Knapford Town FC’s teen midfielder discovers grandma might as well be on Craigslist

February 15, 2019 – Vicarstown, Sodor

Image result for Nicolo Zaniolo score Champions League PortoWith the Nicolo Zaniolo mom- Instagram story coming out, it would only be a matter of time before Gerry Barstok’s did.  We’re getting out ahead of it.” — Isle of Sodor FA President Abban Clague

AS Roma’s teen star Zaniolo just scored both UEFA Champions League goals in a 2-1 win over FC Porto.   But what should be a fabulous week has turned nightmarish as he’d had to confront his mother over her too-sexy Instagram posting.

[Click HERE for the full story from The Mirror (UK).]

Ahead of this week’s Yards-Sheds classic between Knapford Town and Junction & Sheds FC, young Gerry Barstok has it even worse.   It’s come to light that the “baddest grandma on the interwebs” is none other than Knapford Town midfielder Gerry’s own Nanna.

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More from FA Prez Clague:   “Poor Gerry.  This just…isn’t right.   The FA will reign down hellfire on Junction & Sheds FC if it’s discovered their people had anything do do with outing this wannabe-burlesque’s true identity.”

“The shame Gerry must be feeling over this harlot’s brazenness must be overwhelming.  We hope he will still be able to play, despite the weight of this strumpet’s embarrassment on his shoulders.  To Gerry – sorry your Nanna’s a streetwalker.”

When told of the President’s words – in front of all his teammates and coaches – Gerry replied, “What the actual f—?!”    One of Gerry’s teammates clapped a hand over his mouth before he made the situation of his grandmother being an AIDSy hussy even worse.

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Gerry Barstok – hitting the field early for practice after a tough start to the day.

What a guy.  Your future’s bright!

Isle of Sodor Premier League – Featured game for matchday 26 – A “Clasico” of their own

“El Clasico” is known to every football fan in the world.   Here on Sodor,  Image result for Sodor map there are big rivalries as well, and they tend to be intracity.   Welcome to Knapford, where things will get nasty on Sunday (2/15). (Well, as nasty as things get on Isle.  Might see a slide tackle or two attempted!   Remember:  hard defense is considered here to be more than uncouth.)

For this year, they’ve settled on calling this the Yards-Sheds Classic.    Junction & Sheds have never been known as anything but.  Knapford Town changed from Knapford Yards FC when the FA came into being a year ago, wanting to differentiate themselves from the more purely blue-collar branding of J&S.

Knapford Town have had the better of things in league this season, just moved into 2nd place, five behind surprising league leaders Dryaw FCJunction & Sheds are in a tie for 8th.  Getting more than a couple positions higher will be hard for them, as the top few have some space in the table between them and the pack now.

How do the teams play?   Their League campaigns have pretty much reflected their FA Cup runs from this summer.

Image result for KTFC crestDuring the inaugural FA Cup of summer 2018, Knapford Town tended to win but lose close.  They made the Round of 16 before falling in the penalty shootout to E.C.D. (East Coast Diesel) of Vicarstown.

Junction & Sheds (#1 supporter Alexi Lalas) advanced just as far.  They suffered the same fate in losing to eventual champion Brendam Harbor, going down at the shootout.    They scored tied for second in Group Stage scoring at 17 goals over the three matches, with just tiny shocker Cabalnoo getting more (18).

Image result for Junction FC crestWin lose or draw, J&S work hard to score and that’s about it.   (They   conceded 14 in that Group Stage.   No team plays the classic Sudric 5-5-good luck back there! formation quite as religiously as Sheds.

 

Their first meeting this year ended in a 5-5 draw.  Rumor has it that J&S will pull the goalie at select times and play a 6-5-void formation.   When it comes to offensive-mindedness, good luck outdoing the Sudrics generally.  KTFC can keep up with a lot of teams in a game like that, but probably not against J&S and they know it.  They’ll look to play things comparatively closer to the vest most of the match, then try running wild if it’s tied or close late.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches: Globetrotting Friday

TGIGF!

