Globetrotting Friday! Passports ready? Wunderbar.
Since league schedules the world over tend to run a little light, Noob spends Fridays jetsetting the world over with you, ogling soccer near and in far-flung hinterlands.
Strap in tightly, and don’t forget to please follow Noob on Twitter: @SoccerNoobUSA. Thanks for your consideration and readership!
Chicago Red Stars vs. North Carolina Courage – National Women’s Soccer League
They’re about ¾ of the way through the regular season in America’s top pro women’s league. The top four teams will make the Playoffs.
Chicago is in tied for 5th with Utah Royals and trail Portland Thorns by just a point. They’ve played two fewer matches than both those teams, so Red Stars are looking okay.
In fact, only the Courage have beaten Chicago since May. If they play there starters today, Noob would still favor they by a goal, even on the road. NC has already won the Supporters’ Shield, being sooooo far out in front in the standings.
Fun Fact: Progress, Towers, Union, Blues, 1871,and Wind were all considered as nicknames before Red Stars win in a landslide on a fan-ballot.
B. New York Red Bulls II vs. Louisville City – United Soccer League
Defending league champs Louisville are in 4th place right now in the Eastern Conference. That’s good for a home playoff match when the Playoffs come. NYRB reserve team trail them by just a point though. Red Bulls II lead the league in goal-scoring by a wide margin. Can Louisville control the pace on the road?
RESULT: Louisville 4-6 Cameron Lancaster with three goals for the winners
Number B! We don’t run blue here.
But Noob does wonder what’s up with the dolphin. And in a classroom but with a graduation cap on…
Monarcas Morelia vs. Necaxa – Liga MX
“How does Noob decide which league matches are worthy of Track status early in that league’s season?”
Thanks for writing in, little Billy Connelly of Springfield. Once all clubs in a league have played five matches, Noob looks at that season’s standings. In non-North American leagues, both teams have to be in the top quarter (top three for the smallest ones) of the table to warrant Track-consideration. Prior to that point, Noob uses the last complete season’s standings in that same way.
“Why won’t my mommy and daddy let me sleep with them in their bed every single night?”
Little Billy, as wise as Noob is, I am hesitant to answer questions of this nature.
But since you went to the trouble! Your mom and dad are likely cooking up meth in there. Are they stuffing the gap under the door with towels? If so, sneak outside some night late and see if the windows are open.
“Thanks, Mr. Noob!”
I’m here to help. Oh, and this football matchup features last Clausura’s (second half season’s) #8 and #11 teams. Necaxa had a great goal differential, despite missing the Liguilla (postseason tournament), but had a mind-boggling ten draws in their 17 matches. Gotta get W’s to play for the title. (10:00 PM EST, Univision Deportes)
Fun Fact: Noob is a rapscallion and ne’er-do-well, a cretinous yahoo on all accounts.
RESULT: Morelia 2-1
Queretaro vs. Santos Laguna – Liga MX Femenil
For claiming to be focused on soccer close to home, Noob didn’t give the Mexican’ top women’s league much coverage in the first year of this site. Starting to change that.
All the men’s clubs but two field a top-flite women’s team. These two finished 10th and tied for 7th in the aggregate table last year. But the women’s side only sends four clubs each to the postseason, so both have lots of improvement to have done.
Querataro need to up the ante on their defensive efforts in particular. They were woeful in that department during the 2017-18 Clausura.
RESULT: Queretaro 3-1
I say-I say-I say: Queretaro are “the White Roostahs”. Foghorn Leghorn is the official mascot.
(OK, that bit was half-true)
Real España vs. Tauro – CONCACAF League
The Central American and Caribbean countries of our region have their own tournament to qualify a club for the next CONCACAF Champions League. 16 teams compete for a single berth. This is the opening round of this Bracketed event where each pair of teams play two-legged ties.
Real España are the second entrant out of Honduras. Tauro only qualified as one of the two wildcards out of Panama. The latter won the first leg 1-0. R.E. should be considered a full-goal favorite at home. So, noob expects this one to come down to away-goals tiebreaker or penalty kicks.
The winner will play Walter Ferretti out of Nicaragua in the Quarterfinals. That team at a surprisingly tough time getting past Martinique’s Clubs Franciscain, the fourth and final entrant out of the Caribbean qualifiers.
