’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (4/30) – MLS rolls on, western UEFA leagues in the home stretches

Noob is here.  And he’s in effect.  Makin’ you work up a sweat…

OK, that’ll make comparatively more sense soon.

The 10 most important matches for us, the newish American fans, to follow!   Let’s push right into them.

  1. NYCFC vs. Dallas – MLS

At time of posting, NYCFC lead the Eastern Conference.  If Atlanta United come back against Montreal impact, they could be tied or in position #B.  Dallas are #3, but could get jumped by New York Red Bulls tonight.

Dallas crapped the bed the entire final stretch last season, wasting an otherwise strong season and just missed the Playoffs.  But they’re defense is stepped up and then some now; they’ve given up just three goals so far in ’18.

NYCFC can dominate on either side of the ball, will likely try to push the pace at home.

RESULT:   NYCFC   3-1

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Dare Noob say?

Push it real good.

B.  Manchester United vs. Arsenal – English Premier

It’s mathematically possible for #B Man Utd. to still fall out of the top four and miss the next Champions League.  Noob could also win Powerball and fulfill his dream of travelling by John Madden-style super-bus to the annual Scrabble tournament in Homer, Alaska.

It’s not my only dream.  But it IS a dream.

Arsenal are in 6th, locked in for Europa League.

RESULT:   Man Utd   2-1     Man U gets the winner in second half injury time!

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Noob also dreams of Number B.

  1. Lyon vs. Manchester City – UEFA women’s Champions League

The first leg of the Semifinal went scoreless.  The three-time defending champions will find the back of the net at home though, win through.   It’s like American women’s college basketball.  There’s just not a lot of parity in the game yet.

RESULT:   Lyon   1-0

  1. Celtic vs. Rangers – Scottish Premier

Celtic just hosted Rangers two matches ago.  Weird.  Celtic lambasted them 4-0.

Anywho!  Celtic are on the edge of wrapping up the league title.  Rangers have slipped to 3rd, and could miss even Europa League if they don’t get it together.  But getting it together doesn’t happen for others at Celtic.

RESULT:   Celtic   5-0

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Wrong Ranger, wrong kit, Viggo.

  1. Galatasaray vs. Besiktas – Turkey Super Lig

Galatasaray and Fenerbahce are tied for 1st.  Besiktas and Istanbul Basaksehir are tied for 3rd.  This is going to be an epic league title finish!

And Noob is far from certain Galatasaray are going to get the story ending they want.  They’ve been inconsistent at best down the stretch.  They fare well enough against quality teams, but keep losing to garbage teams near or at the table’s bottom.

Besiktas, meanwhile, have won four straight.  But they haven’t beaten a good team since February.

RESULT:   Galatasaray   2-0

  1. Ajax vs. AZ Alkmaar – Netherlands Eredivisie

Just the top two Dutch teams get into Champions League these days.  Alkmaar are running out of time to be one.  They’re five points down in the table to Ajax for that second slot.  (And Eindhoven have already won the league.)

RESULT:   Ajax   3-0

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For-real photo of AZ goalie fighting off a charging Ajax fan.

  1. APOEL Nicosia vs. Apollon Limassol – Cyprus First Division

Cyprus?  Yip!  This league just cracked the top 20 in UEFA rankings.

APOEL took the regular season title, but Apollon Limassol has overtaken them now that the league is divided into Championship and Relegation subdivisions.  The new leaders have won five straight league matches.  Given how they’re beating teams on both offense and defense handily, they’re looking likely to hold onto the league’s lone Champions League berth.

RESULT:   APOEL   2-1   And into the lead by a point!

  1. FCSB vs. Cluj – Romania Liga I

It’s a similar story here as in Cyprus.  Cluj won the regular season battle, but FCSB have passed them in the Championship Playoffs.

It’s not like Cluj has been losing.  To anyone.  They’ve simply become a sister-kissing machine – nothing but draws of late nearly.  FCSB haven’t loss since February themselves, and have the momentum and home pitch advantage today.

RESULT:   1-1

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No…

 

No!

  1. LDU de Quito vs. Barcelona SC – Ecuador Serie A

Noob transitions you out of Europe with a match featuring a club named for a European club.  No sense disorienting any Noobites on a Sunday.

They’re ten games into the First Stage of the 2018-season.  #1 BSC sports the best offense and defense so far.  #B LDU de Quito will be their toughest test so far.  Only one team from Ecuador qualifies for Copa Libertadories, South America’s version of Champions League.

RESULT:   Quito   2-1

  1. Jeonbuk vs. Suwon Bluewings – South Korea K League 1

This is South Korea’s top-flight league.  Last year this was “K-League Classic”.

Defending champs Jeonbuk and #B Suwon have each lost only once nine games into this season.  Both losses were to crap teams, but right during AFC Champions League qualification.  Noob wonders if either was even playing starters.

Jeonbuk have scored the most so far, and have only allowed four goals to date.  Noob sees no reason to think Suwon will upset them at home.

RESULT:   Suwon   2-0

Image result for Jeonbuk champions

‘10 to Track’ for Sat., 4/27 – from MLS and Liga MX to Europe and beyond, it’s a Noobstradamus-day!

Noobstradamus, did you hit the Sativa instead of the Indica?   It’s a tidal wave today of prognostication excellence (*cough cough*) from our resident ancient seer!

Here are the 10 most important games to track today, for us, the newish American fans.

