Noob’s on vacation in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. Noobites will want to scroll back a Track or two to get extra details on some tournaments and leagues.
Otherwise, it’s keep calm and carry on with the footyball mini-previews!
Barcelona vs. AS Roma – International Champions Cup
Roma got clocked by Arsenal in their first ICC match. Barcelona beat Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur in penalties after regulation went 2-2. Smart money would therefore be on Barcelona to come out on top today in Arlington, though smarter money would stay un-wagered to begin with. ICC is just glorified friendlies, after all.
RESULT: Roma 2-4
B. Tapachula vs. Atletico de San Luis – Copa MX
When it comes to FA Cups, Noob’s always on the lookout for Minnow, underdogs. Both these clubs are from Mexico’s second-tier league – Ascenso MX.
Tapachula finished 8th in the last Clausura (second half-season) standings, only qualifying for the Liguilla (postseason tournament) by virtue of beating out the 9th-place team deep on tiebreakers. Yet on they went to win it!
San Luis finished just 10th, struggling on offense. This will be a particularly interesting matchup because Tapachula excels on offense only.
Here’s a dolphin and Number B excelling at their own sport.
FC Sheriff Tiraspol vs. FK Shkendija – UEFA Champions League
This is the Second Qualifying Round – still a ways to go before the Group Stage, where purists say the event proper really begins.
These two were last season’s champions from the 38th and 34th-ranked leagues in UEFA. Shkendija – out of Macedonia – won the first match of this two-legged tie 1-0. Either they or the Moldovan domestic league champions will advance to the Third Q.R. to play Red Bull Salzburg out of Austria.
RESULT: 0-0 And so Shkendija advances on aggregate
Arsenal vs. Chelsea – International Champions Cup
Premier League is just a couple weeks from kicking off, and here we get something of a preview.
These are two clubs that had disappointing league seasons last year. In this event, Arsenal have lost in penalties to Barcelona and destroyed Paris Saint-Germain. Chelsea have played just one of their three matches, losing in penalties to Inter Milan. Today’s match is in Dublin. (3:00 PM, ESPN2)
RESULT: Arsenal 1-1 / 6-5 pk
Noob neither has nor needs a reason.
Orange County vs. Portland Timbers II – United Soccer League
With MLS on All-Star break, we shift our gaze to America’s second division.
There’s a widening gap in the Western Conference between the top five and the rest of the pack. Orange County are in a three-way tie for 3rd, while Portland are one of the best of the rest in 6th. Top eight will make the Playoffs.
It’s Timbers II’s defense that keeps them from breaking into the upper echelon. Noob thinks they’ll make the playoffs, but as the bottom seed, not 6th.
Midtjylland vs. Astana – UEFA Champions League
The Second Qualifying Round rolls along. Noob’s selected this one to feature for the competitiveness.
Denmark’s second-best club is probably just an even match on their own pitch against Kazakhstan’s top club. Astana won the first match in tie two-legged tie 2-1. The winner will next face Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia’s top entrant.
RESULT: 0-0 Onward and upward for Astana
Denmark – where you can sleep in a giant beer can.
Akwa United vs. Lobi Stars – Nigeria Pro League
Hello, Nigerian Pro League, it’s been a while! Have you lost a little weight? You look sensational.
This league has been ranked #12 in Africa, the lowest spot that still allows the club to qualify two clubs to the CAF Champions League. The rankings for next year’s competitions have already come out and Nigeria will have fallen a little.
So this year so far, these are the two clubs in line for CL berths, #1 and #B in the table. But the table is tight at the top. The teams tied for 3rd are just three points out of Bth , and two more are just a point below them. Noob thinks Kano Pillars may be the best team in the league, will jump one of these two if they quit getting so darn many draws.
8. Zapatepec vs. Cruz Azul – Copa MX
Last Clausura, Zapatepec finished fourth in Ascenso MX. Trouble on both sides of the ball, yet perhaps their success is of guts and grit. Cruz Azul finished in 12th in Liga MX.
Noobstradamus hasn’t been divining a great deal of late, and so his vision was a bit cloudy. Look a for at least a tie and perhaps even a full-on upset by the home side.
RESULT: Cruz Azul 2-3
Cloudy? I never used that word. I am the all-seeing Noobstradamus!
(Maybe I said “murky…”)
U.S.A. vs. Brazil – Tournament of Nations
This four-team event has it’s third and final pair of matches in the round robin today, this time taking their tour to Chicagoland. The standings don’t matter, as this is a stand-alone set of friendlies. But they’ve carried a little more weight than some (I.C.C.) since these are something of a tuneup for the 2019 women’s World Cup.
U.S.A. and Australia are in a dead heat for 1st, Brazil just a point behind them. Aus could sneak in and take home the trophy today, as they have 0-2 Japan today.
RESULT: U.S.A. 4-1
Ah Ahly vs. Ismaily – Egyptian Premier League
Al Ahly absolutely wrecked this league last year, and this is the best league on the continent by far. Lots of teams in the world carry the name “Ahly”, but this is the one to know. Ismaily finished a distant #B in 2017-18. This is the first match of the new season for both.
RESULT: 1-1 Mo Sherif got a goal for the hosts at 90′ to salvage a draw.
So long from Cairo, where Noob will be hitting the Khan Al Kahili Bazaar after the match.