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

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’ 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.

’10 to Track’ Relegation Monday (12/3) — previews for Matches of Suckitude

Noob always endeavors to bring us the ten most important matches to follow as newish American fans of the global game.

Monday’s, that “importance” takes a different turn – Matches of Suckitude!    Most of today’s featured games include at least one club on the verge of getting Relegated from their league, kicked out for poor performance.

As always, let’s start with a few matches of happier import —

1. Guiseley vs. Fleetwood Town – English FA Cup

This is the Second Round Proper of the tournament. There are Rounds before these two “Proper” ones, qualifying rounds for teams from levels 5-10 of the English football pyramid. At the First Round proper, teams from the third and fourth pyramid levels entered the competition.

Just a few teams from Level 6 (and none lower) remain now. Those are considered Minnows – underdogs. Folks like to root for them to make surprising, deep runs in this event. Guiseley, from West Yorkshire) will take all the support they can garner. They were Relegated from the National League (level 5) last year after a last-place finish and they’re doing little better this year a level down. The defense is okay, but the offense is nearly non-existent.

Fleetwood are from the third tier, League One. They’re below average there. But they’re fully professional and so should be heavy favorites today.

RESULT:   Fleetwood   1-2

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

Surprise, the Cypriot league is in the top 20 in all UEFA! If they rise a few more spots, they may soon qualify multiple teams for UEFA Champions League.

Noob has a soft spot APOEL, as one of my earliest Twitter followers is a mom of one of their players.

They’re in 3rd. Much as Noob wishes it were otherwise, I suspect this league will eventually be a two-team race between Apollon (the best team in the league) and #1-for-the-moment AEL Limassol.

APOEL are only an even match at best for their guests today.

RESULT:   APOEL   5-1        Oh MY

Image result for soft letter B

 

 

Noob also has a soft spot for soft Number B.

3. Bhayangkara vs. PSM Makassar – Indonesia Liga 1

Noob can never be accused of not being a citizen of the world. #27 league in Asia? Sure! The season there is nearly done and the title is undecided. Just one team may even possibly qualify for the next AFC Champions League from here. The champ may also end up in the AFC Cup, a secondary tournament for teams from what the AFC considers “developing football nations”.

Only two matches remain for all clubs there, and Makassar trail Jakarta by two points in the table. No other team is close enough to possibly catch them.

Unfortunately for Makassar, Bhayangkara still have something to play for. They can still catch the #3 club, and that slot might qualify for an AFC Cup berth. Bhayangkara don’t have the defensive PSM do, but the score about the same. At home, Noob considers them a slight favorite.

RESULT:   0-0

And now, your Matches of Suckit000000000d —

4. Levante vs. Athletic Club – La Liga

Three clubs will get Relegated from Spain’s top league at season’s end. Currently, Athletic Club are 18th of 20 teams. They’d be even deeper in the hole with their just one win, but they’ve earned draws in a mind-boggling eight of their dozen other matches.

Levante are 11th, as average as it gets. At home, that should easily be good enough to beat Athletic Club. Though I guess a ninth draw might be in order for the guests today.   (3:00 PM Eastern, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   Levante   3-0

Image result for wearing lots of ties

 

 

Lots of ties, Noob gets it.

The tiny soul patch is the more troubling facet.

5. Nurnberg vs. Bayer Leverkusen – Bundesliga

Germany’s is a another that gives three teams The Boot. Nurnberg is third-to-last, courtesy of not playing a goalie ever. Well, their stats make it look like that, anyway. Even so, they might have a coin-flip’s chance at a win at home today. #12 Leverkusen are better on both sides of the ball, but not by tons.

Fun Fact:    Nurnberg have been Relegated from Bundesliga eight times, most all-time.

RESULT:   1-1

6. Bubali vs. Estrella – Aruba Division di Honor

Aruba? Surely nothing could suck in that paradise. But they have Relegation even there. One team will be automatically sent down. We’re getting to know our CONCACAF brethren, even in states of Suckitude. Hallo, neighbors!

The next two in the table are pegged to participate in a Relegation Playoff. To be honest, Noob’s not sure if they play one another and the loser also goes down to Division Uno (second-tier league) or if they play teams from Division Uno for a chance to stay up.

Regardless, Bubali are in 9th of the ten teams. The season is just a few matches in there, but ti’s not too early to say that if they can’t up their scoring to better than one goal per, they’re going down. Estrella are in 4th, but don’t defend a ton. Still, they have the firepower to handle Bubali, even on the road.

