’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – eep! #11, too – USL Final

Midweek Edition – time to slow down, tease out ten most important matches, for us – the newish American fans of the global game – over three days.  Think of it as a soccer slow jam, if you will.   Listen to a 90’s R&B fave whilst you read.

OK, or maybe not.  That got weird.  Again.

Tuesday and Wednesday matches and results are further down.

More Thursday

11.  Louisville FC vs. Phoenix Rising – United Soccer League

Good LAWD!   You’d think Noob would learn a lesson.  I tend to scout out matches for Track inclusion five days in advance.    This FINAL  Amuricuh didn’t appear on my primary sched source because it doesn’t do TBD.  Phoenix played their Semfinal  four days ago.

But that’s the reason, not an excuse.  And at least it can be rectified now, hours before kickoff.

Louisville are the defending tournament champions.  In the Eastern Conference this year, they finished #B, well behind MLS-bound FC Cincinnati.  They get to host this one-off final.  No return to leg to Phoenix, this is it.    Phoenix Rising look becomes Phoenix Risen with an upset win.   Noob says upset because they finished 3rd in the West.

Phoenix conceded far fewer goals than many other Western clubs – including those that made the playoffs.  But they don’t play any better on that end than L’ville, and their hosts have more firepower.  Noob smells a title decided by penalty kicks, but on paper this is advantage reigning champs.   (8:00 PM, ESPN2).

RESULT:   Louisville    1-0        Hail to the champions!

Image result for close call soccer gif

 

Noob’er with the save!

 

If barely…

 

 

Thursday

  1. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers – Major League Soccer playoffs

The Conference Semifinals continue!  This is the second match of a two-legged tie.

The five-seed Portland won the first match 2-1 at their place.  This broke #B Seattle’s five-match win streak.  Noob has suggested this was a bad matchup for Portland.  Seattle’s offense had been playing their best ball of the season and defense is where Portland had often struggled.

That Timber defense did just enough to win.  Now we get to see if they can hold up on the road.  If they had a weakness, is up the middle some.  Expect to see Seattle run at defender New Zealander Bill Poni Tuiloma to try and get to and through veteran keeper Jeff Attinella.   (10:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Seattle   3-2       And they don’t use away-goals as a tiebreaker.  Still, congrats to Portland!   They won 6-8 on penalty kicks.

  1. Portugal vs. U.S.A. – women’s international friendly

The FIFA #1-ranked ladies head to Lisbon to face the 33rd-ranked team in the world.   They’ve only ever met six times and the U.S. has won all the matches.

With a win today, the USWNT will have it’s 500th-ever program win since forming in 1985.  They should get it by a goal or two, even on the road.   (1:00 PM, ESPN2)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-1

Image result for America gif funny

 

Murican treasure Danny McBride is revved up for the game.

  1. Argentina vs. Panama – Women’s World Cup qualification playoff

Panama finished the CONCACAF World Cup qualification tournament in 4th place.  Only the top three finishers gained entry.  But Panama gets one last shot.  Like their men’s national team counterparts did last year, if the women get in, this will be their first WC ever.

Argentina finished 3rd in the Copa American Feminina, a South American tournament held once every four years.  The top two finishers qualified for WC.

This playoff is a two-legged tie, so they’ll play again on 11/13.  The teams are ranked #66 and #37 in the world, respectively.  Given the oft-seeming lack of parity in the women’s game, that difference is mammoth.  Expect Panama to win on the road outright.

RESULT:   Argentina   4-0     

Honorable Mention:   Congrats to Platense, winners of the Honduran Copa Presidente!   Noob was going to preview this match, but it was played yesterday.  My scouting had shown it slated for today.

  1. Vidi vs. PAOK – Europa League

Good thing Noob keeps back-up matches handy for such occasions.

This is Europe’s second-most prestigious international club tournament.  The Qualifying Rounds are done and the “event proper” – the Group Stage – is halfway complete.

Clubs have been divided into Groups of four each, playing double round robins.  Top two finishers in each will advance to the Knockout Stage.  And remember, the winner of the whole shebang gets an auto-pass into next year’s Champions League.

There are a slew of matches today.   Noob’s highlighting this Group L match because of how things sit in the table.  Chelsea have won all three of their matches and will not be caught.  But all three other teams are tied!

MOL Vidi qualified for the Champions League by being last year’s Hungarian top-flite winners.  They were knocked out in one of the later qualifying rounds by AEK Athens, and so have been dropped into this tournament.

PAOK were Greece’s runners-up last season.  They also qualified for Champions League, falling one win shy of making the Group Stage there.  Portugal’s Benfica housed them.

On paper, PAOK are the favorites by a fair bit.   They play out of UEFA’s 14th-ranked league compared to Hungary’s at #33.  In terms of Elo rating, the Greeks are 100 points more highly-rated.  They should probably win 5/8 of the time on a neutral pitch.

But this ain’t no neutral pitch.  More, Vidi won the first matchup in Greece, 0-2.

RESULT:   Vidi   1-0

Image result for harold and kumar at white castle

 

One of Noob’s dream’s is to own a White Castle in Vidi’s home city of Szekesfehevar.

It translates, of course, to “white castle”.

 

Wednesday

  1. CSKA Moscow vs. Roma – UEFA Champions League

Today’s slate of CL games may not quite match up with yesterday’s matches.   But Group G may be about to turn into a super-tight race if the home team

CSKA-Moscow were the runners-up in the Russian Premier League.  This is a stronger league than many realize, ranked #6 by UEFA.  They’re in 3rd, but just two points behind their visitors today and Real Madrid.

That all said, Roma are a lot better.  They finished 3rd in last year’s Serie A (#3 in UEFA).  Noob-fave for Elo ratings footballdatabase.com is back up, indicates a pretty be gulf between the two.  Even on the road, Roma should win this by goal or two.  The Soviet side just doesn’t score enough.

Roma won the first Group Stage matchup with CSKA-M 3-0.

RESULT:   Roma   1-2

Image result for funny Russian sportsCome to Moscow for the surprisingly decent soccer. 

Stay for the chessboxing.  Yep.

  1. Plaza de Amador vs. Costa del Este – Panama National League

One of Central America’s stronger leagues?   Nope.   Getting to know all our CONCACAF neighbors just the same?  Aww yeeeah.

One last round of matches and the Apertura is complete.   Noob’s sources are in conflict, sio I reserve the right to correct this after the fact 😊   What I believe is that the top six clubs all make the postseason tournament.  The top two will get byes.

CdE can lead #B Tauro by three, others by four or more.  They can do no worse than #B and will get a bye.  They haven’t won any more matches than several other teams, but have earned a lot of draws and suffered only two losses.

PdA are in a three-way tie for 3rd, lead the other two on tiebreaking goal differential.  none of them can finish worse than 5th, so they’re qualified for the postseason.  This is the league’s Small Ball club – they appear to pack it in on defense and not score much themselves.

