaten number all last season, but there’s a new leader of this pack.

Nearly all the rest of the teams struggle to score a little, and #3 Birmingham is no exception.  They’ve only allowed three goals, but may well give up that many today.

RESULT:   Arsenal   3-1       Jordan Noobs with two goals, and the coolly-named Danielle van de Donk with the other for Arsenal

  1. Cork City vs. Dundalk – FAI Cup (Ireland)

It’s the Final!

Congrats to the league champs, Dundalk, upending two-time defending champs Cork City.  And now they wrestle over another trophy today.

Dundalk lead the Premier there in goal-scoring and defense.   It’s their offense that’s the greater strength.

Cork lost too many close matches to make it a close regular season title race.  But Dundalk have only managed draws their last two away matches.  Noob suspects they probably just rested starters with title in hand, but maybe they’ve spent themselves and the road has become hard.   And while this isn’t a home match for Cork, neither is it in Dundalk.  The big national stadium in Dublin hosts this one.

RESULT:   Dundalk   1-2      hail to the victors!

Image result for FAI Cup Trophy 2018

 

 

Soooo shiny

  1. Olimpia vs. Cerro Porteño – Paraguay Pro Division

Olimpia ran away with the Apertura regular season title and are doing the same here in the Clausura (second-half season).  They’ve already guaranteed themselves a berth into the next Champions League.

C.P. again find themselves #B.  Their D is sensational.  But if that’s the immovable object, Olimpia’s firepower is the irresistible force.  And they’re more irresistible – you saucy minxes – than C.P. is immovable.

RESULT:   2-2           Naughtiness ensued at 90′!   A red card for someone on each time and Olimpia hits a penalty at that mark

  1. Portmore United vs. Tivoli Gardens – Jamaica Premier

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are the strongest leagues of those in the Caribbean subgroup in CONCACAF.

Portmore crushed it during 2017-18 regular season, then went on to win the tournament title.  Tivoli finished 3rd last year.  The new season is just seven matches in, but things look largely the same.  T.G. can play defense with the best of them, but can’t put it in the back of the net like Portmore.

RESULTL   Tivolo   0-1

Image result for Jamaican crush

 

 

Impress your fave Portmore fan and/or your own Jamaican crush with a lovely gift of Jamaican Crush.

  1. Le Geldar vs. Etoile Matoury – French Guiana Honor Division

Nation a FIFA member?  Nope.  Full CONCACAF member?  You betcha.  Two-horse race last year between these two, with Le Geldar winning the trophy by one point.

And that’s an even closer margin here than in most leagues.  In French Guiana, a win is worth four points, a tie worth two for each team, or one point just for showing up to lose.  so instead of two or three table-points being distributed like in most leagues, here it’s four or five.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Scholars United vs. Roma United – Cayman Islands Premier

We finish our Track with another matchup of 2017-18 #1 and #B teams!   This was another race decided by just a point.  But this league is different than most, or was last season.

These top two were both carried by their defense.   They didn’t Small Ball, but the next four teams in the table all played about as well or better on offense.  Just not the way these things happens in most places.

RESULT:   1-1

T.E. McField Sports Centre, George Town

 

 

So long from T.E. McField Sports Center, George Town, C.I.!

home of Scholars

’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)

Image result for sir topham hatt cross

 

 

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.

Image result for Noobstradamus

 

 

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

Image result for silly man gif

 

 

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

Image result for atromitos supporters riot

 

 

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’ Globetrotting Friday (11/2) – USL playoffs, LigaMX, then we’re off to see the world

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

On Friday’s, schedules run a little lighter.  Noob takes the opportunity to hit up the best local games, and then it’s off to soccer hinterlands less-known!

Come, jet-set with Noob.  The bags of peanuts in-flight are HYOOJ.

  1. Louisville FC vs. New York Red Bulls II – United Soccer League playoffs

Time for the Eastern Conference Final!  Defending champions Louisville host the Red Bull reserve teams.  They finished the regular season #2 and #5, respectively.

Louisville’s been clicking on both sides of both for weeks so, to the tune of nine straight wins.  The defense has been quite good, the offense – phenomenal.

NRYB Jr. have won five straight.    They’ve been comparable on defense, if not quite as dominant on offense.

It’s an interesting twist.   Through most of the regular season, they were both scoring like gangbusters, but with NYRB doing so very much at the expense of defense.  Now Red Bulls have switched their habits around.