RESULT:   Estrella   0-2

Image result for Bubali aruba

 

 

 

 

There’s Bubali on the western coast.

7. Tigre vs. Godoy Cruz – Argentina Premier

Tigre are in 19th of 28 teams. Not bad, if nowhere near good. Unfortunately for them, this league uses a three-year table for determining who goes down.

And Tigre were so awful the last two, there’s little they can do to save themselves from getting Dropped. They’re in last in that aggregate table, would have to jump three teams to stay up. Perhaps they might get a draw against 10th-place Godoy Cruz.   (3:10 PM, TyC Sports International)

Fun Fact:    Tigre made the Copa Sudamericana final in 2012, but refused to finish the match after falling behind 0-2 at the half (questionably citing “security concerns”).

RESULT:   GC   1-3

8. Yeni Malatyaspor vs. Akhisarspor – Turkey Super Lig

Y.M. just got Promoted to top flite this season, but it’s not them that’s Sucking. They’re in 7th. They’re parking the bus a little, not scoring or getting scored upon lots. It won’t get them higher in the table, but so far it’s easily keeping them afloat.

Akhisarspor are in third-to-last, and Turkey’s is yet another league that kicks three out annually. Their offense is almost average, but the defense is tied for worst.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for turkey floating

 

Floating turkey.

 

No apologies.

9. AGF Aarhus vs. Velje Boldklub – Denmark Superliga

The Danish top league divided into Championship and Relegation subgroups later in the season. Top six play for the title. These two aren’t going to be among those.

Aarhus are in 11th. They show enough of a spark on defense to give hope that they’ll ultimately survive, not actually be Relegated. Velje, on the other hand, are just plain awful. They don’t score even a goal per match on average, and not because they pack it in on D by any stretch.

Fun Fact:  Aarhus were founded in 1880, primarily focused on gymnastics and fencing.

RESULT:   Aarhus   2-1

10. Dibba Al-Fujairah vs. Al Ittihad Kalba – U.A.E. Pro-League

We finish our Track today in the #4 league in all Asia. That shiny ranking is no thanks whatsoever to DAF. They’re the mirror opposite of well-balanced, sporting both the second-worst offense and defense. Kalba are below-average, but should be favored by a goal even on the road against this lot.

RESULT:   Kalba   1-3

Image result for Dibba Al fujairah stadium

 

So long from Dibba Al Fujairah Stadium!

It doesn’t meet the Pro-League’s reqs though, so they play in nearby Fujairah City.

 

Extra Credit:   matches from the women’s EAFF E-1 tournament (East Asia), #3 Dynamo Kiev vs #11 Chornomorets Odessa – Ukrainian Premier, #8 Astra Giurgiu vs. #9 Botosani – Romania Liga I, #12 Opava vs #1 Slavia Prague – Czech First Division, #10 Enosis Paralimni vs #4 AEK Larnaca – Cyprus First Division.

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

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

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

Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeeeah.  Wow.

 

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

Wednesday

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

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

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

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

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

RESULT:   Hotspur   1-0

Image result for sir topham hatt furious

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

RESULT:   PSG   2-1

5. Porto vs. Schalke – UEFA Champions League

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

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

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

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

RESULT:   Porto   3-1

Image result for schalke 04 funny

 

 

 

Is that the German Mr. Magoo?

 

6. Monterrey vs. Santos – Liga MX

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

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

RESULT:   Monterrey    1-0

7. Saprissa vs. Herediano – Costa Rica Premier

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

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

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

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

Image result for costa rica premier logo

 

 

One foot-sport, one heart.  

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

8. Portmore United vs. Tivoli Gardens – Jamaica Premier

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

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

RESULT:   Portmore   2-0

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

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

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

Tuesday

1. Lyon vs. Manchester City – UEFA Champions League

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESULT:   Real   0-2

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

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

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

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

 

’10 to Track’ Sunday (11/18) soccer matches – UEFA Nations League leads us once again

European International break doesn’t stop the ten most important matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game!   Can’t even slow this train down.

1. England vs. Croatia – UEFA Nations League

Here’s the link to my brief Explainer on what this event is:

http://www.soccernoob.com/2018/01/01/uefa-nations-league-explainer/

This is the last match to be played in this League A group of three. Spain is done, two points up on both these teams. So if either wins, that team goes to the Playoffs. If the match ends in a draw, Spain advances.

