Isle of Sodor Premier – matchday 27 (Sat., 2/23) Feature Game: A new Derby!

Saturday, 2/23
T15  Brendam Utd.        vs.       #14  Brendam Harbor
#13   Marron                    vs.         #3  Kirk Ronan
#19  Tidmouth City      vs.         #5  Crovan’s Gate
T11   Castle Rolf              vs.       #10  Suddery
T8    Junction & Sheds vs.        #15  Lakeside

Saturday Feature Match:  The Brendam Derby

Image result for derby hat funnyGet out your best derby hats!

These are historically two of the best teams in the country.   One might’ve hoped that at least one of the two would make a move up the table in the season’s second half.  Instead, Harbor and United are mired in 14th and 15th place.   Still, it’s the first ever Premier League Brendam Derby!

And since this isn’t England, they even pronounce “derby” right.  FA President Abban Clague:   “We couldn’t think of any other words right off  where an ‘e’ was pronounced with an ‘ahhh’ sound.  We’re not doing it.  Silly English tw**s.”

Image result for BHFC crestBrendam Harbor surprised no one in winning the inaugural Isle of Sodor FA Cup last summer.  Yet they’re perhaps the least-liked team on the Isle, as their success generally comes via hard-nosed, aggressive defense.  Such is  considered uncouth at best on Sodor.   Here in the first PL season, they’re giving up goals like most other clubs, but not scoring more themselves.

Some observers have told Noob they’re having an identity crisis.  They’re trying to play “nicer” and not continue to be painted as the “bad boys” of Sudric football as the League hopefully gains international exposure here starting out.

Image result for Boleyn fc crestBrendam United, meanwhile, didn’t make it out of the Group Stage in the summer’s Cup.  They’re problem has been simple – they can’t score.  And if you can’t score on Sodor, you’re losing a lot.  Because almost everyone else is.

Neither team as earned a win in February.  Still, neither is in much seeming danger of being Relegated.   That said, if 18th-place Ulfstead can make a run, the Brendams would be two of five additional teams in the mix to get sent down to the Championship.

Match Prediction:  Cool, dry weather should make for pitch today that invites both sides to play with some real pace.  United are the designated home team, but since they share a pitch, no advantage there.  The Harbormen have show some occasional flashes of their big offense potential.

Noob calls it:     Brendam Harbor  5-7

Image result for Noobstradamus

 

Oh, so now that the site’s format is IoS PL and some lampooned new stories, you think you can just predict matches without me?

Noobstradamus will see you rue the day.   You’ll be a … day-ruer?   OK, that was weak.

Isle of Sodor Premier League – Featured game for matchday 26 – A “Clasico” of their own

“El Clasico” is known to every football fan in the world.   Here on Sodor,  Image result for Sodor map there are big rivalries as well, and they tend to be intracity.   Welcome to Knapford, where things will get nasty on Sunday (2/15). (Well, as nasty as things get on Isle.  Might see a slide tackle or two attempted!   Remember:  hard defense is considered here to be more than uncouth.)

For this year, they’ve settled on calling this the Yards-Sheds Classic.    Junction & Sheds have never been known as anything but.  Knapford Town changed from Knapford Yards FC when the FA came into being a year ago, wanting to differentiate themselves from the more purely blue-collar branding of J&S.

Knapford Town have had the better of things in league this season, just moved into 2nd place, five behind surprising league leaders Dryaw FCJunction & Sheds are in a tie for 8th.  Getting more than a couple positions higher will be hard for them, as the top few have some space in the table between them and the pack now.

How do the teams play?   Their League campaigns have pretty much reflected their FA Cup runs from this summer.

Image result for KTFC crestDuring the inaugural FA Cup of summer 2018, Knapford Town tended to win but lose close.  They made the Round of 16 before falling in the penalty shootout to E.C.D. (East Coast Diesel) of Vicarstown.

Junction & Sheds (#1 supporter Alexi Lalas) advanced just as far.  They suffered the same fate in losing to eventual champion Brendam Harbor, going down at the shootout.    They scored tied for second in Group Stage scoring at 17 goals over the three matches, with just tiny shocker Cabalnoo getting more (18).

Image result for Junction FC crestWin lose or draw, J&S work hard to score and that’s about it.   (They   conceded 14 in that Group Stage.   No team plays the classic Sudric 5-5-good luck back there! formation quite as religiously as Sheds.

 

Their first meeting this year ended in a 5-5 draw.  Rumor has it that J&S will pull the goalie at select times and play a 6-5-void formation.   When it comes to offensive-mindedness, good luck outdoing the Sudrics generally.  KTFC can keep up with a lot of teams in a game like that, but probably not against J&S and they know it.  They’ll look to play things comparatively closer to the vest most of the match, then try running wild if it’s tied or close late.

Noob interview with English Premier League referee (and A+ dancing fool) Mike Dean

English Premier League Mike Dean is quite likely the most flamboyant referee in the history of soccer.   In Manchester City’s 6-0 defeat of Chelsea this weekend, Dean’s usual flair was again on display.    In addition to his strange positions and dramatic gestures, he even stuffed the  game ball under his shirt to hide it from Sergio Aguero (who’d had a hat trick).

