’10 to Track’ soccer matches previews – just One today – MLS final, Noob bids farewell of a sort

After well over a year of Tracking matches on a daily basis I’ve felt were most important to new American soccer fans like myself, project SoccerNoob in its present form is going on indefinite hiatus.

Thank you to The Management for daring me as a joke to write about the sport I knew least about. To Dan the former Intern-o Inferno, for his hilarious work on image production, support, and understanding I needed to put screen and other fiction writing on hold to learn the discipline to write every single day. I hope your work at the Swedish women’s soccer association continues to go well. And to my young daughter, “PersonNoob”, for writing verses to our silly theme song.

My focus has been on learning leagues and Cup tournaments, both at and close to home and the world over. In talking with many of you, I’ve learned as well about the big players, about how the game itself is played, and why it is such a joy for so much of the world to follow.

In doing it all, I’ve tried adding my own off-kilter brand of humor. Hopefully between that and covering matches from places most U.S. fans don’t read about anywhere, I’ve brought some enjoyment to long-time fans as well.

I’m continuing to winter on the Isle of Sodor, covering matches here. This site will soon be bringing you news and scores from their ongoing, first-ever Premier League. The site may have a new name, in which case soccernoob.com will forward to that. Or I may just keep it right here. And who knows. A podcast has considered! Noob’s not truly disappearing. (God help us.)

For the final Track, no “10”. Just the one. The most important match of the year.

1. Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer Final

Noobites, since this is the swan song, it’s time to graduate to sites with more in-depth coverage.   (8:00 PM Eastern, Fox)

RESULT:   ATL   2-0          Single-season record-setting MLS for goals scored in a season, Josef Martinez, adds another.

ESPNFC match preview

CBS Sports match preview

Portland Mercury match preview

beIN Sports match preview

USSoccerPlayers.com match preview

AtlUtd.com match preview

Image result for soccer graduation

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition (11/27-29) soccer match previews – MLS Semis end the MWE!

The ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game” – hit their peak of importance today. MLS Semifinals! After tonight, we’ll know who’s playing for the big trophy.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s match results follow below. Remember you can always check back for results on every single day, plus often a note or two about who starred, or how the results affected what was at stake.

Thursday

9. Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer

Second leg of the Western Conference Finals! While any team would of course like to get a road win every time, #1 KC got the draw in Portland in the first match of this two-game series. Now they have the chance to take care of business at home.

But that scoreless draw has to be troubling for them. Goalkeeper Tim Melia of USMNT fame played well and Graham Zusi was a monster on the back defensive line. But Noob highlighted Daniel Salloi for that first match and instead of starring, he was the weak link, losing duels and not being terribly good with passes.

The 5th-seed Portland was better on passing, held the ball longer, and created more shots on goal. That didn’t and won’t matter if they can’t get better play from striker Jeremy Ebobisse though.

Ultimately, it’s hard to beat home cookin’. KC did what was necessary, if just, and should be a moderate to heavy favorite at home.   (9:30 PM Eastern, ESPN)

RESULT:   Portland    2-3           Diego Valeri with two Timbers goals, including the game winner at 90′

10. New York Red Bulls vs. Atlanta United – Major League Soccer

Some are calling the Eastern Conference finals the de facto league finals. Both teams had several more point in the the table than K.C.

#B Atlanta laid the smack down at their place in the first leg of this overall Semi, 3-0. Franco Escobar was the slightly-surprisng star with both a goal and an assist. This club has the best offense in the entire league. It will be interesting to see if they keep dancing with the girl that brought them and continue attacking, or try to take the air out of the ball with such a big lead from the first leg.

NYRB have a HYOOJ hole to dig themselves out of. Lots of goals will certainly mean the involvement of BrandonWright-Phillips, who looked like an MVP the first half of the MLS season. Not that he tanked after that, but his effectiveness definitely diminished. But if the right side of Red Bulls’ back line get manhandled again (Tim Parker, Michael Murillo), BWP’s possible resurgence won’t matter.   (7:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   NYRB   1-0         But it’s not enough!    ATL will host the single-match Final versus Portland.

Image result for the world of red bull funnySo long from…wherever the Red Bull box cart races were held.

Yeeeah.  Wow.

 

Extra Credit: Two Liga MX qf’s, a couple dozen group stage Europa league matches, Copa Sudamericana sf, El Salvador and Guatemala qf’s, second round Arab Club Championship

Wednesday

3. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur vs. Inter Milan – UEFA Champions League

You can scroll down to the Tuesday portion of the Midweek Track for a few extra details on the event, should you be a completely unseasoned Noobite.

Noob-reviled Hotspur is nearly out of Champions League, as is good, right and appropriate. When your club is named for an historic traitor (Harry Percy), good things cannot follow.

The scourge of England’s Premier League, Hotspur trail Inter by three points in the table and won the first match between them (tiebreaker). Since Hotspur’s remaining match other than this one is at #1 Barcelona, they’re in desperate need of a win today.

Hotspur are winners of five straight across all competitions. Inter are in just 5th in Italy’s Serie A. Where Hotspur lack a little offensive punch compared to many other top teams, Inter have been sagging on defense. Bad matchup for the visitors, sadly.   (3:00 PM Eastern, TNT)

RESULT:   Hotspur   1-0

Image result for sir topham hatt furious

 

 

Sir Topham Hatt — flexing the pimp hand.  Gotta keep it strong for those Hotspur COYS.

 

4. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Liverpool – UEFA Champions League

This is the most competitive Group going here. Liverpool and Napoli are tied for first. PSG are just a point behind and Red Star Belgrade only a point behind them in turn.

PSG are running roughshod over Ligue 1 – no losses or draws. Yet many people Noob reads suggest the league is not very good this year. Liverpool have yet to lose in Champions League, putting them in second place there. Neither team allow goals.

Both teams are stronger than the ones in Track Match three here. If either doesn’t qualify for the Knockout Round, that’s big news.   (3:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   PSG   2-1

5. Porto vs. Schalke – UEFA Champions League

Three matches from one event? Thought you were filtering event like these, Noob.

Oh, but I am. But I won’t ignore important ones this late in the Group Stage just for the sake of it. Porto is Portugal’s #1 team. That doesn’t make them one of the very strongest clubs remaining, but they won’t be a pushover for anyone next round. They’re dominating the Primeira Liga and can score and defend amazingly.

Germany’s Schalke trail Porto by two in the Group C table. An upset win today would guarantee them a berth in the Knockout Round. And it would be a remarkable upset at that. In the Bundesliga, they’re playing so darn badly that they’re fighting just to stay out of the Relegation Zone.

They don’t defend half badly, but they didn’t wow on offense last year and don’t score much at all now. Still, they lead the Group 3rd-place team by four, seem likely to sneak out of the Group Stage no matter how today goes.

RESULT:   Porto   3-1

Image result for schalke 04 funny

 

 

 

Is that the German Mr. Magoo?

 

6. Monterrey vs. Santos – Liga MX

Let the playoffs begin! This is the Liguilla. The eight best teams from the Apertura (first half-season) qualified. This is a bracketed tournament. Each pair of teams will play two-legged, home-and-away series.