FIFA-ranked #5 England surely had no trouble with the USMNT in their recent friendly. They haven’t lost in their last four matches overall, between this event and friendlies. And the offense has picked up, with six goals in their last two matches.

#4 Croatia will be a stern test. They struggled after losing to France in the World Cup final. But a friendly win over Jordan and 3-2 win over Spain in this tournament seem to indicate they’re back in form.

Key players to watch today will be Raheem Sterling for England (two goals in the Spain match) and Tin Jedvaj for Croatia (two goals in their Spain match).   (9:00 AM EST, ESPN2)

B. Switzerland vs. Belgium – UEFA Nations League

This is another League A match. Different Group, of course. #1-ranked Belgium – who haven’t lost in six straight – lead the Swiss by three heading into this last match. But they’re tied on goal differential, so win of any margin for #8-Switzerland puts them in the Playoffs on the GD tiebreaker.

While it can be easy to overvalue friendlies, a home 0-1 loss to Qatar in their last outing isn’t promising for Switzerland. They haven’t beaten anyone but Group-last place Iceland (twice) since June.   (2:45 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Switzerland 5-2         Playoff time for the Swiss

Image result for icelandic letter B

buRES

 

Two letter A’s in the Icelandic alphabet.  Fine.

But there’s only one Number B.

3. Guinea vs. Ivory Coast – Africa Cup of Nations qualification

The ACN is next year, Africa’s top tournament for men’s national teams. Groups of four are competing in this current event, with the top two finishers in each getting in.

Two matches to go in Group H. Guinea lead Ivory Coast by three in the table. Between the two of them, they haven’t lost in ten matches overall. They’re ranked #65 and #64 in the world, respectively.   (12:00 PM, beIN Sports)

RESULT:   1-1

4. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lyon – France Division 1

This is the French women’s top flite. Lyon is the major power in all Europe, has been for years. They’re undefeated again, have outscored opponents 37-1.

Today represents their toughest test of the year. PSG are also undefeated, though someone got a draw on them. Their GD is 24-3. Noob thinks they can keep this within a goal, but no better.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for angry French women

 

Never doubt that the women of France aren’t tough tough tough.

5. SS Jeanne d’Arc vs. Besancon Football – Coupe de France

Like yesterday, we’re catching another early (7th-) round match of the French FA Cup in order to spy on a CONCACAF team.

Noob’s not sure how Reunion qualifies its two teams into this event. JdA only finished 5th in last year’s Reunion Premier. Neither did they win the territory’s own Cup tournament. They’re #B in this year’s league season, which is nearly done. They still don’t score much, but the defense has been much improved.

Besancon play in Championnat National 3, France’s fifth-tier league. This league has many regional divisions (groups). They play in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (Group E). They’re in 5th place in their league season. They don’t score much, either. Noob’s not got the experience to handicap a match like this, but doens’t look like it’s likely to be a high-scoring affair.

RESULT:   Besancon   0-1  AET

6. Tauro vs. Arabe Unido – Panama National League

They’ve reached the Apertura (first half-season) postseason Semifinals here. This is the first match of a two-legged tie to see which will play for the title. Tauro are the #3 seed, play much more offensively than anyone else in that league. Arabe Unido won several close matches to get the #B seed. If Tauro score early in this, Noob predicts a rout will ensue.

RESULT:   Tauro   2-0

Image result for tauro fc

 

 

Noob is not down with the bull half-face thing.

That feels like nightmare-fodder.

7. Nicaragua vs. Haiti – CONCACAF Nations League qualification

Six of CONCACAF’s best men’s national teams are not having to participate in this event. They will be placed in League A of the inaugural Nations League next year. All the other member nations are battling for placement in the various League levels, just like UEFA’s NL set-up. The top ten finishers in this event will also qualify for the Gold Cup, the federation’s biennial championship.

Since each team plays just four games, there’s a lot of room for volatility. And we’re getting it. Haiti are ranked just #102 in the world, yet are in 1st in this event with just this last match to go. They’ve outscored opponents 17-1.

Nicaragua are ranked even lower (#127), but also vying for a Gold Cup slot. They’re in 9th. They likely need a win to maintain their GC invitation, though a draw today doesn’t leave them out automatically. They only score half again as much as Haiti have been, are just an even match on their own pitch today.

RESULT:   Haiti   0-2

8. Brendam United vs. Brendam Harbor – Isle of Sodor Premier League

Noob’s exclusive coverage of the Isle’s inaugural FA league continues! I haven’t been able to yet give the IoSPL the attention I intended to, especially given how closely I documented the first-ever IoS FA Cup here over the summer. I’ve been hopping the pond quite a bit, soccer and other obligations keeping me stateside oft times.