Between fixtures, Dean often heads to Barrow and then across the Walney Channel to Vicarstown, Sodor!  Noob’s picking up on all manner of fun things now that I’m living on the Isle more or less full-time.  I caught up with Mr. Dean at local drinking house “The Furnace” for a rare interview…that didn’t go where Noob thought it would.

(And here’s the dreamteamfc article if you need confirmation about the reveal shortly.)

Noob:   Mike, thanks for the sit-down!

Mike DeanYou challenged me to try the sparkling rhubarb vermouth.  What was I supposed to say, no?   I'm Mike flippin' Dean.  

Noob:  I am Noob!

Mike Dean:  Splendid.

Noob:  Interview?

Mike Dean:   Balls.   What the heck. 

Noob:   Let's talk sportsball.

Mike Dean:   Bloody hell.   It's a weird vermouth, not that nice South African malbec on yonder shelf.   Let's talk dancing.

Noob Well, I'm not as light on my feet as I once was, but --

Mike Dean:  Shut the cuss up.  Did you know I was a ballroom dancing champion?

Noob:  You shut the cuss up!

 

Mike Dean:   They've talked to me about being on Strictly Come Dancing.  I'm big enough in England, certainly.  But they only do Latin and ballroom on that show. I want to show my range. 

Noob:   What, you want to replace Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor? 

Mike Dean:   You're an odd chap.  No. I want to be on Dancing With the Stars. So many more styles get featured!  Jitterbug.  Disco.  And if you think I can't Lindy Hop , I'll punch you in the face. 

Noob:  I didn't say you couldn't. 

Mike Dean:  Smart lad.    Smarter than those clowns at your ABC.  They won't even return my calls. 

Noob:   I call shenanigans. 

Mike Dean:    Alexis Ren.   Bobby Bones.   Pshaw.   Know who the biggest "star" they got was?   John.  Effing.  Schneider.  Image result for John Schneider Dancing with the Stars funny  If you don't think I can't outdance Bo Duke, I'll...I'll... *sputters* 

Noob:   Punch Noob in the face? 

Mike Dean:   This vermouth isn't bad.   Who's Noob? 

Noob:  I am Noob! 

Mike Dean:  Splendid.  Say, you're media here, of a sort.  Don't suppose you know if Sodor has a dancing competition show. 

Noob:   Don't think so.  But they're having a Grease-themed sock hop dance-off at the high school reunion nearby tonight.

Aaaaand that’s when Mike Dean punched me in the face, signaling the end of the interview.  And you know what?  Good on him.   That sock hop was beneath him.

Join Noob next time as I try to get MLS Referee of the Year Alan Kelley mad  enough to puncture my spleen by showing him my Dundalk jersey and telling him his former team Cork City of stinks.

(If you enjoyed this interview, may I humbly recommend the offerings on my  D2 Interviews Page.  And Noob is available to write all manner of craziness for your soccer site, or for other sports or any topic at all!)

Isle of Sodor Premier League matchday 24 results, updated table

The three key results from last weekend’s fixtures are in bold.    

#1 vs #2 was a rout in favor of the league leaders.   They lead by just three, but the contenders have changed.   How far did former #2 Peel Godred fall?  Did either of the Relegation candidates’ upsets move them above the cutline?   Scroll down past the results for the updated table.

2/2 #3 Kirk Ronan 9 5 #T7 Wellsworth
#T13 Brendam Harbor 10 10 #T7 Junction & Sheds
#9 Glennock 4 8 #20 Arlesburgh Utd.
#11 Vicarstown 5 5 #19 Tidmouth City
#18 Ulfstead 8 3 #T13 Brendam Utd.
2/3 #16 Marron 2 7 #4 Knapford Town
#5 Crovan’s Gate 6 8 #6 E.C.D.
#12 Suddery 6 3 #10 Castle Rolf
#T13 Lakeside 5 7 #17 Ffarquhar
#1 Dryaw FC 13 3 #2 Peel Godred
  W D L PTS  
1 Dryaw 18 4 2 58 League Champions
2 Kirk Ronan 17 4 3 55
3 Knapford Town 17 4 3 54
4 Peel Godred 17 2 5 53
5 Crovan’s Gate 15 5 4 50
6 East Coast Diesel 13 6 5 45
7 Junction & Sheds 11 4 7 37
8 Wellsworth 11 3 8 36
9 Glennock 10 4 10 34
10 Castle Rolf 8 6 10 30
10 Suddery 8 6 10 30
10 Vicarstown 7 9 8 30
13 Brendam Harbor 7 5 12 26
14 Lakeside 7 4 13 25
14 Brendam United 7 4 13 25
16 Marron 6 4 14 22
17 Ffarquhar 5 4 15 19
18 Ulfstead 4 4 16 16 Relegated to Sodor Championship
19 Arlesburgh United 4 1 19 13
20 Tidmouth City 3 3 18 12

Isle of Sodor Premier League – Matchday 24 – Feature: #1 Dryaw FC vs #2 Peel Godred

The New England Cheatriots won Superb Owl LIII 13-3 Sunday. Boring.  Image result for cheatriots

Isle of Sodor Premier League had it’s own #1-2 matchup Sunday, with host Dryaw FC routing Peel Godred by that same score. No snoozefest on this pitch! The “Reverends” of Dryaw take a far more decisive lead of five points in the table now.

