’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – eep! #11, too – USL Final

Midweek Edition – time to slow down, tease out ten most important matches, for us – the newish American fans of the global game – over three days.  Think of it as a soccer slow jam, if you will.   Listen to a 90’s R&B fave whilst you read.

OK, or maybe not.  That got weird.  Again.

Tuesday and Wednesday matches and results are further down.

More Thursday

11.  Louisville FC vs. Phoenix Rising – United Soccer League

Good LAWD!   You’d think Noob would learn a lesson.  I tend to scout out matches for Track inclusion five days in advance.    This FINAL  Amuricuh didn’t appear on my primary sched source because it doesn’t do TBD.  Phoenix played their Semfinal  four days ago.

But that’s the reason, not an excuse.  And at least it can be rectified now, hours before kickoff.

Louisville are the defending tournament champions.  In the Eastern Conference this year, they finished #B, well behind MLS-bound FC Cincinnati.  They get to host this one-off final.  No return to leg to Phoenix, this is it.    Phoenix Rising look becomes Phoenix Risen with an upset win.   Noob says upset because they finished 3rd in the West.

Phoenix conceded far fewer goals than many other Western clubs – including those that made the playoffs.  But they don’t play any better on that end than L’ville, and their hosts have more firepower.  Noob smells a title decided by penalty kicks, but on paper this is advantage reigning champs.   (8:00 PM, ESPN2).

RESULT:   Louisville    1-0        Hail to the champions!

Image result for close call soccer gif

 

Noob’er with the save!

 

If barely…

 

 

Thursday

  1. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer playoffs

The Conference Semifinals continue!  This is the second match of a two-legged tie.

The five-seed Portland won the first match 2-1 at their place.  This broke #B Seattle’s five-match win streak.  Noob has suggested this was a bad matchup for Portland.  Seattle’s offense had been playing their best ball of the season and defense is where Portland had often struggled.

That Timber defense did just enough to win.  Now we get to see if they can hold up on the road.  If they had a weakness, is up the middle some.  Expect to see Seattle run at defender New Zealander Bill Poni Tuiloma to try and get to and through veteran keeper Jeff Attinella.   (10:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Seattle   3-2       And they don’t use away-goals as a tiebreaker.  Still, congrats to Portland!   They won 6-8 on penalty kicks.

  1. Portugal vs. U.S.A. – women’s international friendly

The FIFA #1-ranked ladies head to Lisbon to face the 33rd-ranked team in the world.   They’ve only ever met six times and the U.S. has won all the matches.

With a win today, the USWNT will have it’s 500th-ever program win since forming in 1985.  They should get it by a goal or two, even on the road.   (1:00 PM, ESPN2)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-1

Image result for America gif funny

 

Murican treasure Danny McBride is revved up for the game.

  1. Argentina vs. Panama – Women’s World Cup qualification playoff

Panama finished the CONCACAF World Cup qualification tournament in 4th place.  Only the top three finishers gained entry.  But Panama gets one last shot.  Like their men’s national team counterparts did last year, if the women get in, this will be their first WC ever.

Argentina finished 3rd in the Copa American Feminina, a South American tournament held once every four years.  The top two finishers qualified for WC.

This playoff is a two-legged tie, so they’ll play again on 11/13.  The teams are ranked #66 and #37 in the world, respectively.  Given the oft-seeming lack of parity in the women’s game, that difference is mammoth.  Expect Panama to win on the road outright.

RESULT:   Argentina   4-0     

Honorable Mention:   Congrats to Platense, winners of the Honduran Copa Presidente!   Noob was going to preview this match, but it was played yesterday.  My scouting had shown it slated for today.

  1. Vidi vs. PAOK – Europa League

Good thing Noob keeps back-up matches handy for such occasions.

This is Europe’s second-most prestigious international club tournament.  The Qualifying Rounds are done and the “event proper” – the Group Stage – is halfway complete.

Clubs have been divided into Groups of four each, playing double round robins.  Top two finishers in each will advance to the Knockout Stage.  And remember, the winner of the whole shebang gets an auto-pass into next year’s Champions League.

There are a slew of matches today.   Noob’s highlighting this Group L match because of how things sit in the table.  Chelsea have won all three of their matches and will not be caught.  But all three other teams are tied!

MOL Vidi qualified for the Champions League by being last year’s Hungarian top-flite winners.  They were knocked out in one of the later qualifying rounds by AEK Athens, and so have been dropped into this tournament.

PAOK were Greece’s runners-up last season.  They also qualified for Champions League, falling one win shy of making the Group Stage there.  Portugal’s Benfica housed them.

On paper, PAOK are the favorites by a fair bit.   They play out of UEFA’s 14th-ranked league compared to Hungary’s at #33.  In terms of Elo rating, the Greeks are 100 points more highly-rated.  They should probably win 5/8 of the time on a neutral pitch.

But this ain’t no neutral pitch.  More, Vidi won the first matchup in Greece, 0-2.

RESULT:   Vidi   1-0

Image result for harold and kumar at white castle

 

One of Noob’s dream’s is to own a White Castle in Vidi’s home city of Szekesfehevar.

It translates, of course, to “white castle”.

 

Wednesday

  1. CSKA Moscow vs. Roma – UEFA Champions League

Today’s slate of CL games may not quite match up with yesterday’s matches.   But Group G may be about to turn into a super-tight race if the home team

CSKA-Moscow were the runners-up in the Russian Premier League.  This is a stronger league than many realize, ranked #6 by UEFA.  They’re in 3rd, but just two points behind their visitors today and Real Madrid.

That all said, Roma are a lot better.  They finished 3rd in last year’s Serie A (#3 in UEFA).  Noob-fave for Elo ratings footballdatabase.com is back up, indicates a pretty be gulf between the two.  Even on the road, Roma should win this by goal or two.  The Soviet side just doesn’t score enough.