Suffice it to say for now that these are historically two of the best teams on Sodor. Of course, that “history” is tons of friendlies and loose, sporadic league-like organizations that have come and gone over many years here. Now that they’re organizing their football on this national scale, it’s hard to know how much water past results hold.

Also, Harbor won the FA Cup. And on defense, a soccer virtue not typically held in particular esteem on the Isle. Shockingly, B-Utd didn’t even make it out of the Group Stage, finishing third there. Just couldn’t find the offense (four goals in three matches).

RESULT:   Brendam Utd   10-3         As often happens on Sodor, once a team is 2-3 goals late,  what little defense might’ve been happening evaporates.

Image result for what happened?

 

I don’t know.  The font just went weird.    

I blame having switched from MS Word to OpenOffice.

9. Tahiti vs. New Caledonia – Women’s World Cup qualification

Eight teams from the OFC are vying for one spot in World Cup next year. They’ve been divided into two Groups, with the top two finishers in each advancing to a Knockout Round.

This is the first match for both teams. They’re ranked #157 and #155 in the world. This makes them the fourth and third-best teams in this federation.

RESULT:    N.C.   2-4

10. Vitoria Setubal vs. Tondela – Portugal League Cup

The Taca de Liga has just reached its Group Stage, where 16 teams remain. They’ve been divided into Groups of four. Only the winners of each will advance to the Knockout Round.

This is not the country’s FA Cup, but rather a secondary Cup tournament contested by only clubs from the top two leagues. V.S. is a midtable Primeira Liga team, while Tondela is a fair bit worse. The point here isn’t so much this particular match so much as to just introduce Noobites to the tournament period.

RESULT:   Tondela   1-2

Image result for Setubal funny

 

So long from Setubal!

Come for the soccer, stay for the boutique apartments.

’10 to Track’ Saturday (11/10) soccer matches – Champions Leagues, give us more!

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

Quirkly little slogan for the Track, the backbone feature of this project.  What does it mean, what is Noob?

The goal is to give starter-level preview several times a week on the most important matches for newer fans to follow.   Nothing taxing, yet informative on what’s going on in America, North America, England and beyond.  Local first, never local only.

And it’s all done with hopefully enough weirdness to bring something to even more seasoned fans.  The Quest for Number B.  Sandwich Reviewoobs.  Scorning “real” named teams that aren’t deserving.  Isle of Sodor Premier League coverage.  Hopefully soon a Stolen Mailbag feature soon.

Saturdays are a little less weirdness, a little more footyball.  Dig in!

  1. Boca Juniors vs. River Plate – Copa Libertadores

South America’s Champions League has reached its Final!   This is the first match of the two-legged, home and away tie.  Not that either will be travelling far.  Both are based in Buenos Aires.

This is one of the fiercest rivalries in sports anywhere in the world.  The fact that the teams are only in 8th and 10th, respectively, in the Argentine Premier so far means nothing here and now.  These are two historical powers in the country and on the continent.

They’re only about ten matches into the league season.  River Plate will climb.  The offense might not be quite everything it could be, but the defense is #1 in the league.  Juniors have gone the other way so far – top four-offense, struggling on D.

Two quick Fun Facts about this matchup.  A year ago, it couldn’t have even happened as a Final.  Previously, if two teams from the same country reached the Semis, they had to face one another.  The goal was to try and ensure the Finals were a multi-nation affair, help the ratings.  That rule was just removed.

Also, both teams were formed in Boca, the same barrio of Buenos Aires.  River Plate are now based in Belgrano, a northern barrio.   (3:00 PM EST, Fox Deportes)

RESULT:     suspended due to rain; now slated for 2:00 PM EST tomorrow on Deportes

B.  Persepolis vs. Kashima Antlers – AFC Champions League Final

Another Final!   And this time, the trophy’s being handed out.  Japan’s 2016-17 J1 League runners-up Kashima won the first leg 0-2.

Today, they try and finish things off against the defending Iranian domestic league champions.  By Elo rating, Kashima is the better team.  But the difference is small enough that Persepolis should be considered the favorite at home.   But by two goals?  Not likely.