No matter which style NY2 play, LFC are the clear fave.  Winner gets either Orange County or Phoenix for the title.   (7:30 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:    L’ville  5-1       Devon Williams with two goals in two minutes

Image result for letter B tiger

 

 

 

Looks like we know which club Number B is rooting for.  Awwwww!

B.  Morelia vs. UANL Tigres – Liga MX

Three matches to go in the Apertura (first half-season).  And since each of the two half-seasons are only 17 matches long, it means things in the table are tight.  Top eight make the Liguilla (postseason tournament).

Morelia’s in 7th, but their numbers don’t make them look like a Playoff team.  The offense is borderline, but the defense is bottom quartile-caliber.  Still, they’re trending the right way.  After not winning a match for more than a month straight, they’re now winners of three in a row.  Those three were against bottom-half teams, but it’s still something.

Tigres are #8.  Two teams trail them by just a point.   They’ve not won in their last four, the defense having completely fallen apart (11 goals allowed).

9th-place Pachuca is going to pass at least one of these two.  So if one of these two loses today, Noob considers it an elimination match of sorts.   (9:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

  1. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lille – France Ligue 1

Hard to believe PSG is looking like they might get eliminated from the current Champions League at the group stage.   They’re not having any trouble in their domestic league.   11-0-0, eight points up on #B Lille in the table already.

Lille sport an above average offense and defense.    No reason to think they’ll have any trouble finishing in the top three and qualify for the 2019-20 Champions League.  They just won’t look like it today.   PSG 3-1 today.

RESULT:   PSG   2-1     Mbappe with a goal and an assist

  1. Al Ahly vs. Esperance – CAF Champions League

The Final!    Two matches, home and away, for the club title in Africa.

Al Ahly are the #1 team in all Africa.  It doesn’t even seem to be particularly close.   Noob’s Elo ratings-source footballdatabase.com indicated it.  So does my newer one for Elo-ish numbers – soccerverse.com.  (The former has been down for long enough recently that I’m worried it’s gone for good.)

They’re well down the table in their domestic league so far this year, but that’s mostly by virtue of having played far fewer matches than most teams there.  The international play leads to a lot of postponements for them.   Extrapolate their basic stats out and they’re easily performing like a top-four club.

They host what may well be the #2 club on the continent.  This looks like an awful matchup for the Tunisians.  They’re struggling on defense in their league, and Ahly is just relentless on offense.   Ahly by two on their own pitch today.

RESULT:   Ahly   3-1           Walid Soliman scored twice on penalties in a match that also featured a third penalty score

Image result for math is dumb

 

Mathing.

 

I know, right?

  1. El Entag El Harby vs. Smouha – Egyptian Premier

You know, as long as we’re here!

Top two finishers qualify for the next Champions League.  Right now, these two are #B and #3, respectively.  ENEH have played a game or two more than the teams around them in the table.  They’re not going to stay this high in all likelihood.   They don’t score enough, plain and simple.

Smouha, however, look to have the firepower to at least flirt with a top-two finish.  They will be hard-pressed to catch #1 El Zamalek (best O and D in the country) or hold of Al Ahly.  But so far, Smouha looks very balanced and sound.

RESULT:   2-2        Smouha blows an 0-2 halftime lead

  1. URA vs. Nyamityobora – Uganda Premier

Uganda’s top flite Is a league on the move.  They just cracked the CAF rankings for the first time recently, appearing at #18.   They’d have to move up a few more notches to qualify two teams to Champions League, but it’s a start.

It’s too early to perhaps say much, fewer than a half dozen matches into the season.  but #5 URA appear to be a Small Ball team – pack it in on defense, don’t try to even score much themselves.

Noob believes The Nyamity-ville Horror-obora just got Promoted to top tier this year.  Judging by their utter lack of defense, they’ll be headed right back down.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for that was horrible gifWhat, the play on words there?

Quiet, Adam Scott!   Don’t you have a “Krampus” sequel to go shoot?

  1. 1 de Agosto vs. Hulia – Angola Girabola

Congrats to Angola’s domestic top league!   Big jump coming in the 2019-20 rankings – #17 all the way to #9.

1dA didn’t need the league to have an extra berth into Champions League last season like it will get soon.  They only lost one match all last season.   How?  By only giving up eight goals in 28 matches.   Stifling.

Hulia finished 6th, as perfectly average as they could be, statistically.