Roma won the first Group Stage matchup with CSKA-M 3-0.

RESULT:   Roma   1-2

Image result for funny Russian sportsCome to Moscow for the surprisingly decent soccer. 

Stay for the chessboxing.  Yep.

  1. Plaza de Amador vs. Costa del Este – Panama National League

One of Central America’s stronger leagues?   Nope.   Getting to know all our CONCACAF neighbors just the same?  Aww yeeeah.

One last round of matches and the Apertura is complete.   Noob’s sources are in conflict, sio I reserve the right to correct this after the fact 😊   What I believe is that the top six clubs all make the postseason tournament.  The top two will get byes.

CdE can lead #B Tauro by three, others by four or more.  They can do no worse than #B and will get a bye.  They haven’t won any more matches than several other teams, but have earned a lot of draws and suffered only two losses.

PdA are in a three-way tie for 3rd, lead the other two on tiebreaking goal differential.  none of them can finish worse than 5th, so they’re qualified for the postseason.  This is the league’s Small Ball club – they appear to pack it in on defense and not score much themselves.

RESULT:       Noob has no idea.   It now appears this may have been a Copa match.  it may be that it ended 0-0.  Or it may have been cancelled.   The entire Copa may have been cancelled according to one source I saw.  *shrug*

  1. CD Aguila vs. Alianza – El Salvador Premier

El Sllllllllavadoooohhhhhrrrrrr!   Always am compelled to get that out of my system.

This is a bit stronger of a league.  Top eight of 12 make the Apertura postseason tournament.  Here, they have four more matches to go.

These are the #3 and #B clubs.   Aguila has almost no chance to catch Alianza, are playing to maintain their current table position.  This is a pretty well-balanced club, though perhaps a bit soft on defense.

Alianza are just a point behind #1 Santa Tecla.  They’re better than balanced.  A- defense and A++ offense.  Noob knows that’s not a real thing, but you get the idea.   They’re going to win the Apertura.

RESULT:   Alianza   1-2

Image result for el salvador gif

 

El Salvador Jr. – Mexican luchador.

Yeah,. Noob doesn’t get that, either.

 

Tuesday

  1. Napoli vs. Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League

It’s the most prestigious club competition in all world football, Europe’s championship.  The early “qualifying” rounds are long since done now and the biggest teams have joined the qualifiers here in the Group Stage.   Here, we have eight Groups of four clubs each. Top two finishers advance to the bracketed Knockout Stage.

This is where Noob very much takes liberty with the Track’s mission statement.   There are many CL matches today and nearly all are more “important” than any others anywhere.  But fans who want info on every single match aren’t typically here.   Noob and Noobite we be, and I will filter.

The most interesting match today appears to be this one.  Why?  Because PSG are really, really good.  They’re blowing away everyone at home in Ligue 1.

And they’re in 3rd in this Group.  The idea of them not advancing to the next Round is borderline unthinkable.  Yet with half the double round robin complete, they trail Liverpool by three as well as being a point behind Napoli.

Napoli – Italy’s Serie A runners-up – aren’t quite as good on paper, but not far behind.   If they can hold serve at home and get a win, that puts PSG in a bad way.

PSG has been scoring like crazy, will try to push the pace.  Napoli’s been relying on defense so far, so ball control midfield should determine who can control the pace.    (3:00 PM, TNT)

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for NBA on tnt crewNoob’s starting a petition to have the Charles & Co. do the Champions League!

Might be “turrible”, but so what.

B.  Pachuca vs. CF America – Liga MX Femenil

Three matches to go in the Apertura (first half-season).   These are Group One (of Two) #1 and #B.   Top four from each make the Liguilla (postseason tournament).  These two are already in, but Pachuca can pretty much wrap up the #1 seed with a win today.   They already have a three-point lead.

Both teams are very balanced, should maintain the top two seeds no matter how things go today.  #3 Toluca scores a ton but gives up too many to likely be a threat.

RESULT:   Pachuca   3-2

  1. Tigres UANL vs. Guadalajara – Liga MX Femenil

This is also a #1-#B matchup, but maybe not quite as dramatic.  UNAL lead the Guad Squad by seven.  A win would wrap up the top spot.

This is a bad matchup for the visitors.   They’re a touch better on defense, but can’t score compared to other top Group Two clubs.

RESULT:   Tigres   2-1

’10 to Track’ Saturday (11/3) soccer matches – USL playoffs, Liga MX, Premier League lead the way

Noob endeavors to both help us learn about American soccer and the sport from points around the globe, but also to make it weirdly funny throughout.

Saturdays are hardly devoid my inanity, but MAN are the matches but good.  USL playoffs, Liga MX, Premier League, and a bevy of #1-#B matches.

And resident prognosticator Noobstradamus pops in to share what he knows today!

  1. Orange County vs. Phoenix Rising – United Soccer League playoffs

It’s the Western Conference Final in America’s second division playoffs!

These were the West’s top two scoring clubs during the regular season, and they’ve scored a dozen goals between them in four postseason matches.   Look for a shootout, look for it on ESPN+ (10:00 PM EST).

Winners gets defending champs Louisville FC in the Final   Noob thinks the team with the better seed will host.  O.C. are #1, Phoenix #3.   LFC were #B in the East.

RESULT:   Phoenix   1-2

B.  Arsenal vs. Liverpool – English Premier League

Liverpool is one of the three remaining undefeated teams in the league.   Last year’s star Mo Salah isn’t scoring at nearly the record-breaking clip he did last year, and the goals aren’t being replace elsewhere.

This might be a game where they can break out, though.  Arsenal are in 4th, yet play shite for defense.   That may be hyperbolic.  But not by lots.