Since the World Cup is bringing new Noobite eyes, here’s our m.o.  Noob normally previews the ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.

On Friday, we start with these matches of matches, but then span the globe!  Friday schedules tend to be light, so we pack our gear, head off for soccer hinterlands less-known.

Let’s get to know some clubs, leagues and locales.  Up, up, and away.

  1. Brazil vs. Belgium – FIFA World Cup

And then there were eight, Noobites.  It’s a shame these two are meeting this early in the tournament, being the #B and #3-ranked teams in the world.

Brazil managed only a draw against Switzerland (which also advanced from the Group Stage), but has handled business perfectly since.  They beat Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16, with both teams getting mouthy during and after the match.  Brazil star Neymar did his usual routine by flopping around on the ground like he’d been Tasered when someone breathed on him hard.

Belgium made a little history in their last match, falling behind 0-2 to the loveable Japanese team before storming back.  If Noob understand correctly, no team in WC had come back from down two goals to win (maybe win specifically in regulation time) since WEST Germany back in the 1970’s.

Belgium’s subs saved them, being more physical than the starters and keying their comeback victory.  Talk is that they will start with more “power” for this match, play some of those guys earlier. And Belgium has already been the highest-scoring team in the tournament. Still, star midfielder de Bruyne is who to watch – the team goes as he does.  For Brazil, it’s Neymar.

And there you have it.  Mini-preview, enough to get you through over-the-neighbor’s-fence chat level.  Now go, be free!  Google you up some deeper pregame analysis if the itch needs more scratching.  Noob will, too.

RESULT:   Belgium   1-2     Brazil headed one into their own goal off a Belgian corner kick.    de Bruyne scored the game-winner.

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“Your soccer knowledge impress me.

Mytwitfacespacebookme sometime, you hunky yard-raker, you.

B.  East Coast Diesel vs. Cronk – Isle of Sodor Cup

The Round of 16 continues, as does Noob’s seemingly exclusive online coverage of the inaugural Sudric FA Cup!  Let’s get to know our combatants.

E.C.D is one of the two clubs formed in Vicarstown, which is just across the water from Cumbria, England.  They dominated their Group, winning all three matches by a total margin of 10-1.

They’ve been projected to be included in the first-ever IoS Premier League in a few months, though barely.  Their inclusion seems guaranteed now.  Which of the three divisions clubs will play in will be in part based on how teams fare in this tournament.

Diesel are a big-boy team.  They control space in the end thirds of the pitch, are as close to a physical team as Sodor has.  Teams that have success against them control the midfield with ease.  E.C.D.’s guys aren’t fast.

Cronk are slated to be in the Second Division, and not expected to complete for the title in Year one.  They may be the weakest team to have survived the Group Stage.  That said, they did manage a draw against much bigger Tidmouth City after being blown out by Knapford Town.

From a distance, Cronk proper looks like little more than an overgrown estate on a big rock overlooking a valley.  It is a traditional and historic village, just oddly- (and coolly) placed, overlooking the pristine Hawin Ab valley in the center of the Isle.  The small villages of Abbey, Kildane and Maron are all nearby, providing a bit larger of a pool of potential players to draw from than perhaps some realized.  Might be why they’re having a measure of success.

The winner today gets either Tidmouth City or Callan.

RESULT:   E.C.D.  0-0  /  5-4 pk       Scoreless after 90′ is NOT something one expects in Sodor.  A pop-up shower good and wet the field about 10 minutes in and that affected the pace.  

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Noob just rents a room above the bar, my fave watering hole in the ‘Vic.

  1. Portland Thorns vs. Utah Royals – NWSL

Expansion Utah are making a move on the Playoffs!  A home draw against #B Seattle was a fine result, and then they walloped horrid Sky Blue FC.  They’re just a point behind Chicago for the last postseason berth.

