’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Globetrotting Friday (6/22) – World Cup, Isle of Sodor Cup, and off to footyball hinterlands!

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

On Fridays, that gets messed with.  We look at a couple matches that “matter” and then jetset off for wild and exotic football locales!  A little learning, a lot of fun, and you may just end up more edumuhcated than your soccer fan veteran friends.

Liftoff!

  1. Brazil vs. Costa Rica – FIFA World Cup

Welcome back to Group E!   All four teams have played a match now.  Serbia were the only to get a win, beating Noob-surrogates Costa Rica.  Brazil had a draw with the Swiss.

Costa Rica are the Noob choice for the Group Stage for the cheering.  They’re ranked almost right next to the U.S. worldwide, so seem a good surrogate for how ‘Muricuh might’ve fared.

There have been multiple arguments, with at least one broadcast live in their home country, between Costa Rica players since their first match in Russia.  Brazilian star Cutinho will likely be able to take advantage – or just win on having superior players.  They’re ranked #2 in the world for a reason.

There you have it, Noobites!   Just enough preview to get you through water cooler chat.  Now go, be free!  Noob will be reading more in-depth stuff on the interwebs in advance of the match.  Do likewise, should the Spirit move you.

RESULT:   Brazil   2-0    And with that, sadly Noob-fave Costa Rica is eliminated

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B.  Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns – NWSL

*shakes fist at Houston*   Swamp City-builders!  You don’t build on marshland.  Noob and The Management stand against you.

OK, with that bit of oddity out of the way, second-to-last place Houston have taken advantage of three straight home matches to put some distance between themselves and Washington.  They’re even within striking distance of the top four and a postseason berth!  They beat Washington, surprised Seattle with a W, and then most impressively earned a draw against league champions-in-waiting North Carolina.

To compare, 5th-place Portland got dubbed 1-4 by NC.  In general, they are fading.  They need to find their offense again or will wind up the next Dash victim.

RESULT:   Portland   1-3

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Number B is here to scare some sense into you, Houstonians.

  1. Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Penn FC – USL

For newer Noobites, let’s get real:   Often locale will trump “quality”.

TB and Penn are merely tied for 10thh in the Eastern Conference.   In Noob’s quest to himself learn and then in turn introduce you to soccer that could be most important to you, we’re going to get to know teams close to home.  Even when they’re potential also-rans in the second tier.

But hey — they’re only two points out of 8th and the league playoffs, so this is something of a key match!  If the match isn’t a draw, the mountain the loser has to climb gets really tough, even here at about the season halfway point.

The Rowdies are the better team, have the offense to perhaps make that move toward 8th.  At home, they should handle the team we knew last year as Harrisburg City.

RESULT:   Penn FC   0-2

  1. Arlesburgh vs. Brendam Harbor – Isle of Sodor Cup

Future Second Division Arlesburgh are the only team in Group D to net a win.  Any sort of result over one of the tourney-faves Brendam Harbor and they will be looking prime to advance to the knockout stage.

The Harbormen only managed a draw against D2 Lakeside in their first match.  They’ll be looking to break out the offense today and move toward the bracketed round.  They’re on the road for their second consecutive match, and so are slated to host their third and final one Arlesdale United.

Fun Fact:  Arlesburgh is perhaps the oldest settlement on Sodor.  As such, they have one of the largest supporter groups on Sodor – The Ancients.

RESULT:   Brendam Harbor  1-2

The fans dress like old people, stand entire matches.   The ones who look just middle-aged are, in fact, toddlers.

Image result for old people cheering

  1. Spartaks vs. RFS – Latvia Higher League

UEFA’s 41st-ranked league is strange in one regard:  About a dozen matches into the season, 1st and 5th place are separated by eight points.  5th and 6th are separated by twelve.

Spartaks are in 4th, but have played one less game than the two teams immediately ahead of them.  They are also the last team to beat #1 RFS.   The visitor’s today sport the best offense in the league.

Fun Fact:  FK Spartaks is closely identified as much or more with their Swimming School.

RESULT:   RFS   0-2

  1. Soccernet vs. FCI Levadia – Estonia FA Cup

The point here is just to know that the event is happening, really.  Both teams are from Tallinn The home side is from the 6th tier of Latvian domestic footyball.  FCI Levadia is one of the top-flight league powerhouses.