RESULT:       Noob has no idea.   It now appears this may have been a Copa match.  it may be that it ended 0-0.  Or it may have been cancelled.   The entire Copa may have been cancelled according to one source I saw.  *shrug*

  1. CD Aguila vs. Alianza – El Salvador Premier

El Sllllllllavadoooohhhhhrrrrrr!   Always am compelled to get that out of my system.

This is a bit stronger of a league.  Top eight of 12 make the Apertura postseason tournament.  Here, they have four more matches to go.

These are the #3 and #B clubs.   Aguila has almost no chance to catch Alianza, are playing to maintain their current table position.  This is a pretty well-balanced club, though perhaps a bit soft on defense.

Alianza are just a point behind #1 Santa Tecla.  They’re better than balanced.  A- defense and A++ offense.  Noob knows that’s not a real thing, but you get the idea.   They’re going to win the Apertura.

RESULT:   Alianza   1-2

Image result for el salvador gif

 

El Salvador Jr. – Mexican luchador.

Yeah,. Noob doesn’t get that, either.

 

Tuesday

  1. Napoli vs. Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League

It’s the most prestigious club competition in all world football, Europe’s championship.  The early “qualifying” rounds are long since done now and the biggest teams have joined the qualifiers here in the Group Stage.   Here, we have eight Groups of four clubs each. Top two finishers advance to the bracketed Knockout Stage.

This is where Noob very much takes liberty with the Track’s mission statement.   There are many CL matches today and nearly all are more “important” than any others anywhere.  But fans who want info on every single match aren’t typically here.   Noob and Noobite we be, and I will filter.

The most interesting match today appears to be this one.  Why?  Because PSG are really, really good.  They’re blowing away everyone at home in Ligue 1.

And they’re in 3rd in this Group.  The idea of them not advancing to the next Round is borderline unthinkable.  Yet with half the double round robin complete, they trail Liverpool by three as well as being a point behind Napoli.

Napoli – Italy’s Serie A runners-up – aren’t quite as good on paper, but not far behind.   If they can hold serve at home and get a win, that puts PSG in a bad way.

PSG has been scoring like crazy, will try to push the pace.  Napoli’s been relying on defense so far, so ball control midfield should determine who can control the pace.    (3:00 PM, TNT)

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for NBA on tnt crewNoob’s starting a petition to have the Charles & Co. do the Champions League!

Might be “turrible”, but so what.

B.  Pachuca vs. CF America – Liga MX Femenil

Three matches to go in the Apertura (first half-season).   These are Group One (of Two) #1 and #B.   Top four from each make the Liguilla (postseason tournament).  These two are already in, but Pachuca can pretty much wrap up the #1 seed with a win today.   They already have a three-point lead.

Both teams are very balanced, should maintain the top two seeds no matter how things go today.  #3 Toluca scores a ton but gives up too many to likely be a threat.

RESULT:   Pachuca   3-2

  1. Tigres UANL vs. Guadalajara – Liga MX Femenil

This is also a #1-#B matchup, but maybe not quite as dramatic.  UNAL lead the Guad Squad by seven.  A win would wrap up the top spot.

This is a bad matchup for the visitors.   They’re a touch better on defense, but can’t score compared to other top Group Two clubs.

RESULT:   Tigres   2-1

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – MLS, oodles of CONCACAF lead your Wednesday

Midweek time – that means ten matches over three days instead of ten each.

What can Noob say?   There are just so many hours in the day, and we’re expanding, adding great new features soon!

We’ve already added “Noob Sandwich Reviewoobs”.   Scroll back a couple of Tracks to see the first installment.

Also, Noob is slated to appear on the Bros Talking Soccer podcast Sunday.  We’ll keep you posted on when it’s available on the various platforms.   And no, despite being Twitter-familiar with one another, Noob’s is not sure the Bros know what they’re getting into.  It may go very “normally”.  It may be very “Noob”.   God help us either way.

Finally, Isle of Sodor Premier League coverage will begin this weekend!

Noob hasn’t negotiated exclusive rights or anything.  But no one else is covering it, so we WILL.     Noob covered their inaugural FA Cup which ended a couple months ago.  Thought someone more mainstream would grab the baton and cover IoSPL.  Nope.

So Noob’s packing his bags, ready to split some time between here and some of my fave B&B’s and such on Sodor.  It’s going to be….well, it’s going to be content.  Yay!

(Tuesday and Wednesday matches and results follow further down.)

Thursday

No real preview work today.   Real Salt Lake plays for Playoff seeding against eliminated-New England.   Remember, Noobites:  Real Salt Lake means “royal” and we carry no truck with monarchy on our soil.  None!

Wednesday

  1. D.C. United vs. Toronto FC – Major League Soccer

Not only did D.C. do it – climbing back from the Eastern Division basement, but they’ve climbed into a playoff spot (6th place) with three matches to go.  His massive price tag aside, anyone who thought it wouldn’t be worthwhile to get former all-time European great Wayne Rooney was mistaken.

This all said, there are those three matches to go.  They could climb one more spot up the table, but they could get passed by Montreal (just one point back).

How does their schedule compare with Montreal’s?  Defending champs Toronto FC and their last regular season opponents Chicago fire are bad and worse.  Sandwiched in between they’ll host much tougher (#3) NYCFC.  Montreal play Toronto and newly-eliminated from contention New England.  So Noob thinks the difference may come down to can D.C. get at least a home draw against NYCFC.

I’ve only started learning all but the biggest stars’ names here the second half of the season.  If you’re a tenured Noobite, you’ll know Rooney’s right-hand man is Luciano Acosta.   But look for impact from Russell Canouse, a young midfielder who got the only goal their last outing – a massive win over the West’s #1 FC Dallas.  He was rewarded with a slot on the MLS Team of the Week.  Which I hadn’t known was a thing.  Learningess!   (7:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   1-0   D.C. Utd.          Who else by Mr. Worth-Every-Pound Wayne Rooney

Image result for russell canouse

 

 

A ball, for Noob?  Thanks, Russ!

(Now where are Rooney and Lucky Acosta… get some serious signatures up in here.)

 

Canadia vs. U.S.A. – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

Actually, but virtue of making this Final, these two have now already qualified for next tear’s WC.  Congrats, gals!   Not that they or anyone are surprised.  They’re ranked #5 and #1 the world.  Only Canadia even allowed a single goal to be scored against them.

Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe, Drunk-Disney Alex Morgan — we know the USWNT team some.  So here’s a shoutout to Canadia’s Christine Sinclair.   She’s a veteran, still a superstar, and trails retired U.S. player Abby Wambach by seven for all-time most international goals scored.  That’s men’s or women’s side.