Portland are trending the other direction, a point behind Utah in the table.  They only achieved a draw with Sky Blue before losing to Seattle.  Hardly a terrible loss, but will the Thorns be energized or deflated after losing to their regional rivals?

RESULT:   Portland   4-0

  1. Penn FC vs. Bethlehem Steel – USL

Bethlehem are in 8th place, hanging onto the last playoff slot in the Eastern Conference by the hair on their Steely chins.  They just thrashed 7th-place Charlotte.

Penn are in 11th and loved to take the air out of the ball early in the season.  They hadn’t been as successful that style as fellow Pennsylvanians Pittsburgh Riverhounds.  They scored a lot more in June and are on a five-match unbeaten streak.

RESULT:   Penn   3-2

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Derek Zoolander — #1 supporter

  1. Persija Jakarta vs. PSM Makassar – Indonesia Liga 1

And now we Trot the Globe!  Welcome to the #27-ranked league in Asia, just a shade below average.   The drama is anything but, though.  Just over a dozen matches into the season and 18th/last place and 1st are separated by just ten points in the table.

And #1 is Makassar.  Jakarta are four points behind in 3rd.  Only the league’s winner will even possibly make the AFC Champions League.  They could be instead assigned to the lesser AFC Cup.

Fun Fact:  Persija Jakarta are “the Kematyoran Tigers”, named for a subdistrict in Jakarta.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Lao Army vs. Lao Toyota – Lao League

We move now a little north and a little farther down the AFC league rankings (#35) to Laos!  This league has eight clubs, down from 14 just two years ago.  Noob’s sources are conflicted as to whether two teams are still being relegated annually.

If that’s still happening, Lao Army are set to get The Boot, second-to-last place.  They don’t defend.  Noob’s not sure they try.  And that’s a bad tach when #1 is coming to town.  Lao Toyota have more than 4x the goal differential of any other team.

RESULT:     now slated for tomorrow

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Fun Fact:   Lao Army are from the capital, Vientiane, which translates originally as “city of sandalwood”.

  1. Selenge Press vs. Daren – Mongolia Premier

Asian league #41.  The winner here will also only qualify for AFC Cup, and a Preliminary Round at that.  But hey – they’re playing!  These are the 5th and 6th-place teams in the league, respectively.

Fun Fact:   Ulaanbaatar translates to “Red Hero City”.  Most of the clubs in this league are from there, the capital.

RESULT:   Daren   0-2

  1. Nam Dinh vs. Song Lam Nghe An – Vietnam V.League 1

Let’s yo-yo up to the top half of the federation’s rankings (#19).  Even up here, the league winner may make Champions League or Asia Cup.

Nam Dinh are about to not be “up here”.  They’re in second-to-last place.  Should they stay there, they’ll have to play a Relegation match or matches with a V.League 2 club at season’s end.   Nghe An are one of the most successful clubs in the nation’s history, but only in 6th this year.

RESULT:   Nghe An   2-3

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Fun Fact:   Water puppetry was created in the Red River Delta region, which Nam Dinh calls home.

  1. Mawyawadi vs. Rakhine United – Myanmar National League

Same situation here in the #25 league.  The winner might go to CL or AFC Cup.

Not that either of these teams need worry about that.  Mawyawadi are in distant last place.  They’re biggest team weakness:  football.  Rakhine are in 9th place, should spend their season trying to stay out of second-to-last place and getting demoted.

Fun Fact:   Nay Pyi Taw – the purpose-built national capital city might be the home of Mawyawadi.  or it might be the former capital, Yangon, that is their home base.  Noob’s sources are conflicted.

RESULT:   2-6   Rakhine

  1. Zaria vs. Victoria Bardar – Moldova Cup

We’ll end the Track making or way back westward into Europe.  This FA Cup is in its Round of 16.  Zaria are in last place in the top-flight league, but won the first match in this two-legged tie 1-4.  Victoria Bardar are a midtable, second-division club.