RESULT:   0-0      Kudos to the champs!  Kashima takes the title

  1. Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Sir Topham Hatt Hotspur – English Premier League

Three clubs remain undefeated in England.  Hotspur is not one of them, but rather right behind them in 4th.   If they can maintain a position at least that high in the table, they’ll qualify for next year’s Champions League.   Palace are down in 14th.

They’re on a three-match win streak across all competitions, but haven’t kept a clean sheet in five.  That’s rather the opposite of their league season to date.   The defense has been quite solid, but the offense isn’t what the truer title contenders have shown.

Tenured Noobites know how Noob feels about Hotspur.  The club is named for historical multi-king traitor Harry Percy.  Rather than spew my usual bile and vitriol over this fact, I’ll use this as an opportunity to preview a hopefully-upcoming feature.  Noob is working on an interview with Will Rivard, creator of website Tottenham Hotspur World (Twitter: @WorldHotspur).

I hope it will be a chance at a slightly deeper dive than Noob gives for individual clubs, the sort of site to which newer fans graduate from Noob.  Perhaps a little club history, news on the current state of the team and where it’s headed, maybe even an explanation on why it’s named for such a cretinous yahoo as Harry “Hotspur” Percy.

Whoops.  I said no bile and vitriol.  Just look for it soon, Noobites.   It should be a treat.

RESULT:   Hotspur   1-0

Image result for sir topham hatt

 

 

Wow, Sir Topham Hatt looks something other than cross for once!

  1. Tigres UANL vs. Puebla – Liga MX

Two matches left for these two in the Apertura (first half-season).  The top half of the league (eight clubs) will qualify for the Liguilla (postseason tournament).

Puebla are in 11th place.  They’re just three points behind 8th-place Pachuca.  Still, they likely need to win both they’re remaining matches to leapfrog the necessary clubs and climb three steps in the table.  Trouble is, they’ve allowed 2+ goals in seven consecutive matches.  They’ve been bottom-four defensively to date.

Tigres are in 7th.  They just broke a three-match non-winning streak with a road W over midtable Morelia.  Before that clean sheet, they’d allowed 11 goals over their last four matches.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Tigres   6-1

  1. Metropolitan Police vs. Newport County – England FA Cup

Yesterday, Noob featured a Minnow Watch and here we get another!   This is the first round of the “Competition Proper”, where teams as high as the third-tier of English football enter the tournament.  Previously, teams from the lower divisions have been battling to get to this point.

Metropolitan Police are one of three seventh-tier teams to have survived those qualifying rounds.  They are out of the Southern League Premier Division South, based in Surrey.  They’re just midtable there, and playing dreadful defense.

Newport Town come calling today, from level four of the English football pyramid.  They’re tied for 5th in League Two, though it’s hard to see how.  They make their host’s defense look divine.

Too just look at stats in their respective leagues, this could be a shootout.  Or given the gap in pyramid level, Newport may just come in and crush them.

RESULT:   Newport   0-2

SmallMetPolicelogo.png

 

 

Higher-league teams could take a lesson from the fine crest-work.

  1. FC Porto vs. Braga – Portugual Primeira Liga

Braga are the lone undefeated team remaining here in UEFA’s #7-ranked league.  Tied with them – FC Porto.   Both lead the rest of the league on both offense and defense.  Top two finishers make the Champions League next year.

A draw would leave both vulnerable to fellow powerhouse Sporting CP just behind.  A win for either gives them a real leg up in the title race, even here early in the season.

RESULT:   Porto   1-0

  1. Connah’s Quay vs. Barry Town – Welsh Premier

The Welsh top flite may be one of Europe’s weakest, but Noob’s always down for more tied-for-1st place action!

Connah’s Quay is no surprise.  They finished 3rd last year, about as low as Noob’s seen in my brief time closely following the footsball.

Barry Town?  Yeah, they were in 7th last year.  They’ve won seven of eight matches running, though every win but one by a single goal.  Soccer may not be a high-scoring affair typically, but that’s unusual even in this sport.  They’re not strong enough up front to keep this up all season long, will drop to midtable.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Audax Italiano vs. Palestino – Copa Chile

What an odd Final.  With a Copa Libertadores berth going to the FA Cup winner, one would think the best teams would be getting here.  Audax and Palestino are well down the Premier League table in Chile, 11th and 13th, respectively.

Heck, Palestino is only two spots clear of the Relegation Zone!   Noob wonders if a team has ever qualified for the CL and been Demoted in the same season.

This is the first leg of the two-legged, home and away Final.  Between the higher table position and actually having a positive goal differential, Noob supposed Audax has to be the favorite.