  1. New England Revolution  vs Sporting Kansas City – MLS

KC has a five-point lead in the West, but the next two behind them have played two fewer games.   Things will tighten up. The Revs are in 4th in the East, a far sight better than last season.

Noob looks for the high-powered Kansas City side to score early and often.  New England’s defense is solid, but KC lead the entire league in goals made.       (7:30 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6)

RESULT:   New England   1-0

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Why hate when I can prognosticate?

1-2 Kansas City is the today’s future.

 

B.    Orlando Pride vs Seattle Thorns- NWSL

Noobstradamus says 0-1, Seattle over Swanp City.  Down with bad urban planning!

RESULT:   1-1

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I foresee Number B replacing that archaic Number to in lists, thanks to this quest.  Archaic things, meh!

Wait, I’m archaic…

 

3.  Tigres vs. Monterrey – Liga MX

Both have qualified for the postseason Liguilla heading into this final regular season match.  But seeding is still very much in the air.  They are 4th and 3rd now, but either could jump to #B with a win tonight.

Tigres will try to keep the pace slow.  They can’t take Monterrey in a goal-fest.   Noobstradamus sees all, sees a 1-1 draw.  (8:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   2-2

4.  Inter Milan vs Juventus – Serie A

Juve is only a point up on #B Napoli.  Inter is in 5th, just outside the Champions League slots.  But they trail the next two teams up by just one in the table.  Juve are better on both sides of the ball, and loads better on offense.    (2:45 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   Juve   2-3    Good LAWD!   Juve was watching their title slip away, down 2-1 with three minutes plus added time to go.  They scored twice more before 90′.

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Inter will run out of gas now and going forward.   0-1 Juve today

5.  Bayer Leverkusen vs Stuttgart – Bundesliga

Will the pressure get to Leverkusen?  They’re 4th, barely in a CL slot  they SHOULD handle 10th place Stuttgart.  (12:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Stuttgart   0-1

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2-1 Leverkusen.  Stuttgart is German for “stuttering child”.  You don’t need other-worldly powers to see their going to lose.

The Management here:  Noobstra-dumbass doesn’t know German.

6.  Swansea vs Chelsea – English Premier

Four matches to go and 5th place Chelsea still trails #4, Noob-reviled Hotspur by five points in the table.

Meanwhile, Swansea are fighting for their Premier lives at the other end of the standings.  They’re only one slot above the Relegation line, though at least they have a four-point lead on the next club down.  They can’t score.  They have the best defense among the league’s worst teams, but that’s quite the qualifier.   (12:30 PM, Universo)

RESULT:   Chelsea   0-1

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1-3 Chelsea.

I also predict Hotspur will  be Relegated for being named for a historic traitor.

7.  Lyon vs Nantes – Ligue 1

Hiccup Watch match for #3 Lyon. France only gets three into CL nowadays   Pummeling #9 Nantes will give them relief.   Noobstradamus says Lyon 3-0.

RESULT:   Lyon   2-0

8.  Herediano vs Saprissa – Costa Rica Premier

The top two collide in the postseason!  Noobstradamus predicts concussions.  Ouch.

RESULT:   Herediano   1-0

9.  Sendai vs. Sapporo – J 1 League

The Management must be given his Japan-fix.   The league is just far enough in now for Noob to pay attention.

Noobstradamus has no score prediction, but prognosticates The Management will today bring up in conversation a culturally subversive animated show from there that features an office worker Red Panda that fights off existential ennui by performing in a death metal band at night.

Noob isn’t kidding.  It’s so disorienting, all I can do is figuratively projectile-vomit out number #10 – Reno and OKC in USL action.  Reno scores LOTS. They’ll win…14-3 today. Maybe.

RESULTS:   J1 League match ends 2-2;  Reno   2-0

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Saturday (4/21) – MLS, UEFA leagues, bad Zlatan-wear

The ten most important matches for us, the newish American fans.  Things go from important to absolutely paramount in Europe when the seasons are hitting their climaxes.

Before we get to those – ‘Muricuh!

  1. L.A. Galaxy vs. Atlanta United – MLS

What a different a year can make!   The talk if the league is the Galaxy’s signing of international megastar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovich, but it’s actually their defense that has that #B in the West.

Atlanta United will test that defense.  They’re #3 in the tougher Eastern Conference.  The game kicks off 9:00 PM Eastern on NBA League Pass 6.

RESULT:   ATL   0-2

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Now that he’s in L.A., I guess he can stop wearing crazy lady’s gift sweater.

B.  Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution – MLS

Your Major League Soccer undercard pits the #4 team in the East against #3.  The Revs have improved their defense after missing the playoffs last season.  They’d been on quite a roll until getting skunked at home by Dallas.

Columbus have been skunkier though, not scoring in consecutive matches and losing three straight.  But they’ve been creating chances, getting a little unlikely hitting wood repeatedly.  Noob strongly feels the Crew will right their ship today.   (7:30 PM, NBA League Pass 7)

RESULT:   2-2

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Number B, about to learn a hard lesson about skunkiness.

  1. North Carolina Courage vs. Utah Royals – NWSL

The good news for expansion Utah – they’ve only allowed two goals in three matches.  The bad news – they’ve only scored once.  The worse news – they travel to defending regular season champions Courage today.   (3:30 PM, Lifetime)

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Necaxa vs. UANL Tigres – Liga MX

Tigres are tied for 3rd with just three Clausura (second half-season) matches to go, but they have yet to secure a top-eight, postseason Liguilla spot.  Tigres are part of a three-way tie for 9th place, just a point shy of 8th.