This is one of the most competitive ties going this round.  There have been about nothing but epic blowouts in between most of the other teams.

RESULT:   Zaria   4-1

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Fun Fact:   In 2009, Zaria auctioned off a one-year player contract online.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Relegation Monday – World Cup, Isle of Sodor, suckitude, and Lalas

‘T’will be an EPIC Monday.

Relegation matches, celebrating the suckitude of teams about to go down a league?  Check.  Oh, and did Noob dig deep to find them.

World Cup!  Natch.  Isle of Sodor – Knockout Round of 16 begins.

And for that last, we’ve brought in Alexi Lalas, American soccer hero.  You read that right.  The Lalas.   Noobites, it’s a special day.

  1. Mexico vs. Brazil – FIFA World Cup

Many an American has jumped on the bandwagon for “El Tri”.  Many others have bashed the former for it.  Noob holds no position.  Root for a neighbor; cheer against our rivals.  No lives or loves are lost over it.  And it anyone gives you grief, you poonch that naysayer right in the snoosage.

Noob’s research shows Mexico are 6:1 underdogs.   Brazil are the five-time champions and ranked #2 in the world, so it’s understandable.  But Mexico did beat #1 Germany (now out of the tournament), so nothing result here would be earth-shattering.

Brazil brings so much firepower, they will be hard to contain.  Neymar.  Coutinho.  Paulinho, too, if those first two get too covered up.  For Mexico, Javier Hernandez if their penalty box-prowler who will be looking for stickbacks.

And there you have it, Noobites!   Just enough to get you through water cooler chat.  Now go, be free!  Search out more in-depth analysis on the interwebs, should the Spirit move you.  Noob will.   (10:00 AM, Fox)

RESULT:   Brazil   2-0     Mexico apparently talked a lot.  Neymar, as usual, flopped a lot and got tons of calls.

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B.  Brendam Harbor vs. Junction & Sheds – Isle of Sodor Premier

Now that the Knockout Round is here, a little about each of our competitors:

B.H hosts today’s match.  Brendam is one of the few towns seemingly large enough for two clubs, even non-professional ones on Sodor.  Brendam Harbor draws its players from the actual harbor area and southern city-proper.  Everyone on Sodor is a hard worker, but this is definitely the blue collar, working man’s team.

Brendam United plays just north of the city, further inland on this south-centrally located peninsula.  They are more “suburban”, if Sodor has what most would call truly “urban” areas.

While there isn’t much in the way of mean-spiritedness regarding much of anything on Sodor (occasional crossness, certainly), be sure that the Harbormen are happy the purported best team on the island in United didn’t make it out of the Group Stage.  Harbor are considered second-best, on the entire Isle even.  Once the first-ever IoS Premier League starts in a few months, we’ll all see who everyone truly stacks up though.

Knapford is a larger town than Brendam, one of the two “main towns” on the island. It sits on the central West Coast, just southwest across the water from southeast Isle of Man.

Just like Brendam, the town fields two clubs (Knapford Town the other).  Both have their blue-collar bases.  Historically, J&S have drawn from the eastern, more inland portion of Knapford.  The club was started by railway workers.  (Knapford Town is east “old town” Knapford, predominately dockyard and harbor territory.

Only five of the eight teams from Pot One – considered the best on the Isle – survived the Group Stage.  Here, two of them face off.  Brendam Harbor won group D with what few teams play much of on Sodor – defense.  J&S go totally the other way.  They allowed 14 goals in three Group Stage matches, still advanced with a positive goal differential.

Noob is on the Tweeterbox, and had the good fortune to get in a Q&A with an American soccer all-timer and current broadcaster recently.   His take when asked who would win the match:

“Shed’s in the bag.” – Alexi Lalas

The Lalas has spoken!   Now to find out if his words are truly, well, truth.  Let the Round of 16 begin!

RESULT:   Brendam Harbor   4-4 / 3-2 pk      What a start to the Knockout Stage!    The Lalas got it wrong.  Chalk one up for Noobstradamus!   Though I’m not sure anyone saw the unusual manner of it all coming.