She won’t get seven today.  Canadia may not score here in Frisco (greater Dallas) today.  But her presence gives them a real chance.  Noob still favors the Americans by two, but we could finally see both teams get their first competitive match in a while.   (8:00 PM, FS2)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-2         Hail to the victors!

  1. Panama vs. Jamaica – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

This match still matters in terms of WC entry.  The winner gets in, the loser gets absolutely none fruit cup.  None at all!  Friscoans (Friscites?) will deny them at all opportunities before the loser goes home.

They’re tanked #62 and #64.  Whichever wins, it’s that team’s first ever time making World Cup.  High drama!   (5:00 PM, FS2)

RESULT:   Jamaica   2-2  /  2-4  PK

Image result for soccer drama

 

 

Real board game.   

Noob just up started the ol’ Christmas list.

  1. Canadia vs. Dominica – CONCACAF Nations League qualification

Double-dip Noob Canadiaian!

All the men’s teams in CONCACAF playing actually “qualify” for Nations League next year.   But the top ten finishers will make the next Gold Cup.  Those are our region’s championships.  There, they’ll join the six teams that made the final six for World Cup qualifying last year.

Canadia should be there.  They’re ranked #7 in all CONCACAF (if only 79th in the world), trailing only #6 Jamaica in terms of teams that have to play this event to make said Gold Cup.

Dominica are in the bottom half of CONCACAF, ranked #177 by FIFA.  In their first match, they got a draw against higher-ranked Suriname.

Noob is so torn!   Two workplaces ago, I worked with a guy both from Canadia and from Dominca.  Both were cool d00dz.  Funny, I’ve forgotten Canadiaian Ty’O’s first name.   Not sure I ever knew Dominican Julie’s last name.  But he was a laugh riot, even without my being able to understand half of what he said in his thick accent.

I remember one time having to help Julie decipher a speeding ticket, one he got for going so far over the speed limit that a court appearance was mandatory.   Ah, memories.

Wait, soccer, what?

  1. Cruzeiro vs. Corinthians – Brazil Cup

It’s the Final of the Copa do Brasil!   Second leg.  Cruziero took the first leg 1-0.

This is especially important compared to so many FA Cups the world over.  For example, in Europe, the winner is typically qualified for the second-tier Europa League.  Not Champions League.  Here, however, the winner gets into Copa Libertadores, S. America’s version of Champions League.

It’s extra super important this year because Brazil’s top league sends only six teams from there into the CL.  And these two traditional powers are somehow down in 10th and 11th place currently.  And the season there is in its home stretch.   This could be both these clubs’ only reasonable shot at CL.   (8:45 PM, Fox Soccer Plus)

RESULT:   Cruzeiro   1-2      Whoopsie!    Listed Cruzeiro as home team.  They were the visitors for today’s second leg.  Congrats, hombres!

Image result for copa do brasil 2018

 

 

Noob’s diggin’on the trophy, too.

  1. CD Aguila vs. Santa Tecla – El Salvador Primera

Aguila are tied for #B with undefeated Alianza.  Santa Tecla lead them both by two points in the table, but have played one more match than Alianza (the best team in the league in reality).

The soccer year here is divided into Apertura and Clausura (first and second-half seasons). Of the two winners, the one with the better aggregate record will qualify for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.  The other champion and the runner-up with the better aggregate record will get into the CONCACAF League, a tournament through which teams can qualify for the Champions League.

The three teams listed are way ahead of everyone else here in the Apertura.

RESULT:   Aguila   1-0     Aguila and Alianza are now in a tie for 1st

  1. La Equidad vs. Tolima – Colombia Primera A

In Colombia, the two stages of the season are Apertura and Finalizacion.  The winner of the postseason knockout tournament following each makes the Copa Libertadores.  So it’s not nearly as strong a league as Brazil.  But hey – they’re playing!

Tolima finished 3rd in the Apertura regular season before winning the postseason.  They’re part of a three-way tie for #B.

Leaders La Equidad have been a surprise this Stage, as they were below average during the Apertura.  They still don’t score like the biggest boys.  Noob thinks they’re primed to get upset at home.

RESULT:   Tolima   0-1       There is now a four-way tie for 1st

Image result for insurance team funny

 

A club nicknamed “The Insurance Team” just isn’t destined to stay at the top.

 

 

Tuesday

  1. U.S.A. vs. Peru – international men’s friendly

USMNT lost last week to Colombia 4-2.  It was a match in which they came from behind, but lost in the end.  It’s a very, very young roster, and in particular the backline was raw as could be.  Today, Coach Sarachan is switching back to a veteran, former Premier League goalkeeper – Sporting Kansas City’s Brad Guzan.  Critics argue the team should push nothing but youth.

The inclusion of veteran Michael Bradley is drawing ire from this crowd.   That’s not a defensible stance.  But Noob thinks that there are enough friendlies to go around.  If you want the players to learn, experience against great opponents, is, well, great.  But mixing in some seasoned folks to teach them from their own side, in their own locker room has to be valuable, too.

Today’s match is being held at UCONN’s soccer field, an oft-used venue for USMNT.  The two teams here are ranked #22 and #21 by FIFA.  Peru just finished pounding Chile 3-0 at the Hard Rock venue in Miami.  That team is ranked #12.    (7:30 PM EST, ESPN2)

RESULT:   1-1        U.S. looked decent when pressing forward.  When they could maintain possession at all.

Image result for too much america

 

 

Noob doesn’t get it.

Get to the footyball matches any way you can, Amuricuh.

B.  Mexico vs. Chile – international men’s friendly

And Mexico’s is ranked 15th, so it’s another quality matchup!  On paper.   That 0-3 loss was telling, and what it turns out it tells us is that Chile did not bring its top stars.    It’s being held at Liga MX club FC Queretaro’s home stadium in

But that’s okay, we’re here to support our CONCACAF neighbors.  Raul Jimenez scored the winning penalty kick-goal for Mexico in their last outing over Costa Rica.   This match will feature a lot of youth on both sides of the ball, so we’re not expecting a ton of goals, but perhaps another dramatic finish just the same.   (9:45 PM, Unimas)

RESULT:   0-1   Chile          The visitors score at 90′ in what was a pretty even match

Image result for mexican neighbors funny

 

Noob’s not going political on this site.  Just not in my ken.

But it seems a border wall might be susceptible to a Ned Flanders attack.

  1. France vs. Germany – UEFA Nations League

Groups of three, top finisher only from each advance to the Playoffs.   This is a League A matchup, meaning these two are from one of the Groups that are ranked by UEFA in top dozen.

They’ve both played two of their four matches.  Germany have yet to score, though they still earned a draw in one of those games.  France lead the Netherlands by a point in the table.

These two teams are ranked as tied for #1 and #12, respectively, in the world by FIFA.   Noob’s becoming less convinced those numbers matter in this tournament.