Neither team gives up many goals.  If you like defense, this one is available to ogle at 10:00 PM on ESPN Deportes.

RESULT:   1-1

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The Mexican Hornet Defense.

Really, it’s called that.

  1. Manchester United vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – FA Cup

Noob-reviled, traitorously-named Hotspur face off against Man Utd in the Semifunal, at Wembley (neutral). Man U’s  slight edge on defense  should make them a winner today.  (12:15 PM, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:   Man U   2-1

  1. Barcelona vs. Sevilla – Copa del Rey

It’s the Final!  Sevilla have had a tremendous run in Spain’s FA Cup, especially given that they’re only in 7th in La Liga.  That run ends today in Madrid, and won’t end well for them.  Barcelona have yet to lose a league match all year.  Barca by two feels right.   (3:30 PM, ESPNEWS)

RESULT:   Barca   5-0

Image result for copa del rey trophy 2018

  1. RB Leipzig vs. 1899 Hoffenheim – Bundesliga

With four matches to go, that is also the number of points by which Leipzig trail 4th place Borussia Dortmund for the league’s last Champions League invite.  Hoffenheim (and Frankfurt) in turn only trail Leipzig by a point.

Leipzig are hardly falling apart, but Hoffenheim are peaking at the perfect time.  They’ve not lost in seven straight matches.  If they can push the ball today, a pivotal road win should be in their grasp.   (9:30 AM, Fox Soccer Plus)

RESULT:   Hoffenheim   2-5     Hoffenheim move into 5th

  1. SPAL 2013 vs. AS Roma – Serie A

Roma, Lazio, and Inter – one’s not going to Champions League.  The race for the last two of the four CL slot Italy is tight and then some.  Roma and Lazio are tied, with Inter lurking just a point behind.

SPAL are only one slot above the Relegation Zone, so they are not without a reason to fight.  They can’t score in general, and they’re unlikely to against defensive juggernaut Roma.   (9:00 AM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:  Roma 0-3

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Meaning?  No clue.

Terrified?  You betcha.

  1. Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Vorskla – Ukraine Premier

This the #8 league in Europe, a real rising power, getting two CL berths this year.  They’ve replaced Poland as Noob’s under-the-radar league to watch.

Shakhtar are the goal-scoring giant here.  Vorskla are in 3rd, and have overachieved in getting there.  They won’t score today, get run roughshod over.

RESULT:   S.D.   4-2

  1. Phoenix Rising vs. Swope Park Rangers – USL

Noob loves him some second-tier footyball.  On the weekend, though, usually their matches give way to top-flight leagues.  I’d scouted a sweet UAE match with which to finish today’s Track, but Al Nasr has since fallen out of the top quarter of their league table.  Denied!

These both made the playoffs last year.  Just a handful of games into this season, they’re in position again.  That said, Rangers appear to have fallen off defensively.  A lot.  Noobstradamus says Phoenix’s offensive will finally break out, net them a 3-1 win today.

RESULT:   2-2

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Phoenix Rising are about to get hot.  But it’ll be a dry heat.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches Weekend Edition! Premier, MLS, all the best – plus new league coverage announcement

Hitting the hinterlands of world footyball yesterday was a dream, as always.  But weekends are where T2T gets (comparatively) serious.

Don’t miss the Sunday new league coverage announcement.  It’s gonna be!– well, it’s gonna be content.

Saturday, 3/31

  1. Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers – MLS

Both clubs have lost both their games this early season.  Last year, they finished 3rd and 6th in the Western Conference.  (Chicago has been moved into the East now.)  Both teams struggled on defense, at least when compared to other playoff teams.  (6:00 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6).

RESULT:   2-2

 

Portland- Basilisk’s iconic fried chicken sammich.  

Nice work!  Chicago deep dish still wins.

B.  Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns – NWSL

Double-header in Bridgeview, IL!   At least Noob assumes both are hosting on their same home pitch.  The 8:15 PM start time for this match suggests it.  These two finished in 4th and 2nd, respectively, last year.

RESULT:   Portland   2-3

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Can’t hedge!   You’re either into boring old Number Two or down with Number B.

  1. Paris Saint-Germain vs. AS Monaco – Coupe de la League

The Final!   This is not the FA Cup, but rather a tournament open to pro clubs in just the top three divisions in France.  Given that PSG has demolished all of Ligue 1 this year, Noob wonders if league #B Monaco will be revved up to snatch some hardware away from PSG.

RESULT:   PSG   3-0

  1. Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga

1st place is out of reach for 3rd-place Dortmund, so maintaining their top-four place in the table and getting a Champions League invite is the goal.  They’d love even a draw against champ-in-waiting Bayern.  (12:30 PM, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:   Bayern   6-0     not a typo.   this was a terrible, awesome rout

Image result for borussia dortmund funny

 

Those masks won’t help you hide from Bayern.   

BVB on your shirts, fellas.

  1. Juventus vs. AC Milan – Serie A

Milan is five points out of 4th place and the last Champions League berth.  1st-place Juventus has only lost twice all year, yet only lead Napoli by two points.