RESULT:   Palestino   0-1

Image result for odd chili

 

Mediterranean Chickpea Chili

C’mon, that’s odd chili.

*sigh*  Who’s running images here with Dan the Intern-o Inferno gone?

  1. Zrinjski Mostar vs. FK Sarajevo – Bosnia and Herzegovina Premier

We return to Europe for a #B-#1 matchup.  The league is only ranked #40 (of 55) by UEFA, yet that only rachets up the drama.  Only one club can earn a Champions League invite.

Sarajevo made a late push to finish even 3rd last season.  Now, they lead the pack by five points.  They’ve averaged over two goals per match, which is astounding.  More so, because they’re among the league leaders at goal-stopping, too.

This isn’t must-win for Mostar, as the season is only halfway done.  Yet falling behind by eight points should they take the L at home today would have them in a bad way.  They’re the #B offense in the league, but by a lot.  It will be curious to see if they try pushing the pace at home, or take some of the air out of the ball.  Noob thinks if they make the game wide-open, they’re going to go down.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Newcastle Jets vs. Sydney FC – Australia A-League

We finish the Saturday track down under in a top-ten Asian League.   Yes, Noob knows they’re their own continent.  They left the OFC for the AFC some years ago.

The season is so young Down under that we’re better served looking at last year’s table.  it was a weird one.  Sydney FC blew everyone out.  Even so, Newcastle had no close competition for runners-up position.

Three matches in this year, Sydney have yet to lose.  Newcastle sits in dead last.  They’ve only scored twice.  Maybe they should try wresting Usain Bolt away from Central Coast Mariners since he hasn’t yet completed a contract with them.   (Yes, that Usain Bolt.  He’s been training with CCM for a while now.)

RESULT:   1-1            Jets’ Nicholas Cowburn equalizes at 87′

Image result for Electrofringe newcastleSo long from Newcastle!

Home of Electrofringe, part of the annual This Is Not Art festival.

experimental electronic and technologically-based art

’10 to Track’ Relegation Monday matches – feel the suckitude

On Monday’s, what with world soccer scheds being lighter, Noob introduces you to teams about to be Relegated.

Feel their pain.  Mondays are for pain.

  1. Queretaro vs. Tigres UANL – Liga MX Femenil

Noob’s beginning to think Queretaro only gets to play teams at the top of the table. we see them so much.   They’re 5th in Group 2 (of 2), taking on the #1 side today.   Neither side plays a ton of D.

Difference is, Tigres score like no one else.  Queretaro score…well, some.    Not enough.  They’ll get embarrassed by three today.

RESULT:   Tigres   1-2

B.  Southampton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion – English Premier League

The lone EPL match today features two sides that aren’t quite in Relegation position, but they aren’t far above it, and they were even closer to danger last year.

No matter how hard they pack it in on defense all season, neither will score enough to make midtable.   (3:00 PM EST, NBCSN)

RESULT:   2-2       B&HA with comes back from 0-2, getting equalizer at 90’+1

Image result for b is for bad

 

 

Number B refuses to be merely “bad”.

  1. Persepolis vs. Al-Duhail – AFC Champions League

Match two of this Semifinal!   This is a really even matchup for the Iranians.  Unfortunately, they trail 0-1 after the first match in Qatar.

RESULT:   Persepolis   3-1        On to the Final!

  1. RoPS vs. KuPS – Finland Veikkausliga

There may be just enough season left for #B RoPS to think they can still make a run at the title.  They’re down seven points to HJK, the class of the league.  KuPS are tied for 3rd, part of a tight pack of teams that score a ton, but give up toooooo many goals to be a threat to the top.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for aurora borealis finland lapland

 

Laplandic Finland (where RoPS are) gets about 10x as many Northern Lights sightings as down south.

 

And now – the Matches of Suckitude!

  1. Honka vs. PS Kemi – Finland Veikkausliga

More Finnish footyball?   You’ve got it, Noobites!   To the other end of the table we go.

Well, to see PS Kemi, anyway.   Honka the ones tied for 3rd with KuPS.  PS Kemi are in last place.  The bottom two will get Relegated.  They’re four points from daylight, so not without hope hypotherically.

Realistically?   They’re going to get doubled up on today.   Honka are that much better on both sides of the ball.

Fun Fact:    Each year, Kemi is once again home to the world’s largest snow castle.