It is seeded just like the NCAA basketball tourney would be, and this is your 4/5 matchup. Santos has been a shade better on both sides of the ball. More, they haven’t lost to Monterrey in their last three matches. But Monterrey haven’t lost in three matches, while Santos didn’t win in any of their last three.   (10:06 PM, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:   Monterrey    1-0

7. Saprissa vs. Herediano – Costa Rica Premier

This is CONCACAF’s third-strongest league. They might argue they’re better than MLS. Mexicans might argue their second division league is better. Regardless, this is a sneaky-good football league.

And the Playoffs are already underway! The top four qualified for this postseason tournament. Apertura regular season champs Saprissa host this second match of the home-and-away Semifinal series. Herediano – the other perennial power here – finished 4th, won the first leg 1-0 at their place.

Saprissa was better on both sides of the ball all Apertura, but particularly so on offense. That one-goal deficit should be one they can overcome today, move on to the Final.

RESULT:   Saprissa   1-0       …which means the series was tied and they moved on to penalty kicks!    Herediano advances to the final on those, 2-4

Image result for costa rica premier logo

 

 

One foot-sport, one heart.  

But the logo’s more than a little puffy-nipply.   No.

8. Portmore United vs. Tivoli Gardens – Jamaica Premier

This, too, is one of CONCACAF’s stronger domestic leagues – almost certainly the best of the island nations in our federation. Hallooo, neighbors! Noob’s making a concerted effort to get to know ya. May I borrow a cup of sugar?

The top six finishers here will make the Playoffs, with the top two getting byes into the Semifinals. They’re a dozen matches into the season, and rhese two are #1 and #3. This is a classic best offense versus best defense scenario. An upset win wouldn’t move Gardens into 1st, but would tighten up an already good-looking race.

RESULT:   Portmore   2-0

Extra Credit:   the other UEFA Champions League matches, Costa Rican semifinal, Liga MX qf; 

Also, Spain’s Copa del Rey round of 32 match, Copa Argentina sf, Copa Sudamericana sf, Czech Cup Round of 16, Guatemala National League sf

Also, #1 Shkendija vs. #3 Academy Pandev in Macedonai’s Prva Liga, Russian FA Cup qf, very early round CAF Champions League, #3 Brittania vs. #2 Nacional in Aruba’s Division di Honor, second round Arab Club Championship

Tuesday

1. Lyon vs. Manchester City – UEFA Champions League

But make no mistake, I’m glad it’s back, baybeeeeee! A quick reminder for the newest Noobites what the it is:. League champions and other top teams of Europe in the crown jewel of all club tournaments. They’re currently in the Group Stage. Pods of four playing double round robins. Top two finishers from each will advance to the Knockout (single elimination, bracket-style) Stage. Everybody’s got two matches to go.

Man City is thought by many to be the #1 team in the world currently. They’re undefeated in Premier League play, lead Lyon by three point in the Group F table. But they’ve lost one match.

To Lyon. At Man City! The French team is a distant #B to undefeated Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 there, but #B nonetheless. They haven’t lost to anyone, anywhere, besides PSG since August. Yet strangely, that win over Man City is their only win in Group F. All their other matches have ended in draws.

So what’s at stake? Noob’s laser-focused of late on stakes, letting you know why any given match is important. Man City are almost 100% to advance to the Knockout Round now, and any result (win or draw) will seal that deal.

A win for Lyon would do the same. Anything else, and the door is very much open for the other two Group F clubs, trailing by three and four points, respectively. So yes, remaining undefeated with a draw would leave the, in jeopardy yet. What a tournament.

Oh, and based on ELO ratings (thank you, footballdatabase.com), Noob thinks Man City will win easily, 1-2 goal margin, in France.

RESULT:   2-2         Maxwell Cornet with a goal and an assist for Lyon as they blew two leads.  

B. AS Roma vs. Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League

Noob is often reluctant to feature multiple matches from the same league or tournament on a given day. I wish to act as filter for we newish fans, allow us to focus on the most important things, yet with a broad gaze. Eight matches today for UEFA CL. We can do two.

It’s an easy decision when the three-time defending champions are in the mix, too. Real and Roma are tied for the Group G lead. The next team down is five points behind. Look, these two are going through to the Knockout Stage no matter how the match ends today. But finishing 1st or runner-up matters for seeding in the next Round, so this match is still monster.

Defending champs or not, this isn’t the same Real team of recent years. Losing the greatest active player in the world – Cristiano Ronaldo – will have that effect. They’re in just 5th place in La Liga and just suffered a blistering 3-0 loss to Eibar. If you don’t know that name, that’s the point. And their newfound issues are on both sides of the ball.

Yet after a 3rd place Italian Serie A finish last year, Roma have slipped as many places as Real – down to 7th at present. They’d appeared to have the righted their ship to some degree of late, but than lost to Udinese last time out. Once again, if you don’t know that club, that’s the point.

Real’s crash back to earth this year has been the steeper fall. Still, Noob wouldn’t put Roma at any better than an even match for them at home.

RESULT:   Real   0-2

New feature! EXTRA CREDIT will appear with some frequency now – these are events, matches Noob scouted for a given date but that didn’t make the cut for the Track.

Extra Credit: Early round-Coupe de France, Scotland’s FA Cup, very early round 2018-19 CAF Champions League, later round EFL Cup (tournament of tertiary importance in England), and Semifinals of Africa’s women’s Cup of Nations – all are in action.

ALSO! Congrats to Guadalajara, UANL, America and Pachuca of Liga MX Femenil. They all just qualified for the Semifinals of the Apertura (first half-season) there.

Noob’s trying to learn women’s and more CONCACAF soccer in general, but the site I use (for the moment) screws up dates something fierce. I’d scouted the Quarterfinals I thought were today, but they’re in the books already. Part of the learning for Noob is finding the best resources.

 

’10 to Track’ Sunday (11/25) soccer match previews – MLS semifinals lead the way!

The ten most important matches to follow, fur us – the newish American fans of the global game.   Hopefully with just enough kick from coverage of leagues occasionally far and wide to provide a little something for our more seasoned fan-friends as well.

Note:  No Isle of Sodor Premier League this week.   With the season there set to be a few matches shorter than most European domestic leagues, they’ve scheduled a break every few weeks.    Sodor’s a laid back place, if you’ve never been.

1. Atlanta United vs. New York Red Bulls – Major League Soccer

The Semifinals! Like the quarters, these will be decided with two-legged ties (home-and-away series). And it’s between the Eastern Conference’s two top finishers. Dreamy.

Red Bulls are your Supporters Shield winners, meaning they had the best record in the regular season for the entire league. They’ve won six of seven matches, the only loss being last round to Columbus Crew. They trailed Atlanta in the Eastern Division all season, catching them just at the end. Names to know are: Tyler Adams, young, talented US Men’s National Team midfielder; Brandon Wright-Phillips, star striker; and most of all, Luis Robles. This is the best defensive team in the league and he’s the goalie.

Atlanta blew the Shield on the last day of the regular season, getting routed by non-playoff Toronto 4-1. But it’s not like they entered on a losing streak or anything, have been as hot as NYRB. They’re the scoring juggernaut of the league. Josef Martinez is their record-setting scorer, Miguel Almiron the name to know in their midfield, and USMNT veteran Brad Guzan is the netminder.