Late, one of the J&S players must have misunderstood something one of the BH players said.  The Shedder replied with a very unkind comment – which will not be repeated here – about the Harborman’s Manx heritage.

For those less familiar with Sudric culture — they’re a kind people, industrious… but good golly do they dislike the Isle of Man/Manx. 

They’re long since tired out on jokes about everyone knowing Man exists, but that some think Sodor is a fictional location just because of the books and TV series set there.

So J&S played the last 15 minutes with just ten players, Brendam H. caught up, and pk’s went the way of the hosts.  The Lalas is forgiven; Noobstradamus is commended.

Image result for Alexi Lalas funnyImage result for Noobstradamus

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, so this has-been ginger is doing your prognosticating now?  We’ll see about THAT.  My vision says Brendam Harbor wins, 6-1!  I am Noobstradamus.  -I- have spoken.

  1. Huachipato vs. Deportes Copiapo – Copa Chile

Chile’s FA Cup is also in its Round of 16.  Here, they play two-legged ties instead of simply single-match Knockouts.  10-th place Premier side Huachipato won the first game 1-2.

Copiapo plays in Primera B, the nation’s second tier.  They are part of a five-way tie in the table for three of the spots in the league’s Promotion Playoff.  Their focus should largely be on league, getting up to Primera level.  Hauchi will take this match, sweep the tie.   (8:15 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   1-1      Huachipato advances to the Quarters!

  1. LDU de Quito vs. Universidad Catolica – Ecuador Serie A

#1 hosts #3 in a distinct clash of styles.   Quito have built their three-point lead in the table (five over Catolica) on the league’s best defense.  UdC is tied for the league’s top offense.

RESULT:   Quito   2-1

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Que horror, es el pirate-Noob!

  1. Samgurali II vs. Aragvi Dusheti – Georgia Liga III

Third-tier Georgian league – you keep playing on Mondays, Noob’ll make you famous(ish)!

The bottom half of this 20-club league is jousting for Relegation Playoff seeding.  Samgurali are in second-to-last, and Noob thinks it could get worse.  Dusheti is in 13th, and that looks right, based on their stats.  S-II aren’t even an even match at home here.

Fun Fact:   Stalin would visit a  Bathhouse 9 in this spa resort town (Tsqaltubo) where Samgurali clubs are based.

RESULT:   Dusheti   0-4

  1. Guria vs. Matchakhela – Georgia Liga III

Matchakhela are in last place.  Neither they nor S-II can score worth a darn, but Match are less completely-awful on defense.  Not that they will be able to stop #4 Guria.  That team’s just two points outside a berth in the Promotion playoffs.  They hear the siren call of Liga II and will not be denied today.

RESULT:   Guria   1-0

Flag of Adjara

 

 

Matchakhela’s region of Adjara is an autonomous one within Georgia.

  1. Kolkheti Khobi vs. Samegrelo – Georgia Liga III

#16 Samegrelo are an interesting case in that they’re GD could or should have them much higher in the table.  They belong in the Relegation Playoff, make no mistake, but if they’d seal some deals instead of settling for so many draws, they could jump several spots in the table.

This won’t be the day they move that direction though.  K.K. are #B, and excel on both sides of the ball.  They’ll win by a couple.

Fun Fact:  When aske, “How do you pronounce Samegrelo’s townlet of Chkhorotsku?”, the correct response is to enunciate very slowly, “I don’t.”

RESULT:   K.K.   1-0

  1. Mjolner vs. Stabaek II – Norway Second Division

This is actually the Norwegian third tier of football.  Noob told you it was a time of year to dig deeply for Relegation sensation-matches.

Mjolner are 4th in the league.  They’ve played one fewer matches than most and will likely jump two spots after pasting today’s creampuffs.