RESULT:         is now slated for Sun., 11/4

That African stint can be so draining.  Let’s take a break for the third-ever installment of —

Noob’s Sandwich Reviewoobs!

@MLS on Twitter asked the important, obvious question.  Essentially, is a hot dog, in fact, a sandwich?

Among most noble apes, a sandwich is defined as any meat or other filling between two SLICES of bread.  Buns are NOT slices, or Noob’s name is John Montagu.

To be fair, one can find definitions and contexts where any pieces of bread – sliced or otherwise – are called “sandwich”.  I’m not here to argue against that.

Because it’s already been establish in Amuricuhn court of LAW.

In 2006, A Worcester, MS judge ruled against Panera in a heated case regarding a non-compete clause in a mall food court.  The judge allowed the mall could rent to Qdoba, that tacos and burritos were NOT sandwiches.  His or Her Honor formally told Panera, “Sit on it, Potsy” in the ruling and summary.

What’s fun is that most of that is true.

So — is a hot dog a sandwich?  No.  Heretical.  Illegal!

@MLS, thanks for the picture of the cute kid.  But Noob rates your sandwich question  at a mere two and a half out of five sandwiches on the Noob Sandwich Reviewoob sandwich rating scale.

  1. Ballymena United vs. Glenavon – Northern Ireland Football League Premiership

Next, we jet-set to Europe.  This is one of Europe’s very weakest domestic leagues.  In fact, it’s only semi-professional.  But hey — they’re playing!

They get just the one berth into Champions League.  Glenavon are #1 now, but they only lead Linfield by a point.  They lead the league in scoring, and trail just Linfield in defensive prowess (albeit by a lot).

#3 Ballymena are nicely balanced, but are ten points behind their league-leading hosts.  At least they’re in a position to perhaps get one of the league’s two automatic invites to Europa League.

RESULT:   Bally   2-1

Image result for flying first class funny

 

 

Mr. Bean always flies first class for NIFL Premiership.

  1. Kukesi vs. Flamutari – Albania Superliga

Our second and final stop on our European league takes us to the #34 league in UEFA.  Below average, but a damn sight higher than Northern Ireland.  Wheeeeeeee!

These are the #3 and #5 clubs there currently.  Kukesi are only four points in back of league leaders Skenderbau Korce, but that team’s been the power there for forever.  Even recently getting a 10-year ban from FIFA over match-fixing hasn’t seemingly slowed that bunch much.

If recent history holds, Kukesi won’t catch the Banned Ones or #B Tirana.  Flamutari are far less likely.   When the defense gets down to league average, those clubs won’t be able to stop the perennial title contenders.

RESULT:   Flamutari   1-2

  1. Melbourne City vs. Sydney FC – Australia A-League

The league season is just getting (Down) underway in OZ.  Yet already a big trophy has been awarded.   League defending champs Sydney FC just lost in the FFA Cup final to Adelaide.

Melbourne City finished #3 last year, a nice push for a team that’s historically only average there.  They were either lucky or tough or both, too, as they didn’t score a lot compared to their peers.

RESULT:   Sydney   0-3     Paulo Retre with a goal an an assist

Image result for Melbourne australia funny

 

 

So long from Melbourne!  

Apparently so violent, their club may soon get a Copa Libertadores invitation.

’10 to Track’ Saturday (10/20) soccer matches – USL Playoffs, Liga MX, Premier League lead the way

When I became a man I put away childish things – 1 Corinthians 13:11

Noob spends a lot of the week on nuttiness.  That doesn’t change on weekends.  But today’s ‘ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game’ gets at least comparatively serious.

Today’s matches are a cavalcade of wonder and quality.   Feast.  Feast!!

  1. Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Bethlehem Steel – United Soccer League Playoffs

Except for one match from yesterday, all the opening Round of 16 matches are being played today.  The format is knockout – no home and away series.  Noob’s selected this one because intrastate rivalry adds an extra layer of fun.

They are the #3 and #6 seeds, respectively.  Noob as a hard time necessarily saying Pittsburgh are the “best” defense in the league.   They allowed the fewest goals all season, so it’s quite possible.  But they didn’t score much compared to their postseason-qualifying peers.

Noob’s calling for the upset today!   I don’t believe in the small ball-strategy teams like the Riverhounds try to stand on.  Yes, it’s served them well this season.  But Noob thinks more balanced teams reign in crunch time.  In the Eastern Conference, no team was more balanced than Bethlehem.