On a Noob note:  Tenured Noobites know the scorn I have for Tottenham  Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur.  Named for a two-time historical traitor.   And they name a club after him.  Heathens.

Arsenal is their primary rival.  Yet Noob doesn’t hold them in much higher esteem than any club Hotspur is playing on a given day.   Is Noob doing the soccer wrong?   You can comment on this Post or hit me up on Twitter – @SoccerNoobUSA.   (1:30 PM, NBC)

Image result for sir topham hatt cross

 

 

Interact with the Noob, or face the crossness

  1. Kashima Antlers vs. Persepolis – AFC Champions League

Time for another final!    This is the first match of a home and away two-legged tie.

Their domestic leagues are ranked closely together.   Japan’s J1 league is deeper than the Persian Gulf Pro League.  Noob would’ve guessed this meant the Iranians were to be favored.   But Noob’s fave site for Elo ratings (footballdatabase.com) is back up after a few scary days down.  It indicates these two are about perfectly equal.

Kashima play more quality competition.  But Persepolis plays fabulous defense.  Noob cannot handicap such an even-looking match!

It’s time to call on the prognostication powers of Ancient and All-Soccer Seeing Noobstradamus.

Image result for Noobstradamus

 

 

It’s strange when a vision takes hold, what seems clear and what is mist.  Even without the hanging scrolls dedicated to Takemikazuchi,  I would know this for Kashima Shinto Shrine.   

 

Kunii Zen’ya I were sparring in classic Kashima Shinryu fashion.  Our swords were appropriately thick bamboo, with large hilts.  The spiraling nature of the discipline’s movements had us starting and finishing in identical positions.  It was a dance, even as we strove to strike one another.

Motion and Stillness.  Origination and Manifestation.  We danced the beginnings of the Universe through the FiveFold laws.  Offense and Defense.  Emptiness and Reality.  Each pairing always as One, just as our whirring swords seems to be One as well.  Yin and Yang as One.  More clacking bamboo.

I let my concentration slip when one of the many birds on the torii we practiced under moved.  CLACK.  Kunii Zen’ya had perfect control of his weapon, specifically chose to strike a whip-fast blow to my sword-arm.  A lesson.  

I bent down to retrieve my own dropped sword when a scroll wafted down in front of me.  The bird had knocked it loose from its hanging, the distraction.

The Shinto teachers say birds are messengers of the gods.   The Scroll read, “Kashima 3, Persepolis 1.”

So shall it be, Noobites.  Unless it’s not.  That’s happened once or twice before.  Don’t bet the farm.   But that’s a true Vision.  Yeah.

RESULT:   Kashima   2-0           Well, got the winner and margin right, anyway.

4.  CF America vs. Toluca – Liga MX

CF America are finally on top of the Mexican top flite table.   Noob says “finally” because e they’ve only lost two matches, yet have been merely lurking just outside that position all Apertura (first half-season) long.   They’re tied with Santos on points, but ahead on tiebreaking goal differential.

Toluca are in 5th.   They were undefeated in September and looking like they could contend for the title until they dropped a 2-0 match to putrid Atlas to end the month.  They’re going to make the Liguilla (postseason, top eight-finish) just about no matter what happens these last three matches.  They’re base stats are nearly as good as CFA’s.

Perhaps Noob’s not allowing that Toluca simply fell asleep for what they thought would be a cakewalk with Atlas.  But with the half-seasons only being 17 matches each, I’d think teams would be on top of their s**t at all times.   (9:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Celtic vs. Hearts – Scottish Premiership

This isn’t one of Europe’s very strongest leagues, but they’re cracking the UEFA top 20 right now!  Also making this match intriguing is who’s #1 in the league right now.

In Noob’s admittedly brief time (a year and change doing this site), this league has always been about Celtic and Rangers.  And it may return to that again soon.  But for now, I’m enjoying seeing some new blood atop the table.  Thank you, Hearts.

Celtic are #B and will remain so no matter who this match turns out.  Both teams are well-balanced, but Celtic really are a shade better on both ends of the field.  At home, they should prevail, pull within a point of the league leaders.

RESULLT:   Celtic   5-0        Edsonne Edouard with a pair of scores

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

Brought to you by the Dept. of Redundancy Department, it’s First Division A-time!

Perhaps Noob should not mock so.  It is the #8 league in UEFA, after all.  And lookit!   They brought is a shiny #1 versus #B matchup.  I know just where to display these in my blog-home.

Brugge are your defending champions, but it’s Genk who are undefeated.  Both score an absolute of crapton of goals, far more than any other clubs in this league.  See if you can find yourself an internet stream for this one.  And if their commentary available, let Noob know if the Belgians also enjoy non-standard measurements like “crapton”.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for silly man gif

 

 

David Schwimmer has the right of it.

  1. Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Dynamo Kyiv – Ukraine Premier

No new blood atop the table here In the #8 league in Europe.  Yup!   And for being so awesome, they get two slots in the next Champions League.   Unless FC Olexandria continue to surprise, these two will be the recipients of those CL invites.

Donetsk lead #B D.K. by five.  Their 36 goals scored in just 13 matches is so outrageous Noob had to doublecheck.   That’s twice as many as D.K.

Dynamo Kiev do sport the league’s top defense, but barely.  Just above – you guessed it.   Donetsk.  But!  The Dynamo have beaten Donetsk in all three of their last matches.

RESULT:   Shakhtar   2-1        Come from behind win, with the winner being scored at 90′

  1. Atromitos vs. PAOK – Superleague Greece

last season, Atromitos finished 4th, just behind the historic “Big Three” in Greece.   That triumvirate is rarely cracked.  this season so far, They’re #B, and four points up on two of the giants.  Today, they host the other titan, current #1 PAOK, in a battle of the last two undefeated clubs here.