There – enough to get you through water-cooler chat, watch the game and have some info to go on. Now go, be free! If you are desirous of more in-depth preview info, it’s out there. I’m going to! But this is Noob and this level of preview is our niche.   (5:00 PM Eastern, ESPN)

RESULT:   Atlanta   3-0         Franco Escobar with a goal and an assist

B. Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City – Major League Soccer

Don’t like to usually over multiple matches from any league on a given day, even MLS. Noob’s job is to filter. But it’s the Semis! An

Portland entered the Western Conference side of the playoffs as the #5 seed. They’ve been up and down since late spring, but never dropped out of the postseason mix thanks to an early, bigtime non-losing streak. But they won the Battle of Cascadia against runners-up Seattle last round. Can’t discount them.

One wonders when Kansas City might just drop from exhaustion. They were in a dogfight for the #1 seed all season long with FC Dallas. They won the U.S. Open Cup that ran concurrently with the MLS season. Noob feels winded just thinking about it. But it helps that this is the most balanced team in the league – second-best on O and D both.

They haven’t lost since September, hottest team remaining, doing it in both high and low-scoring matches. Danny Salloi might star with a goal and assist. Or USMNT man Tim Melia might and last year’s Defensive POY Ike Opara might put on a shutout.   (7:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for sleepy letter B

 

 

 

Very funny, Number B.   *yawn*   C’mon, knock it off.

3. Pumas UNAM vs. Santos – Liga MX

Match 17, the last for each in the Apertura (second half-season). Top eight teams make the Liguilla (postseason tournament). These two are tied for 3rd on points in the table, Pumas leading by a point on tiebreaking goal differential. In other words, a draw would be enough for Pumas to get that #3 seed.

UNAM have just once since September, and that was to #1 Cruz Azul. Santos are on a similar streak, though theirs is peppered with a lot more draws. It’s their offense that’d faded a bit.   (1:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   1-1      After this and all other results, there was a three-way tie in the table for 3rd.  But these two stayed where they were in the pecking order after GD tiebreaker.

4. AFC Bournemouth vs. Arsenal – English Premier League

Huzzah, Noob’s favorite two teams from EPL! Always a Fighting Cherry first. Go, home team. But Arsenal, you have a piece of my heart as well, as rivals to the traitorously-named and always-reviled Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur.

5th-place Arsenal are on a 12 match non-losing streak. Two early losses in league and no marks against them since. Top four finishers will make the next Champions League. Arsenal haven’t shown they can quite defend or score like the very best, but they’re lurking.

Bournemouth are tied for 8th, have a game in hand over the two teams that passed them yesterday. This is a small market team performing incredibly well. Sadly for Noob, talk is that their current manager Eddie Howe is likely to get hired away by a big, big club sooner rather than later for his tremendous performance there.

The magic may be fading just a little, though, as they’ve lost two in a row. Not that a couple of 2-1 losses are redefining their season or anything. They’re another notch down the scale from Arsenal on offensive prowess, but defend about as well. And they have a knack for come-from-behind wins the last couple seasons. Even if Arsenal score first, they won’t be able to just sit on the ball.   (8:30 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   1-2   Arsenal          AFCB did come back from down the first goal, but Arsenal is a bit better on the attacking end.   Well-played match by both sides.

Image result for fighting cherries

 

 

Infighting Cherries…

5. Lazio vs. AC Milan – Italy Serie A

The top four in Italy also qualify for the next Champions league. These are two clubs very likely to be battling for that fourth and final spot in the table. Juventus is running away with the league already, and the next two have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

Lazio are lacking a bit of the scoring punch they had last year as they battled for the season title. Milan are more balanced, will give their hosts all they can handle and more. Before a loss to Juve last time out, they hadn’t lost in four matches.   (12:00 PM, ESPNEWS)

RESULT:   1-1

6. Beijing Gouan vs. Shandong Luneng – China FA Cup

The Final! Unlike most or all European Cup tournaments, as well as America’s, this is a two-legged, home-and-away tie. This is the first match.

China’s Super League season just ended, and these two finished in 4th and 3rd place. Those spots are good for AFC Champions League berths.

What’s strange-seeming to Noob is that the winner of these Finals will qualify for straight through to the Group Stage of CL, with the loser having to first play in qualifying round before that stage. Would these have been the stakes were these Finals being contested between clubs in other parts of the Superleague standings?

In any case, this should be a very evenly-matched Finals. Beijing are the more defensively-focused side, so look for today’s match to be lower-scoring at their place.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for confused by CHinese

 

 

If Jackie can’t figure it all out, what hope does a Noob have?

7. La Guaira vs. Lara – Venezuela Premier

Mas Finals? You betcha. This is the Clausura (second half-season) tournament. Unlike some leagues, the Apertura and Clausura champions will not meet to play for an overall title for the year.

Last week, defensive whizzes Lara did their thing, holding La Guaira scoreless. But Lara didn’t score, either. Now the #4 seed has to travel to #B and outscore them in the second leg.

RESULT:   Lara   0-1          Hail to the victors!  Lara got the only goal of the two-legged tie at 90′ mark.

8. FC Olexandria vs. Dynamo Kiev – Ukraine Premier

#3 hosts #B in Europe’s 9th ranked league. That’s high enough that they qualify two teams into the next Champions League. Good thing for these two, too, as Shakhtar Donestk is way up on the field.

D.K. Only lead upstart Olexandria by two points in the table. Dynamo are a perennial power, but FCO didn’t even make the top half of last year’s standings. Dynamo also only give up a goal a little less often than once every other match. Noob’s doubtful FCO can pressure their guests enough to get a win today.

RESULT:   Olexandria   3-2          So much for no pressure!

Image result for fc olexandria

 

 

 

FC Olexandria, getting our Cyrillic on.

9. Copenhagen vs. Midtjylland – Denmark Superliga

UEFA’s #13 league gives us a shiny #B-#1 matchup.

They’re actually tied on points in the table, with the guests today leading on GD. They’ll both easily qualify for Champions League, having separated themselves by quite a bit halfway through the season.

Midtjylland are the defending champions and current scoring leaders, the only Danish team to be clipping along at more than 2.5 goals per match.

RESULT:   Copenhagen  2-1       Jan Gregus gave up an own-goal that tied that game before scoring the winner for the league’s new #1.

10. Lechia Gdansk vs. Jagiellonia Bialystok – Poland Ekstraklasa

We finish our weekend Tracking in the #25 league in Europe. That’s only good for one Champions League berth. They’ve got one whale of a race shaping up for it.

Gdansk are the current leaders, but J.B. and one other team trail by just three points in the table. A total of six teams are within single-digit points of the lead. Still, these two are statistically the best, if not by leaps and bounds. Particularly for Gdansk and the margin they’d get, a win today could be season-defining.

RESULT:   Gdansk   3-2            Noob’s pick of Wisla Krakow to win the league is looking seriously in jeopardy 🙂

Image result for Gdansk funny

 

 

So long from Gdnask, Poland!

Come for the footyball, stay for the time of your life.  Apparently.

’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’ Sunday (11/4) soccer matches – MLS playoffs lead the way!

Noob is just 2-6 in the top division in his Scrabble tournament this weekend.  And I haven’t even faced the former national champ yet.   Welp.

So serving up the ten most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game – is sweet relief to me.  I’m still previewing a match from there this week, but I can’t wait to go salve my wounds with a return back to my fall-winter Sodor home next weekend.

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

It’s the Quarterfinals!   In this and the next round, teams face off in two-legged, home-and-away ties.  The lesser seed hosts first.  That’s #5 Portland.

The Timers have had quite the roller coaster season.  Their springtime was simply divine, filled with rain showers and blooming lilies and never a stormy cloud or loss to be seen.  But the summer heat made them inconsistent as could be.

