Isle of Sodor Premier League – Matchday 24 – Feature: #1 Dryaw FC vs #2 Peel Godred

The New England Cheatriots won Superb Owl LIII 13-3 Sunday. Boring.  Image result for cheatriots

Isle of Sodor Premier League had it’s own #1-2 matchup Sunday, with host Dryaw FC routing Peel Godred by that same score. No snoozefest on this pitch! The “Reverends” of Dryaw take a far more decisive lead of five points in the table now.

[Check back for a new post Wed. or Thurs. for updated table and all the weekend’s results!]

A dampish pitch did nothing to slow offense today. Little does on Sodor, of course, as hard defense is considered uncouth and things like slide tackles practically forbidden as an unwritten rule. Striker Bill Butzkopfski Image result for fat soccer player in red (left) found the back of the net early and often, tallying five scores before being subbed out in the 70′. Al Britt assisted on a pair of those and two other scores from his midfield position.

For Peel, Glen Onchan nabbed a goal and an assist from the right wing. Goalkeeper Ray Harmer had a much tougher day, coming off his line too early and too often, committing two own-goals.

A MOMENT OF SILENCE

— was held  just before kickoff in all matches on Sodor.

The English Premier match between Everton and Wolves the day before featured a black cat running around the pitch – uncatchable, free (courtesy of S.I.) – in the second half.

A chapter of brief but terrible Sudric history ended just 20 years ago.   Everyone was reminded of the horrible experiments run in a dark corner of the Isle:   Live cats forced to play indoor soccer with AI robot soccer cats.   Not sound so terrible as to warrant moment of silence?  Here’s the excruciating footage.   Viewer advisory.

 

 

Sodor Premier League news! Tidmouth City striker transferred after team tai chi brawl

January 31, 2019 – Tidmouth, Sodor

Image result for isle of man soccer playerStriker Cam Baker is out at Tidmouth City, has been transferred to a Turkish second division club.

Sodor isn’t oft a place of shenanigans or worse, yet the ouster mirrors a strangely similar sequence of events this month from the English Premier League.

In December, Fulham F.C. striker Aboubakar Kamara had a run in with teammate Alexsanar Mitrovic Image result for aboubakar kamara angryover who was to take a penalty kick. In January, Kamara scuffled with a security guard trying to storm the main offices and argue over the fine that ensued. Then most recently, he got into fisticuffs with the same teammate at a team yoga session. He felt Mitrovic had been rude to the instructor.   (Read the Football365 article)

City’s Baker has also been a handful. He argued nastily with fellow striker Alex Mitre around Christmastime over a “Secret Santa” gift that that might not have met the minimum-spending agreement. While the club did not fine Baker, the fracture only deepened between the two players.

Image result for cheap secret santa gift

 

 

Baker wasn’t wrong.   That’s just a terrible gift job on Mitre’s part.

 

 

Things came to a full head this week at a regular team tai chi session. Baker instigated full-on fisticuffs with Mitre. In fact, it took two players and a passer-by Zumba instructor to pull Baker off of him. The cause? Mitre made an admiring comment to the instructor about her “downward dog” style, wImage result for sexy downward doghich Baker felt crossed a clear line of couth (and for which he has been suspended two matches).

Right or wrong regarding Baker’s chivalry, Manager Claud Rainn traded him quickly. Baker will finish the 2018-19 campaign as a kit launderer for women’s club Ilkadim Belediyespor  of Turkey’s Kadinlar 2. Liga .   In return, Tidmouth City will receive an autographed photo of Ilkadim midfielder Khatia Tchkonia.

KhatiaTchkonia02.JPG

 

 

 

(Not to be uncouth myself, but Noob thinks Tidmouth City easily got the better of this trade.)

Sodor Premier League news! Tim Howard who? 80-year old Sudric goalie announces retirement

January 30, 2019 – Arlesburgh, Sodor

Colin Lee, -80- year old goalie for Arlesburgh United Pirates Image result for soccer crest piratesof the Isle of Sodor Premier League has announced his retirement from competitive play.  When asked what he thought of the MLS Colorado Rapids‘ 39 year-old Tim Howard‘s hanging them up after the 2019 season, Mr. Lee gruffly said, “Blargh.  I have bunions older than that quitter.

