’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (9/16) – DC Utd just keep a’comin’!

Yesterday, Noob cheated.  I snuck in ~30 matches into the ten mini-previews.   It was gluttonous, and that’s sinful.  Today, we’ll stick with the ten.

Pretty varied for a Sunday, not just the usual suspects.

  1. North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars – National Women’s Soccer League Playoffs

Tthoughts, heartfelt prayers to all affected by Hurricane Florence.  This match has been moved to Tuesday.

B.  D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls – Major League Soccer

Conference matches are in progress as Noob composes, but at this moment, this will be #7 hosting #B.

The D.C. story has been remarkable.  Signing all-time great Wayne Rooney has turned there season around to a degree only the most hopeful could’ve, well, hoped for.  Last place to one slot out of the playoffs, with enough games to easily climb further.

Haven’t talked about this, but the Rooney signing also plays into a discussion about league makeup.  Many think it’s not a good thing for MLS to serve as a “retirement league” for European stars.  They may say it doesn’t specifically improve the product, and/or might take away a spot from a developing American player.

Rooney’s not the first to move stateside after his prime (though he’s only in his early 30’s), won’t be the last.  Noob’s in favor of such.  Let’s have stars!    If the game is going to get really big here, it needs to be shiny, get people interested.  Perhaps American player growth can then follow.

Aaanywho.   NYRB just got drubbed by the suddenly and surprisingly feisty Montreal Impact.   That’s their first loss since July.  It will be interesting to see how they react.   (1:00 PM EST, ESPN)

RESULT:   3-3      NYRB’s Wright-Phillips will all three goals for his side

Image result for old letter B funny

 

 

Number B – young, vibrant, not retiring anytime soon

  1. Santos vs. Leon – Liga MX

Another for which the standings might’ve changed by match time.  Right now, Santos are in a four-way tie for 5th, Leon in a tie for 12th.  They’re about equally-skilled defensively.  Leon short on offense, though, and that puts them in a bad way on the road today.   (5:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Santos   3-0

  1. Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Burnley – English Premier League

The two EPL matches today each feature a winless team.   Noob’s going with this one for two reasons.

#12 Wolverhampton were just Promoted this year, and it’s fun to see how those clubs hold up.  WW are staying well above the cutline early, .500 record.   However, they’re doing it with small ball.  They pack it in on defense in lieu of trying to score much themselves.   It might work to keep them in the PL another season, but no more than that.

Burnley finished 7th last season, getting the league’s last qualify spot for Europa League.  And they did it playing small ball themselves.  So what does Noob know.

This season, they’re still not scoring, but on favor of more than mediocre defense.   Noob’s got a feeling we’ll be seeing Burnley on some Relegation Monday editions of the Track.   (8:30 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Wolverhampton   1-0

Image result for Burnley funny

 

 

 

Perhaps Noob is being premature.

  1. Diriangen vs. Managua – Nicaragua Primera

Noob’s enhanced focus on CONCACAFfeination continues!   it’s not a ton of info to start, but we’re going to get some familiarity .

Last year’s #B and #1.   it’s very early in their new season, but Managua are at it again – undefeated.  Diriangen are in 4th, scuffling on the defensive side.

RESULT:   Diriangen   1-0

  1. Derry City vs. Cobh Ramblers – League of Ireland Cup

Noob’s impression is that this is a secondary tournament in prestige to the FAI Cup.  Still, when Noob sees a Final, it’s on!

Derry City are a midtable team from the Irish Premier.  Cobh are actually below average in the second division.   Let’s see that shiny trophy.

RESULT:   Derry   3-1    Hail to the victors!

Image result for funny soccer trophy

 

 

Noob doesn’t think so.

But here’s to hoping!

  1. Midtjylland vs. Copenhagen – Denmark Super Liga

Last season, Copenhagen finished 4th and had to win a playoff match for the league’s last entry into the Europa League.  This season – 1st, so far.  Midtjylland are the defending champions, #B right now.

It’s early, but GD is indicating these two might both create some real separation between them and the rest of the pack.

RESULT:   Midtj   3-1

  1. Norrkoping vs. AIK – Sweden Allsvenskanliga

It’s probably too late for #4 Norrkoping to make a run at the league title, 20 matches into the season.   But they’re only a point out of 3rd, which would get them into the next Europa League at least.

Noob thinks they’ve overachieved, will fall badly to #1 and defending champs AIK.  The league leaders only give up a goal every other match on average.  Champions League-bound.

RESULT:   Norrk   2-0

Image result for don't google this warning

 

1)  “Sweden” and “bound” as part of any search parameters.

Terrifying.

  1. Once Caldas vs. Atletico Junior – Colombia Primera A

These two are #3 and #4, but things are very tight at the top in Colombia.   Statistically, both teams look like they belong.

Tolima and Equidad above them in the table are not club names that resonate with Noob.  Atletico Junior does, and they’ll find the cracks in O.C.’s defense, get a W today.   (6:15 PM, RCN Nuestra Tele)

RESULT:   O.C.   1-0

  1. Alianza Lima vs. Sporting Cristal – Peru Primera

Peru’s season is divided into three parts, unlike so in much of South America.  Cristal won the first two stages.  Alianza were forgettable during the Verano, but rose to #B in the Apertura.  The third, Clausura stage is barely begun.

The winner of each Stage qualifies for both national championship Playoffs (and the next Copa Libertadores), so Cristal is already in.  Not only that, but by winning two Stages, Cristal will get a bye into the Championship Final.

Alianza will have to win the Clausura to qualify.   The fourth team that will get in is the best non-winning team from all three Stages combined.  Alianza’s much too far down that aggregate table to get in that way.  Good luck to the, trying to even score on Cristal.  No one in Colombia ever does these days.

RESULT:      ppd

Image result for La Victoria District LimaSo long from La Victoria District, Lima, home of Alianza!

image of the Lord of the Miracles of La Victoria

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – USWNT leads the way

The Midweek Edition Track finishes with two more matches for Thursday.

There’s not much in the way of preview for the matches proper.  But you’ll learn about two brand spanking new tournaments themselves.  Enough to get you through high-end water cooler-level chat.

Thursday

  1. Germany vs. France – UEFA Nations League

Nations League.   Here I thought I was really starting to know club and national team football around the globe.   But I’ve never heard of this league!   You have failed all Noobites.  You are a scalawag, cretinous yahoo, ne’er-do-well.  You are declared outlaw!”

Outlaw as adjective originally meant living outside the law.  People could do anything to you with no consequences, including murdering you.  So why don’t we hold up and give ol’ Noober a chance to explain.

Perhaps I should’ve mentioned this tournament before, given you a heads up.  This is a new biennial tournament.  All 55 member teams of UEFA have been divided into four leagues, based on their UEFA rankings (as of pre-2018 World Cup Group Stage).  Those leagues, in turn, are subdivided into four smaller groups.  Within each Group, they’ll play standard home-and-away double-round robin format.

Example:   League A is the top 12 teams in UEFA.  The four Groups within League A are relatively even cross-sections in terms of ranking.

The Group Stage games are now through November.  The winners of each Group in League A will play for the Nations League championship.  That bracketed stage will be in June of next year, location TBD.

Leagues B, C, and D will not have their own bracketed championships.  Their journeys end with the Group matches.  However, the Group winners get Promoted to the next highest League for the next incarnation of this tournament in two years.  The poorest Group performers are Relegated in turn.

The Perceived Good:   This event is largely replacing intra-European “friendlies”, provide more competitive matches.  Also, this event will serve as another qualifying means for national teams to make the 2020 European Championships.  It’s an extra chance for smaller/weaker teams to perhaps get in.

The Critique:  This is an extra chance for smaller/weaker teams to qualify for the 2020 European Championships.