I believe all the playoff matches are available online via ESPN+ (7:00 PM EST).

RESULT:   Bethlehem   2-2  /  7-8   pk

Image result for zoolander bethlehem steel

 

With Stiller’s help, Bethlehem are ready to let the beast out of the cage.

B.  Chelsea vs. Manchester United – English Premier League

Chelsea are part of an undefeated, three-way tie for 1st.  Good defense, exceptional on goal-scoring.  They’re on a mission after missing out on the current Champions League because of their 5th-place finish last season.

Man Utd. have only won one of their last five matches across all competitions.  When a team with the caliber of players they have isn’t D-ing up, it can be a sign of motivation, off-field troubles.  And whoa have United been dealing with that.  The power struggle between one of their superstars (Pogba) and head coach (Mourinho) continues unabated.

At least they’ve won three of four specifically in the EPL.  Still, Chelsea should handle them with relative ease at home, a couple goals says I.

On a side note, The Management pointed me to a fine article on the current state of the EPL power structure, why no one is going to touch Man City again this year, that they should dominate by even more than during their record-setting 2017-18 season:

https://www.theringer.com/soccer/2018/10/19/17995886/the-premier-league-standings-are-lying-to-you

Goodness but Noob hates giving The Management any credit for anything.  I will now take a “Crying Game”-scalding hot shower to try and rid myself of the awful feeling.   (7:30 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   2-2               Chelsea gets the equalizer at 90+6′!       Anthony Martial with both goals for Man Utd.

  1. Queretaro vs. Cruz Azul – Liga MX

#1 Cruz Azul are coming back down to earth a little, winning and losing two of their last four outings.  The Apertura (first half-season is 2/3 of the way through and they lead the next teams down by two points in the table.

Queretaro are just trying to finish in the top half of the standings, make the Liguilla (Playoffs).  They lead a three-way tie for the eight and final berth.  But they haven’t won a league match since the end of August.  The offense has simply vanished, and to quote the Shawshank warden, like a fart in the wind.

RESULT:   Queretaro   2-0

  1. Barcelona vs. Sevilla – La Liga

Alaves lead the league after a win yesterday, but have nowhere near the firepower to remain there long. They’ve now played one more match than the likely real contenders, like these two here.

Tied-for-3rd Barcelona started the league season with four straight wins, but haven’t won one since.  It’s possible they’re stretching themselves a bit thin with Champions League right now is all.    Sevilla are #B and have trended the other way, winning all four of their latest league games.

Both have the offense to stay table-top.  But will they be able to hold off the more defensive-minded big Madrid teams lurking just down the table?   (6:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Barcelona   4-2

Image result for almost sounded smart funny

Noob almost sounded smart there, eh?

But now back to vocab and counting work...

  1. W Connection vs. Central – Trinidad and Tobago Pro League

I’ve watched so much “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” with my daughter, “PersonNoob”, that I’ve been more inspired than ever in recent months to get to know our CONCACAF neighbors.  And this is the best matchup going, a shiny #1 versus #B face-off.

The league champions and runners-up will qualify for next year’s Caribbean Club Championship.  The winner of that will, in turn, qualify for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.

This is a very offense-centric league.  W score theirs and then some, but are the only club there that plays more than seemingly token defense (.5 goals allowed per game-average).  Central are tied for #B.  They’re one of the worst league culprits, though, when it comes to turnstyle-defense.

RESULT:        ppd

  1. T.N.S. vs. Connah’s Quay – Welsh Premier League

Is this a strong European league?  Nope!   #50 ranking in UEFA.  But they’re on the rise, will climb a couple notches when the 2019’s are out.  And Noob gives propers to all top U.K. leagues.

Two traditional heavyweights lead there again.  The New Saints look like the best team in paper, but CQ lead them by two in the table after a run of five straight league wins.

Barry Town is right there, too, but that is a very temporary thing.  No one else but these two will challenge for the title.  Both their defenses are twice as good as anyone else’s, and the same can nearly be said of the offenses.

RESULT:   TNS   3-0

Image result for Welsh kung fu

 

 

 

 

Your soccer is weak, Wales, as is your tiny kung fu!

  1. Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Levski Sofia – Bulgaria First Pro League

We move well up the UEFA league ladder to find Bulgaria’s perfectly average one.  This one’s turning into a three-horse race, and these two are the leaders.

Razgrad like to go up and down more than anyone in the country.  But Levski can run with them and still manage to play fair D.  Noob’s looking for #1 Levski Sofia to get a key road win, which should good and piss off #3 CSKA-Sofia.