Noob-reviled Sounders come in red-hot, on a five-match win streak.   The defense carried them most of the year.  Of late, it’s been their offense shouldering the load.  If that continues, this is a bad matchup for Portland, which struggled on defense compared to most Playoff clubs.   (5:30 PM EST, ESPN)

RESULT:   Portland   2-1

B.  NYCFC vs. Atlanta United – Major League Soccer playoffs

Atlanta were annihilated in their final regular season match by defending champs yet non-playoff bound Toronto.  That cost them the East’s #1 seed and the Supporters Shield.  But as the #B team, they still got a bye into the Quarters.

The New York Blues beat Philly in both of their last two matches.   That’s good work.  But Atlanta were the scoring champs of the entire league and played just as good of defense as New York City FC.   (7:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Atl   0-1

Image result for grouchy soccer

 

 

how Noob imagines the supporters for New York and Philly — grouchy

 

3.  Wellsworth vs. Ffarquhar – Isle of Sodor Premier

Since Noob’s in Asheville, NC, I’ll miss this fun matchup in the IoSPL’s inaugural season.

Wellsworth were going to be in the bottom of the three divisions.  But they made the Quarterfinals of the first-ever FA Cup this summer.  As reward, they get to play top flite.

Ffarquhar plays in one of the larger towns of the same name, also made the Quarters.  They were slated for PL status already.

These teams were about mirror images of one another statistically.  it’s hard not to lean on the visitors as favorites.  Suddric clubs all draw pretty much from their immediate locales for players.  Wellsworth is a small village — it’s just a numbers game.

Neither played much defense in the FA Cup, even compared to other teams.  That’s saying something.  Aggressive defense is quietly considered uncouth on Sodor.

RESULT:   Ffarquhar   1-5

  1. UNAM Pumas vs. Cruz Azul – Liga MX

With three matches to go in the Apertura (first half-season), Noob believes at least six teams have a realistic shot at the regular season title.

These two are in 4th and 3rd place, respectively.   Cruz Azul play the league’s tightest D, but their offense has scuffled this month.  Some of that may be the extra matches as they advance deeply in the Copa MX going on.

Pumas haven’t lost a match in a couple months.  I’m not sure they will catch CF America for #1. but I’d bet on them moving up a couple spots to #B.

RESULT:   Cruz   1-2          Cruz is the new #1

Image result for six is crazyZero to do with soccer, but PersonNoob (my daughter) loves M.L.P.’s “Mane Six”.

  1. Arsenal vs. Birmingham City – England Women’s Super League

Last season, Arsenal missed a top-two finish and invite to the Champions League by just one point in the table.  And they’re still feeling raw about it.  6-0-0, 31:3 GD.  It was Chelsea pulling the unbeaten number all last season, but there’s a new leader of this pack.

Nearly all the rest of the teams struggle to score a little, and #3 Birmingham is no exception.  They’ve only allowed three goals, but may well give up that many today.

RESULT:   Arsenal   3-1       Jordan Noobs with two goals, and the coolly-named Danielle van de Donk with the other for Arsenal

  1. Cork City vs. Dundalk – FAI Cup (Ireland)

It’s the Final!

Congrats to the league champs, Dundalk, upending two-time defending champs Cork City.  And now they wrestle over another trophy today.

Dundalk lead the Premier there in goal-scoring and defense.   It’s their offense that’s the greater strength.

Cork lost too many close matches to make it a close regular season title race.  But Dundalk have only managed draws their last two away matches.  Noob suspects they probably just rested starters with title in hand, but maybe they’ve spent themselves and the road has become hard.   And while this isn’t a home match for Cork, neither is it in Dundalk.  The big national stadium in Dublin hosts this one.

RESULT:   Dundalk   1-2      hail to the victors!

Image result for FAI Cup Trophy 2018

 

 

Soooo shiny

  1. Olimpia vs. Cerro Porteño – Paraguay Pro Division

Olimpia ran away with the Apertura regular season title and are doing the same here in the Clausura (second-half season).  They’ve already guaranteed themselves a berth into the next Champions League.

C.P. again find themselves #B.  Their D is sensational.  But if that’s the immovable object, Olimpia’s firepower is the irresistible force.  And they’re more irresistible – you saucy minxes – than C.P. is immovable.

RESULT:   2-2           Naughtiness ensued at 90′!   A red card for someone on each time and Olimpia hits a penalty at that mark

  1. Portmore United vs. Tivoli Gardens – Jamaica Premier

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are the strongest leagues of those in the Caribbean subgroup in CONCACAF.

Portmore crushed it during 2017-18 regular season, then went on to win the tournament title.  Tivoli finished 3rd last year.  The new season is just seven matches in, but things look largely the same.  T.G. can play defense with the best of them, but can’t put it in the back of the net like Portmore.

RESULTL   Tivolo   0-1

Image result for Jamaican crush

 

 

Impress your fave Portmore fan and/or your own Jamaican crush with a lovely gift of Jamaican Crush.

  1. Le Geldar vs. Etoile Matoury – French Guiana Honor Division

Nation a FIFA member?  Nope.  Full CONCACAF member?  You betcha.  Two-horse race last year between these two, with Le Geldar winning the trophy by one point.

And that’s an even closer margin here than in most leagues.  In French Guiana, a win is worth four points, a tie worth two for each team, or one point just for showing up to lose.  so instead of two or three table-points being distributed like in most leagues, here it’s four or five.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Scholars United vs. Roma United – Cayman Islands Premier

We finish our Track with another matchup of 2017-18 #1 and #B teams!   This was another race decided by just a point.  But this league is different than most, or was last season.

These top two were both carried by their defense.   They didn’t Small Ball, but the next four teams in the table all played about as well or better on offense.  Just not the way these things happens in most places.

RESULT:   1-1

T.E. McField Sports Centre, George Town

 

 

So long from T.E. McField Sports Center, George Town, C.I.!

home of Scholars

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Saturday (9/29) – MLS, EPL, El Clasico lead the way

Noob tries to bring something unique to the internet landscape —

A shared, live-action learning journey of mine also meant to be one for YOU.  Learning about the best clubs, leagues, and tournaments the world over.  how it all fits together.  BUT.  Coupled with the most oddball humor-angle.

Today, at least you’re rewarded with a treasure trove of high-quality matches from the biggest leagues.   But there will still be weirdness.  I promise.  And you’ve been warned.

  1. Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas – Major League Soccer

Dallas and Kansas City keep going back and forth for the #1 seed in the Western Conference.  Electric boogaloo!  They’re back on top by two points with a tie to tough Columbus Crew bookended by nice (if predictable) wins versus Houston and Vancouver (who just fired their coach).   A great sign for them is that they’re succeeding playing low and high-scoring matches of late.

The #4 Timbers have trended the other way, losing two of three.  Both were on the road, but 4-1 thrashing by Houston has to be of particular concern.  Even in their home win over Columbus, they’ve played shite for defense.   At 32, is keeper Steve Clark getting a bit long in the tooth, feeling the late season lots more perhaps then his younger counterparts?   (10:30 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   0-0

B.  D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact – Major League Soccer

D.C. still have five points to make up on Montreal for the East’s last Playoff slot.  It’s been an impressive second-half season comeback for the former bottom-feeders.  Wayne Rooney money appears money well-spent.