This is a new event, one designed to add some meaning to parts of the calendar that were previously filled with simply international friendlies.  It’s a pathway to getting into the 2020 European Championships, but that may not be motivating teams of this caliber.  They’re almost certainly going to be there no matter how they do here.   (2:45 PM, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   France   2-1      Antoine Griezmann with both goals for the home side in the come-from-behind win

’10 to Track’ Sunday (10/14) soccer matches – CONCACAF galore, plus new Sandwich Review(oob) feature!

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

And now, the perfect pairing – Sandwich Review Feature.

There’s real soccer info in here.  Somewhere.   But s**t’s about to get weird, y’all.

  1. U.S.A. vs. Jamaica – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

And then there were four.  Time for the Knockout Stage.  Three of the four will qualify for next year’s World Cup.

One will be #1 USA.  No one’s even scored on them all tournament.  Jamaica won’t.  They’re ranked #64 in the world.   (8:00 PM EST, FS1)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   6-0      Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan with two goals apiece.   Now officially headed to 2019 World Cup.

B.  Panama vs. Canadia – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

The other Semifinal!  #66 vs. #5.   The Final and consolation matches will be far higher drama.   (5:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Canadia   0-7       Christine Sinclair and Adriana Leon with two goals each for the now officially World Cup-bound Canadiaians

Image result for dramatic letter B

 

 

Number B, rocking it as “dramatic dark sunset” Number B today.

Sultry.

  1. Poland vs. Italy – UEFA Nations League

This is a League A matchup.  Portugal is the third team in this Group within that league and they’re waaaay ahead after two games.   If either of today’s two want to have chance two in the group and make the playoffs, it’s vital they get a win today.

They’re ranked 18th and 20th in the world.  In their last ten collective matches, they have one win.  Therefore, Noob’s guess is they draw today.   (2:45 PM, ESPN)

RESULT:   Italy   0-1      While it wasn’t a draw like Noob predicted, Italia didn’t get their score until after 90′.

  1. New York Red Bulls II vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – United Soccer League

Last regular season match in the second division league.  These teams have cumulatively won their last 12 matches.  Talk about peaking at the right time!

#3 Pittsburgh can only drop down.  Even a draw and their three-seed is secure.  NYRB is in a three-way tie for 5th.  They can’t do better than #5, but could fall very far – even out of the top eight at the Playoffs entirely!

This will be a wide-open affair if Red Bulls control the pace.   They score like gangbusters, play the third-worst defense in the entire division.  Pittsburgh has always tried taking the air out of the ball.  Noob thinks Red Bulls score early, force Pitt to actually push forward for a change.  I think this is a home rout today.

RESULT:   NYRB II   2-1        And so Red Bull B-side do get the #5 seed

Image result for red bull funny

 

 

 

If I could walk on water/ if I could find some way to prove/

If I could walk on water would you believe in me/ ‘Cause I believe in yooooou.”

  1. Saint Martin vs. Saint Kitts and Nevis – CONCACAF Nations League qualification

The hosts today are from the northern, French part of the island country.  The Dutch half has its own team.  They are both very weak.  SKN are one of the top 20 teams in in the federation, though just 134th in the world.

RESULT:   SKN   0-10         not a typo

TIME OUT FOR A NEW FEATURE!

Noob Sammich Reviewbs.  Reviewoobs?    TBD

Not sure how often Noob will do this, but it starts NOW.   It’s not enough to just talk soccer.  Let’s talk about what soccer fans talk about.  And eat.  I’m talking SAMMICHES.

Corned Beef and Swiss Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Bread

 

 

Corned Beef and Swiss Shamrock Sandwich.

 

 

This is a Nature’s Own-bread sandwich recipe.   Noob decided to find a corned beef sammich to compare to my all-time fave.

This is diced corned beef on whole wheat bread.  Swiss cheese.  A little Dijon mustard.  A little more horseradish sauce.  Plenty of reduced-fat cream cheese.

Noob’s all-time fave corned beef has the meat sliced.  Tomatoes, pickles, black olives, a little mayo.  Leaf lettuce is better.  I had it with shredded and that’s okay.

This sandwich is an affront to everything Noob believes in.  Diced meat of any kind, anywhere, is gross.   Put it in with all those soft ingredients and I start to doubt the possible existence of an omni-benevolent god in the universe.

Look, the Swiss cheese is fine.  Noob doesn’t need any on a cold sammich, but whatever.  Horseradish?   Like the music of Journey, I get what others like about it, but I don’t need to hear/eat it.  Cream cheese on any bread that soft?  Denied.

Put it all together and it’s…well, it’s diced meat in mouthful of mush.  That bread doesn’t look hearty enough to offer any respite from the rest of the awful texture.

Noob’s decided for now that the rating system will be on a 1-5 star system.  But instead of stars, the unit will be…Sammiches.

So!   This sandwich gets One Sammich from Noob.  It would get zero, but Noob has to leave room potentially finding an even lousier sandwich at some point.

Actually, let’s knock it down to just a half Sammich.  This sandwich pisses off the Irish by being shamrock-shaped on top of everything else.

Please respond with your reviewoob thoughts on Twitter @SoccerNoobUSA.  I’m also taking suggestions of sandwiches for future reviews.

  1. Chelsea Ladies vs. Arsenal – England Women’s Soccer League

Chelsea went undefeated in this league last year.  Still, they didn’t completely dominate on either side of the ball compared to their peers.  Arsenal finished 3rd, missing out on the Champions League by one point in the table.  The season is just getting going.

RESULT:   Arsenal   0-5        Changing of the guard?   Vivianne Miedema and Jordan Noobs with two goals each

  1. Marathon vs. Real Espana – Honduras National League

Marathon are tied for 1st in the table, though they’ve played two more matches than Olimpia.  Noob likes them to win the league though.  Not the very best on either side of the ball, but incredibly balanced.

Real Espana are in a three-way tie for 3rd.   They score more than anyone, but the utter lack of defense will make them midtable.  That trek starts today.

RESULT:   2-2

  1. Palmeiras vs. Gremio – Brazil Serie A

Going to be moving day today in Brazil potentially!  The league leaders host #5, which are also the defending Copa Libertadores champions.

This may not be the most exciting game to watch, not if you’re looking for goals.  But only four points separate them in the table.  And only the top four teams qualify to start the next CL at the Group Stage level.  So it’s still very high drama.   (3:00 PM, GOL TV)

Palmeiras   2-0        Deyverson with two goals.    Botch clubs stay in same spots in table

Image result for so exciting gif

 

 

Craig Robinson, at least, appreciates defensive footyball.

  1. Internacional vs. Sao Paulo – Brazil Serie A

#3 hosting #4 as well today is what makes it so special for the league.

Sao Paulo led the league for quite a while, but have come back to earth, as expected.   They’ve stayed afloat with a few draws, but haven’t won a match since early September.  The offense has trickled away for them.