[Check back for a new post Wed. or Thurs. for updated table and all the weekend’s results!]

A dampish pitch did nothing to slow offense today. Little does on Sodor, of course, as hard defense is considered uncouth and things like slide tackles practically forbidden as an unwritten rule. Striker Bill Butzkopfski Image result for fat soccer player in red (left) found the back of the net early and often, tallying five scores before being subbed out in the 70′. Al Britt assisted on a pair of those and two other scores from his midfield position.

For Peel, Glen Onchan nabbed a goal and an assist from the right wing. Goalkeeper Ray Harmer had a much tougher day, coming off his line too early and too often, committing two own-goals.

A MOMENT OF SILENCE

— was held  just before kickoff in all matches on Sodor.

The English Premier match between Everton and Wolves the day before featured a black cat running around the pitch – uncatchable, free (courtesy of S.I.) – in the second half.

A chapter of brief but terrible Sudric history ended just 20 years ago.   Everyone was reminded of the horrible experiments run in a dark corner of the Isle:   Live cats forced to play indoor soccer with AI robot soccer cats.   Not sound so terrible as to warrant moment of silence?  Here’s the excruciating footage.   Viewer advisory.

 

 

Sodor Premier League news! Tidmouth City striker transferred after team tai chi brawl

January 31, 2019 – Tidmouth, Sodor

Image result for isle of man soccer playerStriker Cam Baker is out at Tidmouth City, has been transferred to a Turkish second division club.

Sodor isn’t oft a place of shenanigans or worse, yet the ouster mirrors a strangely similar sequence of events this month from the English Premier League.

In December, Fulham F.C. striker Aboubakar Kamara had a run in with teammate Alexsanar Mitrovic Image result for aboubakar kamara angryover who was to take a penalty kick. In January, Kamara scuffled with a security guard trying to storm the main offices and argue over the fine that ensued. Then most recently, he got into fisticuffs with the same teammate at a team yoga session. He felt Mitrovic had been rude to the instructor.   (Read the Football365 article)

City’s Baker has also been a handful. He argued nastily with fellow striker Alex Mitre around Christmastime over a “Secret Santa” gift that that might not have met the minimum-spending agreement. While the club did not fine Baker, the fracture only deepened between the two players.

Image result for cheap secret santa gift

 

 

Baker wasn’t wrong.   That’s just a terrible gift job on Mitre’s part.

 

 

Things came to a full head this week at a regular team tai chi session. Baker instigated full-on fisticuffs with Mitre. In fact, it took two players and a passer-by Zumba instructor to pull Baker off of him. The cause? Mitre made an admiring comment to the instructor about her “downward dog” style, wImage result for sexy downward doghich Baker felt crossed a clear line of couth (and for which he has been suspended two matches).

Right or wrong regarding Baker’s chivalry, Manager Claud Rainn traded him quickly. Baker will finish the 2018-19 campaign as a kit launderer for women’s club Ilkadim Belediyespor  of Turkey’s Kadinlar 2. Liga .   In return, Tidmouth City will receive an autographed photo of Ilkadim midfielder Khatia Tchkonia.

KhatiaTchkonia02.JPG

 

 

 

(Not to be uncouth myself, but Noob thinks Tidmouth City easily got the better of this trade.)

Sodor Premier League news! Tim Howard who? 80-year old Sudric goalie announces retirement

January 30, 2019 – Arlesburgh, Sodor

Colin Lee, -80- year old goalie for Arlesburgh United Pirates Image result for soccer crest piratesof the Isle of Sodor Premier League has announced his retirement from competitive play.  When asked what he thought of the MLS Colorado Rapids‘ 39 year-old Tim Howard‘s hanging them up after the 2019 season, Mr. Lee gruffly said, “Blargh.  I have bunions older than that quitter.

This 2011 Daily Mail article details his full English career; click here)

In 2012, Mr. Lee Veteran: Colin Lee, 72, started playing football when he was just six years old and has now been regularly partaking in the beautiful game for an incredible 66 yearswas sacked as secretary for eight Northampton, England area teams and as keeper for his Sunday League squad.   His former Air Force Veterans’ teammate, 56 year-old Ollie Hight had this to say:

 

The guy was 72.   He did a lot of good, but it was time for him to bugger off, make room for up-and-comers like me.

Colin Lee then retired across the Walney Channel to Arlesburgh, in the northwest of Sodor.  Image result for Arlesburgh Sodor mapAs the oldest established town on the Isle, he found it suited him well.   Here, he continued his 50-plus year career as a goalie, only occasionally reverting to his youth position of centre half.