This is a bad matchup for Milan, as they have trouble scoring and Juve has the league’s best defense.  This may well be the world’s most important match this weekend.  (2:45 PM, Rai Italia)

RESULT:   Juve    3-1

  1. Sevilla vs. Barcelona – La Liga

Sevilla does not have a realistic shot of cracking the top four, but they are in line for a Europa League invite, being in 6th place.  7th will get in as well this year, but even that is not guaranteed for Sevilla.  Lots of teams are in the hunt.  Barcelona are undefeated, the best team in the world.  (2:45 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   2-2

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6th place could win this dartboard and pool table.  And longer pool table?…

  1. Ljubljana vs. Maribor – Slovenia Prva Liga

[loo-blee-ah-nuh] have almost wrapped up the league title.  It’s hard to say historic powerhouse #B Maribor is ever quite completely out of it, but they are ten points back.  This league is only the 30th-strongest in Europa, but Noob is always down for matchups from the very top of tables.

RESULT:   1-1

Sunday, 4/1

**Soon, Noob’s exclusive coverage of the Isle of Sodor Premier League will begin!   Sudric football has been loosely organized at best.  Until now, with the formation of their FA.**

The Island of Sodor with it's hypothetical location in the UK (From Thomas the Tank Engine/Thomas and Friends) [OS] [5526x3175]

  1. Chelsea vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – English Premier

The only important drama left in Premier’s top of the table is right here.  5th place hosts 4th, a battle for the league’s final Champions League spot next year.   With just eight matches to go, it’s not quite a must-win for Chelsea at five points back.  But they sure as shite can’t lose.

So, c’mon, Chelsea.  Don’t let the traitorously-named Hotspur get the best of you.  Ramp up the so-so offense a bit and take these ne’er-do-wells down!  (11:00 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Hotspur   1-3

  1. UNAM Pumas vs. Necaxa – Liga MX

9th vs. 10th doesn’t look intriguing at a glance.  But remember:  the top eight clubs make the Liguilla, the postseason league tournament.

Noobstrdamus has access to the soccer alternate planes, has learned Necaxa will score the road upset today.  It couldn’t be that I read Pumas can’t play D at all.   It’s the first thing.  *nod*

RESULT:   1-1    Prognostication fail.  In fact, Pumas played most of the second half a man down.

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I once tamed a wild puma with just my headband.

  1. Boca Juniors vs. Talleres – Argentina Premier

Finishing off the Track in style, as Noob is wont to do!   #1 hosts #B in Argentina’s astounding 28-club deep league.  Best offense versus best defense.   Pirate yourself an interwebs stream of this one somewhere.

RESULT:   Boca Juniors   2-1      Juniors get the go-ahead goal at 90′, open up a huge -9- point lead in the table.

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See?  It’s a good idea.

 

’10 to Track’ soccer matches Midweek edition – UEFA Champions League, ladies’ style

Romantic lady/ Single baby/ Mm, sophisticated mama /Come on you disco lady, yeah /Play with me tonight mama, yeah

Is Kool & The Gang the right way to intro a week headlined by UEFA Women’s Champions League?

Does a Catholic bear crap in the Pope’s woods?

*bonnnnggggg*

Tuesday, 3/20

Move along!   No interesting soccer matches to be seen today.

Wednesday, 3/21

  1. Montpelier vs. Chelsea Ladies – UEFA Women’s Champions League

Noob is particularly Noob when it comes to the women’s international game.  But I gather there are no underdogs left in this field.  This is the first leg of a Quarterfinal tie.

RESULT:   Chelsea   0-2

B.  Manchester City vs. Linkopings – UEFA Women’s Champions League

Linkopings are from Finland.

RESULT:   Man City   2-0

Image result for swedish letter BDan “the Intern-o Inferno” doesn’t differentiate between Laplandic Number B’s.

  1. Liechtenstein vs. Andorra – international friendly

For all the crazy-spelled club names Noob’s been learning, turns out I can’t spell “Liechtenstein” without looking at it.  I don’t want that first E there.  Thanks for making me feel bad about myself, European microstate.   You know, I visited you once.  Stopped and had ice cream on my way to Netherlands.

Andorra – I got nothin’ for ya’.  These two national teams are FIFA-ranked 181 and 130, respectively.

RESULT:   Andorra   0-1

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Gah!!

 

 

 

Thursday, 3/22

  1. Lyon vs. Barcelona – UEFA Women’s Champions League

OK, I can at least tell you Lyon are the two-time defending champs.

RESULT:   Lyon   2-1      Close enough to make the upcoming second leg in Barcelona really interesting

  1. Wolfsburg vs. Slavia Prague – UEFA Women’s Champions League

Noob’s last name means “wolf” in dialectical German from circa 1500.  I wonder if my forefathers are from Wolfsburg.  Probably not.  Wolf’s pretty common, even with an E.

RESULT:   Wolfsburg   5-0    Less drama here when they return to the Czech Republic

  1. Kyrgyzstan vs. Myanmar – Asian Cup qualification

The last Group Stage is underway as teams try and qualify for Asian Cup.  The winner of that whole shebang will get to represent the continental federation at the next Club World Cup.

These two are #B and #3 in their Group of four.  Top two finishers will make the Asian Cup.  FIFA ranks the teams #115 and #142 worldwide.

RESULT:   Kyrgyzstan   5-1

Image result for ashamed office employeeNoob hurt Dan “the Intern-o Inferno”‘s feeweeings at Number B.

Buck up, buttercup.

  1. Denmark vs. Panama – international friendly

These two continue to tune up for World Cup.  For the first time ever, three Laplandic countries have qualified, and Denmark are one.  Panama have qualified for the first time in their nation’s history.  FIFA ranks them #12 and #53.

RESULT:   Denmark   1-0

  1. China vs. Wales – international friendly

Wales is a curious case – their Premier League is near the bottom of Europa in strength, but their national team is ranked about 20th in the world.  FIFA ranked China’s #65.