Inter are coming off a curious loss to meh-at-best Sport Recife.  They’ve won just one of their last four, which have all been draws or decided by a goal either way.   (3:00 PM, Premeire Futebol)

RESULT:   Inter   3-1          Leandro Damiao with two goals.  So much for “Moving Day”.   These two also stayed in same table positions.

  1. Kenya vs. Ethiopia – Africa Cup of Nations qualification

The top two finishers in each Group of four make the Cup next year.  All four in this one have won a match, so the race is super tight.  These two lead the others by a point in the table, but have already played one more match than them.

They are FIFA-ranked 107 and 149, respectively.  but Ethiopia’s actually only scored one goal in their three matches.  Noob thinks this is where the higher-ranked Kenya’s have their breakout match.

RESULT:   Kenya   3-0

Image result for Nairobi weirdSo long from Nairobi!

If the animals look weird, it’s because they’re scrap metal sculptures.

The world is weird.

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – USMNT, El Tri lead the way

Noob’s had to quick-and-dirty the Thursday mini-previews.   My new work sched continues to wreak havoc with my sleep sched.  It os, of course, the fault of The Management.

Um, Noob?  That’s your “real” job.  The only sched I try to keep you to is the one related to taking your clearly under-dosing head-meds.

Just because you’re right, The Management, doesn’t mean you don’t need to pipe down.

Tuesday and Wednesday match results follow further down now.

To arms!

Thursday

  1. U.S.A. vs. Columbia – men’s international friendly

#22 and #14-ranked in world by FIFA, facing off for the nineteenth time since 1961.  Americans have one just four.

After the U.S. failed to qualify for World Cup, new, interim coach Sarachan has been mixing in a lot of youth.  This may be a particularly challenging evening for the U.S. on the defensive side.  Three of the backline players are getting their first USMNT experience tonight.

With top offensive threat Christian Pulisic out with an injury, the player to watch may be his fill-in.  Fafa Picualt played six years for Italian club Cagliari before returning stateside where he has remained.  He currently stars for the Philadelphia Union.   (7:30 PM EST, FS1)

RESULT:   Colombia   2-4         The U.S. actually fought back to take a 2-1 lead after falling behind 0-1.

  1. Mexico vs. Costa Rica – men’s international friendly

#15 hosts #37.   Mexico is mixing in a lot of youth as well.  They made the world cup, and even had a win over Germany.  Still, they feel it’s time for something of a changing of the guard as well.

A couple interesting side notes on this one.   Mexico typically prefers to play the in the U.S. (which they just did) as much as possible during the annual international break during October.   They sell an absolute crapton of tickets.

Also, this is the first time in three years their men’s team has played a friendly anywhere but Mexico City.   This match will be at club team UANL Tigres’ stadium in Monterrey.   (9:30 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   Mexico   3-2

  1. Costa Rica vs. Canadia – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

Canadia the second Group of four clubs here in the Group Stage.  Heading into this last match, they haven’t mathematically wrapped up a top-two finish, which would send them to the Knockout Stage.  But they’re 2-0 and have outscored opponents 14-0.  They’re going.

To not make it, they’d have to lose by 8+ today.  it’s more likely to be the other way around.  Also, Jamaica would have to beat Cuba by 15+.  Given how awful Cuba’s team is (outscored 0-20 so far), that’s not an impossibility.

Costa Rica and Jamaica are tied on points in the table, but C.R. lead by eight on tie-breaking GD.  These two are ranked #34 and #5, respectively, by FIFA.   (Edinburgh, TX – 10:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Canadia   1-3

  1. Israel vs. Scotland – UEFA Nations Cup

UEFA’s newest league returns!   Noob is pressed for time at this hour, so Noobites will want to do a site search (or span the interwebs) for some details on this tournament, what and why it is.

These two are in League C of this event.  32 men’s national teams ranked above them are playing in A and B.  The three-team Group they’re assigned to within their League also features Albania.  They’re playing a double-round-robin.  The winner will get promoted to League B for next year, provided UEFA decides to continue with this event.

Scotland beat Albania 2-0 in their first and only match so far.  Israel lost to Albania 0-1.  FIFA ranks them #94 and #39, respectively.  In Europe they may be close-ish together ordinally, but that’s quite a gulf really.  Israel should consider it a moral victory if they can keep with a goal of the Scots.

RESULT:   Israel   2-1      Come from behind upset

Wednesday

  1. Trinidad and Tobago vs. U.S.A. – CONCACAF Women’s Championships / World Cup qualification

Teams are now heading into their last matches of this Group Stage.  The world #1-ranked U.S. women have already advanced to the Knockout Stage, outscoring their two opponents so far 11-0.  T&T carried the third-best FIFA-ranking (#52) in this group of four, but are already eliminated.  They’ve been outscored 7-1.

This match will not be competitive.  But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a treat to watch!   Catch the blowout in Cary, NC on FS1 at 7:30 PM EST tonight.

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-7       Ms. Morgan and Rose Lavelle with two goals apiece

Image result for Alex Morgan drunkLadies, keep Alex Morgan from trying to catch a flight to Orlando to celebrate after.

(Kicked out of Disney World last year, drunk and screaming.)

 

(Google you up some particulars on this 2017 gem of a story at your convenience, Noobites.)

  1. Panama vs. Mexico – CONCACAF Women’s Championships / World Cup qualification

Now this one is a lot more meaningful.  Only the top two advance to the Knockout Stage, and these two are in the same Group as the teams above.

#66 Panama and #24 Mexico are knotted up at three points each.  Panama leads on goal differential by one teeny tiny goal.  If they draw tonight, Panama gets the surprise berth in the next Round.  Meanwhile, the Mexican women will wear the sad pants.  No World Cup.   (5:00 PM, FS2)

RESULT:    Panama   2-0       They’ll still have to win a match in two tries in the Knockout Round to earn a bid to World Cup.   But what a year for Panama!    First, their men’s team makes their first-ever WC, and now the ladies are on the doorstep.

Image result for wearing the sad pants

 

 

What does Noob mean by “the sad pants”?

Let’s address more important pants-questions first.

  1. Cruziero vs. Corinthians – Copa do Brazil

Brazil’s FA Cup has reached its Final!   This is the first match of a home and away two-legged tie for the title.  The winner automatically qualifies for next year’s Copa Libertadores (S. America’s version of Champions League).

This should be fiercely fought.  These are storied clubs, but neither is nearly high enough in their league table to qualify for CL without this title.  Both have struggled mightily to score all season, leaving them in 9th and 11th place, respectively.

Cruziero just fell to Argentinian Boca Juniors in the current CL, managing just one goal in the two matches.  And Juniors aren’t even playing that well in their own league this year.  Corinthians haven’t scored a goal since three outings ago.  It may be a defensive slog, but the action is available on Fox Soccer Plus at 8:45 PM.