But Arlesburgh United find themselves in last place in this, the inaugural IoSPL season.   With Lee in a platoon at goalkeeper, the team has given up nearly seven goals per match, a staggering number even by loose-defense Sodor standards.

If the other team kicks it right at me, I’ve got a shot.   But they’ve figured out my weaknesses after having faced each club once on the year — I have trouble covering wide.  And high.  And low.   I can actually get low sometimes, but then I can’t get back up and they sub me out.

I hope Tim HowardImage result for Tim Howard retirement finds broadcasting dull and decides to replace me here.   Perhaps he can get the team promoted to Premier again next year.  Because we’re sure as shit getting sent down this season.”

 

’10 to Track’ Relegation Monday (1/14) matches – more Suckitude than you can handle or deserve!

Monday’s world league scheds are exceptionally light today.  So, before we dig into Matches of Suckitude – ones that feature teams about to get Relegated for their poor performances – we start with some match mini-previews of happier import.  Enjoy.

1. Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers – English Premier League
  • UEFA league rank: #B
  • Table positions: #B, #11
  • Stakes: top 4 go to Champions League
  • Time of season: middle

The defending runaway champs can retake the league lead today with a win. They’ve reeled off four straight wins since a two-loss speed bump that allowed Liverpool to move into 1st. The last two of those were by a combined score of 16-0, though over non-Premier foes in Cup tournaments.

Wolves are in 11th, but would move into the top half of the 20-team table with a draw and jump to 8th or 7th with a win. How is a team that was just promoted doing so well? Money infusion from the Chinese conglomerate that bought them. (Thank you to the Bros Talking Soccer podcast guys for the answer to that one on their Slack.) They win with smallish ball – low scores for everyone. It’s not likely to work today…but “defense travels” is an axiom for a reason!

RESULT:   City   3-0

B. U.A.E. vs. Thailand – Asian Cup

The Group Stage of Asia’s national team championships is nearly done. The pods of four are playing just a single round robin, all matches in the host Emirates. The top two from each Group automatically advance to the next round. The four best third place finishers will also move on.

U.A.E. have already mathematically advanced. Thailand are tied with India for runners-up, but down to them on head-to-head tiebreaker. The AFC ranks homers U.A.E. #4 and Thailand #8 (FIFA ranks #79 and #118). But no matter – the Thais are so far the best of the third-place sides, are all but certain to advance as well.

RESULT:   1-1        The Thais advance as the Group runners-up!

Image result for letter B cartoon sword

 

 

Number B is back, and the quest to be rid of Number Two in lists is ON.

3. Newtown vs. St. Paul’s – St. Kitts and Nevis Premier
  • CONCACAF league rank: they don’t really do them
  • Table positions: #B, #3
  • Stakes: top 4 play for the title
  • Time of season: over 1/3 done

Two similar teams chasing Village Superstars for the trophy!

RESULT:   1-1

4 and 5.

Gotta be honest. It’s late here on Sodor where Noob is wintering. Gotta save time for continuing to put together the coming Isle of Sodor Premier League page.

So. The Coppa Italia (FA Cup is in its Round of 16. Also, there’s also a second division Portuguese league match you can Google up, should the Spirit move you.

And now, Matches of Suckitude!

6. Aris Thessaloniki vs. Lamia – Superleague Greece
  • UEFA league rank: #13
  • Table positions: #8, #14 (of 16)
  • Stakes: bottom 3 Relegated
  • Time of season: middle

Lamia are a fair bit better than the bottom two teams. They are one of three teams realistically trying to stay out of the last Relegation slot. That said, the fourth-to-last place team will play the 4th-place D2 team for the right to play Superleague next year. Lamia can’t score worth a darn, are likely to stay right where they are.

Noob doesn’t think they can even compete for a draw today. Thessaloniki score twice as much, are just as good on D.

RESULT:   Thess   1-0

Image result for Lamia football

 

 

 

Aaaaand stab yourself in the head.

7. Alki Oroklinis vs. AEL Limassol – Cyprus Premier
  • UEFA league rank: #18
  • Table positions: #9, #3 (of 12)
  • Stakes: bottom half do Relegation playoff
  • Time of season: middle

Worst offense and defense in the league. How A.O. are higher in the table than three clubs is beyond Noob. They’ll be doing well to keep this to a one-goal loss against the #3 side.

Fun Fact:   The team owner re-named the club after a fave of his that had just gone bankrupt and dissolved.   What the cuss?

RESULT:   AEL L   1-3

8. Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv – Israel Premier
  • UEFA league ranking: #27
  • Table positions: #12, #1 (of 14)
  • Stakes: bottom 8 do Relegation playoffs
  • Time of season: middle

Side note: This league has dropped a tied-for-worst nine notches in the European rankings this last year.