This league will get two CL berths.  Noob thinks the usual suspects are just to balanced to let an interloper like Atromitos stay there long.   Perhaps they can earn a draw at home today, keep the dream alive for another week or more.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for atromitos supporters riot

 

 

As always, the Vegas line on will their be rioting and police in gear to stop it is OFF.

  1. Astana vs. Kairat Almaty – Kazakhstan Premier

Our last leg here in Europe takes us down the table to a very average league, but one that is on the rise (#28).

This isn’t a terribly meaningful match, but the siren song of #1 vs. #B is too much for Noob.  The season is already almost done here.  Astana has wrapped up the title and K.A. are cemented at #B.   This is the way of things, at the very least of late, in Kazakhstan football.

RESULT:   Astana   3-2

  1. Guangzhou Evergrande vs. Shanghai SIPG – China Super League

We finish our Saturday Track with one more #1 versus #2.   China’s league gets the maximum two slots in the next Champions League, and these two are all but mathematically locked in.  And to no one’s surprise.  Perennial powerhouses.

But Evergrande only lead SIPG by two in the table, so the title is very much up for grabs!  And SIPG have beaten their guests today in three straight.  Neither team has lost since forever, except three weeks ago when SIPG beat G.E.

RESULT:    SIPG   4-5       SIPG Are now your league #1.    And did you know they have a player who simply goes by “Hulk”?

The Chen Clan's Academy.jpg

 

 

So long from Guangzhou!

The Chen Clan’s Ancestral Hall and folk art museum

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – an exhausted Noob says “mea culpa” for late Tuesday entry

Note:  Match previews and the usual inanity are now UP through Thursday.   And for Noob’s mea culpa, I have included two bonus match-previews.  Oh ho, you’re so welcome, interwebs!

Noob is human.  And so this is the latest into a day of matches I’ve ever posted a mini-previews.  16 hours on the job last night, I just couldn’t hold thoughts together long enough in last  night’s wee hours.

But this is a reason only, never an excuse.  If you’re interested and kind enough to be here, then Noob has happy obligation.

There were some interesting CAF Champions League matches earlier in the day.  Activate your Google powers to see how the end of the Group Stage of that event turned out.   Noob will pass on “previewing” them after the fact, start today with a match just in progress as I write.

  1. Bayern Munich vs. Chicago Fire – international friendly

Bayern are one of the best clubs in the world.  Chicago have been a line of port-o’-potties conflagration all MLS season.

Noob’s perfectly confused as to why this match is happening and at this time of season for both.  Bundesliga is just beginning and Chicago aren’t hoping to play up to this level of competition and suddenly become competent.  If they are, they are fools.   Let us not suffer such gladly.

RESULT:   Bayern   4-0

Image result for dumpster fire funnyNoob originally wrote “dumpster Fire” for the pun.

Noobites, never travel in a straight line.  And never settle 🙂

B.  Reno 1868 vs. Las Vegas Lights – United Soccer League

El Clasico.  El Trafico.  The Hudson River Derby.   Meet “The Gamblers Anonymous Derby”.  Help Noob in getting this one to catch on.

How?  Oh, I’ve no idea.

Reno are fighting for their playoff lives -tied for 6th – in the Western Conference.  Top eight will get to the postseason.  Clubs are really clumped in this part of the table.  Neither team has won in their last four outings.

RESULT:   Reno   2-1       Reno with the game-winner at 90′

Image result for letter B cartoon

 

Don’t you turn your back on Noob, Number B.  I made you!

Just because you didn’t like my derby name idea.   But I’m hurt, not angry.

  1. Tigres UANL vs. Morelia – Liga MX Femenil

Mexico’s women’s league plays two separate divisions.  These two are #B and #6 in theirs.

UANL is an offensive sight to behold.  Here in the early season goings, they’re averaging three goals per match.  Meanwhile, Morelia haven’t even managed to average one per contest.

RESULT:   Tigres   4-0

Wednesday

  1. D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union – Major League Soccer

Since all-time great English striker Wayne Rooney came over to D.C. well into the season, they’ve been climbing out of the basement of the Eastern Conference.  Now in 8th – two spots out of a playoff berth – they finally were beaten.  There’s no shame in losing to #B New York Red Bulls on the road.

Still, if United are to really make the postseason, they’re going to have to beat some actual playoff-caliber sides.  They didn’t have to over their win streak.  They get another shot at one today.

The Union are in 5th and achieved some space between themselves and Montreal and New England with a win against the latter last time out.  Those three are realistically the ones fighting for the East’s last two postseason slots.

Philly’s Jamaican keeper Andre Blake has led the team to two consecutive shutouts.  He’s been anything but consistent this season.  But if he can be now, Blake can lean on excellent right side of his back line and focus himself more on the left, they will make the Playoffs.   (8:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Philly   0-2       Charles Sapong with a goal and an assist

Image result for Andre Blake funny

 

“I beg of you, Noobites, how may I better keep goal and please you?”

  1. PAOK vs. Benfica – UEFA Champions League

Last year’s league runners-up meet for the second leg of their “Playoff Round” two-legged tie.  This is the last “qualification round” before the Group Stage, where the competition proper is said to really begin.

We Tracked the first match between this two.  PAOK went to Portugal, earned a 1-1 draw.  On paper, Benfica are the better side, coming from the stronger league.  But now they need to at least return the favor and earn a road draw of their own just to force penalty kicks.  And it can’t be just a scoreless draw, since PAOK scored at their place (away-goals being a tiebreaker).   (3:00 PM, Galavision)

RESULT:   Benfica   1-4

  1. Juarez vs. Toluca – Copa MX

The Apertura (first half-season) Cup tournament in Mexico chugs forward.  All the Liga MX teams and the ten best from the second-division Ascenso league have been playing double-Round Robins in their groups of three.  All the Group winners plus most of the runners-up will advance to the Knockout Stage.