RESULT:   Honka   2-1       Spanish international Borja Martin with both his team’s goals

  1. Hacken vs. Trellesborg – Sweden Allsvenskanliga

Hacken are a real mystery to Noob.  They have a great goal differential on the season, yet sit midtable.  Perhaps that means if last place Trellesborg can keep things close, a Monday Miracle is possible!

Naaaaaah.  They stink to high heaven.

RESULT:   Hacken   2-1

Image result for smelly swede

 

 

 

No.

  1. Chapocoense vs. Internacional – Brazil Serie A

Four of the 20 clubs in this league will get The Boot at season’s end.  Chapo are tied for 17th.  They’re just two points from getting out of danger, but time is running out.  And league #B Internacional won’t be caught napping today, or any day.  They’re just a point out of 1st.

Fun Fact:   One of their nicknames is “The Chape Terror”.    Hmm.   Maybe they could terrorize second division next season.

RESULT:   Chape   2-1      We had to wait until the last Match of Suckitude of the day, but we got our Relegation Monday miracle!

  1. Misr El-Maqasa vs. El Hodood – Egypt Premier

El Hodood are very bad.  Noob find their name funny.  Largely because I’m so damn overmedicated for my neck and lower back both being waaaay out of alignment.

RESULT:   MEM   3-1

Image result for overmedicated funny

 

 

 

That image sure is.   Thanks for the nightmare-fodder.  Damn.

  1. Ural vs. Rostov – Russia Premier

How overmedicated?  Well, I was awoken yesterday by a coworker’s phone call.   I was so out of it, the dream I was having seemed more real for quite some time afterwards than the short conversation we’d had.

I’d been dreaming about opening a cheese sandwich shop in a mall in Des Moines, Iowa.   I was working out the particulars of whether or not to carry fresh mayonnaise to spread on the bread or go with prepackaged packets.

I wish I was making that up.   Nope.

Oh yes, Ural are ghastly and will lose by at least two.

Fun Fact:   Ural are the Bumblebees.    No punchline here, just the first club Noob’s found with that nickname.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. ES Setif vs. DRB Tadjenanet – Algeria Ligue 1

This league is just a few matches in, but that doesn’t stop Noob from sniffing out crappy soccer, oh no.   Today’s visitors are tied with a couple other clubs for third-to-last, a Relegation slot.  MC Oran will climb away from the awfulness soon enough, so DRBT might be on our craptastic-radar for a while.   They’re especially lazy on defense.

Since #3 ES Setif are also competing in the late stages of the CAF Champions League, perhaps they will not be prepared today, but that’s likely the only chance their guests today will have.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for tadjenanet

 

So long from Tadjenanet!

Yikes!   If this is their athletics scene, how crazy-violent are their football supporters?

’10 to Track’ Relegation Monday (9/10) soccer matches – Embrace the sadness!

With schedules lighter around the world on Mondays, Noob starts your workweek with a bunch o’ matches featuring clubs about to get Relegated.

Let’s get to know them before they are dropped into oblivion!

First, a few matches of happier import.

  1. Portugal vs. Italy – UEFA Nations League

Please scroll down to the most recent Midweek Edition for more details on this event.

At #21, Noob understands this is the lowest Italy has been in the FIFA rankings since they started putting them out.  They have a youth-heavy roster now as they rebuild.  Portugal are #7 in the world.

Italy drew with Poland in their first and only match so far.  This is the first match for Portugal, who Noob likes easily by a goal today.   (2:45 PM EST, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Portugal   1-0

B.  St. Kitts and Nevis vs. Puerto Rico – CONCACAF Nations League qualification

Again, head down to the Midweek for more event details.

Noob is mildly surprised to find that SKnN are more highly-ranked than Puerto Rico.  They are #135 and #173.  I’d favor the home team here even were this at a neutral site.   First match of the event for both teams.

RESULT:   SKN   1-0

Image result for letter B surprise

 

 

 

The real surprise is that Number B is displacing Number Two.

Get on the train.

  1. Morelia vs. Queretaro – Liga MX Femenil

Only the top two from each of this league Group’s make the postseason.  These two are #6 and #5.  Neither side is likely to crack the top three even.

This is a quirky matchup.  Queretaro don’t score much at all, but don’t give up tons and tons.  That Queretaro score nearly twice as often isn’t even impressive, and that they give have far and away the Group’s worst defense.

RESULT:   Queretaro   1-2

  1. Gambia vs. Togo – Africa Cup of Nations qualification

Groups of four.  Top two from each make the Cup.