HTA aren’t likely to escape the Relegation playoffs at season’s end. Their small-ball ways aren’t working out. Ten draws in 17 matches have kept them from the table’s very bottom. And MTA are going to put up with none of their nonsense. Undefeated, best offense and defense in the league.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for hapoel tel aviv funny

 

We’re not taking you seriously with those stretches, HTA.

Get a Peloton for warmups.   Something.

9. Glacis United vs. Boca Juniors – Gibraltar Premier
  • UEFA league ranking:          #51
  • Table positions:                     #7, #9 (of 10)
  • Stakes:                                        last place gets Relegated
  • Time of season:                      middle

#51 of 55 leagues? Hey, it’s a rock with about the pop. of Ames, Iowa and they’re not #55. Noob’s actually more impressed that they even have a Second Division to which a team can be sent down.

The 9th-place finisher will have a playoff with the #B from the second tier. I’d say their offense is the worst thing ever, but last place-Lions only have two goals on the entire season to Juniors’ six. Truth be told, Glacis aren’t light years better, but at least they’re not giving up buckets of goals.

Fun Fact:   Argentinian Boca Juniors called and they’d like their name back.  Like, now.

RESULT:   Glacis   6-1

10. Red Star vs. Lens – Ligue 2, France
  • UEFA league ranking: n/a, second-tier league
  • Table positions: last, #5
  • Stakes: bottom 3 get Relegated
  • Time of season: middle

Two other league clubs are as poor on defense as Red Star, but those play a little to a lot more offense. Red Star might climb to 19th over no-goals Nancy, but won’t get higher.

Lens are well-enough balanced to stay in the top five and participate in the Promotion Playoffs later, if not so good as to be a threat to the top two and get automatically moved up.

RESULT:   1-0

Image result for saint-ouen flea market huge

 

So long from Saint-Ouen (greater Paris), home of Red Star FC.

HUGE flea market, but is super-“professional”.

’10 to Track’ Globetrotting Friday (1/11) – Liga MX, Asian Up, CAF Champions League lead the way

Noob’s return continues!   Last Monday we celebrated Relegation matches of suckitude for the first time since the holidays.   Today, we return to our Globetreotting ways.  When the biggest leagues provide a little less, we spend our Friday perusing matches  far and wide!

Come, Noobites!   Let’s discover a world of soccer.   As always, we start close to home —

1. Atlas vs. CF America – Liga MX
  • CONCACAF league rank:            doesn’t have ’em, but this is #1
  • Table position:                               Apertura #15, #2 and Liguilla winner
  • Time of season:                              early

Atlas won their first match of the Clausura (second half-season of the Mexican football year). They needed a hot start after crapping the bed for first half-season. After getting just 11 goals that whole time, they already have two.

This is America’s first match. They’re awesome and will almost certainly perform terrible deeds upon their host tonight. View the carnage at 10:00 PM on Univision Deportes.

Fun Fact:  La Barra 51  are Atlas’ primary supporters group, named for 1951 – the last time and I think only time they ever won the top-flight championship.

RESULT:   America   1-2

B. Palestine vs. Australia – Asian Cup

This is the quadrennial championship for the AFC. The qualification rounds are done and the Group Stage is at hand. All the remaining matches are being held in U.A.E. Six pods of four teams each each duke it in a round robin out for two slots in the next, bracketed round.

Defending champs Australia (#41 in the world, #2 in the AFC) actually lost their first match. HYOOJ. Jordan also won their second match, so it’s looking like one slot will be theirs.

Palestine are rated the 16th-best national team in Asia, #99 overall by FIFA. They had a scoreless draw with Syria to open this stage.

RESULT:   Socceroos   0-3

Image result for letter B sexy

 

 

 

 

Number B- enticing you to join the question to be done with Number 2.

 

3. Leeds vs. Derby County – EFL Championship
  • UEFA league rank:                     n/a; second-tier league in England
  • Table positions:                        #1, #6
  • Teams promoted:                      3
  • Time of season:                          middle

Even as only England’s second-highest league, this is probably a top-15 league talent-wise in Europe. The top two teams will be Promoted to Premier League, with the next four having a playoff for one last slot.

Leeds still lead the league, but they’ve allowed it to be a tight race after losing two league matches in a row (and their recent FA Cup match as well). Both were road losses, but six goals conceded is bad against Nottingham and QPR.

Derby have kept their hopes afloat with a lot of draws of late. They don’t appear to have the defense to hold a top-six position, recently or over the season as a whole so far. Noob predicts a shootout today. First one to three goals wins!

RESULT:   Leeds   2-0

emblem

 

 

One of Noob’s all-time favorite crests.

So many design elements here give it a three-dimensional look.  This would make a fine ornamental piece.

 

4. Lobi Stars vs. Mamelodi Sundowns – CAF Champions League

If it seems like the last iteration of this tournament just ended, you’re not wrong. They’re moving from a Feb-Nov. timeframe to an Aug.-May format in 2019. So this 2018-19 version is the tweener, running Dec.-May.

The qualification round is done, and this is the first day of the Group Stage. Four pods of four clubs each compete in a double round robin for two slots each in the next, bracketed round.