Juarez are currently #B in the Ascenso, playing masterful defense.  This is their fourth and final match.  They’re unlikely to catch Tijuana and win the Group, but are very much alive to advance a a runner-up.

Toluca are in 8th in Liga MX right now.  The defense hasn’t been good, but the same has been true of nearly everyone there this season, strangely.  They’ve lost both their Copa Matches so far.  Still, if they wake up, they could storm back and advance as a runner-up.

Noob likes Juarez to kick the ball waaaaaay up into the air as early and often as possible, secure a low-scoring draw today.  That would eliminate Toluca.   (10:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   2-2      Amaury Escoto of Toluca with the match’s first and last goals.   The latter came at 90′, a few minutes after his team went down a man due to a red card.

  1. Jeonbuk vs. Suwon Bluewings – AFC Champions League

Fun Fact:   This is the second year in a row that the defending title-holders are not in the event.  Urawa Red Diamonds out of Japan did not qualify this year.  The year before, Jeonbuk were disqualified over match-fixing.  Nawteeeeee.

Today’s match if the first of a two-legged Quarterfinal tie.  Defending South Korean league champs Jeonbuk take on their league peers who finished in 3rd.  Jeonbuk have already mathematically wrapped up the 2018 league title as well.  Meanwhile, Suwon are in 4th, need a surge there to crack the top three and qualify for this event next year.

Noob thinks the home side today will win by two.  Anything short of that and it’s a moral victory for the Bluewings.

RESULT:   Suwon   0-3       Bluewings told Noob to stow it with talk of a moral victory – WOW!

Image result for The Situation abs

 

“Just say Urawa Red Diamonds and I’m -back-!

As #1 supporter and (unofficial) spokesman, it’s my job to jump out and point at my abs. 

I wish Urawa was better this year, getting Tracked.  I desire to remind people where the sushi still goes.”

The Situation, everyone!

  1. Barcelona SC vs. CSD Macara – Ecuador Serie A

Noob finished today’s portion of the Midweek Track with my addiction – #1 versus #B matchups!   It doesn’t matter that this isn’t Brazil or Argentina.  Top two-top flite matches – Noob wishes to mainline them.  Sweet, sweet footyball fixxxxxx.

In truth, it must be admitted Macara are unlikely to remain near the table’s top.  They’ve overachieved here early in the season, are really of just midtable ability.  That will become clearer today.  Barcelona are the best in the league on both sides of the ball.   (7:3o PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   1-1      Weird one.   Both teams lost players to red cards right at end of first half.

Image result for you can't handle the truth meme

 

 

Well, maybe not over Ecuadorian footyball.

 

Thursday

  1. Cuba vs. Bermuda – CONCACAF women’s World Cup qualification

Reminder:  This event is really the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.  It dually serves as WC quals.  And then they pass the savings on to YOU, Noobites.

Five teams from the Caribbean Zone survives the first round of qualifying, winning their pods.  Now those are battling in one single Group, out of which the top three will advance.  They’ll play a single round robin.  All matches are in Jamaica.

Cuba’s offense last stage was only exceeded by Trinidad and Tobago.  They’re in 3rd after two matches in this Round.   Bermuda’s only played once, an 0-4 loss to Jamaica. They didn’t exactly wow anyone last Round, with just a 6-4 GD.  Their FIFA rankings are #85 and #115, respectively.  Cuba should be favored by a goal at this neutral site affair.

RESULT:   Cuba   2-0

  1. Universitario vs. Herediano – CONCACAF League

Now we shift to the men’s game for our federation.  16 teams from the Central American and Caribbean zones play this knockout tournament to determine one entrant into the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

This is the second leg of a Quarterfinal match.  It shouldn’t be much of one, really.  Herediano out of Costa Rica should easily be a two-goal favorite, even on the road.  They won the first match 3-0.  Universitario aren’t even one of the ten best teams from Panama.

To give a sense of perspective, Herediano would be among the very favorites to win MLS.  Panamanian side Universitario might make the Playoffs.

The winner of this tie will advance to face Arabe Unido, the best team in Panama.

RESULT:   Herediano   1-2

Image result for perspective funny

 

 

 

Perspective is a funny thing.

  1. Sweden vs. Ukraine – UEFA women’s World Cup qualification

This is the Group Stage of a tournament to determine eight qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup.  And it’s nearly done.

The seven Group winners will all make WC.   The four best runners-up will then play a mini-tournament for one more invite.

With two matches to go, Sweden and Denmark are tied on points in the table, the former leading by just one in goal differential.  The runner-up from this bunch is likely to make the Playoff at least.   Ukraine are mathematically alive for possibly making the Playoff.  Barely.

These two are 11th and 24th-ranked by FIFA.    There’s less parity in the women’s game, so that’s a massive gulf.  Sweden will win, and by multiple goals wouldn’t be even a little surprising.

RESULT:   Sweden   3-0       And only because they let up after the half.

  1. Libertad vs. Boca Juniors – Copa Libertadores

South America’s Champions League is in it’s Round of 16.  Two-legged ties for everyone!

Seeding was based exclusively on Group Stage results.  Argentina’s Boca Juniors are #14, Libertad out of Paraguay #3.   But those numbers are misleading and then some.  Boca J won the first leg 2-0 at home.  And if today’s match were the first leg, Libertad would still be doing well do get a draw.

The winner of the tie will get one of two Brazilian teams, Cruziero or Flamengo.   (6:30 PM, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:    Juniors   1-2

Image result for Asuncion weird

 

So long from Asuncion, Paraguay, home of Club Libertad!

Castillo Pindu

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – filtering the finest footyball beans for YOU

The soccer scheds are getting fuller, the Track’ed matches all the sweeter.