This 2011 Daily Mail article details his full English career; click here)

In 2012, Mr. Lee Veteran: Colin Lee, 72, started playing football when he was just six years old and has now been regularly partaking in the beautiful game for an incredible 66 yearswas sacked as secretary for eight Northampton, England area teams and as keeper for his Sunday League squad.   His former Air Force Veterans’ teammate, 56 year-old Ollie Hight had this to say:

 

The guy was 72.   He did a lot of good, but it was time for him to bugger off, make room for up-and-comers like me.

Colin Lee then retired across the Walney Channel to Arlesburgh, in the northwest of Sodor.  Image result for Arlesburgh Sodor mapAs the oldest established town on the Isle, he found it suited him well.   Here, he continued his 50-plus year career as a goalie, only occasionally reverting to his youth position of centre half.

But Arlesburgh United find themselves in last place in this, the inaugural IoSPL season.   With Lee in a platoon at goalkeeper, the team has given up nearly seven goals per match, a staggering number even by loose-defense Sodor standards.

If the other team kicks it right at me, I’ve got a shot.   But they’ve figured out my weaknesses after having faced each club once on the year — I have trouble covering wide.  And high.  And low.   I can actually get low sometimes, but then I can’t get back up and they sub me out.

I hope Tim HowardImage result for Tim Howard retirement finds broadcasting dull and decides to replace me here.   Perhaps he can get the team promoted to Premier again next year.  Because we’re sure as shit getting sent down this season.”

 

’10 to Track’ Relegation Monday (1/14) matches – more Suckitude than you can handle or deserve!

Monday’s world league scheds are exceptionally light today.  So, before we dig into Matches of Suckitude – ones that feature teams about to get Relegated for their poor performances – we start with some match mini-previews of happier import.  Enjoy.

1. Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers – English Premier League
  • UEFA league rank: #B
  • Table positions: #B, #11
  • Stakes: top 4 go to Champions League
  • Time of season: middle

The defending runaway champs can retake the league lead today with a win. They’ve reeled off four straight wins since a two-loss speed bump that allowed Liverpool to move into 1st. The last two of those were by a combined score of 16-0, though over non-Premier foes in Cup tournaments.

Wolves are in 11th, but would move into the top half of the 20-team table with a draw and jump to 8th or 7th with a win. How is a team that was just promoted doing so well? Money infusion from the Chinese conglomerate that bought them. (Thank you to the Bros Talking Soccer podcast guys for the answer to that one on their Slack.) They win with smallish ball – low scores for everyone. It’s not likely to work today…but “defense travels” is an axiom for a reason!

RESULT:   City   3-0

B. U.A.E. vs. Thailand – Asian Cup

The Group Stage of Asia’s national team championships is nearly done. The pods of four are playing just a single round robin, all matches in the host Emirates. The top two from each Group automatically advance to the next round. The four best third place finishers will also move on.

U.A.E. have already mathematically advanced. Thailand are tied with India for runners-up, but down to them on head-to-head tiebreaker. The AFC ranks homers U.A.E. #4 and Thailand #8 (FIFA ranks #79 and #118). But no matter – the Thais are so far the best of the third-place sides, are all but certain to advance as well.

RESULT:   1-1        The Thais advance as the Group runners-up!

Image result for letter B cartoon sword

 

 

Number B is back, and the quest to be rid of Number Two in lists is ON.

3. Newtown vs. St. Paul’s – St. Kitts and Nevis Premier
  • CONCACAF league rank: they don’t really do them
  • Table positions: #B, #3
  • Stakes: top 4 play for the title
  • Time of season: over 1/3 done

Two similar teams chasing Village Superstars for the trophy!

RESULT:   1-1

4 and 5.

Gotta be honest. It’s late here on Sodor where Noob is wintering. Gotta save time for continuing to put together the coming Isle of Sodor Premier League page.

So. The Coppa Italia (FA Cup is in its Round of 16. Also, there’s also a second division Portuguese league match you can Google up, should the Spirit move you.

And now, Matches of Suckitude!