Fun Fact: Real España are the only club to be named Real (“royal”) by a Spanish monarch that is not from Spain
RESULT: 1-1 And so Tauro advances on 1-2 aggregate.
Manchester United vs. Leicester City – English Premier League
In many ways, this is perhaps the most important match in the world today. The greatest league in the world (pipe down, Bundesliga fans, Noob knows the argument is valid) begins its campaign today. This is the best match of those kicking things off there today.
Man Utd. finished #B last year, distantly so to their intracity rivals Man City. If they want to make a move on the title, it’s their offense that will need to have been kicked up a notch. Or two.
The big question for today’s match is whether the teams’ World Cup players will play much or at all. Players go on holiday rather than get right back into training with their clubs after WC. Man United may have to press guys like Pogba and Lukaku into quick action, however, as they’re already somehow facing a rash of injuries to other projected starters. (3:00 PM, NBCSN)
RESULT: Man Utd. 2-1
Fun Fact: This was the founding year and crest of what is now Manchester United FC.
Winslow United vs. Easington Sports – English FA Cup
This is the oldest recognized soccer tournament in the world. Teams from all the way down to level 10 in Britain’s soccer pyramid can qualify to play. This is the Extra Preliminary Round, the very first matches of the Qualifying Competition. The “Competition Proper” won’t be considered to have begun for months, until all the professional clubs through Premier League have entered the fray.
These two have never played in FA Cup before. Winslow United qualified out of the Spartan South Midlands Football League, level 10 in the pyramid. Actually, they play in the First Division of that league. The next step up in the pyramid (9) is the SSMFL’s Premier Division. Last year, they finished 3rd of 20 teams, just missing promotion.
Easington Sports position in the English soccer world is the same. They play in the Hellenic League, out of the First Division West, level 10. A promotion would put them in that same league’s Premier. Last year, they finished 3rd out of 14 clubs, also narrowly missing promotion.
The fun in FA Cups is largely considered watching out for Minnow – .underdogs from lower divisions that make runs into the Compeition Proper. It’s unlikely one would come from this far down, so the point of Tracking them is largely just to let Noobites know that the event has even started.
Fun Fact: To give some perspective, Winslow is a town of about 4,000.
RESULT: 1-1 In the event of a tie, the teams will have a Replay. It will be at Easington.
KI vs. HB – Faroe Islands Meistardieldin
And then lots of the fun of Globetrotting Friday is to visit places that simply don’t merit Tracking the rest of the week!
Faroe Islands’ top league just had a banner year, though even so they only climbed a notch in the UEFA domestic league rankings. Now they’re 51st of 55. But hey, they’re playing.
These are the only two clubs there in serious contention for the league title and country’s only Champions League berth. KI lead by two in the table. Statistically, these two are pretty much identical. Very good offense, great defense.
RESULT: HB 0-1
Fun Fact: Klaksvik – KI’s home town – is on one of the northernmost Faroe Islands.
Samtredia vs. Sioni – Georgia Erovnuli Liga
Just a touch further up the European league rankings we find Georgia’s best, #46 on the continent (well, plus Eurasia).
These two teams don’t help the cause certainly. They’re the weakest two (but hey, they’re playing!). Kolkheti Poti is in last and in line currently for the league’s lone automatic Relegation only because they were deducted six points in the table. Probably some sort of financial nawtiness.
Today’s featured combatants, should the remain in 8th and 9th-places, will be part of a four-team Relegation Playoff at season’s end. They’ll battle with Liga II’s #B and #3 finishers for the right to play in the top league next season.
And Noob says “will” and not “would” because these two sad sacks aren’t going anywhere, waaaay down the table from the rest of the pack.
Fun Fact: Noob wishes FC Samtredia would pick up the nickname “Fighting Mulberries”. Their region produces many.
RESULT: Sioni 0-4
Posta Rangers vs. Gor Mahia – Kenya Premier
For 2018-19 CAF rankings, Kenya’s top league will move in at #22. It’s not historically a very strong soccer country.
Gor Mahia haven’t mathematically wrapped up 1st place at the league’s only CL invitation, but they’re close. 2/3 of the way through the season or so here they lead the next-best by nine points in the table. They ran away with the trophy last year, too.
Posta Rangers finished 4th, but currently are down in 10th place. They weren’t great at scoring last season, and that weakness has seriously bitten them this year.
RESULT: Gor Mahia 1-2
So long from Nairobi, home of Gor Mahia!