Noob’s not going to delve into the particulars of this event as qualifier for the Euros.  There are other sites for that.  The self-assigned job here is to make you aware of basics.  So go, be free!   Use your Google machine powers to learn finer details.  Noob will, too, in time.

Today’s Track’ed Match: 

Germany and defending World Cup champions France are UEFA-ranked 4th and 5th, respectively, as of today.   Noob phrases is that way because UEFA used the rankings as of right before World Cup Group Stage began to seed all the teams for this event.  These two were 1st and 5th-ranked at that time.

Either way it’s two of the best teams in the world.  Though yes, Germany struggled at WC.  Here stateside, we can watch it on Univision Deportes at 2:45 PM EST with great joy.

Hopefully this spares Noob a mob lynching, you rascally animals.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Dominica vs. Suriname – 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League qualification

Yup!   This tournament is new, too.   It doesn’t truly start until next year.  This is a qualifying tournament.  As such, Noob will keep things even simpler about the whole thing for now.

The top six-ranked national teams in CONCACAF have already automatically qualified for actual Nations League next year.

34 of the 35 other member nations’ teams play in this qualification event (Guatemala are nawtee, suspended).  They are divided into four Pots, based on rankings.  Each team will play four matches, two home and two away.  Each team will play one match against a team from each Pot.

All the teams’ results will be in just one aggregate table.  The top six finishers will qualify for Nations League A, joining the six teams that auto-qualified, as mentioned earlier.  The other teams will be divided in half, into League B and League C.

(The CONCACAF Nations League is a qualifying event of its own, putting teams into something called CONCACAF Gold Cup, which in turn qualifies teams for the FIFA Confederations Cup.  Interestingly, the top ten finishers from this qualification event being played now automatically qualify for Gold Cup regardless of how they do in Nations League.  Oy veh.)

Today’s Track’ed Match:

These two are ranked 25th (Pot C) and 12th (Pot B) in CONCACAF.  They’re #177 and #153 in all FIFA.  Should be a pretty even matchup since is in Dominca.

The match is actually being held in Guadeloupe, not Dominica.  Curious.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for Les Abymes

 

 

So long from Les Abymes, Point au Pitre, Guadeloupe!

 

Wednesday

  1. NYCFC vs. New England – Major League Soccer

NYCYC have won just once their last six outings.  They’re settling into the #3 seed in the East as the regular season approaches its final stretch.

New England now sit in 8th, five points out of the sixth and final playoff berth in their conference.  That they can still even smell the postseason as a mathematical possibility is a testament to how improved they’d appeared in the season’s first half.  They just got a draw at home against a solid Portland side, but that’s now nine straight matches and no victories.

NYCFC will be missing goal-scoring leader Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.   He’s on international duty this week, as are several of his club teammates.  He is Libyan by birth, but Noob presumes is with the Austrian national team now, as he holds citizenship there.   (7:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Revs   0-1

Image result for football international duty funny

 

 

Speaking of international duty, did this mascot-guy just get vomited out after finally agreeing to go to Ninevah?

  1. Oaxaca vs. Morelia – Copa MX

Noobites can find a bit about the format below in the Tuesday Copa match mini-preview.

Guadalajara has already advanced as this Group’s winner, with ease.

Liga MX side Morelia lead the Ascenso’s Oaxaca by two points in the table.  Morelia only need a draw to finish #B in the table, but only a draw almost certainly still leaves them out of the next Round.  Even a win for Oaxaca probably leaves them among the bottom two Group runners-up and out of this tournament.

Both sides have been scuffling in their respective league seasons, sitting midtable.  Morelia likely takes this one by a goal on the road.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1      And with that, both teams are eliminated.

  1. Indy Eleven vs. NYRB II – United Soccer League

Former NASL-side Indy are tied for 5th in the East, two points up on NYRB.   The top eight from each conference make the Postseason.

Indy doesn’t score much, have stayed afloat with a lot of draws.  Red Bulls’ reserve squad have even more draws.  That’s surprising, given that they play such a wide-open style, eschewing defense almost entirely.

RESULT:   Indy   3-0       Evgeni Starikov with two goals, and Indy climbs to 4th place.

 

Is it just Noob, or does this look like an entrance to kinda nowhere?

  1. Internacional vs. Flamengo – Brazil Serie A

It’s #B and #3 in South America’s best domestic league!

Internacional trail only Gremio in defensive prowess, haven’t allowed a goal in seven consecutive matches.  That said, they’ve only achieved draws in their last two games.

Flamengo are more balanced.  They’re coming off a sleepy home loss to newly-promoted, weak Ceara.   (8:00 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   Internacional   2-1       The winners now lead the entire league, while Flamengo drops to 4th place.

Tuesday

  1. U.S.A. vs. Chile – international friendly

Déjà vu all over again.  They played a few days ago, are now back to battle today.  Noob guesses Chile have been training in – perhaps even with – the USWNT.  The Americans won the first one 3-0 in Carson (L.A.).   Tonight, they play in San Jose.

Fun Fact:  The San Jose Earthquakes played a friendly last night against Chile’s children’s Special Olympic side and lost 0-14.   SJ were not sandbagging, by all accounts.

Pardon the interruption, this is The Management.  I apologize on behalf of NoobWe’re not even sure they have Special Olympics in Chile.  Said friendly did not occur. 

And if it had, a more likely score would be 1-14.  The ‘Quakes wouldn’t get shut out completely at home.

*gasp*    The Management, throwing shade on San Jose!  Is Noob dreaming?   (10:00 PM EST, ESPN2)

RESULT:   USA   4-0       Carli Lloyd with a pair in the second half

B.  Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC – National Women’s Soccer League

Three of the four Playoff teams are set.  Two regular season matches to go for #4 Chicago.   They’re two points up on Utah and Houston.

One of Noob’s primary sources indicates Houston is already eliminated though.  That feels unlikely, even given head-to-heads are the first tiebreaking criterion.

And since they’re playing winless Sky Blue, a Chicago result and postseason berth seem likely.

Aaaaand then they’ll get slaughtered by the world’s best women’s team, North Carolina Courage in the Playoffs.

RESULT:   Chicago   5-0       Alyssa Mautz with the first two goals

Image result for letter B horror

 

 

Number B, expressing the carnage that awaits Chicago or Utah in the postseason.

  1. Zacatecas vs. Queretaro – Copa MX

They’re also down to the last match in each of the three-team Groups in this opening stage of the Apertura (first half-season) Copa in Mexico.  All nine winners will advance, plus seven of the runners-up.

Second-division Clausura regular season champs Zacatecas trail Queretaro and Leon by three points.  So Los Mineros have to win today just to get tiebreakers into it.  Leon has played all their matches already, so three-way tie.  Go, Minnows!

Zacatecas are having trouble scoring, even as they win games so far this year in Ascenso MX.  Queretaro should be at least a one-goal favorite on the road today.  They’re near the top of the Liga MX table themselves.

RESULT:   Queretaro   1-2

  1. Netherlands vs. Norway – UEFA women’s World Cup qualification

The Group Stage is down to its last matches here, too.  The winners of all seven qualify for 2019 WC.  The four best runners-up will have a Playoff for one more berth.

In Group 3, these are your top two and no one else can catch them.  They’ve outscored opponents 21-0 and 0-3 and are FIFA-ranked #9 and #14, respectively.  Nothing appears guaranteed for whichever team finishes #B in the group.

Now, check out this mockumentary done by Norwegian women’s national team.  I’m sure is the current team, but regardless, this is priceless.