RESULT:   FCI Levadia   0-12       Words fail sometimes…

Image result for gif the more you know funny

  1. Than Quang Ninh vs. Sanna Khanh Hoa – Vietnam V.League 1

They’re all chasing Ha Noi in Vietnam for the only AFC Champions League slot the league receives.  They won’t be caught.  We’re still going!

#B hosts #4 in a very crowded part of the table.  Today’s visitors from Nha Trang have overachieved a little being even this high up.  Their negative goal differential gives them away.  TQN aren’t posers, might be the only team that could get a sniff at catching Ha Noi.

Fun Fact:   TQN have only two players who are not Vietnamese.  Both are Brazilian.

RESULT:   SKH   1-2

  1. EB / Streymur vs. KI – Faroe Islands Premier

Welcome to the track, Faroe Islands!   You’re an independent country that is somehow also part of the Kingdom of Denmark.  And we love you.  Despite or maybe even because you’re the 51st-ranked UEFA club of 55.

Unsurprisngly, Faroe Islands only get one team into the Champions League.  it’s a two-horse race, and KI are behind the league leaders by five in the table.  Matches against midtable teams like EB / Streymur are exactly the kind they can’t drop.  They likely won’t even, on the road.  KI is much better on both sides of the ball, can control this game no matter what sort of pace their hosts try for.

UnFun Fact:   In 2014, perhaps EB’s greatest player was killed when a bunch of boxes of frozen fish fell on him when he was on a trawler.

RESULT:   KI   0-2

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Too sad and weird for Noob to have made this one up.

  1. Voorwaarts vs. Inter Moengotapoe – Suriname Topklasse

Inter is sort of the best of the rest in Suriname.  The title chase is down to three teams nearly two dozen games into their season.  I.M. are 4th.  Voorwaarts are 9th.

Despite the country being not far off the Brazilian coast, this is a Caribbean-cultured nation.  And they are in CONCACF, not CONMEBOL.  Noob welcomes you to the track!

Fun Fact:   S.V. Voorwaarts was founded in 1919 by schoolkids from the Hendrickschool.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Fosa Juniors vs. Meava – Madagascar Champions League

It’s an avalanche of newcomers to the Track today!    Good luck on your season that’s just starting.

This league is divided into four Groups.  These two finished in the middle of their zones last season.  That’s all Noob’s got for you on this one.  But they’re on our radar now, and we’ll be back to learn more some Friday soon.

Fun Fact:  Fosa Juniors are from the region of Boeny in the northeast, pop. around 800,000.

RESULT:   Fosa Juniors   3-0

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So long from scenic Arlesburgh, Isle of Sodor!

Be jealous of Noob’s eleveted B&B.

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches (6/19-21) – World Cup, Isle of Sodor Cup lead the way

The ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.  Noob’s mantra.  It’s mostly Cup action for the midweek, FIFA World and Isle of Sodor.

Noob’s on a whirlwind tour of Sodor, hustling from one village or town to the next each day for matches as I continue my seemingly exclusive online coverage.  To this end, I’m posting just the two feature matches for Tuesday from here in Glennock, even though the train ride to Crovan’s Gate for tomorrow’s key game isn’t long, even by Sodor standards.

Tuesday

  1. Colombia vs. Japan – FIFA World Cup

Welcome to Group G.  All four teams here play their first match today.  Favorite Poland face off against Senegal.  #16 FIFA-ranked Colombia is likely to be the other one to advance.  Japan are just #61 in the world.

Colombia seem an interesting case.  In the last friendlies before a major event, teams begin letting their likely starters play together.  No more auditions, so to speak.  They actually beat France not long ago, but then only managed scoreless draws against Tunisia and Australia leading up to WC.

Lowly Japan actually managed a win against a decent non-Cup-Bound Paraguay side in their last match.  They haven’t tested themselves against the caliber of competition they’ll face here in Russia, and they didn’t perform well even against those teams by and large.