The surprise two matches into this Group is Benin.  They’re tied with favorite Algeria at four table points each.  Gambia and Togo have just one each.  But they play six each, so there’s a ways Togo.  Still, a loss for either of these two might mean lights out.

FIFA ranks them as #172 and #124.  Togo by a goal on the road today.

RESULT:     no score found           Different sources Noob uses indicate either the game really was slated as yesterday but report no score, or that it’s next month.   

Image result for Benin surprise

 

 

Surprise!!

 

\

And now, bad teams!  Wheeee!

  1. Guayaquil City vs. Independiente del Valle – Ecuador Serie A

Here in the Second Stage of Ecuador’s season, these two are last and second-to-last place.  IdV did well enough in the First Stage that they are not in the bottom two in the season’s aggregate table.  Those two will be Relegated.

QC, however, are last place everywhere you can look.  Noob doesn’t think they can do better than a draw at home today.  Based on GD, de Valle remain a mid-table team probably.

Fun Fact:   Guayquil is home to other top-division clubs — Emelec and Barcelona SC.

RESULT:     ppd

  1. Merreikh Kosti vs. Merreikh Nyala – Sudan Premier

Don’t you quit on Sudan, Noobites!   This is the #7-ranked domestic league in Africa and they consistently love them some Monday matches.

The bottom ten teams are playing in their own Relegation subdivision here in the last part of the regular season.  Four will be automatically dropped.  Last-place Nyala will be one of them, plain and simple.

Kosti play enough defense that from 8th place, they can see murky daylight.  Noob says “murky”, because even if they climb above the auto-cutline, they next two teams in the table will have to play in a Relegation Playout match.

RESULT:     ppd

Image result for Mahdist

 

 

Kosti the town was founded by Greeks at the start of the 20 C.

This was not many years after the native Mahdist regime had been overthrown by Anglos and Egyptians.

  1. Universitatea Cluj vs. Aerostar Bacau – Romania Liga II

With the premier-level leagues in much of the Western World on international break, we delve down a tier in some countries for more Matches of Suckitude.

Bacau are in dead last.  But it’s very early in the season.   If their offense can improve some without sacrificing their mediocre defense, they can climb some in the table.  Can they climb five spots and avoid getting The Boot?  Dubious.

U. Cluj give up very few goals, but they pack it in on D and don’t score much themselves. Midtable and unlikely to climb with that style of play.

RESULT:   U. Cluj   3-2

Fun Fact.  Well, Sort Of:   Bacau went bankrupt in 1993-4, reformed in ’95.

8.  Borac Cacak vs. Sindelic Beograd – Serbia Prva Liga

They’re also only a few matches into the season here in Serbia’s second tier.   Four will get Dropped in a few months.

Right now, Cacak are tied for 12th, right on the line. But so far they’ve displayed the worst offense in the league, so don’t look for them to get out of trouble any time soon.  S.B. are in 5th, another one of these small-ball teams.  Score little, try to give up even less.

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for Serbian zebra

 

 

 

Borac Cacak are “The Zebras”

  1. Elva vs. Tartu Santos – Estonia Esiliiga A

Oh, sweet double I’s.  You will never lose your luster to Noob!   That Esiliiga is second-division ball doesn’t mar your shine at all.

Here, two teams will be automatically dropped.  Tartu Santos are just above that line, in 8th, yet not at all out of direct danger.  If they stay there, they’ll have to play a third-tier team for the right to stay in A.

With their subpar defense, Noob would consider them at home no better than an even match for midtable Elva.  And this is at Elva.

Fun Fact:  Tartu the town boasts a professional handball team.  It plays in the second division of pro ball in the country.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. KTP vs. Klubi-04 – Finland Ykkonen

We finish our weekly Track of Sadness with a second northern European league, where the seasons are nearing their ends.

Klubi-04 is at the table bottom, deep, and two will get Relegated.  They’re the only ones who aren’t averaging even a goal per match.  KTP are in 7th, and score very little more than their guests.   This would be a terrible slog of a match to watch.

Fun Fact:   Klubi-o4 are the reserve team for HJK, the best club in all Finland.

RESULT:   Klubi-04   1-3    After a couple weeks without, we have a Relegation Monday miracle!

They’re still in last.  Still sport the worst GD in the league by over 50%.   But that just makes the win all the more miraculous.

Image result for Helsinki weird

 

So long from Helsinki, home of Klubi-o4!

Kamppi Chapel, “The Chapel of Silence”