The soccer scheds are getting fuller, the Track’ed matches all the sweeter.
Tuesday’s matches are below Wednesday’s here now. Thursday’s are coming soon.
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas – Major League Soccer
10. It’s hard to fathom that Houston could win the U.S. Open Cup. They’re hosting the Final against Philly in late September. A good thing they’ve put all their eggs in that basket, because their league basket is mildewy and coming unwoven.
They’re in 10th in the Western Conference after five straight league losses. The competition’s been strong over that stretch, true. But this is the big league and you’ve got to pick some points. Now they’re 10 points behind 6th place and the last playoff spot. The Dynamo are cooked. The offense is gone.
Dallas, meanwhile recovered from a two-game skid last time out with a W over Minnesota. Good thing, too, as KC has won three straight and was looking prime to take 1st place back. (9:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)
So long from the Art Car Parade in Houston!
(Don’t worry. Noob knows it’s an atrocity. The town was built on a swamp. It will all sink into oblivion soon enough.)
NYCFC vs. New York Red Bulls – Major League Soccer
#3 hosts #B in the Eastern Conference. Both are almost certain to make the Playoffs (top 6 in each conf.). But since the top two seeds will get a bye in the postseason, this edition if the Hudson River Derby is particularly important.
NYCFC just got ambushed in Philly, 0-2. They’ve given up nine goals in their last four matches. NYRB have been simply taking care of business this month, with results in their last three outings. They’ve played one less match than The Blues – an advantage in the table, if not on the pitch today.
Sean Johnson hasn’t been helped by his back line much of late. They’ve not leaned on the defense much all season, truth be told. But the goalkeeper’s got to staunch this bleeding if they’re to stop this fade.
“I will hug it and squeeze it and call it George.”
(Random? Sure. Does Noob care? Not a whit!)
Portland Thorns vs. Sky Blue FC – National Women’s Soccer League
Sky Blue have two draws in last three matches!
New Jersey’s last place NWSL club hasn’t had much to celebrate this season. They still only have five points, half as many as second-to-last place Washington. So they’ll take these little successes and run with them.
The Thorns are in 3rd with just three matches to go before the Postseason. Four clubs are within four points of them in the table, so they shouldn’t be sleeping today. A win today would all but guarantee them a top-four finish, which means playoffs.
RESULT: Portland 2-1
“If you go into their net more than ours -just this once- I’ll take you to the Shore. Please??”
Cruz Azul vs. Toluca – Liga MX
After making the Liguilla (postseason) in the 2017-18 Apertura (first half-season), they fell into the table depths in the Clausura. They are back. They’ve allowed just one lone goal in their five matches this new season. No other team has conceded fewer than four.
But now they get their first tough test of the season. Say hello to the last Clausura’s regular season champion. Toluca is in 6th, but with their offense, they’ll rise. (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)
RESULT: Cruz Azul 1-0
Young Boys of Bern vs. Dinamo Zagreb – UEFA Champions League
Switzerland’s and Croatia’s European league-rankings aren’t far apart – both in about the teens. Still, YBB is only just now entering the competition. (See Tuesday’s UEFA CL match below for Round details.)
D.Z. have had to advance through two rounds already. They walloped a club from Israel and skunked one from Kazakhstan.
Based on the Elo ratings Noob uses, YBB would be favored even at a neutral site. While I don’t think formal football gambling works this way, I would still take Dinamo if given a goal.
Portland Timbers II vs. Orange County FC – United Soccer League
Given that the top eight in each conference of America’s second-tier league, these two are looking very good.
Portland’s reserve side has climbed to 5th in the West on the back of three straight high-offense victories.
The O.C. have also been getting goals like gangbusters, winning three in a row as well. In fact, they haven’t lost since July 7 and have scored twice or more in all their contests. Noob ends the Wednesday portion of the Midweek Track with what could look like a pinaball-ish score.
Seattle Reign vs. Houston Dash – National Women’s Soccer League
Welcome to the only top-division match in America today. This match is sneaky-important for both teams.
Seattle seem to have a firm grip on #B in the table with three matches to go, yet that four-point lead over the Portland only looks big because of how close the next several teams are to one another.
That’s where we find the Dash. They’re tied for 6th, yet trail Chicago for the fourth and final Playoff berth by just two points.
Houston have scored six goals their last two matches, but Seattle maybe be more impressive of late on the other side. The Reign haven’t conceded a goal their last three games.
RESULT: Seattle 2-0
Can’t find offense anywhere here!
(And no, Noob is not above using cute aminahl pictures to lure in readers.)
B. UNAM Pumas vs. Queretaro – Liga MX
Noob would mock 12th-place UNAM without end for their lack of goal-scoring, but Atlas haven’t scored once this Apertura (first half-season).
Pumas are scoring twice a game on average, sit in 5th place. But they scored all those goals the first couple games, haven’t found the back of the net in their last three outings. Check this one out on ESPN Deportes at 8:00 PM to see if either can get on the board.
RESULT: Queretaro 0-1
Sorry, Number B.
No B in “puma” anywhere.
Benfica vs. PAOK – UEFA Champions League
They’ve reached the “Qualification Round” in Europe. 12 clubs paired off, the survivors of these two-legged ties all make the Group Stage. That’s where the competition is considered to truly begin.
PAOK finished #B in Greece’s Superleague last season, had to make it through two Rounds already just to get this far. They most recently beat Spartak Moscow.
Benfica also finished #B in their league. But since it’s a more highly-ranked league, they’ve only had to play one Round so far. They defeated Fehnerbace out of Turkey to get here.
True to the league strengths, the Elo rankings this two have on footballdatabase.com indicate to Noob Benfica is easily a one-goal favorite at home.
Independiente vs. Santos FC – Copa Libertadores
South America’s version of Champions League is in its Round of 16. These are the last pair of clubs to not have played the first match of their two-legged tie.
Independiente finished just 6th in Argentina’s Premier last season – not quite good enough to qualify for CL. They’re here by virtue of having won the 2017 Copa Sudamericana, the continent’s second-tier competition. They’re a sound, defensive-minded bunch.
Santos finished 3rd in Brazil, CONMEBOL’s best league. They’re considered the fifth entrant from Brazil. Santos also plays a tight defensive game typically. Look for this to go 1-0 or 0-1 at most. Independiente is a full-goal fave based on the Elo ratings.
Noob’s not sure what harpooning a rabbit has to do with CL or Santos FC.
But I’m down with it.