RESULT:   Cruziero   1-0

Tuesday

  1. Louisville FC vs. North Carolina FC – United Soccer League

No MLS matches these three days, so we turn to the second division for our fix of American league action.  None of the matches over the Midweek feature playoff-slotted (top eight in conference) clubs.   So instead we have a Hiccup Watch.

Defending champs Louisville are currently #B in the East, which should be good for two home postseason matches.  They’ve scored 14 goals in their last four matches, of which three were on the road.

North Carolina are down in 10th.  But they should be plenty motivated – only two points behind 8th-place New York Red Bulls II.  And their GD is positive, even higher than Indy Eleven’s, and that club is in 4th!

So, we Track to see if Louisville can avoid having a Hiccup here, potentially falling behind Pittsburgh.

RESULT:   L’ville   2-1      Come-from-behind win for the favorites.  Cameron Lancater with two second half goals.

B.  Monterrey vs. Queretaro – Copa MX

Second-tier Juarez lost here in the Quarterfinals Round, so we’re down to all Liga MX clubs.   The winner of this last QF match will face 11th-in-the-league Pachuca in the Semis.

Monterrey and Queretaro are 6th and 8th-place in the league currently.  Given that only the top eight teams make the league’s postseason tournament, Noob is forced to wonder if Queretaro will partially or completely rest some starters.  League seems to always trump club in importance, anywhere you go.

On the other hand, Monterrey have been on a skid of late.  They’ve only won once in their last six matches across all competitions.   This could be a wild match and Noob dares not make any kind of prediction.

But guess who would?!   Resident prognosticator Noobstradamus has had a Vision.    Lay it on us unseeing mortals, oh, ancient one.

RESULT:   Monterrey   1-0        Guess it was the raw goat meat and cervezas after all, eh, Noobstradamus?

Image result for Noobstradamus

 

 

I am, indeed, older than dirt.   Thanks for the reminder.  But the setting of my Vision regarding this game was set in modern Monterrey. 

 

I was jamming with famous local alt-rock band Plastina Mosh, right on the Santa Lucia Riverwalk.  We were pounding out “los Oxidados” – the opening song from “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”.  I was on bongos, extending that instrumentation beyond the traditional intro and wailing away throughout!

Suddenly Jonás and the boys shifted into a slow, surprisingly sad, nameless norteño tune.  The bongos didn’t belong in this.  I shrugged my silent question of why at Alejandro.  A tear ran down his eye as he nodded towards the drum kit.  The bass drum now had painted on it “Queretaro 1-2”.

It was a powerful seeing, one I trust completely.  Except that I vaguely remember pounding Tecates the night before, and partaking in what was surely undercooked cabrito.   I often confuse food-related illness-born hallucinations  and Visions.  No one’s perfect.

OhhhhKAY.   While we try to ourselves divine what the fruit THAT was, please enjoy a musical interlude.  “Los Oxidados!”

  1. Switzerland vs. Belgium – UEFA Women’s World Cup qualification

The Group Stage is done and the winners of those seven pods of four have qualified for World Cup next year.  The top four second-place finishers from that round now start competing for one final berth.

So in these semifinal “Playoff Rounds”, the series will be two-legged ties, home and away.  Switzerland carried the higher FIFA ranking (#18), but they’re hosting this first leg.  Belgium aren’t far behind with a #23 ranking.  But given the lack of parity often seen in the women’s game, the Swiss should be considered a full-goal favorite today.

RESULT:   1-1       The two-legged tie ends 3-3.  Switzerlands advances on away-goals tiebreaker!

Wednesday and Thursday

coming soon!

 

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Sun. (10/7) – MLS playoff hunt, and an EPL doozy!

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

And today, introducing the efforts of a new staff member,  sort of.  🙂

  1. D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire – Major League Soccer

Saturday, #6 Montreal clubbed Columbus.  This leaves 7th-place D.C. United five points in back of that last Eastern Conference playoff berth.

But as late as the season is getting, this is in no way a done deal.  Montreal may have only two matches left now, but D.C. have five.  And speaking of five, that’s how many in a row DCU haven’t lost.   Chicago are down in 10th.   They haven’t won on the road since June.

But the Fire pulled a home upset last match out against the West’s #3, LAFC.  If they want to make it two surprises in a row, Serbian international Nemanja Nikolic needs to follow up on his super September.  He’s their scoring leader.  The star last in the last win was American Djordje Mihailovic.   (1:00 PM EST, ESPN)

RESULT:   D.C.   2-1       Wayne Rooney strikes again.  And then again.

Image result for nemanja nikolic

 

 

 

In Amuricuh, Nemanja, we keep the pants on to play the footyball.

B.  Liverpool vs. Manchester City – English Premier League

6-1-0.  The last two undefeated clubs in England face off.  Raspberry scones for everyone!   It’s a watch party.

Defending champs Man City have to be licking their chops though.  Undefeated in the league Liverpool may be, but they’re just 0-1-2 across all competitions in their last three.  The offense has stagnated badly.

Man City have one four in a row.  They’re scoring like the pitch is a pinball machine.  That said, they haven’t faced a difficult league team mid-August.   (11:30 AM, NBCSN)

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for eating letter B

 

 

SoccerNoob’s six year-old daughter — PersonNoob! –thinks this bee is licking it’s chops and about to eat Number B.

  1. Toluca vs. Pachuca – Liga MX

Top eight will make the Liguilla (postseason).  Toluca are tied for 5th, while Pachuca lead a four-way tie for that eight-spot.

Toluca should be in better shape, but they just handed Atlas their first win of the season.   When each half-season tournament is just 17 matches long, can’t give up “easy” points.

Pachuca do look like the best of their clump of four, but Noob thinks their margin for error is extremely thin.  I don’t expect them to climb any higher than 8th.  Tigres lead them by three for 7th, are better on both sides of the ball.   (1:00 PM, Univision)

RESULT:   Toluca   2-1

  1. Panama vs. U.S.A. – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

Earlier this week, the American women pummeled Mexico 6-0 to open the Group Stage.  Noob’s primary source site still doesn’t list that match on the correct date.   But mea culpa.  No excuses, only reasons.  Part of my learning journey is where to get the raw info.

So!  The top two from each Group of four will advance to Knockout Stage, where three of the teams will earn their World Cup berth.  The Americans are the #1-ranked team in the world and will advance easily.

Panama is ranked just #66.  They did pull a minor upset in their opening match of this stage, taking down Trinidad and Tobago.  But the US are a whole different deal, even without being the hosts (the match will be in Cary, NC).  Noob favors them by 9.5 goals.   (5:00 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   U.S.A.   0-5          Wow, they held up better than Mexico

For your mid-Track listening pleasure – Panama!   But covered by Foo Fighters, so as not to be entirely cliche.  (FFW to 0:40 if you like)

  1. Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago – CONCACAF Women’s Championship / World Cup qualification

So if either of these teams loses the nightcap in Cary, that’s about all for them.  A draw would give both a little hope, presuming Panama doesn’t pull off an all-timer miracle in the above match.  They are ranked #24 and #52.