RESULT:   Norway   2-1     had the home/away mixed up

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Saturday (9/1) – and working on a theme song

“Soccer Noob rockin Amuricuuuhhh! /

Mini-previews!  *clap clap* /

Insight!  *clap clapclap* /

O.K.notreallythatsecondwuuhhhhn!   /  *crickets*

Soccernoob rockin’ Amur-I-CUHHH!”

  1. Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City – Major League Soccer

Really, Track match No. 1 is all MLS.   This might be the most intriguing matchup, but all but two slated for today met Noob’s standards of high interest.  Good you up some ‘Muricuhn action today, Noobites.

Those goldurn Sounders Noob reviles so have won seven straight.  The first half of their season was so pitiful that this now has them in just a tie for the last Playoff berth (6th) in the Western Conference. They Haven’t allowed multiple goals in a match since their last loss.  On June 30th.

Tenured-Noobites will recall that Noob’s first exposure to a hardcore ‘Muricuhn soccer fan was a douchebag TA in college who was a bandwagon-jumping Seattle supporter.   And I’d still be rooting alongside The Management for KC today, given his ties to that area.  But the Sounders’ turnaround has been simply epic.  Much respect.

Sporting could do absolutely nothing right in July.  Noob would’ve best against them hosting mid-table FC Seoul (picked as a nod to The Management’s current business trip).   But now they’ve won four in a row themselves, are only a point or two from retaking 1st place back from FC Dallas.  They haven’t allowed ANY goals over that stretch.

This match might be a defensive slugfest.   But it’s going to be more than worth the view.  4:00 PM EST today online with ESPN+ or broadcast on Univision Deportes.

RESULT:   Seattle   3-1       So much for defense.  KC scored at 2′, though it was all Sounders after that.

B.  Cincinatti vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – United Soccer League

Yup.  We’re shifting to a second-division matchup instead of a second MLS one.  We’ll spread our love through multiple leagues.

And it is a doozy.  Cinci has all but wrapped up the Eastern Conference.  No surprise, as they’re making the move to MLS next year.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is in a tie for #B!   Noob adds the exclamation point because they’ve flown under my radar all year.   They were near the very bottom of the standings last season.  They couldn’t score then, and they don’t do much of it now.  But they’ve conceded just 14 goals all season.  To quote Tom Cruise from “The Firm”, “It’s not sexy, but it’s got teeth.”

You know, I never found that line quite so disturbing as I do now.  Must be seeing it written.

RESULT:   Cinci   2-1      But Pitt made them work for it.   FCC got it’s two goals in the last 10 minutes of regular time.

Image result for tom Cruise weird

 

Cruise without teeth.

Good LAWD.   This was an error in judgement.

Should’ve put in a Number B-image.

  1. Leon vs. UNAM Pumas – Liga MX

One of the radio hosts I listen to regularly pronounces the “MX” letters as they would be in Spanish.

We’re in Amuricuh.  We can say just “em. ecks.”   It’ll be fine.

(tied-for-8th versus tied-for-5th)  (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Pumas   1-2         Felipe Mora with a pair of goals

  1. Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth – English Premier League

Leicester City hosting Liverpool might have a shade more cache, but Noob’s giving the edge to his Fighting Cherries!  Given that they’re one of the three matches being given stateside TV coverage (10:00 AM, NBCSN).

Chelsea have been electric on offense in their first three matches, winning them all.  Bournemouth should’ve beaten Everton to get a third win, too, after they’d gone a man up.  My guys will do well to get a draw at one of the mammoth-budgeted teams grounds today.

RESULT:   Chelsea   2-0       Noob has read and heard some are encouraged by AFCB’s keeping the match scoreless most of the way.  I say you’ll rarely if ever get a result possessing the ball just 27% of the game.  Oy veh.

Image result for aFC bournemouth funny

 

Guys!   I’m pretty sure “standing on one’s head” is an expression regarding goalies.

Noob is worried.

  1. Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue – National Women’s Soccer League

Four of the eight teams make the postseason.  These two have been out of the running all summer.  So why Track it?   It’s the only domestic top-flite ladies’ match today.  Also, Sky Blue is running out of chances to get their first win of the season.  This may be as close as they get.

RESULT:      ppd

  1. France vs. Mexico – international women’s friendly

France are the host country for the 2019 women’s World Cup, so they’re not having to play in the UEFA qualifying tournament.  Mexico needs the tuneup before they enter at the final stage of the CONCACAF qualifying event going on now.

They are ranked #3 and #25, respectively, by FIFA.  (3:00 PM, TV5MONDE)

RESULT:   France   4-0       Eugenie Le Sommer with two goals in the second half

Image result for waiting gif

 

They must wait, Inigo.  

We must all wait sometimes.

  1. Iceland vs. Germany – UEFA women’s World Cup qualification

Germany are #3 in FIFA and ranked #1 in Europe.  Yet they trail Iceland by a point in their Group table with just two matches left to play.  Only the winners automatically qualify, and only about half the runners-up will get to vie for one last berth in their own mini-tournament.

Iceland are only ranked 29th in the world.  But they upset Germany on the road 2-3 in the first match they played of this double-round robin.   Germany must get at least a draw today, or they could be sitting at home for WC 2019.

RESULT:   Germany   0-2       Svenja Huth with two scores

  1. Slavia Prague vs. Viktoria Plzen – Czech First League

I was just reading up today on the 80’s-90’s new jack swing group ‘Wreckx-n-Effect”.  Checking oneself before the possibility of wrecking oneself comes recommended, by them and Noob both.  Safety first.

What I did not know was that the group’s name originally was not spelled with an X in it.  That was only added after one of their members was shot, symbolic of his absence.

(League #1 versus #2)

RESULT:   Slavia Prague   4-0      S.P. take over 1st now on GD.   Tomas Soucek scored twice.  Plzen had a tough go of it after going down to ten men in the 1st half (red card).

Image result for wreckx n effect

 

 

 

Rest in Power, Brandon Mitchell.

  1. Consadole Sapporo vs. Vissel Kobe – Japan J1 League

4th versus 5th doesn’t quite match Noob’s criterion coming out of an 18-team league.   But The Management must be appeased.  Since he’s a Japanophile, Match Nine is a sop to him.

Only the top three from Japan make the AFC Champions League.  With the season 2/3 over, this isn’t quite and elimination match, but both sides will likely play like it’s one.  And they should.

Neither has quite the defense to match up properly with the top three teams, yet Noob thinks both teams will be tight and we’ll have a low-scoring affair here today.

RESULT:   Sapporo   3-1      Kobe lost a player to a red card right at the half.

  1. Metz vs. Lens – France Ligue 2

At time of scouting, this was a 1-2 matchup.  But Niort just climbed to #B in the table as Noob was writing, so it’s #1 versus #3. But Niort have played one or two more games than these clubs, so they’re cheaters and we’re Tracking this. 😊

I thought about going back and featuring Columbus vs. NYCFC.  But variety is the spice of life.  And since there’s spice, we’re letting the French cook.  Not Ohioans.

Last season in Ligue 1, an attacking side of The Management, Dan the former Intern-o Inferno and I could’ve scored on Metz.  And so they finished last and were unceremoniously Relegated.  Lens were a bottom-feeder in this league, but stayed afloat with enough draws.

And look at them now!  Metz says they’re ready to go right back up, are 5-0-0, scoring at will.    Lenz have yet to let anyone score on them.  Viva la France!  Top three will all get automatically Promoted to Ligue 1 at season’s end.

RESULT:   Metz   2-0      It’s a Track full of red cards!   Lens lost a man mid-first half.

Image result for cathedrale st etienne metz stained glass

So long from Metz, Lorraine!

Cathedrale St. Etienne – home of perhaps the world’s broadest stained glass collection.

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – three days of your footyball fix

The 10 most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.  Noob delights in them, and hopes you do as well.