But they’ve not beaten Montreal in their last seven tries (3D, 4L).  To break that streak, they’ll look to control the pace, make it a fast and flying match.  Montreal’s success of late has been on a suddenly improving defense, peaking at the right time of year.   (7:00 PM, ESPN+)

RESULT:   D.C.   5-0        Rooney with two goals.   Acosta with a goal and three assits

Image result for letter B bird

 

 

Not the fastest-flying bird, Number B.

Yet still, nice call namedropping the Bobolink.

  1. Queretaro vs. Tigres – Liga MX

You just have to love the format in Mexico (and other Latin, South American countries) where they divide the annual league soccer calendar into two separate tournaments.  Each match is -so- important.  In fact, Noob requires your love for this!   Liga MX WILL have it.

OK, that got weird for a bit.  Welcome to Noob, if you’re new.  This match features two teams right on the edge of qualifying for the Liguilla (postseason).  Top eight clubs get in, and there’s a three-way tie for 7th-9th right now.  Wave hi, combatants.

UANL Tigres are the story here.  They haven’t lost a match since mid-August.  They’re also coming into this key road match off two clean sheets.  They’re better on both sides of the ball than Queretaro.  Which makes this match being IN Queretaro so awesome.  Noob’s absolutely finding someone with ESPN Deportes in order to catch this one (6:00 PM).

RESULT:   Tigres   0-2    A.P. Gignac with both goals

  1. Chelsea vs. Liverpool – England Premier League

These two just played a few days ago, in the EFL Trophy tournament.  (Chelsea won 1-2).  You can learn a Noob-bit about it on the Vocab page for this site.

I’d love to be able to truthfully say I didn’t include in on that day’s Track because I knew they were playing a more important league match today.  But that would make me a lie-ahh!  Noob scouted it.  Fully intended to do a mini-preview.    Crapped the bed, skipping right over it on the ol’ spreadsheet.

Oh, how long will Noob suffer his own Noobishness!  Will this Dantean circle of hell ever be written out of the accursed book?

Get a grip, Noob.  There’s no soccer in “The Inferno”. 

Oh, The Management, you cannot pull Noob from the fire and anguish in my own mind, brought on by my own footyball incompetence!

Just – do the damn mini-preview.

Right!  Liverpool are #1.  6-0-0.  Two other clubs are 5-1-0.  Chelsea is one of those.  Neither has the overall offensive striking capability of defending champs Man City, so this match is super-duper key to the league race.  Also, Liverpool hasn’t beaten them in their last four attempts.

Names to Listen For:  For Liverpool, Mo Salah is the smexy name, as he broke the league scoring record last year.  But it’s striker Daniel Sturridge that’s been keeping that engine firing of late.  Eden Hazard remains the focal point of everything Chelsea does.

There.  Feel better?  Hey now!  Put your shirt back on and that wire coat hanger away! 

The Management apologizes for needing to redact the next would-be portion of the blog, as Noob punishes himself so catastrophically as to make this the internet’s first-ever “snuff blog”.   (12:30 PM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   1-1     And guess who scored?  Hazard and then the very late one to tie it from Daniel Sturridge!

  1. Juventus vs. Napoli – Italy Serie A

Last year’s runaway #1 and #B teams from 2017-18 occupy the same two spots this year early on.  With world’s greatest player-Cristiano Ronaldo, Juve are 6-0-0 and looking unstoppable.

Napoli were soooper fun to watch for their wide-open offensive style last season, may once again pose the only real threat to Juve.  They’ve netted six goals their last two games, getting back into form.   (12:00 PM, Rai Italia)

RESULT:   Juve   3-1      Ronaldo with a pair of assits

  1. Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid – Spain La Liga

It’s “El Clasico” – two of the mighty powers of Spain’s always top-heavy league.  Real are tied for 1st with the current world dominator Barcelona.   They’ve had heaps of trouble with #3 Atletico in recent matches though.

Atletico like to keep the scores low, were and are a very defensive-minded group.  But if Real can find the back of the net early today at home, this is their match to lose.   (2:45 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for El Clasico funny

That actually looks like a fight scene from the Elijah Wood Movie “Green Street Hooligans” to Noob.

  1. USBM vs. Phare du Canal – Guadeloupe Division d’Honneur

How serious is Noob of late about us getting to know our CONCACAF brethren?   I didn’t look up and don’t even feel the need to double check my spelling of this league’s name.  Boom!

This league is unusual.  1)  They’re in CONCACAF despite being an overseas department of France. B)   They’re even part of the French football system while being in our local federation.  3)  Teams get four points for a win, two for a draw, and one for just being on the schedule (by which I mean a loss).

Ooh, and check out how close this title race was last year.  CSM beat both these teams out by a single point.  These two finished #B and #3 and were themselves separated by just one tiebreaking goal in differential for the entire season.

The season just started a week or so ago.  Noob is curious to see if the league race is wide open year to year if the same teams will be front-running again.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Thun vs. Young Boys of Bern – Switzerland Super League

FC Basel is the name Noob consistently hears on satellite radio shows regarding Switzerland.  But it’s YBB who are 8-0-0 to start.  (Check out Noobstradamus’ vision regarding YBB’s last home game to learn some history on the naming of city-Bern.  If you can pick it out through the sheer inanity!)  They’re scoring well over three goals per match and sports the league’s top defense early on.

#B Thun score second-most in the land, but have to sacrifice D to do it.  Still, this may be the top contender to Bern’s likely title.  No other club in the league even has a positive GD to date.

RESULT:   YBB   1-4

Image result for Thun Switzerland funny

 

Noob’s going to start playing lottery, win, and buy Oberhofen Castle on Lake Thun.

You’re invited to party.

  1. Riga vs. RFS – Latvia Higher League

Noobites will also see this as “Virsliga” some places.  Because Noob knows you’re going to look for Latvian football content multiple places.  *bonnnnngggg*  It’s the 42nd-ranked league in UEFA, after all.

But what can Noob say?  I’m attracted to shiny things, and nothing glistens like a 1-B matchup.   And every member country gets at least its champ into Champions League.  Noob actually does know you’ll be looking at that.

They’re about 2/3 of the way through their season already.  Riga have opened up a four-point lead on both Riga and Ventsplis.  While not unique, it is rare to see a team on top that leans so heavily on their defense only.  Their offense is actually below average compared to the entire eight-team league.

Riga had won 13 matches in a row until their scoreless draw last outing.  If not for a tough start to their season, they’d already have bought polish for the league trophy.

Meanwhile, RFS just got off a three-match, scoreless losing streak.  If they can get a W today, this league race is going to be a dandy to follow, #42-rank or not.

RESULT:   Riga FC   1-2     Noob had the home and away sides turned around

  1. APOEL Nicosia vs. AEK Larnaca – Cyprus Super Cup

One of Noob’s first-ever Twitter (@SoccerNoobUSA) followers was a proud mama of two boys who both played or maybe even still play for APOEL.  Cypriot soccer will often win a tiebreaker for Track inclusion.

Also, please join Noob in shock and amazement at not realizing how strong this league is.  I’d have guessed closer to eighteenth from the bottom than actual #18 in UEFA.

After 20 years of the event being held in Nicosia, the times have changed.  Larnaca hosts today.  They won the country’s FA Cup last season to earn their place here.  APOEL won the league title, as is often the case.  With apologies to that lovely APOEL mom, Noob thinks Larnaca’s rise will continue.  They’re winning today in AET or penalty kicks.

