Noob is travelling 600 miles for a wedding this weekend. Yet how many frequent miles are we going to collect trotting the globe for our footyball fix today? So, so many more.
We start the Ten today close to home, then flit away to soccer hinterlands!
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LAFC – MLS
So far it looks like MLS’ one expansion team this season – LAFC – is fortunate to be a Western Conference club. The East looks much stronger. Still, being a shiny new team and having made the biggest signing of the season gets their game the #1 slot in today’s Track.
Despite finishing 3rd in their conference last season, Vancouver looked merely average last season. This season the number seems similar, yet there they are in #B (though it’s early).
RESULT: LAFC 0-2
B. Philadelphia Union vs. Orlando City – MLS
Your MLS undercard is two teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year. Orlando, at least, are playing better this young season, in the top six. Philly isn’t scoring or allowing much, and the strategy isn’t working for them so far.
But remember! The most important thing is to never, ever root for a Swamp City team. Looking at you, Orlando. In the words of the philosophy’s founder, The Management: “Orlando is a giant strip mall raised out of the swamp by a bunch of mice-men.”
We look forward to your comments, central Floridians! (8:00 PM, ESPN)
RESULT: Orlando 0-2
Get to higher ground – like Georgia. Can root for Atlanta Utd. then at least.
Tijuana vs. Guadalajara – Liga MX
Guadalajara just advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League final a couple nights ago. Yet they’re only in 15th in Liga MX. While only three points out of eighth and a postseason playoff (Liguilla) berth, they just have too many teams to jump in their last three matches.
Tijuana are in a three-way tie for 7th. They’re the best of those three. Plus, it will be interesting to see of the Quad Squad doesn’t rotate some back-ups in, save up for the first leg of the CCL Final in four days. (10:00 PM, Univision Deportes)
RESULT: Tijuana 3-0
Hamrun Spartans vs. Lija Athletic – Malta Premier
Historically strategic militarily? You betcha! Soccer powerhouse? Well… the league ranks 47 out of 55 in Europe. Yet this is why we trot the globe.
Malta’s top league has been dominated by three teams through the years. These ain’t them. Hamrun are a middling team. Lija will be trotting back down to the country’s second division forthwith. They’ve won just one game all season.
Fun Fact: Longtime Spartan Stefan Sultana is the league’s all-time leading scorer, with 252 goals.
His stare and jawline are responsible for 159 of the goals.
Gjilani vs. Feronikeli – Kosovo Super League
Kosovo’s is UEFA’s newest league. They rank last, technically because they just haven’t accumulated any international play-points. It’s still probably realistic. Let’s get to know the new neighbors!
Drita lead the league. While not running away with it, they’re only very close competition is Prishtina, which is the best club from the former Yugoslavian league to play in Kosovo’s. These two featured today are 7th and 5th-place.
Fun Facts: The city Gjilan has a pop. of over 50,000 and over 90,000 in the municipality. Their stadium seats an impressive 10,000.
Ismaily vs. Al Masry – Egypt Premier
Africa’s highest-ranked league sports a fine matchup today. #B hosts #4 in a battle for the league’s second CAF Champions League berth. (Historic powerhouse Al Ahly has already claimed 1st place).
Ismaily is eight points up on their guests, but only six up on the team in between. They’ve not lost since mid-February. Al Masry has only lost twice since 2018 began.
One of Ismaily’s club nicknames is “The Mango”.
Maybe not the Chris Kattan-Mango…
Al Anwar vs. Al Hilal – Libya Premier
Libya’s top league is ranked 14th, and that’s not awful. The top dozen earn two invites to CL. The league is divided into four Groups for much of the season. The winners of each will play off to determine who earns berths into CL and Confederation Cup (Africa’s version of Europa League).
They’re only a few games into their season, but Hilal are #B and just three points out of 1st. Anwar is 4th, doesn’t seem to score enough to look like a threat.
Guangzhou Evergrande vs. Shangahi Shenhua – Chinese Super League
Time for Asia’s #1 league! The season there is just five games old. Last year’s champ, Evergrande, is #B. Shenhua is an interesting case. They only finished 11th last year, yet won the country’s FA Cup. Currently they are in 4th.
Tak Chun Ka I vs. CPK – Macau Liga de Elite
Macau is a tiny little city near Hong Kong, an autonomous region in and of China. Well, tiny in geographic size. It’s 650,000 residents make it the most densely-populated place in the world. Their league is ranked #35 out of 46 in Asia. These are the #5 and #B teams in their young season.
Fun Fact: Ka I won the league three straight years, 2012-14.
Safa vs. Al Akhaa Al Ahli – Lebanon Premier
We finish the Track with the #21 league in Asia. These two are 3rd and 4th-place, respectively. They’re both way behind the top two in the table.
Fun Fact: Safa are the club supported by the Druze ethno-religious of the country. Theirs is a faith that descents from a branch of Islam, though is not generally thought of as Islamic.
RESULT: AAAA 1-2
A flowchart from druzenet