All the leagues we care about most are in action now.  Soon, the Midweek Edition will be expanded in glory once again to three separate days.

Tuesdays match previews and results follow below Wednesday’s.

Also, please consider following Noob on Twitter:  SoccerNoobUSA.  Thanks.

  1. LAFC vs. Real Salt Lake – Major League Soccer

As yesterday, Noob takes us out West for a pivotal match.  Expansion-LAFS looked so very good for a couple months.  Have they been solved?  They haven’t won a league match since early July.  Other than a scoreless draw at home against Portland, they’ve allowed 2+ goals every time out.  They’re in 5th, but fading, and only the top six make the Playoffs.

Speaking of 6th, here we find RSL.  They should’ve been feasting on a weak stretch of their schedule lately, but have only nibbled.   They haven’t lost in their last four, but only won once.  Goal-scoring remains an issue for them, and Vancouver and Seattle are licking their chops behind them.

RSL’s fall should, of course, be destined.  Noob’s ranted before and shouts to the heavens yet again:  No “real” in Amuricuh!  Royal?   We carry no truck with monarchs this side of the Pond.  Remember that war?

RESULT:   LAFC   2-0      Christian Ramirez – a name Noobites need to know – scored both goals.

  1. Seattle Reign vs. Chicago Red Stars – National Women’s Soccer League

The top half of NWSL’s eight-team league makes the Postseason, and Chicago are making a push to be included.  They’re in 5th, have gotten two wins – and an impressive draw against 1st-place North Carolina – in their last three outings.

The Reign are in the midst of a solid run as well, seem to be shoring up the #B spot.  That’s critical, because finishing 4th would mean getting North Carolina in the first Playoff round.  Only sadness and the never-ending Void are to be found there.

RESULT:   0-0      *The Price is Right” loser-sounder*

Image result for The Void funny

 

Noob – home of all soccer serious content, all the time…

  1. Tijuana vs. Juarez – Copa MX

See Tuesday’s Copa MX match preview for format and such.

‘Cause Noob wants to get straight to ogling Tijuana’s seemingly new and improved defense.  I can tell you’ve been working out Tijuana.  Would you mind doing a slow, goal-keeping spin?  Oh yes.  The results are obvious.   Mmm hmmm.

Yes, that got weird.  Noob knows.  Noob has no cares!  Tijuana didn’t make the Clausura (second half-season) Liguilla (postseason tournament) this year, but the climbed to midtable.  How?  Los Xolos cut their opponents goals by half while maintaining their previous offensive output.

Now they’re tied for first in this Group with Ascenso MX’s Juarez.  “The Brave Ones” nearly win the 2017-18 Apertura before falling on their faces in the Clausura.  And while the 2018 Apertura is only a few matches in, they’re in first.  No matter which team shows up, it’s still a road match against a Liga MX squad.  Tijuana by two goals today.

RESULT:   Tijuana   3-1

  1. Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid – UEFA Super Cup

Domestic Super Cups typically pit a league’s defending champions against that country’s most recent FA Cup winner.  The international European version here is the latest Champions League winners against the Europa League champs.  A small oddity, Atletico actually finished higher in last year’s La Liga table than Real.  (#3, #B).

They’re playing this in Tallinn, Estonia of all places.

RESULT:   Atletico   2-4   AET         Diego Costa for Atletico had both Atletico’s goals in the first 90′.

Image result for Where am I? funny

 

 

We’re right here in Estonia.

Noob hears it’s Super.

  1. Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps – Canadiaian Championship

This is the second leg of the Final.  The winner gets Canadia’s berth in the next CONCACAF Champions League.  Only four teams have been vying for it annually.  These are the 7th and 9th place teams in their respective MLS conferences.

The first match in Vancouver ended 2-2.  Vancouver, though, has won three of their last five matches with no losses in that run.  Defending league champs Toronto will have anything but a gimme today playing this on their home pitch.

RESULT:   Toronto   5-2      Toronto is once again Champions League-bound

  1. Vissel Kobe vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima – Japan J1 League

Noob ends today’s Tracking in the land of the rising sun.  Hiroshima barely missed getting Relegated in 2017, yet lead the league this year by eight in the table.  Kobe are improved as well, 4th now versus low-end midtable last year.  Only two will make the AFC Champions League.  KV look unlikely to really get in the running, behind #3 Kawasaki by seven.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for Kobe Japan weird

 

So long from Kobe, and from Tetsujin 28-go!

(Fine, “Gigantor”, if you must.)

 

 

Thursday

Go, be free!  If the international friendly between Guatemala and Cuba tickles your fancy, perhaps Noobites can Google up an internet stream.  As for Noob – see you on Friday!

Tuesday

  1. L.A. Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids – Major League Soccer

On August 4, Colorado hosted and beat the Galaxy 2-1.  The 11th-place Rapids have now won two in a row, tying their longest streak in a lousy year.

Los Angeles sort of rebounded from that loss, earning just a draw at home against improving Minnesota United.  They’re till tied for 4th, but even a top-six finish is far from guaranteed.  The middle of the Western Conference is packed like a sardine can.

While the Galaxy’s back line haven’t been golden of late, it’s the goalkeeping that’s really let them down.  Backstop David Bingham has been anything but, having allowed multiple goals in their last four matches.   (10:30 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for david bingham

 

 

Will Bingham even be able to keep goals from being scored in his pie-hole?

B.  AEK Athens vs. Celtic – UEFA Champions League

This is the Third Qualifying Round of Europe’s premier club tournament.

These two faced off about a week ago, playing to a 1-1 draw in Scotland.  This is the second-match of the two-legged tie.  It always seems like Celtic struggle mightily in international competition.   Hard for Noob to think the Greeks won’t take care of business at home today.

The winner will get either Malmo from Sweden or Hungary’s MOL Vidi in the “Playoff Round”.

RESULT:   AEK   2-1

Image result for B is for business

 

 

 

Number B taking care of its own business as we quest to replace worn out old Number Two.

  1. Leon vs. Zacatecas – Copa MX

The Group Stage continues in the first of two Copas to be played during the 2018-19 season.  Pods of three.  Winners and most of the runners-up will advance to the Knockout Round.

If you know Noob, you know I love rooting for Minnows.  Halfway through the Group Stage, second-division Zacatecas are tied with both Liga MX’s Leon and Queretaro in the table.  The “Mineros” will be doing well, though, to keep today’s match within a goal.  Even against a weaker Liga MX club like Leon.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Leon   2-1

  1. UANL vs. Monterrey – Liga MX Femenil

UNAL won the 2017-18 Clausura (second half-season) after a 3rd-place regular season finish.  Today the Pumas host the team that won that Clausura regular season.  UANL had the third-best offense last year, though with a sizable gap between them and the top two.

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for biggest GAP store

 

“Sizable GAP”.

Nice work, Nashville

 

 

Wednesday and Thursday

coming soon!

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – UEFA Champions League, Copa MX lead the way

The ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.  This is Noob’s mission, our mantra, a recipe for learning successness.

America, Mexico, CONCACAF, Western and all of Europe, South America, and anywhere at all in the world.  This is Noob’s very general guideline for measuring that importance from out perspective.

(Matches are grouped in reverse chronological order by day.)

Thursday

  1. LAFC vs. L.A. Galaxy – Major League Soccer

As a famous Spanish derby is nicknamed “El Clasico”, so the City of Angels have decided their intracity rivalry is “El Trafico”.  This time around, we even get a match that actually matters in league terms!

Expansion-LAFC continue to impress.  They score the most in the Western Conference, league-wide are only surpassed by Atlanta United.  They trail FC Dallas by just four point for 1st place.