Said creampuffs are one-win Stabaek II.  They do nothing remotely well and they are in last place, as is appropriate.  They’ll be one of the three teams that gets Relegated to Norway’s Third Division.

Fun Fact:  Stabaek’s first team plays in Norway’s top flight.  They are awful.

RESULT:   Mjolner   4-3

  1. Melhus vs. Levanger II – Norway Third Division

Noob wasn’t kidding.  There’s a Trackable fourth division in Norway.  And we’re on it.  There are 84 teams at this level, broken up into six (presumably regional) Groups.

Four teams will get The Boot into the fifth division (yup, it exists!) from each Group at season’s end.  Group Five’s Levanger II are in second-to-last.  They couldn’t find the back of an opponent’s net if you set them inside it.  5th-place Melhus are pretty average, but could make a move up the table after whacking these weasels today.

Fun Fact:   Levanger (I) played in the Second Division.  They’re lousy, too!

RESULT:   3-3

  1. Lokomotiv Oslo vs. KFUM II – Norway Third Division

These are the 12th and 13th-place teams in Group One.  Noob Tracks and celebrates the downtrodden, but wouldn’t want to watch this one live.  Neither team scores much or really allows tons of goals.  This will be a zero-zero draw.

RESULT:   Lokomtiv   5-0    Well, Noob was sort of half-right…

Image result for lokomotiv oslo 2018

 

“Lokomotiv Oslo — we play behind a middle school.”

And their marketing department is hiring.

’10 to Track’ Weekend Edition (6/23-24) soccer matches – World Cup, Isle of Sodor Cup, MLS, NWSL y mas!

Join Noob for ten of the most important soccer matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.  And for my on-site, seemingly exclusive online coverage of the inaugural Isle of Sodor Cup!

Saturday

  1. South Korea vs. Mexico – FIFA World Cup

South Korea lost their first match to Sweden here in Group, while Mexico stunned Germany 1-0.  They are ranked 57th and 15th in the world, respectively.

South Korea have a central midfielder who’s been playing for English Premier club Swansea City –Ki Sung-yeung.  Mexico may well decide to attack more from the edges so he’s not such a factor.

Mexico’s goal in Game One game from Hirving Lozano.  Can he strike again?

There you have it, Noobites!   Snack-sized preview to get you at least through water cooler chat.  noob will not have hurt feelings if you know go in search of even deeper pre-game analysis.  I’m going to certainly.  We learn, we grow.   (11:00 AM Eastern, Fox, Telemundo)

RESULT:   1-2   Mexico      No one is quite through or quite out yet, but these two are nearly so

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B.  New York Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas – MLS

Dallas have pulled into a tie for 1st place in the West with Kansas City.  Their five-match win streak is surely impressive.  It’s worth noting that the road wins have come against softer teams, because NYRB ain’t one.

Red Bulls bring the heat like anyone outside of Atlanta Utd.  They’re in 4th in the Eastern Conference, and have played one to three matches fewer than all the clubs ahead of them.  It’s strange.  They struggle some against teams from their region (except NYCFC), lay waste to most others.  If you like trends, put your money on the home side today.   (6:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Red Bulls   3-0

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Number B, you are so money.

  1. LAFC vs. Columbus Crew – MLS

Our MLS undercard is hardly that as the conferences’ #3’s face off.

LAFC’s one recent league win was against league lowbies San Jose, and they needed two goals in the 90’ to achieve that much (3-4).

Columbus haven’t won since May, yet have mostly earned draws since that time to keep them well afloat in the table.  Their superb goalkeeping was bound to come back to earth a little after an amazing spring stretch. Can Zach Steffen recapture the magic?   (10:30 PM, ESPN+)

  1. Seattle Reign vs. North Caroline Courage – NWSL

It’s #B versus #1!   That will always have a certain luster.  Yet make no mistake, Seattle is a big underdog at home to the locomotive that is NCC.  The league’s only about a dozen games in and the Courage already lead by 11 points in the table.