Given the lack of parity in the women’s game, that should mean Mexico is a two-goal fave.   (7:30 PM, FS2)

  1. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lyon – Ligue 1

No one has beaten or earned a draw against PSG.

Lyon are in 5th.  Noob thinks they’re at least the third-best team in the league, but it’s hard to see them proving that today.  Both teams allow just under a goal per match, so defense hypothetically gives the visitors a shot.  The problem?  PSG average’s 3.5 per of their own.

RESULT:   PSG   5-0        Mbappe with four goals

Image result for that's too many gif

 

 

Sorry, Edward Norton.  The number is what it is.

  1. Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Krasnodar – Russia Premier

Noob was surprised to see Krasnodar helping headline a #1-#B match.   But upon further review, I see they’ve finished 4th in the league three straight years.  That doesn’t put them in the league leader’s class, but not far out!   The #6-ranked league in Europe deserves and will keep getting more of our attention.

Could it be Krasnodar’s time?  They’ve won seven straight over all competitions.  Meanwhile, Zenit just lost to bottom-feeder Makhachkala before sneaking out a home win over a Czech team in the Europa League.

  1. Benfica vs. Porto – Portugal Primeira Liga

Portugal’s top domestic league is just a notch behind Russia’s, but it means they only get two into the CL.  These two perennial powerhouses are #B and tied for #3.

Despite being behind two teams, Benfica are undefeated.  #1 Braga and their guests today have each been just a touch better on offense to date.  But – stunningly to Noob – Porto haven’t lost to Benfica in seven consecutive matches.   (12:30 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   Benfica   1-0     the streak is ended!

Image result for FC porto funny

 

Noob does speak Portguese.

But I’m pretty sure “inscrever” is a foul, foul verb…

 

 

Noob?  That means “register”. 

Fine, The Management.  Spoil all my fun.

  1. Kashima Antlers vs. Kawasaki Frontale – Japan J1 League

The Management puts in long hours keeping Noob’s inanity in check.  Solid job today.  Bet ya’ sweated off five pounds.  Our Japanophile’s reward?   J1 match stays just above the honorable mention-line.

And this is an important match.  With just a half dozen matches to go, Kawasaki have pulled into a tie with suddenly-spiraling Hiroshima.  They’ve not lost in four straight matches.  But the two matches before that?  0-1-1 in the League Cup, with both matches against Kashima.

The Antlers just won the first leg of their AFC Champions League semifinal tie.  But even winning that whole shebang doesn’t get them entry into next year’s.  They’re #3 in the league and need to finish at least that high to get in.   They’ve won five consecutive domestic matches, peaking at exactly the right time.  They haven’t even allowed a league-goal in two weeks.

RESULT:   0-0

Honorable Mention:    Canadiaian Soccer League (non-FIFA, Ontario-nased)- two playoff Semifinals;  #2 Vega Real vs. #3 Atletico de SF – Dominican Republic Liga Mayor ligulla;  #1 Racing Club vs. #6 Boca Juniors – Argentina Primera;

#3 Stumbras Kaunas vs. #1 Suduva – Lithuania A Lyga;  #4 Muang Thong United vs. #2 Bangkok United – Thai League 1;  #3 Ulsan Hyundai vs. #1 Jeonbuk – South Korea K-League 1;  #1 Al-Sadd vs. #3 Al-Sailiya – Qatar Stars League

  1. Verdes vs. Bandits – Belize Premier

No mere honorable mention for Belize – we finish the track with more CONCACAF-feination!

Even just eight games in, these two are about finished with the rest of the league.  It’s #1 versus #B and the rest of the back is eight points back of the latter.  Bandits haven’t lost, but two draws have them a point behind the pacesetters.

Both score three times a game on average and give up about jack squat.  Hard to think there will be an internet streaming of this match, but let’s all try to find one.  Pirate it if you must!  Yaaaargh.

RESULT:   Bandits   0-1       And we have a new #1!    (Oh, and for the record, this match may well have been played Saturday it turns out.)

Image result for benque viejo del carmen funny

 

So long from Benque Viejo, home of Verdes!

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church.

’10 to Track’ Midweek Edition soccer matches – USWNT leads the way

The Midweek Edition Track finishes with two more matches for Thursday.

There’s not much in the way of preview for the matches proper.  But you’ll learn about two brand spanking new tournaments themselves.  Enough to get you through high-end water cooler-level chat.

Thursday

  1. Germany vs. France – UEFA Nations League

Nations League.   Here I thought I was really starting to know club and national team football around the globe.   But I’ve never heard of this league!   You have failed all Noobites.  You are a scalawag, cretinous yahoo, ne’er-do-well.  You are declared outlaw!”

Outlaw as adjective originally meant living outside the law.  People could do anything to you with no consequences, including murdering you.  So why don’t we hold up and give ol’ Noober a chance to explain.

Perhaps I should’ve mentioned this tournament before, given you a heads up.  This is a new biennial tournament.  All 55 member teams of UEFA have been divided into four leagues, based on their UEFA rankings (as of pre-2018 World Cup Group Stage).  Those leagues, in turn, are subdivided into four smaller groups.  Within each Group, they’ll play standard home-and-away double-round robin format.

Example:   League A is the top 12 teams in UEFA.  The four Groups within League A are relatively even cross-sections in terms of ranking.

The Group Stage games are now through November.  The winners of each Group in League A will play for the Nations League championship.  That bracketed stage will be in June of next year, location TBD.

Leagues B, C, and D will not have their own bracketed championships.  Their journeys end with the Group matches.  However, the Group winners get Promoted to the next highest League for the next incarnation of this tournament in two years.  The poorest Group performers are Relegated in turn.

The Perceived Good:   This event is largely replacing intra-European “friendlies”, provide more competitive matches.  Also, this event will serve as another qualifying means for national teams to make the 2020 European Championships.  It’s an extra chance for smaller/weaker teams to perhaps get in.

The Critique:  This is an extra chance for smaller/weaker teams to qualify for the 2020 European Championships.

Noob’s not going to delve into the particulars of this event as qualifier for the Euros.  There are other sites for that.  The self-assigned job here is to make you aware of basics.  So go, be free!   Use your Google machine powers to learn finer details.  Noob will, too, in time.

Today’s Track’ed Match: 

Germany and defending World Cup champions France are UEFA-ranked 4th and 5th, respectively, as of today.   Noob phrases is that way because UEFA used the rankings as of right before World Cup Group Stage began to seed all the teams for this event.  These two were 1st and 5th-ranked at that time.

Either way it’s two of the best teams in the world.  Though yes, Germany struggled at WC.  Here stateside, we can watch it on Univision Deportes at 2:45 PM EST with great joy.