And there’s your water cooler chat-level mini-preview!   Now go, be free!  Dig deeper on the interwebs for more in-depth pre-game analysis.  Noob will.  But this is what we do here.   (8:00 AM Eastern, FS1)

RESULT:   Japan   1-2     But anything is possible when one team is down a man after just three minutes!   Colombia lost a man to a red card for a handball in the box.  Japan scored the ensuing penalty, gave up the lead, then reclaimed it in the second half.  

Senegal also upset Poland 1-2 today in this Group, so it’s going to be a wild one!

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B.  Crovan’s Gate vs. Brendam United – Isle of Sodor Premier

Welcome back to Group A.  One of the event’s favorites – Brendam Utd. lost by a bad 0-3 margin, even if it was to fellow future IoS Premier Leaguers Tidmouth Works.  We’ll see if that was a wake-up call and they put a hurting on Crovan’s Gate.

CG only lost their first Cup match by two, but it was to Toryreck – a qualifier that will be in the bottom division when leagues’ officially form and kick off in a few months.  And CG gave up five goals.  They’ll be playing in the middle of three domestic divisions.

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Here Noob comes!

 

 

Wednesday

  1. Iran vs. Spain – FIFA World Cup

Portugal and Spain played a match for the ages a few days ago, ending in a 3-3 draw.  Spain will be looking for three points here against the second-highest ranked Asian team (but FIFA-ranked just #37).  Iran got a surprising 1-0 win over Morocco.  Even a draw somehow today keeps them very much alive to advance.

This is an interesting matchup for a couple reasons style- and player-wise.   Diego Costa scored two goals for Spain against Portugal, but may not have room to operate against Iran – a tight defensively-oriented side.  A more creative player like Isco may be one to watch setting up unique opportunities in the front third.

Spain showed some defensive problems in that first match.  Some will argue that might help Iran.  But Iran is going to have trouble possessing the ball at all to try and score as Spain presses.

And there you have it, Noobites!  Water cooler chat-level mini-preview success.  Now go, be free!  Noob is out there reading more in-depth preview analysis and invites you to do likewise.   (2:00 PM, Fox)

RESULT:   Spain   0-1      Isco was your Man of the Match with his ball control, passing

  1. LAFC vs. Sacramento Republic – U.S. Open Cup

The second four matches of the Round of 16 in America’s FA Cup are all today.  This is the one that features the only non-MLS side remaining.

Sacramento Republic are out of the second division-USL.  They finished 8th in the Western Conference last year, just making the playoffs.  This season, they’re in a surprising third place– despite some offensive trouble.

MLS-expansion LAFC is all the way up in 3rd as well in their West.    They struggle on defense, but score like it’s going out of style.  It’s unfortunate for Sacramento the draw for home pitch didn’t go their way.  This may not be competitive.  But everyone loves a Minnow (non-top division underdog), so Noob’ll be pulling for ‘em!

RESULT:   LAFC   3-2     High drama!   Equalizer at 68′, then the go-ahead by aptly-named Latif Blessing at 89′.

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Boooooo.  BOOOOO!

  1. Vicarstown vs. Peel Godred – Isle of Sodor Cup

Hello from Barrow, England!  Look, Noob enjoys Vicarstown the town, but somehow being in Barrow just makes me feel more… real, somehow.  Grounded?  Maybe.  But I’ll be crossing the bridge from Cumbria to The Isle for this super duper Group H matchup!

Group favorite Peel scored a narrow victory over future-second division club Callan FC 2-1.  Now they hit the road to face Vicarstown, a team that is expected to finish at the bottom of the coming Premier League.  They were upset 1-2 at Elsbridge in their first match.

Given that the nature of football play on Sodor has been so loosely organized, it’s hard to handicap games here.  Things will be clearer after a couple years of formal league play, which starts in a few months.  They don’t formally gamble on Sodor, but Noob did throw down a few quid on V-town just because it’s home for them.  Another advantage to sleeping on the English side of Walney Channel.

RESULT:   Vicarstown   5-1          And just like an Iranian fan’s wallet did the fire-trick which he used to try and light a cigarette at his teams World Cup match against Argentina today, a women’s whole purse went up when in a similar incident outside the venue.  High drama!

  1. O’Higgins vs. Colchagua – Copa Chile

Now here’s a Minnow-match!