RESULT:   Wales   0-6

Image result for censored middle finger

 

Dan “the Intern-o Inferno” is not a master of subtlety.

  1. Faroe Islands vs. Latvia – international friendly

If you play Scrabble or Words With Friends, you likely know the word OE.  Well, it’s a storm from the Faroe Islands.  Very specific.  Latvia – I’ve got nothin’ for ya’.  #’s 97 and 131.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Malta vs. Luxembourg – international friendly

Despite the face that it might be easy for one to leave out the O, Noob has no issues spelling Luxembourg cheat-free.  See, Liechtenstein?  You could learn something from Luxembourg.

I don’t really know what. But something…

RESULT:   0-1   Luxembourg

Image result for hug it out funny

 

Noob will politely pass, Dan.

 

Hey, The Management, did we require psych evals as part of the intern apps?

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday (3/18) – All four of Europe’s top leagues repped

The ten most important matches for the newish American fan to follow.  It’s what Noob does.  I filter better than Brita.

  1. Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders – MLS

Dallas stumbled down the stretch last season and finished 7th in the Western Conference, just missing the playoffs.  Noob-reviled Seattle finished #B.  They did it with a top defense.  It’s a new season, sure, but Dallas needs to get on the board first, or it could be a long day.   (5:00 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6)

RESULT:   Dallas   3-0     And there was JOY

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Man, I really loathe you, Seattle!

B.  Wigan Athletic vs. Southampton – English FA Cup

Wigans’ defeat last round of Premier League titans Man City was the upset of the season worldwide.  The third-tier league side have to believe anything is possible now.  They get a comparatively manageable foe today.

Southampton are two leagues above Wigan and that should mean everything.  But will they even be putting all their energies into this tournament?   They’ve slipped into the Relegation Zone in Premier League, could not be blamed for saving starters for those matches.  (9:30 AM, FS2)

RESULT:   Southampton   0-2

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Number B’s taking it all in stride.

  1. Bethlehem Steel vs. Richmond Kickers – USL

Last year’s #8 hosts #14.  But it’s the one American division two game today.  And…

RESULT:   Bethlehem   4-1

Image result for bethlehem steel zoolander

 

…the return of superfan Derek Zoolander!

  1. Marseille vs. Lyon – Ligue 1

This is Lyon’s last, best chance to make a move on a Champions League berth for next year.  The league has slipped in strength and now only gets three slots.  And Lyon is in 4th, by five points behind their hosts today.

RESULT:   Lyon   2-3     Lyon with the winner at 90′!

  1. RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich – Bundesliga

Maybe 6th-place Leipzig can hope the undisputed German champs will play a bunch of backups on the road today, rest up for their current Champions League run.   (1:00 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Leipzig   2-1     They’re still in 6th, but now 4th and a C.L. berth is at least in sight.

  1. Villareal vs. Atletico Madrid – La Liga

It’s hard to imagine undefeated Barcelona suddenly going on a skid.  At eight points back, #B Atletico has to be hoping beyond hope for exactly that.

Villareal, meanwhile, are in a tight four-way race for three Europa League invites.  They’re probably the best of those four, but that doesn’t mean they can’t lose this game of Spanish musical chairs.   (1:30 PM, beIN Sports en Español).

RESULT:   Villareal  2-1      Winner at 90′ + 2!!

Image result for violent musical chairs

 

 

Musical Chairs – to the death!!

 

  1. Sampdoria vs. Inter Milan – Serie A

5th-place Inter Milan have played one less game than 4th-place Lazio, and trail them by just a point in the table.  That’s the last spot for a Champions League berth.

Noobstradamus prognosticates they will not play for a mere draw, even on the road against a tough 7th-place Sampdoria side trying to qualify for the next Europa League.  The hosts like to play a wide open game, and Inter would be better off trying to beat them at it than slowing things down.  2-3 is the score of the predestined shootout.   (7:30 AM, Rai Italia)

RESULT:   Inter Milan   0-5    Well, I had the number of goals and winner right.   Not a total bed-crapping.

Image result for Noobstradamus

 

 

 

barba fluente, niente pantaloni

  1. Saprissa vs. Herediano – Costa Rica Premier

Alajuense took over the Clausura (second half-season) lead with their win yesterday.  But Saprissa and Herediano are just one and two points back, respectively.  There are just a few games to go, so better believe the league leaders are hoping for a draw in this match.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Apollon Limassol vs. APOEL Limassol – Cypriot First Division

Tied for 1st in Cyprus!  This league has already separated into its Championship and Relegation halves.  Apollon lead by virtue of greater head-to-head goal differential, but the odds of that mattering by the end seem low.

RESULT:   Apollon   4-2

  1. Cluj vs. FCSB – Romania Liga I

In Romania, too, they have divided into their league two halves now.

These two were just four points apart in the table when the regular season ended.  Before starting the Championship part of their season, the points they’ve all earned are halved (and then rounded up), so now these two are even closer.  #1 and league’s best defense hosts #B, league’s best offense.  Classic.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for romania classic funny

 

Noob had not known TV classic Beverly Hillbillies  was remade for a Romanian audience.

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

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

  1. Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City – MLS

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

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

RESULT:   3-4    KC     (KC scored first)

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Apparently, Noob’s late to this party.

B.  Tigres UANL vs. Tijuana – Liga MX

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

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

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

RESULT:   Tigres   1-0

Image result for mexican letter B

 

 

Number B is so ready.