Tuesday’s matches are below Wednesday’s here now.  Thursday’s are coming soon.

Thursday

Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas – Major League Soccer

10.  It’s hard to fathom that Houston could win the U.S. Open Cup.  They’re hosting the Final against Philly in late September.  A good thing they’ve put all their eggs in that basket, because their league basket is mildewy and coming unwoven.

They’re in 10th in the Western Conference after five straight league losses.  The competition’s been strong over that stretch, true.  But this is the big league and you’ve got to pick some points. Now they’re 10 points behind 6th place and the last playoff spot.  The Dynamo are cooked.  The offense is gone.

Dallas, meanwhile recovered from a two-game skid last time out with a W over Minnesota.  Good thing, too, as KC has won three straight and was looking prime to take 1st place back.   (9:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for HOuston weird

 

So long from the Art Car Parade in Houston!

(Don’t worry.  Noob knows it’s an atrocity.  The town was built on a swamp.  It will all sink into oblivion soon enough.)

Wednesday

  1. NYCFC vs. New York Red Bulls – Major League Soccer

#3 hosts #B in the Eastern Conference.  Both are almost certain to make the Playoffs (top 6 in each conf.).  But since the top two seeds will get a bye in the postseason, this edition if the Hudson River Derby is particularly important.

NYCFC just got ambushed in Philly, 0-2.  They’ve given up nine goals in their last four matches.  NYRB have been simply taking care of business this month, with results in their last three outings.  They’ve played one less match than The Blues – an advantage in the table, if not on the pitch today.

Sean Johnson hasn’t been helped by his back line much of late.  They’ve not leaned on the defense much all season, truth be told.  But the goalkeeper’s got to staunch this bleeding if they’re to stop this fade.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for sean johnson nycfc funny“I will hug it and squeeze it and call it George.”

(Random? Sure.  Does Noob care?  Not a whit!)

  1. Portland Thorns vs. Sky Blue FC – National Women’s Soccer League

Sky Blue have two draws in last three matches!

New Jersey’s last place NWSL club hasn’t had much to celebrate this season.  They still only have five points, half as many as second-to-last place Washington.  So they’ll take these little successes and run with them.

The Thorns are in 3rd with just three matches to go before the Postseason.  Four clubs are within four points of them in the table, so they shouldn’t be sleeping today.  A win today would all but guarantee them a top-four finish, which means playoffs.

RESULT:   Portland   2-1

Image result for Sky Blue FC funny

 

 

 

“If you go into their net more than ours -just this once- I’ll take you to the Shore.  Please??”

  1. Cruz Azul vs. Toluca – Liga MX

After making the Liguilla (postseason) in the 2017-18 Apertura (first half-season), they fell into the table depths in the Clausura.  They are back.  They’ve allowed just one lone goal in their five matches this new season.  No other team has conceded fewer than four.

But now they get their first tough test of the season.  Say hello to the last Clausura’s regular season champion.  Toluca is in 6th, but with their offense, they’ll rise.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Cruz Azul   1-0

  1. Young Boys of Bern vs. Dinamo Zagreb – UEFA Champions League

Switzerland’s and Croatia’s European league-rankings aren’t far apart – both in about the teens.  Still, YBB is only just now entering the competition.  (See Tuesday’s UEFA CL match below for Round details.)

D.Z. have had to advance through two rounds already.  They walloped a club from Israel and skunked one from Kazakhstan.

Based on the Elo ratings Noob uses, YBB would be favored even at a neutral site.  While I don’t think formal football gambling works this way, I would still take Dinamo if given a goal.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for soccer gambling funny

  1. Portland Timbers II vs. Orange County FC – United Soccer League

Given that the top eight in each conference of America’s second-tier league, these two are looking very good.

Portland’s reserve side has climbed to 5th in the West on the back of three straight high-offense victories.

The O.C. have also been getting goals like gangbusters, winning three in a row as well.  In fact, they haven’t lost since July 7 and have scored twice or more in all their contests.    Noob ends the Wednesday portion of the Midweek Track with what could look like a pinaball-ish score.

Tuesday

  1. Seattle Reign vs. Houston Dash – National Women’s Soccer League

Welcome to the only top-division match in America today.  This match is sneaky-important for both teams.

Seattle seem to have a firm grip on #B in the table with three matches to go, yet that four-point lead over the Portland only looks big because of how close the next several teams are to one another.

That’s where we find the Dash.  They’re tied for 6th, yet trail Chicago for the fourth and final Playoff berth by just two points.

Houston have scored six goals their last two matches, but Seattle maybe be more impressive of late on the other side.  The Reign haven’t conceded a goal their last three games.

RESULT:   Seattle   2-0

Image result for where did you go funny

 

 

Can’t find offense anywhere here!

(And no, Noob is not above using cute aminahl pictures to lure in readers.)

B.  UNAM Pumas vs. Queretaro – Liga MX

Noob would mock 12th-place UNAM without end for their lack of goal-scoring, but Atlas haven’t scored once this Apertura (first half-season).

Pumas are scoring twice a game on average, sit in 5th place.  But they scored all those goals the first couple games, haven’t found the back of the net in their last three outings.  Check this one out on ESPN Deportes at 8:00 PM to see if either can get on the board.

RESULT:   Queretaro   0-1

Image result for letter B wild animal

 

 

 

Sorry, Number B.

No B in “puma” anywhere.

  1. Benfica vs. PAOK – UEFA Champions League

They’ve reached the “Qualification Round” in Europe.  12 clubs paired off, the survivors of these two-legged ties all make the Group Stage.   That’s where the competition is considered to truly begin.

PAOK finished #B in Greece’s Superleague last season, had to make it through two Rounds already just to get this far.  They most recently beat Spartak Moscow.

