‘The ten most important soccer matches to follow for us – the newish American fans of the global game.’
On Fridays, that gets messed with. We look at a couple matches that “matter” and then jetset off for wild and exotic football locales! A little learning, a lot of fun, and you may just end up more edumuhcated than your soccer fan veteran friends.
Brazil vs. Costa Rica – FIFA World Cup
Welcome back to Group E! All four teams have played a match now. Serbia were the only to get a win, beating Noob-surrogates Costa Rica. Brazil had a draw with the Swiss.
Costa Rica are the Noob choice for the Group Stage for the cheering. They’re ranked almost right next to the U.S. worldwide, so seem a good surrogate for how ‘Muricuh might’ve fared.
There have been multiple arguments, with at least one broadcast live in their home country, between Costa Rica players since their first match in Russia. Brazilian star Cutinho will likely be able to take advantage – or just win on having superior players. They’re ranked #2 in the world for a reason.
There you have it, Noobites! Just enough preview to get you through water cooler chat. Now go, be free! Noob will be reading more in-depth stuff on the interwebs in advance of the match. Do likewise, should the Spirit move you.
RESULT: Brazil 2-0 And with that, sadly Noob-fave Costa Rica is eliminated
B. Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns – NWSL
*shakes fist at Houston* Swamp City-builders! You don’t build on marshland. Noob and The Management stand against you.
OK, with that bit of oddity out of the way, second-to-last place Houston have taken advantage of three straight home matches to put some distance between themselves and Washington. They’re even within striking distance of the top four and a postseason berth! They beat Washington, surprised Seattle with a W, and then most impressively earned a draw against league champions-in-waiting North Carolina.
To compare, 5th-place Portland got dubbed 1-4 by NC. In general, they are fading. They need to find their offense again or will wind up the next Dash victim.
RESULT: Portland 1-3
Number B is here to scare some sense into you, Houstonians.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Penn FC – USL
For newer Noobites, let’s get real: Often locale will trump “quality”.
TB and Penn are merely tied for 10thh in the Eastern Conference. In Noob’s quest to himself learn and then in turn introduce you to soccer that could be most important to you, we’re going to get to know teams close to home. Even when they’re potential also-rans in the second tier.
But hey — they’re only two points out of 8th and the league playoffs, so this is something of a key match! If the match isn’t a draw, the mountain the loser has to climb gets really tough, even here at about the season halfway point.
The Rowdies are the better team, have the offense to perhaps make that move toward 8th. At home, they should handle the team we knew last year as Harrisburg City.
RESULT: Penn FC 0-2
Arlesburgh vs. Brendam Harbor – Isle of Sodor Cup
Future Second Division Arlesburgh are the only team in Group D to net a win. Any sort of result over one of the tourney-faves Brendam Harbor and they will be looking prime to advance to the knockout stage.
The Harbormen only managed a draw against D2 Lakeside in their first match. They’ll be looking to break out the offense today and move toward the bracketed round. They’re on the road for their second consecutive match, and so are slated to host their third and final one Arlesdale United.
Fun Fact: Arlesburgh is perhaps the oldest settlement on Sodor. As such, they have one of the largest supporter groups on Sodor – The Ancients.
RESULT: Brendam Harbor 1-2
The fans dress like old people, stand entire matches. The ones who look just middle-aged are, in fact, toddlers.
Spartaks vs. RFS – Latvia Higher League
UEFA’s 41st-ranked league is strange in one regard: About a dozen matches into the season, 1st and 5th place are separated by eight points. 5th and 6th are separated by twelve.
Spartaks are in 4th, but have played one less game than the two teams immediately ahead of them. They are also the last team to beat #1 RFS. The visitor’s today sport the best offense in the league.
Fun Fact: FK Spartaks is closely identified as much or more with their Swimming School.
RESULT: RFS 0-2
Soccernet vs. FCI Levadia – Estonia FA Cup
The point here is just to know that the event is happening, really. Both teams are from Tallinn The home side is from the 6th tier of Latvian domestic footyball. FCI Levadia is one of the top-flight league powerhouses.
RESULT: FCI Levadia 0-12 Words fail sometimes…
Than Quang Ninh vs. Sanna Khanh Hoa – Vietnam V.League 1
They’re all chasing Ha Noi in Vietnam for the only AFC Champions League slot the league receives. They won’t be caught. We’re still going!
#B hosts #4 in a very crowded part of the table. Today’s visitors from Nha Trang have overachieved a little being even this high up. Their negative goal differential gives them away. TQN aren’t posers, might be the only team that could get a sniff at catching Ha Noi.
Fun Fact: TQN have only two players who are not Vietnamese. Both are Brazilian.
RESULT: SKH 1-2
EB / Streymur vs. KI – Faroe Islands Premier
Welcome to the track, Faroe Islands! You’re an independent country that is somehow also part of the Kingdom of Denmark. And we love you. Despite or maybe even because you’re the 51st-ranked UEFA club of 55.
Unsurprisngly, Faroe Islands only get one team into the Champions League. it’s a two-horse race, and KI are behind the league leaders by five in the table. Matches against midtable teams like EB / Streymur are exactly the kind they can’t drop. They likely won’t even, on the road. KI is much better on both sides of the ball, can control this game no matter what sort of pace their hosts try for.
UnFun Fact: In 2014, perhaps EB’s greatest player was killed when a bunch of boxes of frozen fish fell on him when he was on a trawler.
RESULT: KI 0-2
Too sad and weird for Noob to have made this one up.
Voorwaarts vs. Inter Moengotapoe – Suriname Topklasse
Inter is sort of the best of the rest in Suriname. The title chase is down to three teams nearly two dozen games into their season. I.M. are 4th. Voorwaarts are 9th.
Despite the country being not far off the Brazilian coast, this is a Caribbean-cultured nation. And they are in CONCACF, not CONMEBOL. Noob welcomes you to the track!
Fun Fact: S.V. Voorwaarts was founded in 1919 by schoolkids from the Hendrickschool.
Fosa Juniors vs. Meava – Madagascar Champions League
It’s an avalanche of newcomers to the Track today! Good luck on your season that’s just starting.
This league is divided into four Groups. These two finished in the middle of their zones last season. That’s all Noob’s got for you on this one. But they’re on our radar now, and we’ll be back to learn more some Friday soon.
Fun Fact: Fosa Juniors are from the region of Boeny in the northeast, pop. around 800,000.
RESULT: Fosa Juniors 3-0
So long from scenic Arlesburgh, Isle of Sodor!
Be jealous of Noob’s eleveted B&B.