Lobi won last year’s Nigerian Premier. This league is ranked #13 in Africa. Just a notch higher and they would’ve qualified the maximum two teams into this event. The Stars’ success is predicated more on defense than scoring.

The Sundowns are one of two teams from the #6-ranked South African Premier. Their league season is about halfway over. They;re in 4th place, but have 3-4 matches in hand over the teams above them. They’re also undefeated, though with lots of draws. They’re even more defensive-minded than Lobi.

If either teams scores, it will be Mamelodi. They should be considered a 1-2 goal favorite today.

RESULT:   Lobi   2-1

Image result for soccer compression socks funny

 

 

 

Soccer compression socks.

5. Mantab vs. Conaree – Saint Kitts and Nevis Premier
  • CONCACAF league rank:                 n/a; prolly not in the top few Caribbean                                                                             ones
  • Table positions:                                 #8, #5
  • Clubs relegated:                                  2
  • Time of season:                                   over 1/3 done

The winner of this league will probably qualify for the next Caribbean Club Shield – a new second-tier tournament for semi-pro and amateur clubs in that region. But neither of these two are likely to be vying for that.

Conaree aren’t bad, but don’t have the offense to nearly compete for international competition. Mantab are just trying to stay in the country’s top flite. The bottom two here will be demoted to First Division next season. Mantab couldn’t score even with the help of a map to the back of an opponent’s net. They’re above the cutline now, barely, and in real danger.

Fun-nish Fact:  Mantab’s home city of Basseterre – the SKN capital – has been destroyed seemingly countless times by war and natural disaster.

RESULT:   1-1

6. Somerset Trojans vs. Robin Hood – Bermuda Premier
  • CONCACAF league rank:               n/a; perhaps a little stronger than SKN
  • Table positions:                                last, first
  • Clubs relegated:                                2
  • Time of season:                                 middle

Undefeated Robin Hood are in a dead heat with Pembroke Hamilton for the league lead, tied on table points and goal differential. Noob tends to favor well-balanced teams like Robin Hood, but P.H. are the defensive stalwarts of the country.

Should be a fabulous title race, especially with wide-open styled X-Roads Warriors close in 3rd. Noob thinks this is one of the region’s fully professional leagues, which means they’ll be able to send up to two clubs to the Caribbean Club Championship.

Somerset have yet to win their first match. Their stats aren’t much worse than other bottom teams here, but they’re deep in last just the same. Defense is their undoing.

RESULT:   Robin Hood   3-5

Image result for somerset bermuda

 

 

Forget the footyball!

Noob’s down for learning that.

7. Tefana vs. Central Sport – Tahiti Ligue 1
  • OFC league ranking:                       n/a; probably about 4th INHO
  • Table positions:                              #4, #2
  • Stakes:                                                 top four make league playoffs, top two make                                                                  OFC CL
  • Time of season:                                almost halfway

Noob estimates this league’s strength based on guessing that national team and league strength probably corelate with smaller nations like these.

There’s actually a three-way tie for #B right now. Defending champs Central don’t bother with defense so much, but score like gangbusters in league.

Seven of the 10 league teams are very much in the hunt. It will be interesting to see if Tefana cam hang on to a spot. They’re well-balanced, but lack enough on offense to make Noob guess no. Manu Ura, more traditional powers Pirae or both will pass them eventually.

Fun Fact:  Tefana are one of two clubs to advance as far as the OFC CL final (2012).

RESULT:   2-2

8. Al Hilal vs. Al Raed – Saudi Pro League
  • AFC league ranking:                  #7
  • Table positions:                          #1, #9
  • Stakes:                                             top three make AFC CL
  • Time of season:                           middle

It’s not quite a two-horse race in Saudi Arabia, but it’s close to being such. Defending champs Al Hilal should be able to maintain their position atop the table hosting a midtable club.

Al Raed have overachieved to date this season. The second-worst offense in the league should be a lodestone around their necks that drags them down close to, if not into, the Relegation Zone.

RESULT:   1-1

WATCH: Al-Hilal supporters pull off freakishly good Mortal Kombat mosaic

 

 

Pretty cool “Mortal Kombat” mosaic the Hilal supporters pulled off.

9. Police vs. AS Kigali – Rwanda Premier
  • CAF league ranking:             unranked
  • Table positions:                    #5, #6
  • Stakes:                                       one berth in CAF CL
  • Time of season:                      almost halfway

Rwanda’s top flite may not be ranked at present, but they are slated to be #17 next version! That will still only be good enough for one league berth into the Champions League there though.

These two are all but out of the running. Police are nine points out of first in the table, still have maybe a glimmer of hope. Kigali are three points further back. Too many draws there. But for anyone to catch the top two, someone’s going to have to figure out how to score on them anyway. They’ve combined to allow just seven goals between them all season.

Fun Fact:  The Police F.C. manager’s first name is “Innocent”.