  1. Manchester United vs. Liverpool – English Premier

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

RESULT:   Man Utd.    2-1

  1. Sevilla vs. Valencia – La Liga

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

RESULT:   Valencia   0-2

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Layers of confusion.

 

 

Sunday, 3/11

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

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

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

RESULT:   Atlanta   3-1     The Capitol-crapping continues

  1. Borussia Dortmund vs. Eintracht Frankfurt – Bundesliga

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

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

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

Image result for christian pulisic funny

 

 

They grow up SO fast!

  1. Inter Milan vs. Napoli – Serie A

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

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

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Rangers vs. Celtic – Scottish Premiership

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

RESULT:   2-3   Celtic

Image result for great scottish food

 

 

 

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

  1. Jorge WIlstermann vs. Bolivar – Bolivia Premier

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

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

RESULT:   JW   4-2

  1. PAOK vs. AEK Athens – Superleague Greece

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

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

Image result for paok hooligans

Actual photo from fighting before a PAOK-AEK game.   

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

10 to Track soccer matches for midweek – Champions League, plus name-calling Noob learned from a M*A*S*H legend

Let your gaze linger below, as long as you like.  The ten most important matches for the newish American soccer fan to follow don’t mind a bit.  In fact, they’ve gotten dolled up just for you.

Noob’s back to a three-day midweek format, despite there being so many great matches.  Two days, really.  Take Thursday to do a deeper dive into any of the many Europa League matches, should a Noobite’s heart desire.

Tuesday, 3/6

1.  Liverpool vs. Porto – UEFA Champions League

Round of 16, Leg Two.  Liverpool won the first leg 0-5, so Tracking this will simply be watching a Quarterfinal coronation.

RESULT:   0-0     Liverpool advances

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Interwebs, you creep Noob out.

B.  PSG vs. Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League

PSG at home are no better than an even match for Real. That’s bad.  They lost the first leg 1-3.

RESULT:   1-2   Real        The reigning champs move on

Image result for number 2 crown

 

Old Number 2, trying to look cool and be seen with  sympathetic children.

Sorry, but it is Number B’s time.

3.  Tijuana vs. NY Red Bulls – CONCACAF Champions League

Tijuana had a tough Apertura (first half-season) in Liga MX, but have ratcheted up their defense here in the Clausura.  RB will be lucky to only leave Mexico down a goal in this Quarterfinal’s first leg.  MLS teams just aren’t in form yet.

RESULT:   NYRB   0-2   Goalkeeper Robles makes about 40.000 saves and the Red Bulls STUN!

4.  CF America vs. Tauro – CONCACAF Champions League

The Panamanians will have it much tougher, as they visit a real Mexican powerhouse club.

RESULT:   CFA   4-0

5.  Shrewsbury vs. Yeovil – EFL Trophy

Reminder:  This is not the FA Cup, nor even the EFL Cup.   This one only involves the third and fourth-tier leagues (plus some higher leagues’ academy clubs).

Two Noob-Adopted teams. The joy!  But the horror!!  Semifinal.  Shrewsbury is in League One, having a brilliant season.  Yeovil will have a tough time on the road, can concentrate in trying to stay above the Relelgation line in League Two should they lose.

RESULT:   Shrewsbury   1-0

Image result for death of harry hotspur

 

Being the death-site of the traitorous Harry “Hotspur” Percty forever makes  Shrewsbury hallowed ground.

 

Wednesday, 3/7

The Algarve Cup final matches are today as well.  Ranked out of the Groups Stage, 1st plays #B, 3rd plays 4th, etc.  Title match is Netherlands vs. Sweden

  1. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur vs. Juventus – UEFA Champions League

Speak of the devil.  Grumblekins!  Hotspur earned a draw at Juve in the first leg, now have the advantage on their own pitch.

Look, their namesake switched sides so often, Noob hurls his favorite insult at Harry “Hotspur” Percy and each club supporter:  cretinous yahoo!   Give no quarter, Juventus!

RESULT:   1-2   Juve      Oh happy day!   Juventus score two in the second half to advance 3-4 on aggregate.  

Image result for david ogden stiers cretinous yahoo mash

 

R.I.P., David Ogden Stiers.  As Winchester on M*A*S*H, you gave me my favorite insult for someone.

  1. Manchester City vs. Basel – UEFA Champions League

Noob has made mention on many occasions that Switzerland seems to be something of a rising power on the international stage.  Well, their stage show was Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark-level flop in the first leg.  Man City pummeled them in their own place, 0-4.  Since they’ve already all but won the Premier League, they could go all out and disgrace Basel for sheer entertainment value.

RESULT:   1-2   Basel     The Swiss save some face.  Man City advances.

  1. Toronto FC vs. Tigres – CONCACAF Champions League

This is a Quarterfinal, but is the matchup one many would’ve preferred for the Final.  Toronto is just starting defense of their MLS crown.  Tigres won the postseason Liga MX Apertura Liguilla.

It may get the most attention of any match in this event this year, but Tigres should dominate both games in the two-legged tie (two-game series).

RESULT:   Toronto   2-1     Well Noob’ll be darned!   TFC goal in 88′ nets them the victory.

Image result for tiger carnage

 

Dizzam, Seattle!  Hope you stretched.

  1. Seattle Sounders vs. Guadalajara – CONCACAF Champions League

Based on past performance, Guadalajara should be an even match on the road for last year’s MLS runner-up.  But they were not good in their league Apertura, and have been flat-out awful in the Clausura now.  Seattle may have a real chance.