This is the Second Round of Chile’s FA Cup, the stage at which the 16 Premier teams enter the competition.  O’Higgins is a midtable club from that league.

Colchagua plays in the Segunda Division – the third tier of football in Chile – where they are #B in the table.  These two are from the same geographic area and are very much rivals.   The first match of this two-legged tie ended in a 1-1 draw.  Expecting Colchagua to manage as much and more on the road today is a lot.  But here’s to hoping!

RESULT:   Colchagua   0-0  /  5-6 pk      Somehow Noob had some wrong info on this one.  The first match had ended in a scoreless draw.  Still — Minnow success!

Image result for colchagua football crest

 

 

Uh oh.

Don’t let the luck run out of that horseshoe, boys.

  1. KuPS vs. HJK – Finland Veikkausliga

The Finnish top flight is the lowest-ranked of the Nordic domestic leagues.  But hey– they’re playing!

When Noob first scouted and selected this match, it was a mighty #B/#1 matchup.  Since then, RoPS have overtaken KuPS for Bth place (boy do the Finns love their alphabet soup).  No matter.  Everyone is chasing defending champs HJK again this season.

KuPS lead the league in offense, but barely over HJK – which has the far superior defense.   If the pace is hot, KuPS can win a shootout today in front of the home fans.

RESULT:   2-2

Thursday

  1. Argentina vs. Croatia – FIFA World Cup

One of the bigger stories early on has been that Iceland managed a draw against Argentina in their first match.  The good news for Argentina:  They dominated Iceland statistically.  The bad news:  This continues a trend of not performing well in recent months against WC-level competition.  Friendlies are only that, but patterns are hard to ignore.  The #5-ranked team in the world should be doing better.

Croatia took care of business against Nigeria with a 2-0 win in their first game.  Any result here puts them in excellent position to advance.  Look for them to try and keep the game slow-paced.

Key players:  If you’re following football at all, you know Messi.  Even Noob and Noobites.  Veteran Luka Modric (who plays for Real Madrid) is the name to watch for with Croatia.  He plays midfield.

Additional note:  Croatia sent a team member home after he refused to come on as a sub in their first match.  Not the biggest controversy, but any distraction can obviously get magnified at World Cup.

RESULT:   Croatia   0-3    Argentina may be about to be out of contention to advance!   Modric salted this one away with a screamer from above the box to make it 0-2.  

The first goal happened when back-up goalkeeper Cabellero failed to clear a back pass, instead lofting a little pass, basically, to an opposing player who howled it in.

Image result for go to your room funny

Noob hopes this is exactly how that played out.

  1. Colo-Colo vs. Atletico Ñublense – Copa Chile

Not to make it about Noob, but if you don’t think I’m not rooting for Ñublense forever and ever just because of their club name pronunciation, you’re cray-cray.

More, they stunned the famed powerhouse Primera club 2-0 in the first match of this two-legged tie!    The Longaniza Mecánica are currently in 4th place in the second-tier Primera B.  The other teams right around them look stronger there (they struggle a bit on offense), making their progress in the Copa all the more awesome.

Colo-Colo have also had problems scoring goals in league this season.  The defending champions are in just 6th.  Still, they’re in different leagues for a reason.  Colo-Colo will win at home today.  The question is simply will they win by enough to advance to the bracketed stage next.

RESULT:    Colo Colo   2-1      And so it’s Noob-lense that advances, on aggregate 2-3!

  1. Norramby vs. Cabalnoo – Isle of Sodor Cup

Noob loves Norramby.  Reminds me of Bournemouth, which is a Noob-fave club.  Little resort town of sorts.  They’ll be playing in the inaugural second division of the three formally starting next year on Sodor.

Cablalnoo is a small village, pretty close to far larger Kirk Ronan.  They will play in the bottom division, played through qualifiers to get here.  They got a surprising 5-5 draw against their larger rivals in their first match!  Norramby played Dryaw to a scoreless draw.  They don’t play a lot of defense on Sodor, so this is the anti-double rainbow of footyball happenings here.

So, Group B is wide open.  Can little ‘Noo surprise with another result today?

RESULT:   Cabalnoo   5-10    A Sudric suprise for the soccer ages!   Norramby really need the two middle teams in Group B to have a draw in their upcoming match.