RESULT:   Larnaca   1-1  /  1-4  pens       Wow.  Called that one!

Image result for Catacomb of Faneromeni Church

 

 

So long from the Catacomb of Phaneroni Church, Larnaca!  

 

The city name most likely means “coffer”, referring to the massive number of sarcophagi found at this and other sites in the city.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (8/26) – the best of footyball, home and abroad!

Noob tends to get more than a bit silly covering and learning about soccer.

Noobstradamus, in-house prognosticator.  Always fighting with The Management.  Screaming about Tottenham Hotspur being named for an historic traitor.  Lamenting teams from cities built on Swamps.  The quest to displace Number Two with Number B in all lists…

But weekends, things get (comparatively) serious.   End your weekend relishing in the umami-like rich goodness of Sunday’s mini-previews.  You’ll laugh a little, you’ll learn more.

Please considered following Noob on twitter: SoccerNoobUSA.com, and remmeber to check back for match results.

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

Rivalry Week has saved one of it’s heartiest hate-matches for last.  On top of the intra-regional malice, there’s a lot at stake.

Six from each conference make the Playoffs.  Right now, Portland sits in 6th, just two points up on Seattle.

Please, Timbers, turn things around!  Long-tenured Noobites may recall that my first ever experience with a hardcore soccer fan was a college TA/Sounders bandwagon jumper.  I want that wagon to fall off a cliff!  Noob may not be stable or normal, but I am consistent and sincere.

The problem is, Seattle’s been playing extraordinary ball for two months, not having lost a match since late June.  No one’s scored twice on them over this period. Portland, meanwhile, has lost three straight games.  Two of those were against teams not likely to make the Playoffs themselves.  Timbers have conceded nine goals in those matches.

If Portland are to do as they should, they’ve got to get the heart of their defense right.  International centerback Larrys Mabiala has been épouvantable, while goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has been just as abysmal.   (9:30 PM EST, FS1)

RESULT:   Seattle   0-1

Image result for larrys Mabiala funny

 

Larry’s started believing he’s Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix”.

May be the issue.

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

English all-time great Wayne Rooney has been everything D.C. could’ve dreamt.  Since he’s arrived midseason, they’ve won five, drawn one, and lost no matches.  They’re still six points out of the six and final Playoff slot in the East, but are now 8th.  Given that they were in the basement for the entire first half of the season, that’s incredible.

The Red Bulls were playing like the league’s best team midsummer.  And they haven’t lost in their last four outings.  And they’re still #B in the conference.  Still, are they fading a tiny bit?  Road draws against NYCFC and non-playoff Vancouver are okay.  A workmanlike road win against awful Chicago is good enough, just.  A close home win over good-but-fading-themselves LAFC…

Maybe it’s just the road being hard.  Yes, Noob’s imagining NYRB’s imminent demise.   (7:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   NYRB   1-0

Image result for imagine letter BNumber B, doing some messed up reimagining of self.

Is it not enough to merely be usurping Number Two’s place?

  1. Newcastle vs. Chelsea – English Premier League

Last season, Newcastle surprised with a 10th-place finish, having just been Promoted from the second division.   But they’ve followed up on that so far.  A loss Tottenham  Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – even at home – is clearly forgivable.  The home, scoreless draw to just-Promoted Cardiff is less so.

Chelsea have won their first two against pedestrian competition.  After a disappointing 5th-place finish in defense of their previous league title, they won’t be sleeping on anyone.  Missing out on Champions League (top four get invites) will have that effect.   (11:00 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Chelsea   1-2

  1. Santos vs. Cruz Azul – Liga MX

What a gigante match!  #3 hosts the only undefeated remaining and #1.  They’ve scored 22 goals in their six matches.  This doesn’t guarantee a shootout though.  Cruz Azul have only allowed one.   (7:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for giant soccer ball

 

 

Gigante!!

Hey, no hands.   I don’t see you in-net.

  1. Cray Valley Paper Mills vs. Ashford Town – English FA Cup

It’s not so much that this individual math is “important” that it’s neat to know that the FA Cup has already begun.  The big-league clubs won’t enter the competition for some time.

In truth, teams from this far down the football pyramid are unlikely to get anywhere near the Round where the Premier League clubs start playing.  But who knows, maybe we’ll have a history-making Minnow!

CVPM play out of the 9th-tier Southern Counties East League (formerly known as “Kent League”), in which they finished 6th in the higher of its two divisions.  They’re from Eltham, which is in the Greenwich Borough (southeast greater London).

Ashford town finished 12th in the 8th-tier Southern League Division One last season.  This year, they’ve made a lateral move to the Isthmian League.  They’re from Stanwell – just northeast of greater London – in the Surrey area of Spelthorne Borough.

RESULT:   Cray Valley   4-1

  1. Marseille vs. Rennes – Ligue 1

The French top league is already three matches into their season, but this is the first one that’s featured two teams from the top quarter of last season’s table.  These two finished in 4th and 5th, meaning they were the best two to not get invites to Champions League.

At least Marseille only missed the CL berth by a point in the table.  There was a massive gulf in the table between them and Rennes.

RESULT:   2-2

Image result for you are not invited

 

 

Would it make a difference if Noob and Rennes brought delicious scones?

 

  1. Jamaica vs. Antigua and Barbuda – women’s World Cup qualification (CONCACAF)

Reminder:  This is also the women’s CONCACAF Championship, doubling as qualification for next year’s WC.

This is the second round of Group Stage.  To get here, each had to win their previous group.   FIFA-ranked #133 A&B didn’t allow a goal in the previous stage’s three matches, but only scored five themselves.  #71 Jamaica, meanwhile, had a GD of 18-2.  Home team by a couple goals today, easily.

RESULT:   Jamaica   9-0         not a typo

  1. Dorados de Sinaloa vs. Correcaminos UAT – Ascenso MX

Welcome to the Track, Mexican second division!   Noob’s making a concerted effort to stay closer to home, with more CONCACAF/Western Hemisphere/North Amuricuhn matches than ever before.

Sinaloa are in 12th of 15 teams this Apertura (first-half season).  UAT are in 8th.   Noob sources are conflicted as to whether seven or eight team will qualify for the postseason Liguila, but either way, Correcaminos are right on that line.

Los Dorados have yet to win a match, but it’s early.  Noob thinks they will get a result at home today.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for welcome and fuck off

 

 

Yes, um, it’s Ascenso league coverage.

Do what now?

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

Club Brugge more or less ran away and hid from the pack over the regular season.  When it came time to play the last 10 matches in a Championship division, they fell back to earth a little, but still win the title.

Anderlecht went from second to third over that same stretch, seemingly having hit a wall, finishing those last ten matches with a negative GD even.  If they want to have a shot of their own at the hardware, they’ll have to have improved defense in 2018-19.  The were easily the worst in that regard of all the top clubs, and didn’t have offense that made up for it.

RESULT:   Brugge   2-1

  1. Qarabag vs. Neftchi – Azerbaijan Premier

We finish today’s Track in UEFA’s #23-ranked league.  Like most other European domestic leagues, they’re just getting started.

If you don’t already, get to know the name Qarabag.  They are the perennial power in here, easily the favorite to once again decimate all before them and get the league’s one CL berth.  Their offense is good.  They’re defense was about impenetrable.  They conceded less than a goal every other game on average last season.  Neftchi was 3rd.

RESULT:   1-1

 

So long from Baku, home of Qarabag!

Is that a Death Star they’re building or a seven-star hotel?