6. Aris Thessaloniki vs. Lamia – Superleague Greece
  • UEFA league rank: #13
  • Table positions: #8, #14 (of 16)
  • Stakes: bottom 3 Relegated
  • Time of season: middle

Lamia are a fair bit better than the bottom two teams. They are one of three teams realistically trying to stay out of the last Relegation slot. That said, the fourth-to-last place team will play the 4th-place D2 team for the right to play Superleague next year. Lamia can’t score worth a darn, are likely to stay right where they are.

Noob doesn’t think they can even compete for a draw today. Thessaloniki score twice as much, are just as good on D.

RESULT:   Thess   1-0

Image result for Lamia football

 

 

 

Aaaaand stab yourself in the head.

7. Alki Oroklinis vs. AEL Limassol – Cyprus Premier
  • UEFA league rank: #18
  • Table positions: #9, #3 (of 12)
  • Stakes: bottom half do Relegation playoff
  • Time of season: middle

Worst offense and defense in the league. How A.O. are higher in the table than three clubs is beyond Noob. They’ll be doing well to keep this to a one-goal loss against the #3 side.

Fun Fact:   The team owner re-named the club after a fave of his that had just gone bankrupt and dissolved.   What the cuss?

RESULT:   AEL L   1-3

8. Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv – Israel Premier
  • UEFA league ranking: #27
  • Table positions: #12, #1 (of 14)
  • Stakes: bottom 8 do Relegation playoffs
  • Time of season: middle

Side note: This league has dropped a tied-for-worst nine notches in the European rankings this last year.

HTA aren’t likely to escape the Relegation playoffs at season’s end. Their small-ball ways aren’t working out. Ten draws in 17 matches have kept them from the table’s very bottom. And MTA are going to put up with none of their nonsense. Undefeated, best offense and defense in the league.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for hapoel tel aviv funny

 

We’re not taking you seriously with those stretches, HTA.

Get a Peloton for warmups.   Something.

9. Glacis United vs. Boca Juniors – Gibraltar Premier
  • UEFA league ranking:          #51
  • Table positions:                     #7, #9 (of 10)
  • Stakes:                                        last place gets Relegated
  • Time of season:                      middle

#51 of 55 leagues? Hey, it’s a rock with about the pop. of Ames, Iowa and they’re not #55. Noob’s actually more impressed that they even have a Second Division to which a team can be sent down.

The 9th-place finisher will have a playoff with the #B from the second tier. I’d say their offense is the worst thing ever, but last place-Lions only have two goals on the entire season to Juniors’ six. Truth be told, Glacis aren’t light years better, but at least they’re not giving up buckets of goals.

Fun Fact:   Argentinian Boca Juniors called and they’d like their name back.  Like, now.

RESULT:   Glacis   6-1

10. Red Star vs. Lens – Ligue 2, France
  • UEFA league ranking: n/a, second-tier league
  • Table positions: last, #5
  • Stakes: bottom 3 get Relegated
  • Time of season: middle

Two other league clubs are as poor on defense as Red Star, but those play a little to a lot more offense. Red Star might climb to 19th over no-goals Nancy, but won’t get higher.

Lens are well-enough balanced to stay in the top five and participate in the Promotion Playoffs later, if not so good as to be a threat to the top two and get automatically moved up.

RESULT:   1-0

Image result for saint-ouen flea market huge

 

So long from Saint-Ouen (greater Paris), home of Red Star FC.

HUGE flea market, but is super-“professional”.

’10 to Track’ returns — Relegation Monday! plus CONCACAF and other goodness

After a semi-farewell and long holiday break, Noob returns!     Twitter: @SoccernoobUSA

The plan remains to feature exclusive Isle of Sodor Premier League coverage here.  Soon!  I’m still wintering on Sodor, putting things together, even as the season is half-finished.   To get a feel, check out this site’s Page for last summer’s inaugural Isle of Sodor FA Cup.

But I’ve missed doing the near-daily Tracks, previewing the most important matches from the U.S., all CONCACAF, Premier League, continental Europe, and the world!

So for now, I’m bringing back Relegation Monday and Globetrotting Friday – the most unique content I provided.   So enjoy!   Today, several matches feature teams about to be Relegated, from “important” leagues to those far-flung.  Then there’s a few matches of happier  import.    Dig in.

1. Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Club Bilbao – Spain:  La Liga
  • UEFA League Rank:     #1
  • Table positions:            #14, #18 (of 20)
  • Clubs relegated:             3
  • Time of season:             middle

Noob’s return to at least Tracking on “Relegation Mondays” starts with a realistic upset chance! Athletic have only lost one of their last six matches. I’m not saying they’re storming the league and going to make a move on a midtable position, but only allowing one goal in their last four matches is a big step forward.

Celta Vigo, at home, should be favored. Their goal differential even indicates they may be worthy of a higher table slot. But they’ve not scored in two matches. Noob senses this is a bad matchup for them.

Fun Fact:    Bilbao are The Lions.  Their stadium was built near a church which was named for Saint Mammes, a Christian saint thrown to the lions.  He pacified them.  

So they named themselves after tamed animals?   Never mind from before.  You’re getting Relegated.

RESULT:   Athletic   1-2        The Lions climb to 17th place, above the Drop Zone for now

B. Moreirense vs. Aves – Portugal Primeira Liga
  • UEFA league rank:        #7
  • Table positions:             #7, #17 (of 18)
  • Clubs relegated:             3
  • Time of season:              middle

Aves have the worst defense in the league, and it’s not particularly close. That said, they’ve only allowed one goal in each of their last to matches, against excellent competition. They didn’t win either, though, and haven’t done so since late November.

Moreirense seem to be overcoming a dreadful start to their season when it comes to goal-scoring. They’ve won three of four matches running and scored multiple times in all of them.

RESULT:   Moreirense   1-0

Image result for letter B pumped up

 

 

The Quest for Number B to displace worn out Number 2 in lists is back on!

Clearly, the people want their Number B.

3. Ermis Aradippou vs. Enosis Paralimni – Cyprus First Division
  • UEFA League Rank:         #18
  • Table positions:                last, second-to-last
  • # of Clubs Relegated:      1
  • Time of Season:                 middle

One of Noob’s first ever Twitter (@SoccernoobUSA) followers is a Cypriot mother of two First Division players. This league will always have a little piece of my heart. Thankfully for Mom, her boys play for far better clubs than these sad sacks!

Aradippou have earned points in just three matches all season so far. They won their last match, but that was in their FA Cup. Against a Second Division club that is considered a “refugee team”. That haven’t played in their home city since the Turkish Invasion of 1974. Aradippou haven’t beaten a league foe since November.

Paralimni have earned draws in their last two league matches, lead Aradippou by five points in the table. Road wins may be tough to come by, but Noob wouldn’t be able to call this in upset even so. Both teams are just so lousy.

RESULT:   0-0          That seems more than fitting

4. Mont Bleu vs. Muungano – DR Congo First Division
  • CAF league rank:        #3
  • Table positions:         #12, last place of 16
  • Clubs Relegated:         3
  • Time of season:           uncertain

Last season, the Linafoot may only have been about 14 matches. This season, some clubs have already reached 15. The format also seems to have changed from three league divisions to one.

So what does Noob know? That Muungano have won just once and drawn not at all in their 11 outings. This is one of three teams that play far worse defense than everyone else. None of them look likely to climb out of the Drop Zone no matter when the season ends.

Mont Bleu are a bit better on both sides of the ball, though not nearly good enough threaten climbing to midtable.

RESULT:      ppd

Image result for OC Muungano

5. Ndanda vs. Ruvu Shooting – Tanzania Premier
  • CAF league rank:        #24
  • Table positions:         #17, #16 (of 20)
  • Clubs Relegated:         4
  • Time of season:           middle

Ndanda may be on the edge of daylight, but their goal differential is the worst in the league. If they had a strength, maybe they could climb. But they’re bottom-three in both O and D.

Still, a win today would move them above the Cutline (for the moment). Ruvu score a lot more, but sport the league’s worst defense for it. If Ndanda want to prove Noob wrong, this is a home must-win.

Fun Fact:  Ndanda’s Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium has a capacity of 15,000.