Image result for isle of man cafe

 

 

 

So long from the IsleSound Cafe, Norramby!  

 

’10 to Track’ Relegation Monday soccer matches – World Cup, US Open, Isle of Sodor, and suckitude!

Since the FIFA World Cup is likely bringing fresh Noobite eyes to this humble site, allow Nob to explain:

On Mondays, world soccer schedules tend to be lighter than other times.  Stands to reason, given the weekend is heavy.  So the usual ‘ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game – takes this turn:

A few top matches get featured, but we mostly embrace the suckitude, preview matches in which at least one club is in position to be Relegated to a lower league st season’s end.  Come, get to know some sad sack-squads before they fade away!

  1. Tunisia vs. England – FIFA World Cup

Welcome to Group G.  These two have been drawn with Belgium (the favorites) and Panama (very not favored).  This is the first match for these teams.  Reminder:  Round-robin in each Group, top two finishers advance.

The most likely drama in G is between these two for finishing behind Belgium and advancing to the Knockout Stage.  Tunisia is the top-ranked team out of Africa (FIFA #21).  England are tied for 12th with Denmark.

England have not won the World Cup since 1966, always seem to feel lots of pressure and then underperform in major tournaments.  This team isn’t as star-studded as some of the past, as they focus on a youth movement and defense.  What offense they do manage to produce will probably run through  Tottenham  Sir Toppem Hatt Hotspur star Harry Kane.  (Yes, Noob still loathes Hotspur — named for a historical traitor!)  Other star Marcus Rashford seems to be over his recent injury.

And there you have it, you’re water cooler chat-level mini-preview.  Be free!   Go search out more in-depth coverage should you desire, Noobites.  I’m doing so.   (2:00 PM Eastern, FS1)

RESULT:   England   1-2    Harry Kane with a brace (two goals)!

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You’re a poor man’s Ryan Gosling, Harry Kane.

 B.  Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United – U.S. Open Cup

The American FA Cup has reached its Round of 16.  Only one non-MLS team advanced this far, Sacramento Republic of the USL (and formerly NASL).

Here, we get two Western Conference clubs on the outside looking in right now for league postseason berths.  They’re in 7th and 9th place, respectively.  Dreaded Houston (down with cities built on swamps!) is much better than shown in the table so far though.  Mark Noob’s words:  They’ll not only make the playoffs, they’ll have home pitch advantage for at least one game.

Minnesota can’t score worth a lick.  They will be lambasted this Round of the Cup.

RESULT:   Houston   1-0

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Number B enjoys the Cup matches as a cup, of sorts.

  1. Glennock vs. Junction & Sheds – Isle of Sodor Cup

Noob’s exclusive coverage of the Isle of Sodor inaugural Cup returns!  Hello from the small village of Glennock, located well inland in the east-central portion of the country.  They are one of the four clubs to advance out of qualifiers that took place in the spring.  They will play in the third and bottom division of the Sodor football pyramid when everything launches this coming season.

The larger town of Knapford sends one of their two teams for battle today.  Talk Noob catches locally indicates J&S will probably be a lower midtable team in the coming Premier League.  They are the favorites to win Group F.

RESULT:   J&S   1-8     Kary Hanesworth scored for Glennock scored first, but after that it was all carnage

  1. Dinamo Minsk vs. Vitebsk – Belarus Premier

Belarus’ top league falls smack into the middle of UEFA’s associations rankings.  Usual powerhouse BATE Borisov have a wide lead built, given that they’re not halfway through their season.

The most likely club to possibly catch them appears to be #B Dinamo Minsk.  They’ve got the defense, but no one’s offense there measures up to BATE’s.  #4 Vitebsk isn’t many points further back, but they’re just not traditionally at the table’s top.

RESULT:   1-1

And now we embrace the suckitude with Relegation matches!

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Noob likes the crest, even if it does look like could be a brand logo on ice cream or something.

  1. Gomel vs. Smolevichy – Belarus Premier

Welcome back to the Track, Smolevichy!  They’re in an easier part of their schedule, as Noob recently featured them on a Monday playing another league bottom-feeder.