Still, Seattle hasn’t conceded a goal in three straight matches, and NCC actually let lowly Houston draw with them their last match.

RESULT:   Courage   1-4

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Umm…thanks, Chuck!

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

Junction & Sheds (Knapford) aren’t expected to be quite as strong as Knapford Town in the inaugural IoS Premier League coming in a few months, but they’ll be plenty competitive.  They’re one of three teams here in Group G with three points, so simply getting a draw today would hardly guarantee them advancement to the Knockout Round.

Killdane already knocked of a future Premier side in Ulfstead, so they won’t be intimidated.  Perhaps they should be though.  J&S won that first match of theirs by a Cup-largest margin of seven goals (1-8).  Killdane are expected to be a midtable side in the Second Division.

RESULT:   Killdane   1-5!     All of Group G is knotted up at three points apiece with just a match to go each.

Sunday

  1. England vs. Panama – FIFA World Cup

#55 FIFA-ranked Panama needs at least a draw to stay alive in Group G.  A win would guarantee #12 England advancement to the Knockout Round, though they’d need a big one to pass Denmark on goal differential for the Group lead.

England had a sensational first half against Tunisia, likely should’ve won by more than 1-2 as they did.   In all recent major tournaments, they struggle early and often, so “The Three Lions” are thrilled to have a W already.

Panama played a very, very physical style against Belgium, leaving things tied 0-0 at the half before Belgium solved them for a 3-0 win.  England should handle them, but this will be a different challenge presented.

Oh, and England’s coach dislocated his shoulder somehow.   And there you have it!  Mini-preview to get you through water cooler chat-level convo for tomorrow’s biggest WC match.  Now go, be free!  Explore more in-depth pregame schtuff if you are so inclined.  Noob will.  We’re all learning.   8:00 AM Eastern, FS1, Telemundo)

RESULT:   England   6-1

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  1. Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers – MLS

Atlanta are perhaps the best team in all the league, and currently sit atop the Eastern Conference.  There can be little doubt Portland are the hottest team.  They had a rough start to 2018, but are now unbeaten in ten straight and are 6th in the West.

It’s the defense that’s got both clubs in playoff slots in the table.  The back lines are key for both sides.  Neither goalkeeper is in the top ten in saves, but ATL’s Brad Guzan has more in today’s matchup.  He played nine seasons in the English Premier League.  Can he keep a clean sheet today?   (4:30 PM, Fox)

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Kirk Ronan vs. Dryaw – Isle of Sodor Cup

Cabalnoo lead Group B, stunningly, are the only one of the four with a win.  All others have ties here, so if either can win this match outright today, we have a real race on our hands.

Dryaw had a weird, scoreless match with Norramby in their first and only match so far.  Defense isn’t a very Sudric thing in football.  Even given that, the ten goals Kirk Ronan conceded against Cabalnoo still has our heads shaking.  Perhaps at home the larger Churchmen club can right things.

RESULT:   Kirk Ronan   4-3

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Eeriest B&B in the world might be the original Ronan church (“kirk”) where Noob is staying.

  1. Kairat Almaty vs. Astana – Kazakhstan Premier

#B versus #1!   And in a way it’s even tighter.  Kairat Almaty are only five points behind the traditional league power and they’ve played two fewer games.  More, they’ve only lost once.  Astana has already taken two L’s.

Still, Noob’s not ready to call this one for the home team.  Astana would feel fine about a draw and can control the ball enough to get it.

RESULT:   Astana   1-2

  1. BATE Borisov vs. Shakhtyor Soligorsk – Belarus Premier

BATE is the historic great from this domestic lead, and they’re #1 again now.  But #4 Soligorsk have the best defense in the league.  BATE have to be favored, especially at home – and with the best offense to boot.  Still, this could end up the surprise upset of leagues today.

RESULT:   0-0

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If Noob weren’t in Kirk Ronan, Sodor for the Cup, I’d be saying, “So long from beautiful Barysaw, Belarus!”