RESULT:   Ruvu   0-1

6. Muslim FC vs. Karachi Port Trust – Pakistan Premier
  • AFC league rank:       #46
  • Table positions:         #11, #13 (of either 14, 15 or 16)
  • Clubs relegated:         2, 3 or 4
  • Time of season:          very late

The number of league teams is higher now than when it last seemed to have played, in 2014-15. Assuming they’re still playing a double round robin, this season is on the verge of finishing. It started with either 15 or 16 teams. One or two of them aren’t playing for financial reasons. Bottom line is, just 14 appear to be actually playing and two of those will be Relegated.

And so, welcome to the worst-ranked league in Asia! Hey, they’re playing. Love football? Want to see it develop, improve everywhere. Noob’s got your back, Pak.

KPT and one other team are vying to stay in the country’s top flite. Baloch Nushki are playing, but have long since been mathematically cooked. And if it weren’t for Baloch Nushki, KPT would have the worst defense in the league.

Muslim are not much higher, yet appear safe in their position. They play small-ball, neither scoring nor conceding many goals at all. KPT won’t get one on them today, and they will go down a league.

RESULT:   Muslim   2-0

KPT FC Logo

 

 

We hardly knew ye

7. Rayo Majadahonda vs. Las Palmas – Spain’s Segunda Division
  • UEFA league rank:         n/a – second-tier league
  • Table positions:             #19, #11 (of 22)
  • Clubs relegated:             4
  • Time of season:              middle

Majadahonda are in a three-way tie for 18th through 20th in points in the table. But they’re one of the four worst in goal differential, simply must score more if they want to stay afloat. Try for at least a goal per game, fellas. It’ll work wonders.

Statistically, Las Palmas are perfectly average in every way. Yet strangely, they haven’t won a match since October, mostly achieving draws. High or low-scoring, doesn’t matter. They can’t seal the deal. Look for a 0-0 draw today, and contain your excitement, Noobites 😛

Fun Fact:   This is the highest Majadahonda have ever been in the Spanish football pyramid, having just been promoted this year.

RESULT:   0-0

Non-Relegation Matches of Treeemendous Consequence!

OK, might’ve oversold that.

8. Lille vs. Sochaux – Coupe de France

The French FA Cup is in it’s Round of 64. This is the only match for the event today. Lille is the current #B team in Ligue 1, while Sochaux are barely above the Relegation Line in Ligue 2. The only reason this match might not be a blowout for the home side is that Noob’s read this FA Cup is considered by clubs even less important than other top European leagues’ clubs consider theirs, which is so-so at most.

Here’s the link for the event. Hopefully your technology translates it for you readily.

RESULT:   Lille   1-0

9. Waterhouse vs. Cavalier – Jamaica Premier
  • CONCACAF league rank:        don’t think they do them; #B  Caribbean maybe
  • Table positions:                       #B, #3
  • Stakes:                                          top 6- league playoffs bracket, top 2 get byes
  • more Stakes                               Top two will have option to play Caribbean Club                                                           Championship.
  • Time of season:                        2/3 through regular season

#1 Portmore and Waterhouse have the offense. Cavalier boasts the top D. Unfortunately for them, Waterhouse is almost as good in that regard. The home team today is probably the most talented in the league.

Even given the relative table positions, a Cavalier win should be considered an upset. But given that they were just promoted to top flite this season, they’re performing incredibly.

RESULT:   Cavalier   0-1         So be it – upset!     These two are now tied in the table on points.  Cavalier is still in 3rd on GD.

10. UNDEBA (Banda Abou) vs. Scherpenheuvel – Curacao Sekshon Paga
  • CONCACAF league rank:                gotta think it wouldn’t be high
  • Table positions:                               #3, #1
  • Stakes:                                                 top six make the playoff subdivision
  • more Stakes                                      at least one club will have option to play in                                                                      new second-tier 2020 Caribbean Club Shield
  • Time of season:                                very early

Welcome to the former Netherlands Antilles! The top at some point the top six will be moved into their own Championship Subdivision. It’s unclear to me if at some point the top four from that will have their own bracketed playoff not. But the season is just a few matches in, so there’s all kinds of time to figure it out.

Scherpenheuvel are undefeated, outscoring opponents 12-1 to date. Banda Abou’s GD is 18-9. Can’t think their lack of defense will serve them well over a full season, but that 3+ goals per game average sure is shiny.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for stoba goat papaya

 

 

Be inspired to find or make some stoba, a traditional stew from these parts.