RESULT:   2-2

10. Adama Kenema vs. Dire Dawa City – Ethiopia Premier
  • CAF league ranking:              tied for #13
  • Table positions:                       #9, #10
  • Clubs Relegated:                       3
  • Time of season:                        earlyish

Like aforementioned Nigeria, Ethiopia’s league needs to climb just one more notch in the rankings to earn a second Champions League invitation. Neither of these clubs are likely to be there. They’re below average of the 16, making them slightly more likely candidates to to be Relegated.

Kenema’s going to be the better team, perhaps finish in the top half, given their offense. Dire Dawa will likely stay just where they are, scuffling along as they neither score many goals nor give up too many.

RESULT:   Adama   1-0

Image result for adama ethiopia funny

 

 

So long from Adama!

Adama University – cool building

’10 to Track’ returns — Relegation Monday! plus CONCACAF and other goodness

After a semi-farewell and long holiday break, Noob returns!     Twitter: @SoccernoobUSA

The plan remains to feature exclusive Isle of Sodor Premier League coverage here.  Soon!  I’m still wintering on Sodor, putting things together, even as the season is half-finished.   To get a feel, check out this site’s Page for last summer’s inaugural Isle of Sodor FA Cup.

But I’ve missed doing the near-daily Tracks, previewing the most important matches from the U.S., all CONCACAF, Premier League, continental Europe, and the world!

So for now, I’m bringing back Relegation Monday and Globetrotting Friday – the most unique content I provided.   So enjoy!   Today, several matches feature teams about to be Relegated, from “important” leagues to those far-flung.  Then there’s a few matches of happier  import.    Dig in.

1. Celta Vigo vs. Athletic Club Bilbao – Spain:  La Liga
  • UEFA League Rank:     #1
  • Table positions:            #14, #18 (of 20)
  • Clubs relegated:             3
  • Time of season:             middle

Noob’s return to at least Tracking on “Relegation Mondays” starts with a realistic upset chance! Athletic have only lost one of their last six matches. I’m not saying they’re storming the league and going to make a move on a midtable position, but only allowing one goal in their last four matches is a big step forward.

Celta Vigo, at home, should be favored. Their goal differential even indicates they may be worthy of a higher table slot. But they’ve not scored in two matches. Noob senses this is a bad matchup for them.

Fun Fact:    Bilbao are The Lions.  Their stadium was built near a church which was named for Saint Mammes, a Christian saint thrown to the lions.  He pacified them.  

So they named themselves after tamed animals?   Never mind from before.  You’re getting Relegated.

RESULT:   Athletic   1-2        The Lions climb to 17th place, above the Drop Zone for now

B. Moreirense vs. Aves – Portugal Primeira Liga
  • UEFA league rank:        #7
  • Table positions:             #7, #17 (of 18)
  • Clubs relegated:             3
  • Time of season:              middle

Aves have the worst defense in the league, and it’s not particularly close. That said, they’ve only allowed one goal in each of their last to matches, against excellent competition. They didn’t win either, though, and haven’t done so since late November.

Moreirense seem to be overcoming a dreadful start to their season when it comes to goal-scoring. They’ve won three of four matches running and scored multiple times in all of them.

RESULT:   Moreirense   1-0

Image result for letter B pumped up

 

 

The Quest for Number B to displace worn out Number 2 in lists is back on!

Clearly, the people want their Number B.

3. Ermis Aradippou vs. Enosis Paralimni – Cyprus First Division
  • UEFA League Rank:         #18
  • Table positions:                last, second-to-last
  • # of Clubs Relegated:      1
  • Time of Season:                 middle

One of Noob’s first ever Twitter (@SoccernoobUSA) followers is a Cypriot mother of two First Division players. This league will always have a little piece of my heart. Thankfully for Mom, her boys play for far better clubs than these sad sacks!

Aradippou have earned points in just three matches all season so far. They won their last match, but that was in their FA Cup. Against a Second Division club that is considered a “refugee team”. That haven’t played in their home city since the Turkish Invasion of 1974. Aradippou haven’t beaten a league foe since November.

Paralimni have earned draws in their last two league matches, lead Aradippou by five points in the table. Road wins may be tough to come by, but Noob wouldn’t be able to call this in upset even so. Both teams are just so lousy.

RESULT:   0-0          That seems more than fitting

4. Mont Bleu vs. Muungano – DR Congo First Division
  • CAF league rank:        #3
  • Table positions:         #12, last place of 16
  • Clubs Relegated:         3
  • Time of season:           uncertain

Last season, the Linafoot may only have been about 14 matches. This season, some clubs have already reached 15. The format also seems to have changed from three league divisions to one.

So what does Noob know? That Muungano have won just once and drawn not at all in their 11 outings. This is one of three teams that play far worse defense than everyone else. None of them look likely to climb out of the Drop Zone no matter when the season ends.

Mont Bleu are a bit better on both sides of the ball, though not nearly good enough threaten climbing to midtable.