Still, Noob thinks anything less than a 2-0 win and Sounders will still be in trouble.

RESULT:   Seattle   1-0

  1. U.S.A. vs. England – SheBelieves Cup

This is an invitational tournament, hosted by the US and competed in by three other top-tier women’s national teams.  The four sides each play each other once over a week to determine the winner.

The Americans and English are FIFA-ranked #1 and #3 in the world, and they’re tied on points heading into this final match.  But all England must do to win the trophy is earn a draw, as they’re ahead on the goal differential-tiebreaker.

RESULT:   USA   1-0

Image result for shebelieves cup logo

SheBelieves her space bar was working.

SheWas mistaken.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Relegation Monday (3/5) – Suck less, Crystal Palace!

Relegation Monday — Noob’s weekly delving into the table-bottoms of so many leagues.  It’s a catacomb of crappiness, a celebration of suckitude!  Let’s get to know these lowbies before they’re given The Boot.

First, we feature three non-Relegation matches:

  1. Finn Harps vs. Mayo League – Irish League Cup

What is this event:  It is not Ireland’s FA Cup.  This is a Knockout competition for the top two leagues’ teams, plus whichever other ones the powers-that-be felt like inviting to bring the total number up to 24.  While those extras are mostly third-division clubs, this match is different.

The Mayo League is county-level, 7th-tier, and it’s amateurs and kids!  Noob’s honestly not certain if this is select players from various teams in the league or one simply one existing team from there, but I imagine this is the thrill of a lifetime for them.  Finn Harps were Relegated to second-division last year.  Will it be competitive?  Probably not.  Does that matter to Noob?  Absolutely not.

RESULT:     ppd due to wearher

Image result for mayo association football league

 

 

An enviable, elegant league crest.  Well-done.

B.  Nasaf Qarshi vs. Al-Sadd – AFC Champions League

The Group Stage continues in Asia’s premier event.  Pods of four teams, each plays a double-round robin.  Top two from each advance to the Knockout Stage.  These two are from Uzbeikstan (9th-best Asian league) and Qatar (6th-best).  Ability-wise, these clubs would be right at home in MLS.

Al-Sadd is 2-0, Qarshi 1-0-1.  The Uzbeks have already been drubbed by Persepolis, with whom they are tied.  They’re going to have to pull an upset at some point in order to move on.  This is a bad matchup for them though, as Al-Sadd have offensive firepower they don’t.

RESULT:   Qarshi   1-0      Or Noob could be mistaken.  Uzebek, ho!

Image result for Group of letter B

 

 

Yup.  Group of Four of Number B’s.

  1. Portugal vs. Norway – Algarve Cup

The Group Stage continues in this historically shiny women’s tournament as well.  The format’s a tiny bit strange.  The 12 teams are divided into Pods of three.  Each club plays the others once.  Then the teams are paired off in king-of-the-hill matchups to end the event, 1st playing 2nd, 3rd playing 4th, etc.  Since there are an odd number of Groups, that’s a little crazytown.

Noob continues to give his love to the host Portuguese.  They came in with the lowest FIFA ranking of all teams competing, yet are tied for first in their Group.  Norway is just a point behind.

RESULT:   Portgual   2-0

OK, that was grand.  Now, could we please inhabit the darkness of Relegation zones?  You betcha!

  1. Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United – English Premier

Palace haven’t won a match since January, and so occupy a Relegation spot (third-to-last).  The only things they could possibly have going for them are 1) that Man Utd. might overlook them, B)  Man Utd. might relax just because they’re Champions League berth-top four finish looks secure, and 3) Palace’s own desperation.  (3:00 PM Eastern, NBCSN)

Fun Fact:  Palace is named for the building in which they were founded, a massive exhibition hall in Hyde Park, London.

RESULT:   2-2     So close!   Palace actually led 2-0.

  1. Celta Vigo vs. Las Palmas – La Liga

Like Palace, Las Palmas are in the “last” Relegation spot in their league.  They’re only a point behind Levante, but that’s the only team could possibly catch.  They’re not going to.  Even 1tth place Celta Vigo can overwhelm them at home.

Noob hopes beyond hope for them though.  They’re from the Canary Islands, and I have in inexplicable fondness for teams from such areas.  (3:00 PM, beIN Sports)

Fun Fact:  Actor Javier Bardem is from Las Palmas.

RESULT:   CV   2-1

  1. Estudiantes vs. Olimpo – Argentina Premier

Argentina’s top league Relegates based on four years of results.  Olimpo’s one disastrous 2016 is looking likely to cost them membership in the Premier.  They’re in second-to-last this season, not doing anything to help their cause.  Estudiantes are having a subpar year for them, but still in 11th.

Fun Fact:  Fishing sharks from both boats and bay piers is becoming a very popular recreational activity.

RESULT:   Estudiantes   1-0

Image result for fishing shark argentina

 

 

Wait, he went in  that little boat??

  1. Apollon Smirnis vs. Panetolikos – Greek Superleague

10th place Panetolikos is as average a team as can be found in Greece.  And so Noobstrdamus is calling this one for the second-to-last place “Light Brigade”!

Not “Fun”, But Interesting Fact:  Smirnis was founded in Smyrna in the 19th C., but expelled from there during the fighting between Turkey and Greece which followed WWI.  They are now based in Athens.

RESULT:   Smirnis   2-1     It’s a Relegation Monday miracle and a Noober success!