Only four more points and two slots in the standings we find the surging L.A. Galaxy.   They may actually be playing better offense than anyone now, including LAFC.  They haven’t been held scoreless in a league match in 14 straight matches.  They’ve won three in a row, and no one (outside U.S. Open Cup) has beaten them since May 30.

LAFC gets scoring from all manner of places nowadays, but there’s no denying that Zlatan is the catalyst.  He leads the team in scoring, despite not starting the year with them.  The one-time (perhaps) best player in the world and still comically-egomaniacal, talented Swede opens things up for everyone.  Midfielder Chris Pontius has seen particularly huge benefits – a name to continue to look for in the stat line if they are make a push to be a Playoff #1 seed.   (10:30 PM EST, ESPN)

RESULT:   2-2    LAFC blows a big lead at home, giving up goals in the 81′ and 86′.

Image result for dinosaurs playing soccer

 

 

Suggested reading.  Alternate title — “El Jurassico”.

  1. U.S.A. vs. Japan – Tournament of Nations

This event is an annual invitational with just four teams.  The matches are friendlies – no bearing on any other events.  they’re playing a round robin and that will be that.   But apart from being Amuricuh and our interest automatically being peaked, this match features the #1 and #6-ranked teams in the world.  Color me intrigued.  This is one’s in Kansas City.   (7:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   USA   4-2    Alex Morgan goes for three goals

Image result for America jingoism funny

 

 

Steven Colbert is ready for Muricuhn soccer, are you?

  1. Atletico Madrid vs. Arsenal – International Champions Cup

You know the story now for this event.  Pile of big European top clubs, glorified friendlies.   These two finished #B and a disappointing #6 in their respective leagues last season.

Noob’s intrigued to see this one on TV.  Singapore’s National Stadium just opened a few years ago.  The tiny nation is really pushing to upgrade the quality of their football.   (7:30 AM, ESPNU)

RESULT:   Atletico   1-1  /  3-1  pk

  1. Gremio vs. Sao Paulo – Brazil Serie A

Noob might not normally feature this match.  But #7 versus #B still really matters there.  And Gremio is really in a three-way tie for 5th, just happen to be down on goal differential.  As the top-rated league in South America, Brazil gets six teams into Copa Libertadores (think: Champions League).  Throw in that Gremio are the defending Libertadores champions and we’re in.

Sao Paulo didn’t even make that Copa last year, but they’ve won four in a row to climb within three of the league-leaders (Palmeiras).  Gremio continue to play small ball, and it’s hard to argue with last year’s 4th-place league finish and the continent’s top trophy in their case.  It will be fun to see if a traditional powerhouse can stem the momentum of their streaking hosts.   (6:30 PM, Premiere Futebol Clube)

RESULT:   Gremio   2-1     Come from behind win, two goals for player simply named “Everton”.

Image result for streaking Frank the Tank gif

 

So long from Noob, and a streaking Frank the Tank!

 

Wednesday

  1. Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union – Major League Soccer

Here we have two clubs scrapping for playoffs berths, which go to the top six in each of the two divisions.  So far, it’s not been working out.

Houston must’ve fallen even farther than Noob had realized.  They’ve actually not lost in five straight matches, yet are still in just 8th place in the West.  Over this stretch, they’ve been winning high and low-scoring games – good signs for a team that has disappointed compared to expectations to date.

#7 Philly just went down to surprising surging L.A. Galaxy in their own house.   Prior to that, though, they’d two consecutive wins!  A road upset wouldn’t move them into the East’s top six, but the Union would be knocking on the door.

A victory today would move the Dynamo in a playoff slot.  Veteran midfielder Romell Quioto from Honduras leads the team in assists.  His name has been popping up a lot in the stats sheet recently for those and his own goals.   Houston needs his play to stay elevated for their climb to continue.   (9:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Philly   1-3     Houston scored first, but the Union tied before the half.  in H2, Dynamo lost a star player to a questionable straight red car and went down easily with just ten men for the remainder.

Philadelphia remains in 7th, Houston slips to 8th because of other match results.

  1. Veracruz vs. Dorados de Sinaloa – Copa MX

When Noob features league games, teams both from about the top quarter of a league meet the standard.    But when it comes to Cup/Copa tournaments – especially early I love to shine a light on Minnow.  These are underdogs from lower divisions, often in positions to maybe earn an upset.

The first of Mexico’s two season Copas is just beginning.  27 clubs from the top two divisions of football divided into Groups of three compete for 16 spots in the Knockout Round.   Veracruz finished very low in Liga MX standings during last season’s Clausura (second half-season.), averaging well under a goal per game.

Meanwhile, Sinaloa finished #B in the Ascenso.  They sported one of the best defenses at that level.  Noob’s not sure how many changes these clubs make in their shortened off-seasons, but if their makeups largely remained the same, Dorados could perhaps earn a draw here.   Any result is necessity for advancement, as neither of these clubs is going to beat Club America in this Group.

RESULT:   Dorados 1-2     Sinaloa with the upset after starting down 0-1.

Image result for Mexico funny

 

 

Noob truly hopes so.

I’ll bet those birds played futsal when they were little to learn that ball control.

  1. Celtic vs. Rosenborg – UEFA Champions League

Noob has perhaps a bad habit in re-explaining each event in each post in more details than is necessary for Noobites who read here regularly.  So, see match #1 in this Track for a few general details.

Once again, Noob’s selected a match to feature here out of many slated for today simply because this one involves the westernmost team in action.

Celtic are the super-dominant Scottish powerhouse perennially.  This hasn’t translated into tons of international tournament success.  But they destroyed an Armenian squad last round 6-0 in two matches and they carry a higher Elo rating (footballdatabase.com) than Norwegian champs Rosenborg.

Rosenborg’s one advantage today is that they are in form, halfway through their league season.  The Scottish Premier hasn’t started up yet.  Still, they’d be satisfied with a draw today and then taking their chances at home in the second match of this two-legged tie.

Their leagues are both middle of the road in the UEFA rankings.  The winner gets AEK Athens in the next round, which enter the competition at that stage.

RESULT:   Celtic   3-1

  1. AC Milan vs. Manchester United – International Champions Cup

Reminder:  ICC is a big pile of really good European clubs playing in the US and around the world playing friendly, warming up for their domestic leagues about to begin.  So it’s hard to handicap them, as any given club is as likely to be playing reserves as starters.

Still, they’re big names, and the games in the U.S. draw very well.  This one is at the Stub Hub Center in L.A. (Carson).  The teams finished #6 and #B in their leagues last year, respectively.   (11:00 PM, ESPN)

RESULT:   Man Utd   1-1  /  8-9  pk     Wait, why are they using penalty shootout in a non-knockout tournament?

Image result for big pile funny

 

Phil Hartman.  Not soccer-relevant.

Noob neither has no needs a reason.

 

Tuesday

  1. PAOK (Greece) vs. FC Basel (Switzerland) – UEFA Champions League

The best thing about PAOK playing outside Greece is that maybe their hooligan fans won’t be in so riled up and in such force.  Noob and The Management cheer for Basel.  Just because he saw their stadium once.   And they’re not Greek soccer hooligans.

This is the Second Qualifying Round.  The event-proper isn’t considered to be really starting until the Group Stage begins.  There are several matches from this tournament today.  Noob rather arbitrarily chose this one by virtue of it involving the westernmost club of the bunch.

These two qualified to enter at this round, did not have to play the First QR.  These and two other clubs entering here got in by finishing runners-up in their domestic leagues.  This is called the “League Path”, as opposed to the “Champions Path”.  Really doesn’t matter as far as Noob can see.

Their leagues are rated 16th and 12th, respectively, within UEFA.   Their Elo-ratings (footballdatabase.com) are pretty close as well.  This two-legged tie should be a very competitive one.  The winner will take on Standard Liege, Belgium’s FA Cup winner, in the Third QR.