RESULT:   Razgrad   2-1

  1. Universidad Catolica vs. Unversidad de Concepcion – Chile Primera

Chile’s league is starting to lose a little luster lately in South America.  But it’s still one of the better ones in CONMEBOL, if no Brazil or Argentina.  It’s rare or perhaps even unique that they don’t divided into multiple partial seasons within a full year, unlike most Latin American leagues do.

The top three will qualify for the next Copa Libertadores, S. America’s version of Champions League.  the university teams are always excellent, and this year is no exception.  These are the #1 and #B teams.  Catolica would be putting some distance between themselves and the pack, but just suffered a surprise bushwhacking by midtable-at-best Huachipato.

RESULT:   Catolica   1-0

Image result for south american geography funny

 

 

 

Don’t confuse Noob, cartographers!

Noob needs no help from you on that front.

  1. Nacional vs. Peñarol – Uruguay Primera

Nacional won the first half-season, qualifying themselves for the Championship Playoff to take place at the end of this current, second stage of the year.  Now they’re #B, trailing their visitor’s today by four in the table with the stage soon ending,

No reason to think that these two won’t be the Championship players when all is said and done.  Peñarol found their defensive stride and have absolutely throttled teams the last couple months.   (2:00 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   1-1

Honorable Mention:  Zurich is hosting Young Boys of Bern in another #B-#1 matchup today, in the Swiss Super League.  But YBB are the only “super” ones.  They’re so much better than everyone else this year, they should easily be considered a two-goal fave on the road today.

RESULT:       Noob wouldn’t normally include an HM result, but YBB had to make a big comeback to draw 3-3

  1. Buducnost Podgorica vs. OFK Titograd – Montenegro First League

We finish today’s Track with yet another in the parade of 1-B matchups today!   This league is no stronger than Wales’, but hey – they’re playing.

B.P. are one of the two clubs with which Noob is at all familiar from this league (Sutjeska being the other).  Yet it’s Titograd that are #1!  Not only that, but B.P. haven’t beaten them in their last four tries.  That includes a 1-0 loss this season.

But Tito have only a draw to show for their last two outings.  The teams look pretty similar statistically so far, but B.P. reclaiming their familiar spot atop the table after today feels likely.

RESULT:   BP   2-1

Podgorica, cattedrale della resurrezione di cristo, esterno 01.JPGSo long from Podgorica’s Cathedral of the Resurrection!

Really unique architecture, not mimicking the more common High-Byzantine style like so many Orthodox ones.

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – MLS, oodles of CONCACAF lead your Wednesday

Midweek time – that means ten matches over three days instead of ten each.

What can Noob say?   There are just so many hours in the day, and we’re expanding, adding great new features soon!

We’ve already added “Noob Sandwich Reviewoobs”.   Scroll back a couple of Tracks to see the first installment.

Also, Noob is slated to appear on the Bros Talking Soccer podcast Sunday.  We’ll keep you posted on when it’s available on the various platforms.   And no, despite being Twitter-familiar with one another, Noob’s is not sure the Bros know what they’re getting into.  It may go very “normally”.  It may be very “Noob”.   God help us either way.

Finally, Isle of Sodor Premier League coverage will begin this weekend!

Noob hasn’t negotiated exclusive rights or anything.  But no one else is covering it, so we WILL.     Noob covered their inaugural FA Cup which ended a couple months ago.  Thought someone more mainstream would grab the baton and cover IoSPL.  Nope.

So Noob’s packing his bags, ready to split some time between here and some of my fave B&B’s and such on Sodor.  It’s going to be….well, it’s going to be content.  Yay!

(Tuesday and Wednesday matches and results follow further down.)

Thursday

No real preview work today.   Real Salt Lake plays for Playoff seeding against eliminated-New England.   Remember, Noobites:  Real Salt Lake means “royal” and we carry no truck with monarchy on our soil.  None!

Wednesday

  1. D.C. United vs. Toronto FC – Major League Soccer

Not only did D.C. do it – climbing back from the Eastern Division basement, but they’ve climbed into a playoff spot (6th place) with three matches to go.  His massive price tag aside, anyone who thought it wouldn’t be worthwhile to get former all-time European great Wayne Rooney was mistaken.

This all said, there are those three matches to go.  They could climb one more spot up the table, but they could get passed by Montreal (just one point back).