Talkin’ ‘bout you, Gomel.  Can’t score more than about a goal every three games on average, gonna get Relegated.  They’re in a three-way tie for the two Relegation spots now.  Still, this might be a gettable match for them.  Smolevichy plays small ball, so to speak, so this will be a low-scoring game.  First side to score – at all – wins.

Not-So-Fun Fact:  Gomel is close enough to Chernobyl that it was part of the radiation zone.  The population had been declining all the way until the early 2000’s.

RESULT:   Smoley   0-2

  1. Kyzylzhar Petropavlovsk vs. Shakhtar Karagandy – Kazakhstan Premier

My Scrabble dictionary just broke up with me for typing your club name.  Thanks, K.P.

The home side is tied for 10th, which would put them in a Playoff with a top second-division team trying to move up and usurp their place.  They also play so little defense, Noob’s not convinced they formally play a goalie.  Karagandy is in 8th.

Fun Fact:  Petropavl is named for the Christian apostles Peter and Paul

RESULT:   K.P.   1-0     Funner Fact:   It’s a Relegation Monday miracle!

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Fine, Noob will just rebound with a Bartlett’s Book of Quotations.

  1. Independiente de Valle vs. Deportivo Cuenca – Ecuador Serie A

8th place hosts second-to-last in our one South American stop today.  IdV is only 8th, but Cuenca…. maybe they could pool their money with Karagandy above and split a goalie’s services.   (8:15 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   IdV   3-1

  1. Notre Dame vs. BDF – Barbados Premier

When Noob Tweets his regular announcement promoting the Track, if you don’t think I’m not hashtagging Notre Dame, you’re crazy.

The top tier league in Barbados just expanded this season from a ten-team, single group affair to a divided, two-“zone”, 12-team league.   Noobs Barbados source indicates that the bottom two teams in each Zone are below a line.  It seems doubtful they’re giving a third of the league The Boot, so more likely is that the four clubs will have a mini-tournament to determine which one or two move down

If Notre Dame can kick their offense up a notch, they may overtake one of the two teams just ahead of them.  That won’t happen today though.  BDF is the Zone 2 leader by a billion miles.  Noob would handicap this match by granting ND four goals.

RESULT:   BDF   0-6     Not a typo.   At four goals, Noob didn’t handicap Notre Dame enough.  Yikes.

Fun Fact:   Notre Dame play on the south side of the capital, Bridgetown – which used to be called The Town of St. Michael.  The area parish still carries that name.

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Right, what she said.  Signed.  Whatever.

  1. Zakho vs. Naft – Iraq Premier

This is to Mondays in a row, Zakho.  In last by six points, Noob suspects you’ll be here enough I have to charge you rent.  Worse luck, you play the #4 and best defensive team in the league today.  Good luck with that.

Fun Fact:   “Zakho” might well mean either “victory” or “river of blood”, either likely stemming from an ancient Roman-Persian battle there.

RESULT:   Naft   0-2

  1. Shukura vs. WIT Georgia – Georgia Erovnuli Liga 2

Hey, Noob’s featured the third tier TWICE.  This is a step up in, er, toward relevance.

This league is strange.  Other than second-place Norchi Dinamo, every team here looks about the same on offense, statistically.  Last-place Shukura, however, seemingly enjoys just watching balls flutter by into their goal.  Only one team gets Dropped from this league at season’s end, and Shukura look like it by a wide berth.  #1 WIT Georgia will get the road W, riding their supreme defense.

Fun Fact:   Shukura are based in Kobuleti, a seaside resort town that’s super-popular with Armenian tourists.

RESULT:   1-1

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Were Noob not in Sodor, I’d be saying so long from Hotel Chveni Ezo in Kobleti.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches Weekend Edition! Premier, MLS, all the best – plus new league coverage announcement

Hitting the hinterlands of world footyball yesterday was a dream, as always.  But weekends are where T2T gets (comparatively) serious.

Don’t miss the Sunday new league coverage announcement.  It’s gonna be!– well, it’s gonna be content.

Saturday, 3/31

  1. Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers – MLS

Both clubs have lost both their games this early season.  Last year, they finished 3rd and 6th in the Western Conference.  (Chicago has been moved into the East now.)  Both teams struggled on defense, at least when compared to other playoff teams.  (6:00 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6).