RESULT:   PAOK   2-1

Image result for PAOK hooligans

 

News outlets probably just keep violent PAOK soccer supporter-footage a button-click away at all times.

B.  Zacatecas vs. Leon – Copa MX

Just as Mexico’s Liga and Ascenso MX seasons Apertura (first half-season) are beginning, so is their Apertura Copa tournament.  The Group Stage is nine pods of three clubs each.  The winners and the seven best runners-up will all advance to the Knockout Stage.

Noob’s chosen to feature this match out of several today because it looks like the best chance for an upset.  Leon finished just 13th in the 2017-18 regular season Clausura, being ghastly on defense.  Zacatecas won the second division Ascenso.

Zacatecas would’ve been Promoted to Liga MX for this year, but Noob heard Mexico’s FA changed the rules in some way so they couldn’t potentially see big-money Guadalajara get Relegated.  So no club’s moved between the two.  Noob thinks “The Miners” can get a draw today.

RESULT:   Zacatecas   4-3     Leon came on fast and furious with two late goals to make this a riveting match.

Image result for letter B in trouble

 

Not soccer-relevant, but we also quest to learn about Number B here.  

Funny how Number B’s belly gets pointed out, but Letter D’s big backside gets a pass.

 

Tuesday and Wednesday

Coming soon!

’10 to Track’ soccer matches midweek edition: UEFA Champions League returns!

Relegation Monday saw an astounding three upsets from yesterday’s feature matches.  And now we get to huddle around the life-giving light that is UEFA Champions League.

Rejoice, give thanks… and watch out for the armed Lapalandic culinary madman at post’s end…

Tuesday, 2/13

  1. Juventus vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – UEFA Champions League

The Knockout Round begins!  We’re down to 16 teams.  The eight Group Stage winners will each face off against a randomly-drawn second place-finishesr.  Each pair will play a two-legged tie (two-match series, home and away) to determine who advances.

Hotspur carry the slightly-lesser international rating, but have been on fire in arguably the world’s toughest league. They also didn’t lose any Group Stage matches.

Juve recently took over first place in Italy’s Serie A.  Noob’s calling this one for the home team, and hopes it’s not his anti-Hotspur bias clouding his senses.

RESULT:   2-2      Reviled Hotspur actually dominated this game, but fell behind 0-2 early.

B.  Basel vs. Manchester City – UEFA Champions League

During the Group Stage and other international events, Noob sang the praises of the surprising Swiss.  But this is Man City, top of the English Premier heap.  Basel would do well to keep within a goal, even at home.

RESULT:   Man City   0-4

Image result for singing letter B

 

 

Number B sings, too.  

Even if she’s lyrically-challenged.

 

  1. CF América vs. Morelia – Liga MX

The hosts are #B in the league, one of two clubs to have not yet lost early here in the Clausura (second half-season).  They sport the best defense this go-round.  Morelia are not far behind, in 5th.

And the “Monarchs” will lose, MUST lose.   No kings and queens in North America!  Noob’s quest to tear down all monarch-named teams is right up there with the same for Hotspur and the quest for the world to accept Number B in all lists and rankings.

RESULT:   America   3-1

Honorable mention:   Crvena Zvezda/CSKA Moscow (Europa League), any AFC Champions League or Copa Sudamericana match, Santiago Wanderers/Santa Fe (Copa Libertadores qualification)

Wednesday, 2/14

  1. Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid are the defending champions, but only finished #B in their Group.  This matches up with them having slipped to 4th place in La Liga.

Meanwhile, PSG won their Group and has run away with the French top league title.  They’ve been a goal-scoring beast, and Noobstradamus is making this is Prognostication O’ the Week.  Real’s struggles continue with a home embarrassment – PSG:  0-2.

RESULT:   Real   3-1      PSG scored first, but that woke Real up, apparently

Image result for Noobstradamus

 

 

As embarrassing as my choice in head gear and my Forrest Whitaker-eye

  1. Porto vs. Liverpool – UEFA Champions League

Unlike the aforementioned Swiss, Portuguese teams have by and large failed to impress Noob on the world stage in recent months.  On paper, at home, they’re an even match for Liverpool.   Noob thinks this match will mirror the one above though.

RESULT:   Liverpool   0-5      FC Porto-potty.  Wow.

  1. Santos vs. León – Liga MX

Noob’s leaning toward León of late, for having signed American legend Landon Donovan midyear.  But apparently the move isn’t helping much on defense.  They may be in 6th, but teams are putting up pinball-numbers on them.  Santos is in 4th, and should hold serve at home.

RESULT:   Santos   5-1

Image result for Landon Donovan Leon

 

 

Es ella la domadora de leones?

  1. Independiente vs. Grêmio – Recopa Sudamericana

Wait, Noober – we know about Copa Sudamericana, but what in tarnation is this?

A fair question.  But don’t you think “Noober” is a little informal?  I am Noob!

The Management:   To whom are you even “talking”?

Write checks and stay quiet.  I’m the talent here.

The Management:  Using that term a little loosely, aren’t you, Noobstra-dumbass?

That hurts me to my core.   Hush now.

Anyway!   Last year’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana champions play a two-legged tie for a trophy.  Why?   Because they’re shiny, and soccer players are like squirrels.  *nod*  The Argentinian side hosts Leg One.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Kashima Antlers vs. Shanghai Shenhua – AFC Champions League

Asian teams are playing their first games of the Group Stage in their C.L.

Kashima are the two-time defending J1 League champions.  Shenhua qualified by virtue of winning China’s FA Cup.  They really overachieved in that, given that they only managed to finish 11th of 16 teams in the Super League.  The Antlers are about to mess up their s—stuff.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for japan mess you up funny

 

 

NO clue.

But now MY stuff is certainly messed up.

  1. Shkëndia vs. Vardar Skopje – Macedonia First Football League

UEFA only rates this league #37 of 55 leagues on the continent.  So why bother?  It’s #1 versus #B!   Noob endeavors to never ignore such.  And though we be Noob and Noobite, we will broaden our footyball horizons even as we learn about the biggest and closest-to-home leagues.

These two have scored more than any other four teams in this league.  And the hosts are responsible for far more than their fair share of that.  Still, they only lead Vardar by six points in the table, with over 1/3 of the season to go.  And the visitors have the best defense, if not by leaps and bounds.

RESULT:   1-1

Honorable Mention:    Either of the two Copa Libertadores qualification matches today

Thursday, 2/15

  1. Östersunds vs. Arsenal – Europa League

Europe’s second-most prestigious international tournament enters its Round of 32 now.  The eight third-place Group Stage clubs from Champions League get booted down to join the two dozen 1st and Bth (second, if you must) -place finishers in the Knockout Round.

Swedish Ostersunds qualified by winning their FA Cup, just as Arsenal did.  English football is a weeee bit tougher.  Arsenal 1-3 seems proper, unless they don’t go full-bore here, try saving their energies for Premier League.

RESULT:   Arsenal   0-3

Dan the Intern-o Inferno and resident Swede-ophile, when asked for comment on this match, said he fervently hopes chicken boom boom will be available at the concessions.

Honorable Mention:   Any of the 14 other Europa League matches, Copa Libertadores qualification and Copa Sudamericana matches, Esperance/Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)

’10 to Track’ soccer games for weekend! 2/3-4: post-Deadline Premier League leads the way

“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”  Globetrotting Friday was sweet.  But now we can get downright bacchanalian on the weekend’s ten most worthwhile matches for us, the newish American fans!

Tip of the day:  Check back to any previous T2T to see the post-match results.