And be bold!   Do the goat with the papaya.

Classic Noob revisited – “We are D-2” / “We Are the World”

Noob is preparing to morph this project into largely exclusive coverage of the inaugural Isle of Sodor Premier League coverage.    There will be joy.

In the meantime, please indulge in the D-Twos-Day Interviews.    This was the final post in that category (Page on right for all of them). 


Welcome, Noobites, to the final 2017 edition of D-Twos-Day Interview.  Noob’s had the unparalleled pleasure of interviewing coaches and myriad figures from the part of the soccer world we most celebrate: North American second division leagues!

But one of them, the North American Soccer League, is on its last legs.  They need our help!  Inspired by the 80’s classic song that raised nearly $150M in 2017-adjusted dollars to aid famine relief in Africa, Noob has gotten together an all-star cast to record a new version of”We Are the World”.

Thank you to all the surviving artists involved with the original for joining us.  Special thanks to Dominic Kinnear for not breaking out mid-song into any Rush classic.

And no, Noob has no idea how this will help.  But it WILL.  And if you don’t get this, go back and check out all the great Interviews!  The segment returns in 2018.

Lionel Richie:   There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When D-2 must come together as one.
Paul Simon:   A tier-two league is dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to NASL
Paul, Kenny Rogers:   A soccer gift for all.

Noob:  Noob can’t go on pretending day by day
That somehow, some way it’s gonna get saved
Tina Turner:   We’re all a part of D-2’s big family
Billy Joel:  And the truth, you know,
Noob, Tina, Billy:   Is this is all we neeeeeeeed

Choir:   We are D-2.  We are the coaches
We are the fans, the concerned parties
So let’s keep singing
Diana Ross:   It’s a choice we’re making
It’s not just USL
Diana Ross and NASL federal case judge Margo K. Brodie:   It takes both leagues to make a better day
Just wait and seeeeeee!

Puerto Rico FC head coach Marco Velez:   Thought Noob was my tio, but now I call him Noober
And our lives together are stronger and free
Willie Nelson:   As we have shown you, by calling him “asshat”
Willie and Marco Velez:   We’re strong.  And nothing can defeat us now!
(background: Cyndi Lauper – “but Miami FCeeeeeeee!)

Edmonton FC head coach Colin Miller:   Called him the C-word – in Scottish Gaelic
But he mailed me booze, 30 years old
Turns out Noob’s no dick!

(background: Noob – “Could we find a way to rephrase that please?)

New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso:  D-2 status be damned
Noob agrees with me
It’s true we should just care
About qualiteeee!

L.A. Galaxy asst. coach Dominic Kinnear:   When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
Huey Lewis:   But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Cyndi Lauper:   Well, well, well!  Let’s realize that a change can only come
Huey, Cyndi, Kim Carnes, and OKC Energy ‘Grid’ fan club prez Joseph Pugh:   When we stand together as one!
(Joseph Pugh cont.:  “WOOO!!  Do it, Nooner!)

Choir:   They went dark-arts, went Santeria
Burned rabbit bones and burned Pele’s jock
To save our leaaaaague!
Incoming USL club owner Bobby Jones:  Noob hates my teams’ name – boring Austin FC.
Jacksonville Armada owner Robert Palmer:  At least he didn’t think you were a reincarnated pop-rock arteeeeest.

(key change!)

Choir:  We are the fans, the concerned parties
So let’s keep singing
It’s a choice we’re making
It’s not just USL.
It takes both leagues to make a better day
Just wait and seeeeeee!

’10 to Track’ soccer matches previews – just One today – MLS final, Noob bids farewell of a sort

After well over a year of Tracking matches on a daily basis I’ve felt were most important to new American soccer fans like myself, project SoccerNoob in its present form is going on indefinite hiatus.

Thank you to The Management for daring me as a joke to write about the sport I knew least about. To Dan the former Intern-o Inferno, for his hilarious work on image production, support, and understanding I needed to put screen and other fiction writing on hold to learn the discipline to write every single day. I hope your work at the Swedish women’s soccer association continues to go well. And to my young daughter, “PersonNoob”, for writing verses to our silly theme song.