How does their schedule compare with Montreal’s?  Defending champs Toronto FC and their last regular season opponents Chicago fire are bad and worse.  Sandwiched in between they’ll host much tougher (#3) NYCFC.  Montreal play Toronto and newly-eliminated from contention New England.  So Noob thinks the difference may come down to can D.C. get at least a home draw against NYCFC.

I’ve only started learning all but the biggest stars’ names here the second half of the season.  If you’re a tenured Noobite, you’ll know Rooney’s right-hand man is Luciano Acosta.   But look for impact from Russell Canouse, a young midfielder who got the only goal their last outing – a massive win over the West’s #1 FC Dallas.  He was rewarded with a slot on the MLS Team of the Week.  Which I hadn’t known was a thing.  Learningess!   (7:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   1-0   D.C. Utd.          Who else by Mr. Worth-Every-Pound Wayne Rooney

Image result for russell canouse

 

 

A ball, for Noob?  Thanks, Russ!

(Now where are Rooney and Lucky Acosta… get some serious signatures up in here.)

 

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

Actually, but virtue of making this Final, these two have now already qualified for next tear’s WC.  Congrats, gals!   Not that they or anyone are surprised.  They’re ranked #5 and #1 the world.  Only Canadia even allowed a single goal to be scored against them.

Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe, Drunk-Disney Alex Morgan — we know the USWNT team some.  So here’s a shoutout to Canadia’s Christine Sinclair.   She’s a veteran, still a superstar, and trails retired U.S. player Abby Wambach by seven for all-time most international goals scored.  That’s men’s or women’s side.

She won’t get seven today.  Canadia may not score here in Frisco (greater Dallas) today.  But her presence gives them a real chance.  Noob still favors the Americans by two, but we could finally see both teams get their first competitive match in a while.   (8:00 PM, FS2)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-2         Hail to the victors!

  1. Panama vs. Jamaica – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

This match still matters in terms of WC entry.  The winner gets in, the loser gets absolutely none fruit cup.  None at all!  Friscoans (Friscites?) will deny them at all opportunities before the loser goes home.

They’re tanked #62 and #64.  Whichever wins, it’s that team’s first ever time making World Cup.  High drama!   (5:00 PM, FS2)

RESULT:   Jamaica   2-2  /  2-4  PK

Image result for soccer drama

 

 

Real board game.   

Noob just up started the ol’ Christmas list.

  1. Canadia vs. Dominica – CONCACAF Nations League qualification

Double-dip Noob Canadiaian!

All the men’s teams in CONCACAF playing actually “qualify” for Nations League next year.   But the top ten finishers will make the next Gold Cup.  Those are our region’s championships.  There, they’ll join the six teams that made the final six for World Cup qualifying last year.

Canadia should be there.  They’re ranked #7 in all CONCACAF (if only 79th in the world), trailing only #6 Jamaica in terms of teams that have to play this event to make said Gold Cup.

Dominica are in the bottom half of CONCACAF, ranked #177 by FIFA.  In their first match, they got a draw against higher-ranked Suriname.

Noob is so torn!   Two workplaces ago, I worked with a guy both from Canadia and from Dominca.  Both were cool d00dz.  Funny, I’ve forgotten Canadiaian Ty’O’s first name.   Not sure I ever knew Dominican Julie’s last name.  But he was a laugh riot, even without my being able to understand half of what he said in his thick accent.

I remember one time having to help Julie decipher a speeding ticket, one he got for going so far over the speed limit that a court appearance was mandatory.   Ah, memories.

Wait, soccer, what?

  1. Cruzeiro vs. Corinthians – Brazil Cup

It’s the Final of the Copa do Brasil!   Second leg.  Cruziero took the first leg 1-0.

This is especially important compared to so many FA Cups the world over.  For example, in Europe, the winner is typically qualified for the second-tier Europa League.  Not Champions League.  Here, however, the winner gets into Copa Libertadores, S. America’s version of Champions League.

It’s extra super important this year because Brazil’s top league sends only six teams from there into the CL.  And these two traditional powers are somehow down in 10th and 11th place currently.  And the season there is in its home stretch.   This could be both these clubs’ only reasonable shot at CL.   (8:45 PM, Fox Soccer Plus)

RESULT:   Cruzeiro   1-2      Whoopsie!    Listed Cruzeiro as home team.  They were the visitors for today’s second leg.  Congrats, hombres!