(Both!)

’10 to Track’ for Saturday (8/18) – ten match previews for your ogling pleasure

The most important matches to follow, for us – the newish American fans of the global game.

Our collective soccer education.  Noob’s unstable mind and left field-humor.   A combination almost as good as chocolate-almond-coconut ice  cream served by a Brazilian agriculture student.

Read on to have THAT explained.  Check back for results, too.  On matches, not the Brazilian girl.   And follow Noob on Twitter at SoccerNoobUSA.com.  Thanks.

  1. Sporting Kansas City vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer

As the regular season moves into its final third, it appears eight Western Conference teams are vying for the six postseason berths allotted them.  Just ten points separate the last of that group from first.

(Minnesota United fans, Noob looks forward to your emails of bile and vitriol.  Your club is trading away its talent now.  Management knows it’s over this year.  Embrace the pain.)

Portland are in 5th now, but not playing like they’ll stay there.  Two losses in a row to non-playoff bound competition don’t bode well.  Admittedly, that D.C. United team looks frisky this week, but were in last for a long time for a reason.  Reasons.

Kansas City have their groove back.  They’ve been in a brutal stretch of schedule, had lost three straight to fall to 4th.  Now, they’ve won back-to-back games against solid competition and have #1 Dallas in their sights, who dangle just three points ahead.

The key to recovering from their tailspin has been the back line.  Unsurprisingly, it has been spearheaded by MLS’ 2017 Defender of the Year award winner Ike Opara.   (8:30 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   KC   3-0

Image result for Ike Opara

 

Defense:  Top-notch

Ike’s head wear choice:

YOU make the call.

B.  Philadelphia Union vs. NYCFC – Major League Soccer

Things are shaping up a little differently in the East.  The top three seeds look secure, though in what order they’ll finish is up for grabs.  Columbus will be the #4 seed.  NYCFC and NY Red Bulls are tied for #B, just two in back of Atlanta.

The last two Playoff slots are down to four clubs realistically.  Here, we find Philly, tied for 5th.  They just bagged a big win over peer New England.  Since they’re hosting, Noob’s calling this match a tossup today.   (7:00 PM, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Philly   2-0

Image result for B is for bag

 

 

 

And for “blue” and for “Noob” spelled backwards.

Tres chic, Number B.

  1. Portland Thorns vs. Chicago Red Stars – Nationals Women’s Soccer League

Three matches to go in the regular season.  Here’s what we know:  North Carolina kick butt.  What we think we know:  Seattle are going to get the #B seed.

Five teams remain alive for the other two Playoff spots.  Portland are in the driver’s seat for the coveted #3 seed.  Not having to play NC in the opening round is a big deal.  Chicago and Orlando are tied for 4th.

Portland have won four of five and Chicago haven’t lost in four consecutive outings.   Check out this humdinger on ESPNEWS at 10:30 PM.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Monterrey vs. UNAM Pumas – Liga MX

We’re essentially at the quarter mark for the Apertura (first half-season) already!   Noob loves just 17 matches.  Every single one is so important.  And so it’s time for Noob to stop using last season’s results as a crutch and look at what we really have in Mexico now.

Pumas went from 14th to 7th between the 2017-18 half-season tournaments.  And look at UNAM now!  1st place.  One of two clubs with no losses.  Tied for the best offense in the league.  They grow up so fast!  *sniffle*

in 5th, we find Monterrey.  They finished in 1st and 3rd last year in the two tournaments.  They’re matches have been low-scoring to start out this Apertura, a surprise.  This one’s at 10:06 PM on FS2 to see of Pumas can continue to hold the top spot.

RESULT:   Monterrey   1-0

Image result for that's a thing?

 

 

Yes, Fox Sports 2 is a real channel.

We’re not to “The Ocho” yet, but all in good time.

  1. Chelsea vs. Arsenal – English Premier

Early here in the EPL season we get a matchup between last year’s two best teams that were disappointments.  At 5th and 6th place, they just missed out on Champions League berths.

The stories about these teams that will get you through Level One water cooler-chat:

Both teams have new coaches.  Chelsea expectedly won their first game while Arsenal lost to the defending champs to start this season.  And Chelsea star Eden Hazard should join the starting lineup now.  He’s gotten some rest after his run with his World Cup team in Belgium.  (12:30 PM, NBC)

RESULT:   Chelsea   3-2      Chelsea squandered a 2-0 early lead before closing this one out late.

  1. Lazio vs. Napoli – Serie A

Nearly all the talk this European off-season has been about Cristiano Ronaldo moving from Real Madrid to Juventus.  But don’t miss this match.

Napoli gave Juve everything they could handle in last season’s title race.  And Lazio – who are really fun to watch with the ball in the opponent’s third – finished 5th, losing out on a Champions League berth by tiebreaker.

RESULT:   Napoli   1-2

Image result for lazio funny

 

 

 

Plastic bottle-gladiator guy on the Lazio Plaza.

Hopefully he’s selling those to hot, thirsty footyball fans.

  1. Difaa al Jadida vs. MC Alger – CAF Champions League

And speaking of CL, let’s head to Africa’s.  A reminder of where we are:  Group Stage.  Four pods of four clubs each play double-round robins.  Top two from each will advance to the Knockout Stage.  Most everyone is four matches into their six.

In Group B, Congolese club TP Mazembe has already earned 1st place.  MC Alger is one of two Algerian clubs vying for runner-up, and they lead ES Setif by just a point.

DaJ aren’t out of it entirely, but have to earn more than draws to have any shot.  They’re actually the slightly more accomplished team internationally.  Between that, home pitch advantage, and plain old desperation, Noob looks for El Jadida to nab the W today.

RESULT:   El Jadida   2-0

  1. Royal Pari vs. The Strongest – Bolivia Premier

Welcome to the Track, Royal Pari!  Congrats on getting Promoted to Premier after last season.

In the Apertura, they finished in the bottom half of their division, if just.  Not bad for newbs.  And now in the Clausura – when the league plays all one division – (Bolivia is strange that way), they’re #B and have no losses!  Muy bueno.  But now, the real test.  The Strongest are 6-0-0.

These are the two highest goal-scoring offenses in the league.   To catch it, though, Noobites will likely have to try Googling up some internet streamage.  Maybe even pirated.  Yaaarrrgh.

RESULT:   R.P.   1-0

Image result for pirates computers

 

 

 

Yup.  Went there.

  1. Corinthians vs. Gremio – Brazil Serie A

#7 versus #4.  Two teams that will probably move up the table before all is said and done.   (6:00 PM, Premiere Futebol Clube)

Noob recently took his daughter and a neighbor kid out for a day, and that included a downtown ice cream shop near the local University.  The new girl working the counter was Brazilian.  Wonderful!  Buuhhht turns out she doesn’t care for football.  The footyball gods taunt Noob.

Noob learned a few interesting things though:

—  “Corinthians” might be pronounced with more of almost a “ch” than a “th” in Brazil.   Or our server might’ve had a speech impediment.  Noob didn’t ask.  Never mess with people handling your food.

—  The neighbor kid I had in tow told me I have a new girlfriend now, since I chatted her up so much.

Look, child.  Noob’s married and old enough to chat up an attractive, exotic, visiting postgrad intern without any nefarious intentions. What’s more, I— I— Oh my.  It’s true.   I am now my father.

—  One not need add much of any coconut to chocolate-almond to get the appropriate flavor effect.  Well-done, ice cream peoples.