  1. Macabbi Haifa vs. Hapoel Haifa – Israeli Premier

The battle for Haifa!   In truth, it could be a bit more dramatic.  There’s a wide gap between the top six and bottom eight in this league, so it’s already known which teams have made the title playoffs and which will play Relegation playoffs.  Macabbi are in 10th, Hapoel 4th.

Fun Fact:  These two share a 30.000+ seat stadium, Sammy Ofer Stadium.

RESULT:   HH   0-3

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The shipping magnate himself

9.  Al Mokawloon Al Arab vs. Tanta – Egypt Premier

Tanta is in the last Relegation spot, meaning they have the best chance to move up and out.  They’re just two points behind Wadi Degla.  Al Mokawloon are in 8th.  They like a wide open game, so should take care of business at home against defensively-struggling Tanta.

Fun Fact:  About 3 million people come to Tanta annually, at the end of the cotton harvest there.  The city is home to well under half a million.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Dunav Ruse vs. CSKA-Sofia – Bulgaria First Pro League

Just like Israel, this league will split into title playoffs (6 teams) and Relegation Playoffs (8 teams).  Dunav Ruse are in third-to-last.  It would take a miracle for them to climb to top six at this point.

CSKA-Sofia are #B in the league, with all-but-dashed hopes (six points back) of catching #1 Ludogorets Razgrad for the regular season title.  Ruse’s hope lies in CSKA-Sofia possibly not caring about this one.  That’s it.  Because they score and defend literally three times better than Ruse.

Fun Fact:  Ruse may come from the name (Rusa, meaning “blonde”) for a female founder of the city from the 13th-14th C.

RESULT:   CSKA-Sofia   0-2

Image result for old Blonde Bulgarian woman

 

 

And wow, and she doesn’t look a day over 550.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sunday, 3/4 – Welcome, LAFC

No time for dawdling, the ten most important soccer matches to follow for the newish American fan await us, Noobites!

  1. Sporting Kansas City vs. New York City FC – MLS

Last year’s Western Conference #5 and a The Management fave hosts the Eastern’s #2.

Noob will refrain from rooting against KC just to spite The Management.  For now.  It’s a gesture of good will with which to start the season.  (7:30 PM Eastern, FS1)

RESULT:   0-2   NYCFC

Image result for truce funny

B.  Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles FC – MLS

Welcome, new MLS club!   Seattle – fie on you, and you know why.  Less-tenured Noobites can search back to learn about the douchebag fan/TA first soccer fan I ever knew.  Actually, I guess that is the story.  (5:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   0-1   LAFC

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Number B welcomes you to the soccer family, baby LAFC.

  1. Manchester City vs. Chelsea – English Premier

The new league champs host last year’s.  Chelsea wear the sadpants, as it’s looking likely that won’t even make top four and next year’s Champions League.  Noob hopes they can catch fire starting here, pass 4th place, traitorously-named Tottenham  Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur.  (11:00 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   Man City   1-0

  1. Toluca vs. Pachuca – Liga MX

Tied for 6th hosts tied for 10th in a table so tight, the ordinal rankings just don’t matter yet.   Pachuca tends to play more wide open than most sides, so if Toluca can score first, this could turn into a rout.

In fact, Noobstradamus sees it just that way, 4-1 for the host Sausagers.  (1:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   Toluca   2-1

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Sausage can be conjugated that way?

Not even I saw that coming.

  1. Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid – La Liga

Barcelona have yet to lose on the season.  A win today against #B Atletico – with just one loss of their own – likely salts the title away.  They play the league’s best defense, but Barcelona’s an absolute monster with the ball.  (10:15 AM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   Barcelona   1-0

  1. Montpelier vs. Lyon – Ligue 1

These two faced off less than a month ago in the Coupe de France.  Montpelier lost 1-2 at home then.  Will history repeat itself?

Lyon is in 4th, five points behind Marseilles for the third and final Champions League berth.  Montpelier are tied for 6th, trying to catch Rennes for the last Europa League slot.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for history repeats itself meme

 

 

 

 

History repeating itself

  1. AC Milan vs. Inter Milan – Serie A

Welcome back to the most interesting league race going.  Inter Milan were yesterday pushed out of the top four and a Champions League berth.  Today they’ll pull even on games played, but need a win to jump back up a spot in the table.

AC Milan are tied for 6th, but out of Europa League qualification based on tiebreaking goal differential.  They don’t have the defense to be great this year.  Noob smells a road win for “The Big Grass Snake”.

RESULT:   ppd

  1. Lokamotiv Moscow vs. Spartak Moscow – Russian Premier

#1 hosts #5, but with win a win Spartak would climb all the way up to #B.  Unlikely.  There’s a serious gap in defensive capability between them and the real powers of the league.

This is now the 6th-ranked league in European play.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for poor defense soccer funny

 

 

 

Defense.  You’re doing it wrong.

  1. Legia Warsaw vs. Lech Poznan – Poland Ekstraklasa

The regular season title is up for grabs as #1 hosts #3 in Europe’s 20th-ranked league.  Poznan sports the best goal differential in the league, so should give the league leaders a tough fight.

RESULT:   Warsaw   2-1

  1. Sanarate vs. Antigua Guatemala – Guatemala National League

Antigua was the Apertura (first half season) champs and are on top again now in the Clausura.

Sanrate has seen massive improvement.  They only finished 9th,  but are now tied for #B.  They scored 14 and gave up 22 goals before.  That line is now 14-8.  Still. Noob thinks they’d be pleased with a draw today, even being at home.

RESULT:   0-0

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Wait, can you say that?  That feels wrong.