RESULT:      ppd

Image result for OC Muungano

5. Ndanda vs. Ruvu Shooting – Tanzania Premier
  • CAF league rank:        #24
  • Table positions:         #17, #16 (of 20)
  • Clubs Relegated:         4
  • Time of season:           middle

Ndanda may be on the edge of daylight, but their goal differential is the worst in the league. If they had a strength, maybe they could climb. But they’re bottom-three in both O and D.

Still, a win today would move them above the Cutline (for the moment). Ruvu score a lot more, but sport the league’s worst defense for it. If Ndanda want to prove Noob wrong, this is a home must-win.

Fun Fact:  Ndanda’s Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium has a capacity of 15,000.

RESULT:   Ruvu   0-1

6. Muslim FC vs. Karachi Port Trust – Pakistan Premier
  • AFC league rank:       #46
  • Table positions:         #11, #13 (of either 14, 15 or 16)
  • Clubs relegated:         2, 3 or 4
  • Time of season:          very late

The number of league teams is higher now than when it last seemed to have played, in 2014-15. Assuming they’re still playing a double round robin, this season is on the verge of finishing. It started with either 15 or 16 teams. One or two of them aren’t playing for financial reasons. Bottom line is, just 14 appear to be actually playing and two of those will be Relegated.

And so, welcome to the worst-ranked league in Asia! Hey, they’re playing. Love football? Want to see it develop, improve everywhere. Noob’s got your back, Pak.

KPT and one other team are vying to stay in the country’s top flite. Baloch Nushki are playing, but have long since been mathematically cooked. And if it weren’t for Baloch Nushki, KPT would have the worst defense in the league.

Muslim are not much higher, yet appear safe in their position. They play small-ball, neither scoring nor conceding many goals at all. KPT won’t get one on them today, and they will go down a league.

RESULT:   Muslim   2-0

KPT FC Logo

 

 

We hardly knew ye

7. Rayo Majadahonda vs. Las Palmas – Spain’s Segunda Division
  • UEFA league rank:         n/a – second-tier league
  • Table positions:             #19, #11 (of 22)
  • Clubs relegated:             4
  • Time of season:              middle

Majadahonda are in a three-way tie for 18th through 20th in points in the table. But they’re one of the four worst in goal differential, simply must score more if they want to stay afloat. Try for at least a goal per game, fellas. It’ll work wonders.

Statistically, Las Palmas are perfectly average in every way. Yet strangely, they haven’t won a match since October, mostly achieving draws. High or low-scoring, doesn’t matter. They can’t seal the deal. Look for a 0-0 draw today, and contain your excitement, Noobites 😛

Fun Fact:   This is the highest Majadahonda have ever been in the Spanish football pyramid, having just been promoted this year.

RESULT:   0-0

Non-Relegation Matches of Treeemendous Consequence!

OK, might’ve oversold that.

8. Lille vs. Sochaux – Coupe de France

The French FA Cup is in it’s Round of 64. This is the only match for the event today. Lille is the current #B team in Ligue 1, while Sochaux are barely above the Relegation Line in Ligue 2. The only reason this match might not be a blowout for the home side is that Noob’s read this FA Cup is considered by clubs even less important than other top European leagues’ clubs consider theirs, which is so-so at most.

Here’s the link for the event. Hopefully your technology translates it for you readily.

RESULT:   Lille   1-0

9. Waterhouse vs. Cavalier – Jamaica Premier
  • CONCACAF league rank:        don’t think they do them; #B  Caribbean maybe
  • Table positions:                       #B, #3
  • Stakes:                                          top 6- league playoffs bracket, top 2 get byes
  • more Stakes                               Top two will have option to play Caribbean Club                                                           Championship.
  • Time of season:                        2/3 through regular season

#1 Portmore and Waterhouse have the offense. Cavalier boasts the top D. Unfortunately for them, Waterhouse is almost as good in that regard. The home team today is probably the most talented in the league.

Even given the relative table positions, a Cavalier win should be considered an upset. But given that they were just promoted to top flite this season, they’re performing incredibly.

RESULT:   Cavalier   0-1         So be it – upset!     These two are now tied in the table on points.  Cavalier is still in 3rd on GD.

10. UNDEBA (Banda Abou) vs. Scherpenheuvel – Curacao Sekshon Paga
  • CONCACAF league rank:                gotta think it wouldn’t be high
  • Table positions:                               #3, #1
  • Stakes:                                                 top six make the playoff subdivision
  • more Stakes                                      at least one club will have option to play in                                                                      new second-tier 2020 Caribbean Club Shield
  • Time of season:                                very early

Welcome to the former Netherlands Antilles! The top at some point the top six will be moved into their own Championship Subdivision. It’s unclear to me if at some point the top four from that will have their own bracketed playoff not. But the season is just a few matches in, so there’s all kinds of time to figure it out.

Scherpenheuvel are undefeated, outscoring opponents 12-1 to date. Banda Abou’s GD is 18-9. Can’t think their lack of defense will serve them well over a full season, but that 3+ goals per game average sure is shiny.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for stoba goat papaya

 

 

Be inspired to find or make some stoba, a traditional stew from these parts.

And be bold!   Do the goat with the papaya.