1. Real Madrid vs. Manchester United – UEFA Super Cup
Last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners face off in an event which confuses the Noob mightily. Europa League is like the American NCAA basketball NIT – for league also-rans. So the winner of the second-rate event vs. the best in the world? The Noob will track it for the names, but is confused mightily.
Also worth noting: host city Skopje, Macedonia rated with Trip Advisor as the #4 City in the World that Makes You Say “Whowhere?”
B. Yeovil Town vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers – EFL Cup (first round)
The Noob is learning! I now understand the EFL Cup is not the FA Cup. This one is restricted to teams in The Football League – the top four divisions of play in England.
Yeovil is from League Two, the fourth tier in England. Prior to achieving this level, they had one of the best records in the FA Cup for “non-league” (below fourth tier) teams. The Noob loves big little guys, and so The Glovers are adopted.
3. Red Star vs. Auxerre – Coupe de la Ligue (first round)
More learningness! This is France’s equivalent of the EFL Cup. Only teams from their top three leagues can qualify.
Red Star is a small, Division 3 Parisian team from the northern burbs; a working class team to be sure. Their name is not translated from French. It’s the actual name. It’s like the Norman linguistic invasion, but in reverse. Or not…
4. Necaxa vs. Morelia – Copa MX
Best combination of teams in group stage play this day.
5. Hibernian vs. Ayr United – Scottish League Cup
I -think- this is analogous to the two Cups above, where there’s another FA Cup that is broader in scope at some point in the year. Ayr U. is the reining 3rd Division champ, might have a puncher’s chance against a lower-rung Premier League side.
6. Lanus vs. The Strongest – Copa Libertadores (round of 16)
Bracketed play begins in the Copa, though this one’s not knockout/single match. This match is the second “leg” of the two-legged “tie” between these two clubs, a home and home affair. “Aggregate” is knotted at 1-1.
7. Real Esteli vs. Aguila – CONCACAF League (group stage)
-Not- the CONCACAF Champions League, though related. Qualifying teams from Latin American and the Caribbean face off in this tournament for a slot in the actual federation Champions League. Mexico, Costa Rica and the U.S. are the only countries that likely matter there.
8. Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit – NWSL
The Management does not enjoy teams from cities built on swamps! The Noob is inclined to go along, whether out of fear or likeness of mind.
Orlando is in 6th place, in striking distance of a league postseason top four slot. But time is running out on their comparatively short season.
9. Orange County SC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks – USL
The Switchbacks – a nickname we love, but is not enough for Noob Adoption Status yet – tenuously hold the 6th and final league postseason spot.
10. Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Rochester Rhinos – USL
The Noob has is surprised about the Islander nickname for Harrisburg, and wonders if he should be embarrassed about that. They have a shot at home against 5th place Rochester. Away from “the island”, H City sucks out loud.