Saturday, 2/3

  1. Arsenal vs. Everton – English Premier League

Noob normally avoids getting in the weeds on specific players.  We are Noob and Noobite, and our focus for newish American fans like us here is teams and leagues.  But —

Trade/Transfer Deadline Day just passed in England, and #6 Arsenal made two big moves.  They picked up offensive superstar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for a massive pile of money.  Noob gathers there was also some question as to whether they would hold onto star Mesut Ōzil.  They did.

6th place is only good for maybe qualifying for Europa League.  They’ve fallen six points behind Noob-reviled Tottenham  Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur for 5th, a slot which would guarantee them that berth.  They’re eight points out of 4th place and a Champions League invite.  Will their new acquisition be enough to get them over the hump?  They should at least be able to keep 9th-place Everton’s weak offense muffled.

RESULT:   Arsenal   5-1

OTOH, some of us don’t want to get over the hump…

B.  Monterrey vs. Leon – Liga MX

In the Apertura half of the 2017-18 season, these two finished #B and #7 respectively.  A few games into the Clausura, they’re in 1st and 8th.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

RESULT:   Monterrey   5-1

Image result for hip hop letter B

 

 

Old school!   Graffiti font Number B.

  1. FC Porto vs. Braga – Primeira Liga

Portugal’s top league has slipped just enough in the FIFA rankings that they lost a Champions League berth, so now only get two teams in.

Porto is #B right now, but have played one less game than 1st-place Sporting and only trail them by a point.  Defending league champ Benfica are hot on their heels, just two points back.  4th place-Braga will remain such to the end, Europa-bound.

Honorable mention today:  Borussia M’Gladbach vs. RB Leipzig, Sampdoria vs. Torino, Eibar vs. Sevilla, Benfica vs. Rio Ave

RESULT:   Porto   3-1

Sunday, 2/4

  1. Liverpool vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – English Premier League

First Liverpool traded their offensive superstar.  Now at the Deadline they’ve been woefully outbid by a bottom-rung team (West Brom) for their own star defender.

Liverpool is tied in the table for 3rd/4th with Chelsea, and the traitorously-named Hotspur club just two points behind them.  Since it’s the top four that get into Champions League, it may not be unfair to say this is the most interesting and perhaps important match of the year so far.

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for cross Fat Conductor

 

 

Would you be less cross with Noob if I paid compliment on your pocket square?

  1. UNAM Pumas vs. UANL Tigres – Liga MX

UNAM finished last in the Apertura, but look at the Pumas now!  Sure, it’s just four games into the Clausura, but tied for 1st is shiny just the same.  Los Tigres finished 2nd, but are in 6th now, have had a tough defensive start to the second half.

RESULT:   UNAM   2-0

  1. AS Monaco vs. Lyon – Ligue 1

Monaco is in 4th, on the outside looking in for a Champions League berth.  But they’re only a single point behind #B’s Lyon and Marseille.

Lyon just lost 3-1 to Bordeaux, a missed opportunity to create some space for themselves.  But they beat Monaco 2-3 in the Coupe de France just over a week ago.  Noobstradamus knows the limits of his prognosticating power, is staying clear of all this madness.

RESULT:   Monaco   3-2

Image result for Noobstradamus

 

 

Wouldn’t touch this one with a 10-meter baguette.

  1. Atlético Madrid vs. Valencia – La Liga

Atlético is #B and has enough points to feel safe in their Champions League quest, as the top four Spanish clubs get invited.

Valencia is in 3rd, and it’s a good bet that defending league champ Real Madrid will right their ship soon and pass them.  Can Valencia stay clear of Villareal would be the real question.

RESULT:   Atletico   1-0

  1. Club Brugge vs. Sporting Charleroi – Belgium First Division A

The top six teams here make the league championship playoffs.  Club Brugge have all but won the league already.  Will Charleroi be able to hang on to #B and the other bye in the playoffs?  Anderlecht trail them by just a point in the table.

RESULT:   3-3

Image result for hang on funny

 

This is so close to feeling relevant.

And yet so far…

  1. Macabbi Tel Aviv vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva – Israeli Premier

Same deal in Israel as in Belgium – top six make the league playoffs.  #B hosts league #1.  Can Tel Aviv hold off Beitar Jerusalem for a bye?   They are about identical to Be’er Sheva in record and stats, so should hold serve today at least.

RESULT:   Tel Aviv   1-0

  1. San Lorenzo vs. Boca Juniors – Superliga Argentina

We finish strong, Noobites!  Three in a row where a #B faces off against  numero uno.   They’re not much more than a dozen games into the season there, but Juniors are already starting to get some distance from the field, and their goal differential proves it can last.  Unstoppable offense.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for unstoppable funny

 

 

Grabber-armed t-rex returns!

 

 

 

 

Honorable Mention matches:   Augsburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, Udinese vs. AC Milan, Olympiacos vs. AEK Athens, Plateau United vs. Sunshine Stars

’10 to Track’, weekend edition – hating Hotspur, exalting Amuricuh

Saturday, 1/20

1.  Burnley vs. Manchester United – English Premier League

How are Burnley still in 7th?   They haven’t won a match since 12/12.  Man Utd may be in comfortable shape at #2, but even if they come in relaxed they should house Burnley in front of their own fans.

RESULT:   Man Utd   0-1

Image result for soccer losing funny

 

 

Burnley will try anything to end this skid…

B.  Cruz Azul vs. Leon – Liga MX

Leon is one of only two teams to win their first two Clausura (second half-season) matches.  Cruz Azul is just behind them at 1-1-0.  If Leon can shore up their defense some, they have the offense to stay up in the table.  These two finished 6th and 7th respectively in the Apertura (first half-season).

This game will have America’s attention, as Leon just signed all-time great Landon Donovan out of retirement.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Coleraine vs. Crusaders – Northern Irish Premier League

Yellowman for everyone!   It’s #2 v #1 and Noob brings the celebratory snacks.   It’s also best defense versus best offense.  Semiprofessional league or not, this is the best matchup today.

RESULT:   3-3    Crusaders had this one in hand 3-1 when they went down to ten men after a red card.

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Like honeycomb, but more Northern Irish-y

 

 

Sunday, 1/21

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Freedom survey, Amuricuh–

Hot or horrifying?

RESULT:   5-1    USA      And horrifying.

  1. USA vs. Denmark – women’s international friendly
  2. Santos vs. Morelia – Liga MX

Santos finished way down in the Apertura standings, courtesy of an astonishing nine draws.   They only play 17 matches each half season.

In Noob’s book, the Monarchs of Morelia can stow it.   Mexico has no kings or queens.   You’re a federal republic.  Get it together and make some sense!  But I’m just warming up…

RESULT:   Santos   1-0

  1. Southampton vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – English Premier League

Southampton are just one spot out of the Relegation Zone.   Here’s to hoping they can improve on that, since that would be done by beating loathsome Hotspur!

They should never have made Tottenham namesake Harry “Hotspur” Percy a Knight of the Garter.   He was a traitorous villain and cretinous yahoo to boot.  Scorn!  Bile and vitriol!

RESULT:   1-1

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Dan “the Intern-o Inferno” thinks a chill, roller skating turtle can quell Noob’s rage?

  1. Lyon vs. Paris-Saint Germain – Ligue 1

PSG may have nearly a double-digit lead on the pack, but this match is HYOOJ.

Lyon is in 3rd, in line for France’s last 2018 Champions League berth.  They’re nipping at Marseille’s heels for #2, which would allow them to skip a CL qualifying round and enter right into the Group Stage.  But in turn, underachieving AS Monaco is breathing down their necks.

RESULT:   Lyon   2-1

  1. Inter Milan vs. AS Roma – Serie A

The top two in Italy have all but bronzed their Champions League berths.  These two and Lazio are battling it out for the last two CL spots.