My focus has been on learning leagues and Cup tournaments, both at and close to home and the world over. In talking with many of you, I’ve learned as well about the big players, about how the game itself is played, and why it is such a joy for so much of the world to follow.

In doing it all, I’ve tried adding my own off-kilter brand of humor. Hopefully between that and covering matches from places most U.S. fans don’t read about anywhere, I’ve brought some enjoyment to long-time fans as well.

I’m continuing to winter on the Isle of Sodor, covering matches here. This site will soon be bringing you news and scores from their ongoing, first-ever Premier League. The site may have a new name, in which case soccernoob.com will forward to that. Or I may just keep it right here. And who knows. A podcast has considered! Noob’s not truly disappearing. (God help us.)

For the final Track, no “10”. Just the one. The most important match of the year.

1. Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer Final

Noobites, since this is the swan song, it’s time to graduate to sites with more in-depth coverage.   (8:00 PM Eastern, Fox)

RESULT:   ATL   2-0          Single-season record-setting MLS for goals scored in a season, Josef Martinez, adds another.

ESPNFC match preview

CBS Sports match preview

Portland Mercury match preview

beIN Sports match preview

USSoccerPlayers.com match preview

AtlUtd.com match preview

Image result for soccer graduation

’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 (11/11) soccer matches – MLS playoffs lead the way

Don’t forget to check back on any Track’s matches later for results!

Also, the newest of Noobites may always check the Vocab page to the right on the main page.

  1. New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew – Major League Soccer

After leading the field most of the regular season, Atlanta United slipped late and lost the Supporters Shield to NYRB.  That means Red Bulls had the most points in the standings of any team in the league.  And in most leagues in the world, that club would be the champions for the season.

But in Amuricuh, we do Playoffs!  They’ve reached the Conference Semifinals, the second round.  Here (and next round), the opponents face off in two-legged, home and away ties.  The East’s #5 seed, Columbus, won their home match 1-0.

Red Bulls scored nearly half again as much than the Crew throughout the season.  It’s hard to imagine them being held done a second match in a row, especially in the Big Apple.

New York’s last seven goals have all been scored by different players.  Noob thinks early-season leader Brandon Wright-Phillips will reemerge.  But all the momentum belongs to the visitors.  Columbus haven’t lost to Red Bulls in their last four matches.   (7:30 PM EST, FS1)

RESULT:   NYRB   3-0      On to the Conference Finals for Red Bulls!   Daniel Royer with two goals and an assist.

B.  Manchester City vs. Manchester United – English Premier League

Derby time!

After a dreadful start to the season, Man Utd are perhaps finally snapping out of their funk.  They’ve climbed into 8th place, won three matches in a row across all competitions, including a massive Champions League victory over Juventus.  All have been 2-1 or 1-2 wins.

Meanwhile, Man City just jeeps trucking along, undefeated in league.   Over the course of their six-match win streak, they’ve outscored opponents by a staggering 23-1 margin.  It’s hard to believe they only lead the next three clubs by two points each in the table.   (11:30 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Man City   3-1       Bernado Silva with a goal and an assist

Image result for alphabet race

 

 

 

Now THAT’S a derby.

Number B, victor!

  1. Santos vs. CF America – Liga MX

With two matches to go in the Apertura (first half-season), these two have already guaranteed themselves top half-finishes.  That means they’ll play in the Liguilla (postseason tournament) no matter what.

But seeding matters a lot.  They trail #1 Cruz Azul by five and four points in the table, respectively.  In all likelihood, they’re fighting for the runners-up position.

CF America’s defense is the tale today.  They’ve ratcheted that up a notch their last three matches, allowing just one goal over that span.  They’re a regular league powerhouse.  Noob thinks they get the road upset today and will win the Liguilla no matter what seed they go in with.   (7:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1

  1. AC Milan vs. Juventus – Serie A

Remember that Champions League loss Juventus took to Manchester City?  Well, no one’s managed that in Serie A all season.  They’re second-best in Italy on both sides of the ball, three points up on Napoli, and likely to win on the road today.