Image result for copa do brasil 2018

 

 

Noob’s diggin’on the trophy, too.

  1. CD Aguila vs. Santa Tecla – El Salvador Primera

Aguila are tied for #B with undefeated Alianza.  Santa Tecla lead them both by two points in the table, but have played one more match than Alianza (the best team in the league in reality).

The soccer year here is divided into Apertura and Clausura (first and second-half seasons). Of the two winners, the one with the better aggregate record will qualify for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.  The other champion and the runner-up with the better aggregate record will get into the CONCACAF League, a tournament through which teams can qualify for the Champions League.

The three teams listed are way ahead of everyone else here in the Apertura.

RESULT:   Aguila   1-0     Aguila and Alianza are now in a tie for 1st

  1. La Equidad vs. Tolima – Colombia Primera A

In Colombia, the two stages of the season are Apertura and Finalizacion.  The winner of the postseason knockout tournament following each makes the Copa Libertadores.  So it’s not nearly as strong a league as Brazil.  But hey – they’re playing!

Tolima finished 3rd in the Apertura regular season before winning the postseason.  They’re part of a three-way tie for #B.

Leaders La Equidad have been a surprise this Stage, as they were below average during the Apertura.  They still don’t score like the biggest boys.  Noob thinks they’re primed to get upset at home.

RESULT:   Tolima   0-1       There is now a four-way tie for 1st

Image result for insurance team funny

 

A club nicknamed “The Insurance Team” just isn’t destined to stay at the top.

 

 

Tuesday

  1. U.S.A. vs. Peru – international men’s friendly

USMNT lost last week to Colombia 4-2.  It was a match in which they came from behind, but lost in the end.  It’s a very, very young roster, and in particular the backline was raw as could be.  Today, Coach Sarachan is switching back to a veteran, former Premier League goalkeeper – Sporting Kansas City’s Brad Guzan.  Critics argue the team should push nothing but youth.

The inclusion of veteran Michael Bradley is drawing ire from this crowd.   That’s not a defensible stance.  But Noob thinks that there are enough friendlies to go around.  If you want the players to learn, experience against great opponents, is, well, great.  But mixing in some seasoned folks to teach them from their own side, in their own locker room has to be valuable, too.

Today’s match is being held at UCONN’s soccer field, an oft-used venue for USMNT.  The two teams here are ranked #22 and #21 by FIFA.  Peru just finished pounding Chile 3-0 at the Hard Rock venue in Miami.  That team is ranked #12.    (7:30 PM EST, ESPN2)

RESULT:   1-1        U.S. looked decent when pressing forward.  When they could maintain possession at all.

Image result for too much america

 

 

Noob doesn’t get it.

Get to the footyball matches any way you can, Amuricuh.

B.  Mexico vs. Chile – international men’s friendly

And Mexico’s is ranked 15th, so it’s another quality matchup!  On paper.   That 0-3 loss was telling, and what it turns out it tells us is that Chile did not bring its top stars.    It’s being held at Liga MX club FC Queretaro’s home stadium in

But that’s okay, we’re here to support our CONCACAF neighbors.  Raul Jimenez scored the winning penalty kick-goal for Mexico in their last outing over Costa Rica.   This match will feature a lot of youth on both sides of the ball, so we’re not expecting a ton of goals, but perhaps another dramatic finish just the same.   (9:45 PM, Unimas)

RESULT:   0-1   Chile          The visitors score at 90′ in what was a pretty even match

Image result for mexican neighbors funny

 

Noob’s not going political on this site.  Just not in my ken.

But it seems a border wall might be susceptible to a Ned Flanders attack.

  1. France vs. Germany – UEFA Nations League

Groups of three, top finisher only from each advance to the Playoffs.   This is a League A matchup, meaning these two are from one of the Groups that are ranked by UEFA in top dozen.

They’ve both played two of their four matches.  Germany have yet to score, though they still earned a draw in one of those games.  France lead the Netherlands by a point in the table.

These two teams are ranked as tied for #1 and #12, respectively, in the world by FIFA.   Noob’s becoming less convinced those numbers matter in this tournament.

This is a new event, one designed to add some meaning to parts of the calendar that were previously filled with simply international friendlies.  It’s a pathway to getting into the 2020 European Championships, but that may not be motivating teams of this caliber.  They’re almost certainly going to be there no matter how they do here.   (2:45 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   France   2-1      Antoine Griezmann with both goals for the home side in the come-from-behind win