5th place Roma hasn’t shown the offense to move up, but Inter aren’t tons better in that regard.  This may end up a defensive slog, but it will be a highly-competitive one.

RESULT:   1-1

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Signore grasse italiane abbronzate

What’s Italian for “ewww”.

  1. Antwerp vs. Club Brugge – Belgium First Division A

Brugge already have enough points to qualify for the end-of-season six-team league Championship Playoff.  Antwerp is in 4th, fighting for seeding.  They lead KAA Gent by just two in the table.  Even at home, they’ll be doing well to even earn a draw here.

RESULT:   2-2      Antwerp blew this one.   Brugge got their goals in the last two minutes.

  1. APOEL Nicosia vs. AEK Larnaca – Cypriot First Division

With seven games to go, APOEL has already guaranteed themselves a spot in the postseason league championship playoffs.  But there are three teams not far off their pace, so they’ll be playing hard to maintain #1 seed.

Larnaca is tied for 2nd, and in a dogfight.   APOEL is better on both sides of the ball, but Noob’s still predicting that when all the kicking is done, Larnaca will have that #2 seed.   They have too much offense for their current peers to keep up.

RESULT:   APOEL   3-1

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Despite Noob’s best efforts, I’m not sure we can count on Anthony Edwards-intervention here.

’10 to Track’ for Friday, 1/12 — from Liga MX to…Myanmar??

TGIGF!    Noob always endeavors to Track with Noobites the ten most important soccer games from around the world.  On Fridays, our perspective – that of the newish American soccer fan – has to be broadened.

The “big” leagues are gearing up for their weekend slates.  But we never rest!  We start with locales more known, but then whisk away to all parts of the planet.  Come, it’s a footyball adventure.

  1. Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich – Bundesliga

How dominant is Munich?   4th-place Leverkusen haven’t lost since September 20 and yet trail the league leaders by 13 points in the table.

This match is still really important despite Munich’s unstoppability.   Four teams get berths into the next Champions League, and Leverkusen is actually tied with two other teams for that last one.

RESULT:   Munich   1-3

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But could Bayern contend with T-Rex with attached grabber-arms?

B.  Tijuana vs. Necaxa – Liga MX

Neither of these two made the league postseason Liguilla for the Apertura (first half).  They’ll both be looking to capitalize on not starting off the Clausura against a league powerhouse.   Based on recent results, this should be perhaps the closest Tracked match of the day.

RESULT:   Tijuana   1-0

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You creep Noob out, Number Two.   

Bring on Number B.

  1. Sheffield United vs. Sheffield Wednesday – EFL Championship

Noob’s been referring to this as the “English Championship League”, but this seems to be more correct for the second-tier league there.

7th vs. 16th might not always catch Noob’s wandering football eye, but intracity rivalries always have a certain cache.  Plus, 3rd through 6th place play off at season’s end to determine a team that gets promoted to Premier.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Real Oviedo vs. Rayo Vallecano – Segunda B

In Spain’s second division, we get two teams that are vying to be promoted.  Just like in EFL Championship, the top two automatically move up, and the next four determine one more with a playoff.  These two are in 3rd and 5th respectively.

Fun Fact:  The city of Oviedo was featured in the Woody Allen movie “Vicki Cristina Barcelona”.

RESULT:   2-2      had the home and away sides turned around

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Noob may stand alone, but Woody Allen’s worst received movie – “Cassandra’s Dream” – was his best.

  1. Fortuna Sittard vs. Jong Ajax – Eerste Divisie

Only one club in the Netherlands’ second division gets promoted to top-flight Eredivisie, and right now that’s Sittard.  By a point.  Ajax’s reserve squad is in 3rd, ineligible for promotion.

RESULT:   Sittard   2-1

  1. Al-Wasl vs. Al-Ain – Arabian Gulf League

Why U.A.E.?  One of the best leagues in the region.  And these two are tied for 1st place.

In addition to getting the best seeding of all teams entering the next AFC Champions League from this country, the winner will also make the next Club World Cup as the nation-host representative.

RESULT:   Al-Ain   1-3

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Why else U.A.E.?

  1. Al Ahed vs. Al Shabab Al Arabi – Lebanon Premier

Al Ahed only lead Al Nejmeh by a single point in the table for 1st place.  The defending champs should have little trouble against second-to-last place Shabab.

RESULT:   Al Ahed   1-0

  1. Senglea Athletic vs. Lija Athletic – Maltese Premier

These two were promoted from the second division last year.  Lija’s going right back down.  They get outscored by nearly a 3:1 pace.  Senglea’s only a few spots up the table, but clear of the Relegation Zone at least.

RESULT:   Senglea   2-0

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  1. Zwekapin United vs. Shan United – Myanmar National League

Welcome to the Track, Myanmar!

The season is just getting going here.  Shan Utd. are the defending champions, while Zwekapin finished 8th last year.

Fun Fact:  Though it developed in Sri Lanka, the majority of Kayin State’s (where Zweakpin is) people are Theravada Buddhists.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Al Ahli vs. Al Gharafa – Qatar Stars League

8th place hosts 6th here.

Fun Fact:  Al Ahli is one of eight teams from Doha, Qatar.  They only share their stadium, though, with one other top-flight team (Al-Sailiya).

RESULT:   Al Gharafa   1-2

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Qatari camel racing at Al Shahniya.

Is making them try and beat cars fair?  Dammit, PETA!

Ten To Track (8/5/2017)

Hello, and welcome to what will be the start of an exciting, shared educational football adventure.  Even though I’m new to soccer and, yes, American, I can tell you what games around the world are important to watch.  And so much more.  No autobiographical foreplay, that will come in time.  Let’s just push in soccer balls deep.

1. Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution – MLS

Why? Amuricuh, that’s why!

2. Leon vs. Cruz Azul – Liga MX

It’s the least-crappy looking match, and The Management can actually watch some of these league matches on TV.

3. San Francisco vs. New York Cosmos – NASL

The SF Deltas will one day rule the Tier Two landscape! They are an adopted team of Avis and The Management. The Management may not feel similarly, but I will persuade The Management, despite my utter lack of leverage.

4. Saint Louis vs. Swope Park Rangers – USL

Rumor has it The Management used to do stuff at non-soccer stuff at Swope Park. Another adopted Tier Two team.

5. North Carolina Courage vs. Seattle Reign – NWSL

If the Lifetime Network not only airs but buys ownership stake in a league, the Noob is following. Even if he’s wondering if the halftime show will still vilify men in some cheaply dramatic way.

6. Kashima Antlers vs. Vissel Kobe Japanese (blow) – J-League

Japan is a league I’m highlighting for reasons The Management may or may not wish to make clear in time.

7. Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich – German Super Cup

At Dortmund. They probably call this something other the other than “German Super Cup”, even in translation. I’ve learned Super Cups in various nations match up the previous season’s top flite league winner with the last Football Association Cup winner. Given that this is a lead-in match for the regular season, I honestly have no clue if these teams will care, play anything but third stringers. But it’s Super!

8. Benifica vs. Guimares – Portuguese Super Cup

In Aveiro (neutral). See #7. I also like the city name. Portuguese tends to invert the I before E-rule I grew up with in the greatest nation on Earth, so I find that exotic and sexy.

9. Feyenoord Rotterdam vs. Vitesse – Dutch Super Cup

@ Feyenoord. The Dutch also have cool vowel clumpings. So hawt.

10. Kaizer Chiefs vs. SuperSport – MTN 8 Cup

Looks like a South African knockout tournament similar to MLS Cup, but I don’t know if it determines their league championship or if it’s more of a stand-alone. Because I’m noooob!

But I still know a sweet Kaiser Chiefs jam:

The Angry Mob – Kaiser Chiefs