Milan are tied for 5th and just don’t have the backline to withstand Cristiano Ronaldo & Co.   (2:30 PM, Rai Italia)

RESULT:   Juve   0-2

Image result for cristiano ronaldo funny

 

 

Artist thought Ronaldo had taken one too many headers.

  1. Sevilla vs. Espanyol – La Liga

Espanyol are the city of Barcelona’s “other team”.  Barcelona-the club are still #1 in the league, but their little sisters are on the rise!

Last year they finished just 11th, but now they sit in 3rd place.  Their success comes on defense, though they’re not completely deficient when it comes of scoring.  That’s where they look a little stronger this year.

Sevilla are just one notch back in the table.  They’re high-end scoring comes at the expense of giving up too many goals to perhaps compete with Barcelona for the title.  At home, however, they’re not likely to have trouble with upstarts Espanyol.  It’s a bad matchup for today’s guests.   (12:30 PM, beIN Sports en Español)

RESULT:   Sevilla   2-1      Ever Banega with two assits

  1. Vicarstown vs. Crovan’s Gate – Isle of Sodor Premier

Crovan’s Gate made the Semifinals of the first-ever IoS FA Cup this summer.  As the three Divisions were being planned for this inaugural PL season, The Gate were slated for the second tier.  More, it was thought they wouldn’t even be in the top half of clubs there!  But play on the Isle, historically, has been loosely organized at best.

The new FA knew it might be tough to really gauge relative club strengths, regardless of town or village sizes.  To their credit, they decided to place all the Quarterfinalists in Premier level to start out.

In typical Sudric fashion, neither team plays a ton of D.    Bigger Vicarstown comes in the favorites today.   But there’s a reason British betting houses haven’t started offering lines on Sodor matches.  There’s just no league history and performance for them (or us) to go off of.

RESULT:   4-4        

 

  1. Arsenal vs. Moulien – Guadeloupe Division d’Honneur

Noob’s quest to get to know all our CONCACAF neighbors a little better rolls on!  The “other Arsenal” are #1, Moulien #B.  Amical Club are just behind them and all three are undefeated after six league matches.   It’s too early to know much, but worth pointing out that Arsenal have only beaten Moulien once in their last six matches.

The top two finishers will qualify for the Caribbean Club Championships.  That, in turn, is a qualifying event for CONCACAF Champions League.

  1. Nacional vs. Peñarol – Uruguay Premier

The Final!

Uruguay’s season is divided into two main stages, just like much of Latin America.  These two each won one of those.  They won 26 matches each, with Peñarol scoring all of one more point on the whole year.  Both teams call Montevideo home.  This is where today’s one off Final is being played, though not on either club’s home pitch.

The second half of the year, Peñarol started to really flex, becoming the best team on both sides of the ball.  No reason to think that won’t make them the favorite on a neutral grounds.   (2:30 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   Peñarol   1-2        Congrats to the national champs!    Cristiano Rodriguez with the go-ahead goal via penalty in AET.

Image result for so many letter U

 

 

 

Sooo many U’s…

  1. NK Lokomotiva vs. Dinamo Zagreb – Croatia First Division

Statistically, the teams look nearly identical.  but it’s Zagreb who are still undefeated with close to half the season in the books.

It’s not exactly must-win for Lokomotiva, but if they drop this home match, they’re then eight behind Zagreb.  That’s a lot for any team to make up in a half season in any league.  Either team can score in bunches, but defense is where both really set themselves apart.

Croatia’s top flight is ranked #16 by UEFA.  Were they just one spot higher, the league would qualify two teams into the Champions league.  As is, just one.

RESULT:   Dinamo   0-1

  1. Suduva vs. Zalgiris Vilnius – Lithuania A Lyga

We finish our Track much farther down the European league rankings.  But it’s still a #1-#B matchup, no matter the Lyga is just #41 in UEFA.

There is no competition there for these two.  Suduva lead everyone’s favorite Superman movie villain-sounding club by five points in the table with the season winding down.  The next best team is two dozen points farther back.

Unlike Croatia’s best, these two are much more offensively-minded.  Both average more than two goals per game, so a shootout looks to be in store.

RESULT:   Z.V.   1-2          Domantas Simkus with the game-winner at 90′

 

 

So long from Marijampole, home of club Suduva!

 

The Millennia Monument

’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