Benfica also finished #B in their league.  But since it’s a more highly-ranked league, they’ve only had to play one Round so far.  They defeated Fehnerbace out of Turkey to get here.

True to the league strengths, the Elo rankings this two have on footballdatabase.com indicate to Noob Benfica is easily a one-goal favorite at home.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Independiente vs. Santos FC – Copa Libertadores

South America’s version of Champions League is in its Round of 16.  These are the last pair of clubs to not have played the first match of their two-legged tie.

Independiente finished just 6th in Argentina’s Premier last season – not quite good enough to qualify for CL.  They’re here by virtue of having won the 2017 Copa Sudamericana, the continent’s second-tier competition.  They’re a sound, defensive-minded bunch.

Santos finished 3rd in Brazil, CONMEBOL’s best league.  They’re considered the fifth entrant from Brazil.  Santos also plays a tight defensive game typically.  Look for this to go 1-0 or 0-1 at most.  Independiente is a full-goal fave based on the Elo ratings.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for Copa Libertadores cartoon

 

 

Noob’s not sure what harpooning a rabbit has to do with CL or Santos FC.

But I’m down with it.

 

’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 for Saturday (5/12) – MLS, top UEFA league’s drama, and more FA Cup Finals!

The ten most important matches for us – the newish American fans of the global game – brook no nonsense (ok, maybe a little nonsense…) on the weekends.  There’s hardware to be passed out today, so let’s dive in.

  1. Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire – MLS

Noob originally had Dallas and LA Galaxy for the top game today, but it’s a save over the crossbar!  Correct best game identified.

Columbus are #4 in the Eastern Conference, have seemingly righted their ship.  They lost three straight matches before this unbeaten streak of four.  Chicago are having trouble on offense.  Four assists out of their aged Euro-star Bastian Schweinsteiger isn’t bad, but he’s stuck on one goal for the season.   (7:30 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6)

Noobstradamus Sees:   Columbus 1-0 on an early goal.   Columbus doesn’t score much, either, but they’re tied for the conference lead in goal defense.

RESULT:   Columbus 3-0

Image result for bastian schweinsteiger mls funny

 

 

Do you have a question, Bastian?   Noob’s spot-on.

B.  Portland Thorns vs. Orlando Pride – NWSL

Orlando have won four in a row!  That’s pushed them to 5th place, but Noob thinks the soccer gods are lulling them into a false sense of accomplishment.    (3:30 PM, Lifetime)

Noobstradamus Sees:   …#4 Portland repeating their 2-1 home win from earlier this season versus the Pride.  Down with cities built on swamps!

RESULT:   Orlando   1-2

Image result for letter B thorns

 

 

Number B – menacing with a thorny look

  1. Middlesbrough vs. Aston Villa – English Championship

The battle is on to determine which of the #3-6 clubs will get the third and final Promotion into Premier League for next season!  This is the first leg of a semifinal between, as you might imagine, two very even sides.

Noobstrdamus Sees:   1-1.  Saving the real drama for the return leg at Aston Villa.

RESULT:   Aston Villa 0-1

  1. 1899 Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga

This is the last weekend of matches in Germany!  Reminder:  Four Champions League berths for this league.

#3 Dortmund are all but guaranteed one now, as they lead #4’s Hoffenheim and Leverkusen by three points each.  Might explain why they lost to lowly Mainz at home last match.

Hoffenheim is hoping their hosts today will be sleeping again.  Leverkusen play at home against also-ran Hannover today.   (9:30 AM, KTBC)

Noobstradamus Sees:   Hoffenheim 2-0, leaving Leverkusen having to utterly blowout Hannover to pass them.

RESULT:   Hoffenheim   3-1

Image result for soccer sleeping

 

 

He’s even in a yellow BVB jersey, see?

  1. AS Monaco vs. St. Etienne – Ligue 1

Monaco are tied for 3rd place and the final CL slot for France.  But they’ve got this and one more match to play, whereas their peer Marseille are down to just one.

St. Etienne may be #6 and fighting to hold onto their Europa League slot, but there’s a massive gulf in ability between the league’s top four and everyone else.   (3:00 PM, TV5MONDE)

Noobstradamus Sees:   …Monaco leaving nothing to chance.  5-1.

RESULT:   1-0

  1. Inter Milan vs. Sassuolo – Serie A

With two matches to go in Italy, it’s Inter who are losing the game of musical chairs.  They’re in 5th, two points out of 4th and the final CL spot.  They have a possibly sneaky-tough matchup today as #12 Sassuolo have only lost once since mid-March.

Noobstradamus Sees:   …that the competition Sassy-pants have been playing of late is decidedly not the league’s strongest.  Inter 3-0.

RESULT:   Sassuolo   1-2

Image result for sassy italian

 

Snausages!

Noob neither has nor needs any reason.

  1. Galatasaray vs. Yeni Malatyaspor – Turkey Super Lig

Hiccup Watch game.  Y.M. are 10th place, should be fodder for tied-for-1st Galatasaray.

Noobstradamus Sees:   …Galatasaray – who have two matches left to just one for co-#1 Istanbul Basaksehir – not giving up that advantage.  4-1.

RESULT:   Galatasaray   2-0

  1. AEK Athens vs. PAOK – Greek Cup

The Final!  Athens get to host, no neutral site business here.  And it’s the league #1 vs. #B, as is good, right, and proper.   (1:30 PM, Antenna 20 Years)

Noobstradamus Sees:   Massive fires in Athens, a couple of maimings… it’s Greece!   Oh, and PAOK gets the upset, 1-1, then taking it in PK’s.  So make that several maimings.

RESULT:   PAOK   0-2

Image result for noobstradamus

 

 

Hold up.   Did someone say snausages?   Yummaaaay.