RESULT:   Gremio   0-1

10.  FC Cincinatti vs. Charleston Battery – United Soccer League

Noob bookends today’s Track by bringing our gaze back stateside, to the second division.  Since the top eight in each conference will make the Playoffs, these are in excellent shape.  Cinci – who will be joining MLS next year – lead the East by five.  Charleston is tied with Pittsburgh Riverhounds for #B.

Charleston haven’t lost a league match since June 6.  And that’s as long as Cinci’s gone!  Primo matchup.  Noob wishes DII would get on the t00b.  Maybe the matches are carried locally and can be found on the interwebs.

RESULT:   Cinci   3-0

Image result for Cincinnati weird

 

 

 

So long from The Mushroom House,  Hyde Park, Cinci!

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (8/12) – MLS, EPL, Liga MX, Soooooper Cups!

Look, Noob is all about full disclosure.   I admit it.  Things got a little weird yesterday previewing matches.  Yelling about Hotspur’s traitorous namesake.  Predicting a terrible fate for Orlando, the city, since it’s built on a swamp.  Re-publishing weeeird Japanese soccer photo…

Today will be SO different.  All serious as we ogle the ten most important matches to follow for us, the new American fans of the global game.  Honest.

*snicker*

  1. Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas – Major League Soccer

After losing to Toronto in last season’s Playoffs, Seattle have looked anything but themselves.  Now, at least, a four-match winning streak has them within shouting distance (8th in the Western Conference) of the postseason (top six from each conference get in).  Their defense has always seemed pretty okay.  They’ve finally found their stride on offense.

Dallas are not only #1 in the West, they’ve built a five-point cushion in the standings over #B Portland.  This, despite their stunning 1-3 loss to San Jose.  Noob doesn’t care if it was a road match for FCD.  That’s horrible.

If Seattle want to continue to make a push, they need to keep getting goals from the midfield.  Forward Will Bruin has largely tried carrying the load all season, but help has got to keep coming from behind him as it has the last week.

Of course, since the first soccer fan Noob ever knew was a Sounders fan and an utter putz, I will not be pulling for this to happen.  Will Bruin must be left to struggle on his island!   (10:00 PM EST, FS1)

RESULT:   Seattle   2-1     Sounders are still in 8th, but now within three points of 6th place and the West’s final Playoff slot.

B.  UANL Pumas vs. Pachuca – Liga MX

Pachucha finished 9th in the last Clausura (second half-season), just missing the Liguilla (postseason tournament).  They played nearly the league’s worst defense, so if they can shore that up just a little without sacrificing goal-scoring, they can get above the line.

Pumas were 7th, not tons better on defense.  This could be a real shootout.  Find out at 5:00 PM on Univision Deportes.

RESULT:   0-0     So much for a shootout

Image result for letter B explore

 

 

Number B, that’s so random.

 

You really get me, don’t you.

  1. Arsenal vs. Manchester City – English Premier League

Only the rawest of Noobites should be without a sense of Man City.  Record-breaking 2017-18, crushing the league.

Arsenal were 6th, and won’t do better this year unless they start stopping goals like the biggest boys in this league.  They allowed about a third again as many as their peers.  This is the first match of the season for both clubs.   (11:00 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Man City   0-2

  1. Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Bayern Munich – Germany Super Cup

Speaking of teams that crushed their leagues, will anyone be able to hold a candle to Bayern this year?  They were nearly every bit as dominant as Man City in England was.  Frankfurt won the nation’s FA Cup to earn their spot here, despite finishing just 8th in the league.  They play hosts today.

Like most Super Cups, this is a glorified friendly to kick off the impending league season. Soooooper!  Except that it doesn’t count.   (2:30 PM, FS2)

RESULT:   Bayern   0-5

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Get ready for all manner of super-ness.

  1. Barcelona vs. Sevilla – Spanish Super Cup

Same as above, almost.  Barcelona cruised to their 2017-18 La Liga title, and won the FA Cup there as well.  They get a Copa final rematch against Sevilla, who finished 7th in the league.  They played literally just half the offense and defense of Barcelona.  Ouch.  This one gets played at Moroccan club IR Tanger’s new stadium.   (4:00 PM, ESPNEWS)

RESULT:   Barca   2-1

  1. Saprissa vs. Herediano – Costa Rica Premier

Last year, Herediano won both the Apertura and Clausura half-seasons.  They’re an absolute beast on defense.  Both times, Saprissa was #B, and for the latter they were separated by just one point in the table.

Costa Rica and the U.S. top leagues are simply the two best in the CONCACAF region, after Mexico.   And THAT calls for musical interlude.

RESULT:   Saprissa   1-0

  1. Rijeka vs. Hajduk Split – Croatia First League

Croatia is on the mind of soccer fans the world over after their amazing run to the final in the World Cup.  Their league is rated in the top third of Europe (#16).

Last year, it was a three-horse race, and these two lost out do Dinamo Zagreb for the title and league’s only Champions League slot.  Rijeka were statistically the best team of them all, but a whopping ten draws left them short.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Alianza vs. Santa Tecla – El Slavador Premier

Noob’s tired of fighting the typo, going to embrace it instead.  Ehhhl Sllllllllavadoooohhhhr!

Alianza won both the Apertura and Clausura tournaments last year.  Santa Tecla was #B both times.  The race was much closer in the Clausura.  In fact, they had the better goal differential.  This league, too, is just getting its new season underway.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for El Slavador

 

 

 

If “El Slavador” is good enough for the CIA, it’s good enough for Noob.

  1. Luzern vs. Young Boys of Bern – Swiss Super League

The table was clearly stratified by the end of 2017-18 here.  YBB won the league by 15 points.  Luzern were 15 behind the #B club.  Today’s hosts can compete again for a Europa League berth.  But if they want a shot at the CL, they need buckets more goals than last year.

RESULT:   YBB   2-3

  1. Molde vs. Brann – Norway Eliteserien

In northern Europe, they’re over halfway through their league seasons.  Brann have only lost one match, but five draws have meant the title is anything but decided.

Molde have all the shiny stats to look like they should be competing even more closely for the title.  But their five losses are the most of any realistic contenders.  At eight points behind in the table, this home match is must-win for The Fighting Sea Char.

The Management:   Is that a kind of slamon?  What an awful nickname.  Good thing you just made it up, asshat.

The sllllllamon of El Sllllllllavahdoooooohhr!

The Management:  Rrrriiiight…

RESULT:   Molde   5-1

Image result for Molde Norway salmon

 

So long from Molde, Norway — home of contagious slamon!

The Management:  Where do we even start fixing you?…

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

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!

Tuesday

  1. 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.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for letter b animated gif

 

Here’s a dolphin and Number B excelling at their own sport.

  1. 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

Wednesday

  1. 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

Image result for England vs ireland funny

 

 

 

Not soccer-related.

Noob neither has nor needs a reason.

  1. 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.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. 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

Image result for Denmark weird

 

 

Denmark – where you can sleep in a giant beer can.

  1. 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.

RESULT:     ppd

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

Image result for noobstradamus

 

 

Cloudy?  I never used that word.  I am the all-seeing Noobstradamus!

(Maybe I said “murky…”)

 

Thursday

  1. 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

  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.

Image result for cairo hidden gems

 

 

 

So long from Cairo, where Noob will be hitting the Khan Al Kahili Bazaar after the match.