RESULT:   2-2

 

Portland- Basilisk’s iconic fried chicken sammich.  

Nice work!  Chicago deep dish still wins.

B.  Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns – NWSL

Double-header in Bridgeview, IL!   At least Noob assumes both are hosting on their same home pitch.  The 8:15 PM start time for this match suggests it.  These two finished in 4th and 2nd, respectively, last year.

RESULT:   Portland   2-3

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Can’t hedge!   You’re either into boring old Number Two or down with Number B.

  1. Paris Saint-Germain vs. AS Monaco – Coupe de la League

The Final!   This is not the FA Cup, but rather a tournament open to pro clubs in just the top three divisions in France.  Given that PSG has demolished all of Ligue 1 this year, Noob wonders if league #B Monaco will be revved up to snatch some hardware away from PSG.

RESULT:   PSG   3-0

  1. Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga

1st place is out of reach for 3rd-place Dortmund, so maintaining their top-four place in the table and getting a Champions League invite is the goal.  They’d love even a draw against champ-in-waiting Bayern.  (12:30 PM, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:   Bayern   6-0     not a typo.   this was a terrible, awesome rout

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Those masks won’t help you hide from Bayern.   

BVB on your shirts, fellas.

  1. Juventus vs. AC Milan – Serie A

Milan is five points out of 4th place and the last Champions League berth.  1st-place Juventus has only lost twice all year, yet only lead Napoli by two points.

This is a bad matchup for Milan, as they have trouble scoring and Juve has the league’s best defense.  This may well be the world’s most important match this weekend.  (2:45 PM, Rai Italia)

RESULT:   Juve    3-1

  1. Sevilla vs. Barcelona – La Liga

Sevilla does not have a realistic shot of cracking the top four, but they are in line for a Europa League invite, being in 6th place.  7th will get in as well this year, but even that is not guaranteed for Sevilla.  Lots of teams are in the hunt.  Barcelona are undefeated, the best team in the world.  (2:45 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   2-2

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6th place could win this dartboard and pool table.  And longer pool table?…

  1. Ljubljana vs. Maribor – Slovenia Prva Liga

[loo-blee-ah-nuh] have almost wrapped up the league title.  It’s hard to say historic powerhouse #B Maribor is ever quite completely out of it, but they are ten points back.  This league is only the 30th-strongest in Europa, but Noob is always down for matchups from the very top of tables.

RESULT:   1-1

Sunday, 4/1

**Soon, Noob’s exclusive coverage of the Isle of Sodor Premier League will begin!   Sudric football has been loosely organized at best.  Until now, with the formation of their FA.**

The Island of Sodor with it's hypothetical location in the UK (From Thomas the Tank Engine/Thomas and Friends) [OS] [5526x3175]

  1. Chelsea vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – English Premier

The only important drama left in Premier’s top of the table is right here.  5th place hosts 4th, a battle for the league’s final Champions League spot next year.   With just eight matches to go, it’s not quite a must-win for Chelsea at five points back.  But they sure as shite can’t lose.

So, c’mon, Chelsea.  Don’t let the traitorously-named Hotspur get the best of you.  Ramp up the so-so offense a bit and take these ne’er-do-wells down!  (11:00 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Hotspur   1-3

  1. UNAM Pumas vs. Necaxa – Liga MX

9th vs. 10th doesn’t look intriguing at a glance.  But remember:  the top eight clubs make the Liguilla, the postseason league tournament.

Noobstrdamus has access to the soccer alternate planes, has learned Necaxa will score the road upset today.  It couldn’t be that I read Pumas can’t play D at all.   It’s the first thing.  *nod*

RESULT:   1-1    Prognostication fail.  In fact, Pumas played most of the second half a man down.

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I once tamed a wild puma with just my headband.

  1. Boca Juniors vs. Talleres – Argentina Premier

Finishing off the Track in style, as Noob is wont to do!   #1 hosts #B in Argentina’s astounding 28-club deep league.  Best offense versus best defense.   Pirate yourself an interwebs stream of this one somewhere.

RESULT:   Boca Juniors   2-1      Juniors get the go-ahead goal at 90′, open up a huge -9- point lead in the table.

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See?  It’s a good idea.