  1. HJK vs. FC Inter – Finnish Cup

Another Final!   This one shouldn’t be dramatic, truth be told.  HJK Helsinki are the league defending champions.  FC Inter are a bottom-half club who achieved nicely by getting to this match.

Noobstradamus Sees:   HJK 11-1.

  1. Sporting Cristal vs. Huancayo – Peru Premier

Let’s end the Track with one more Final!   This is the championship for the Verano (first of three regular season stages).  Cristal earned a 1-1 draw on the first leg of this two-match tie.  They are likely considered a full goal-better than Huancayo on their own pitch.   (9:30 PM, Peru Magico)

Noobstrdamus Sees:  …that funny things happen in footyball!  2-2 today, then the visitors take the title in penalty kicks.

RESULT:   Cristal 1-0     chamPEENS!

Image result for peru funny

 

So long from Peru–  from Noob and controversial Peruvian TV character “Peasant Jacinta”!

’10 to Track’ soccer matches- Weekend Edition – Premier League, MLS, all the finest

The ten most important matches for the newish North American fan to follow.  Our quest is noble.

  1. Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City – MLS

The Fire placed 3rd in the Eastern Division last season, and unless team make-up has changed a lot, they will play things wiiiiiide open.  KC finished 5th in the weaker Western.

The Management has strong KC ties.   Noob has yet to decide if he will openly root against The Management’s teams on principle, cheer along with him (Unlikely!), or modestly heckle.  For today, I’ll just say this:  If Chicago score first, KC will get routed.  (6:00 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6)

RESULT:   3-4    KC     (KC scored first)

Image result for heckling meme

 

 

Apparently, Noob’s late to this party.

B.  Tigres UANL vs. Tijuana – Liga MX

Noob loves Liga MX more and more each passing day.  They play about the same number of games as other premier leagues (34), but when the season is divided into two separate halves, every game means so much more.

They’re 10 games into the Clausura (second half-season), and things are tight as a tick in the table.  Only eight points separate 1st from 13th.  These two are 5th and 7th.  Top eight will get to play in the postseason Liguilla.

The hosts have some trouble on the defensive side of things, but that makes this a good matchup for them.  Tijuana apparently just like to kick the ball as high as they can all game long.  Only 16 goals have been scored in their 10 matches.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes, Univision)

RESULT:   Tigres   1-0

Image result for mexican letter B

 

 

Number B is so ready.

  1. Manchester United vs. Liverpool – English Premier

At #B and #3, both these clubs are looking safe for a top four-finish and invites to the Champions League.  Man Utd. like a lower-scoring game, at least compared to other top clubs.  Noob looks for 1-0 Red Devils win.

RESULT:   Man Utd.    2-1

  1. Sevilla vs. Valencia – La Liga

Spain’s top-flight league gets four Champions League invites, and Valencia seem set for that 4th.  They’re six points up on 5th-place Sevilla.  They need more than a draw.  Anything but a win and they’ll for certain be settling for Europa League.

RESULT:   Valencia   0-2

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Layers of confusion.

 

 

Sunday, 3/11

  1. Atlanta United vs. D.C. United – MLS

What a treeee-mendous first season Atlanta had!   4th place in the brutally tough East.  Pretty much filling up the lower bowl at the NFL Falcons’ home stadium.  Just think where they might be in a few years.

Hopefully someplace good.  Unlike long-timers D.C. United.  They crapped the bed to a dismal last-place finish.   (3:00 PM Eastern, ESPN)

RESULT:   Atlanta   3-1     The Capitol-crapping continues

  1. Borussia Dortmund vs. Eintracht Frankfurt – Bundesliga

Likely the most important game on the globe this weekend.  League titles mean a lot, but those seem to be decided for most of the big Euro leagues.  Getting to Champions League is what counts.

These two are tied for 3rd, and three more teams lurk no more than three points behind them.  American superstar Christian Pulisic and Dortmond will be looking to make this a battle of offense today.  Frankfurt won’t be able to keep up.   (1:00 PM, FS2, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Dortmund   3-2      High drama!  Frankfurt gets the equalizer a minute into stoppage time, then Dortmund gets the winner at 90+5.

Image result for christian pulisic funny

 

 

They grow up SO fast!

  1. Inter Milan vs. Napoli – Serie A

If the above is most important, it’s #7 here giving them a run.

Napoli lead the Italian league by a point, but they’ve also played one more game than #B Juventus.  Inter are just one point behind Lazio for the league’s last Champions League berth.  They play the same defense, but Napoli score half again as often.   (3:45 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Rangers vs. Celtic – Scottish Premiership

The sand is running out of the glass on Rangers.  They’re just six points behind Celtic for 1st (and the league’s only C.L. spot), but few other teams have the capability to beat Celtic.  They’ll only face off one more time after today.  Realistically, Rangers have to have a win and three points here.

RESULT:   2-3   Celtic

Image result for great scottish food

 

 

 

Wait, those can’t be Scottish.  They look edible.

  1. Jorge WIlstermann vs. Bolivar – Bolivia Premier

This is the Apertura (first half-season), and oh my have they changed formats.  While the Clausura will still be played under a more typical round-robin system, right now they league is split into two groups of seven.  The top four from each group will advance to a Knockout tournament.

Aaaaanyway.  These two are tied for 1st in their Group.

RESULT:   JW   4-2

  1. PAOK vs. AEK Athens – Superleague Greece

#2 hosts #1!   Just what’s needed – added pressure.  PAOK fans will fight just about anywhere, anytime as is.  The club has already had two points in the table deducted for hooligan fans.  They’re five behind AEK.

RESULT:   0-0      Best of all, Noob heard of no fan maimings

Image result for paok hooligans

Actual photo from fighting before a PAOK-AEK game.   

We should NEVER have sent Greece those Karate Kid VHS tapes.