Hopefully this spares Noob a mob lynching, you rascally animals.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Dominica vs. Suriname – 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League qualification

Yup!   This tournament is new, too.   It doesn’t truly start until next year.  This is a qualifying tournament.  As such, Noob will keep things even simpler about the whole thing for now.

The top six-ranked national teams in CONCACAF have already automatically qualified for actual Nations League next year.

34 of the 35 other member nations’ teams play in this qualification event (Guatemala are nawtee, suspended).  They are divided into four Pots, based on rankings.  Each team will play four matches, two home and two away.  Each team will play one match against a team from each Pot.

All the teams’ results will be in just one aggregate table.  The top six finishers will qualify for Nations League A, joining the six teams that auto-qualified, as mentioned earlier.  The other teams will be divided in half, into League B and League C.

(The CONCACAF Nations League is a qualifying event of its own, putting teams into something called CONCACAF Gold Cup, which in turn qualifies teams for the FIFA Confederations Cup.  Interestingly, the top ten finishers from this qualification event being played now automatically qualify for Gold Cup regardless of how they do in Nations League.  Oy veh.)

Today’s Track’ed Match:

These two are ranked 25th (Pot C) and 12th (Pot B) in CONCACAF.  They’re #177 and #153 in all FIFA.  Should be a pretty even matchup since is in Dominca.

The match is actually being held in Guadeloupe, not Dominica.  Curious.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for Les Abymes

 

 

So long from Les Abymes, Point au Pitre, Guadeloupe!

 

Wednesday

  1. NYCFC vs. New England – Major League Soccer

NYCYC have won just once their last six outings.  They’re settling into the #3 seed in the East as the regular season approaches its final stretch.

New England now sit in 8th, five points out of the sixth and final playoff berth in their conference.  That they can still even smell the postseason as a mathematical possibility is a testament to how improved they’d appeared in the season’s first half.  They just got a draw at home against a solid Portland side, but that’s now nine straight matches and no victories.

NYCFC will be missing goal-scoring leader Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.   He’s on international duty this week, as are several of his club teammates.  He is Libyan by birth, but Noob presumes is with the Austrian national team now, as he holds citizenship there.   (7:00 PM EST, ESPN+)

RESULT:   Revs   0-1

Image result for football international duty funny

 

 

Speaking of international duty, did this mascot-guy just get vomited out after finally agreeing to go to Ninevah?

  1. Oaxaca vs. Morelia – Copa MX

Noobites can find a bit about the format below in the Tuesday Copa match mini-preview.

Guadalajara has already advanced as this Group’s winner, with ease.

Liga MX side Morelia lead the Ascenso’s Oaxaca by two points in the table.  Morelia only need a draw to finish #B in the table, but only a draw almost certainly still leaves them out of the next Round.  Even a win for Oaxaca probably leaves them among the bottom two Group runners-up and out of this tournament.

Both sides have been scuffling in their respective league seasons, sitting midtable.  Morelia likely takes this one by a goal on the road.   (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   1-1      And with that, both teams are eliminated.

  1. Indy Eleven vs. NYRB II – United Soccer League

Former NASL-side Indy are tied for 5th in the East, two points up on NYRB.   The top eight from each conference make the Postseason.

Indy doesn’t score much, have stayed afloat with a lot of draws.  Red Bulls’ reserve squad have even more draws.  That’s surprising, given that they play such a wide-open style, eschewing defense almost entirely.

RESULT:   Indy   3-0       Evgeni Starikov with two goals, and Indy climbs to 4th place.

 

Is it just Noob, or does this look like an entrance to kinda nowhere?

  1. Internacional vs. Flamengo – Brazil Serie A

It’s #B and #3 in South America’s best domestic league!

Internacional trail only Gremio in defensive prowess, haven’t allowed a goal in seven consecutive matches.  That said, they’ve only achieved draws in their last two games.

Flamengo are more balanced.  They’re coming off a sleepy home loss to newly-promoted, weak Ceara.   (8:00 PM, GOL TV)

RESULT:   Internacional   2-1       The winners now lead the entire league, while Flamengo drops to 4th place.

Tuesday

  1. U.S.A. vs. Chile – international friendly

Déjà vu all over again.  They played a few days ago, are now back to battle today.  Noob guesses Chile have been training in – perhaps even with – the USWNT.  The Americans won the first one 3-0 in Carson (L.A.).   Tonight, they play in San Jose.

Fun Fact:  The San Jose Earthquakes played a friendly last night against Chile’s children’s Special Olympic side and lost 0-14.   SJ were not sandbagging, by all accounts.

Pardon the interruption, this is The Management.  I apologize on behalf of NoobWe’re not even sure they have Special Olympics in Chile.  Said friendly did not occur. 

And if it had, a more likely score would be 1-14.  The ‘Quakes wouldn’t get shut out completely at home.

*gasp*    The Management, throwing shade on San Jose!  Is Noob dreaming?   (10:00 PM EST, ESPN2)

RESULT:   USA   4-0       Carli Lloyd with a pair in the second half

B.  Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC – National Women’s Soccer League

Three of the four Playoff teams are set.  Two regular season matches to go for #4 Chicago.   They’re two points up on Utah and Houston.

One of Noob’s primary sources indicates Houston is already eliminated though.  That feels unlikely, even given head-to-heads are the first tiebreaking criterion.

And since they’re playing winless Sky Blue, a Chicago result and postseason berth seem likely.

Aaaaand then they’ll get slaughtered by the world’s best women’s team, North Carolina Courage in the Playoffs.

RESULT:   Chicago   5-0       Alyssa Mautz with the first two goals

Image result for letter B horror

 

 

Number B, expressing the carnage that awaits Chicago or Utah in the postseason.

  1. Zacatecas vs. Queretaro – Copa MX

They’re also down to the last match in each of the three-team Groups in this opening stage of the Apertura (first half-season) Copa in Mexico.  All nine winners will advance, plus seven of the runners-up.

Second-division Clausura regular season champs Zacatecas trail Queretaro and Leon by three points.  So Los Mineros have to win today just to get tiebreakers into it.  Leon has played all their matches already, so three-way tie.  Go, Minnows!

Zacatecas are having trouble scoring, even as they win games so far this year in Ascenso MX.  Queretaro should be at least a one-goal favorite on the road today.  They’re near the top of the Liga MX table themselves.

RESULT:   Queretaro   1-2

  1. Netherlands vs. Norway – UEFA women’s World Cup qualification

The Group Stage is down to its last matches here, too.  The winners of all seven qualify for 2019 WC.  The four best runners-up will have a Playoff for one more berth.

In Group 3, these are your top two and no one else can catch them.  They’ve outscored opponents 21-0 and 0-3 and are FIFA-ranked #9 and #14, respectively.  Nothing appears guaranteed for whichever team finishes #B in the group.

Now, check out this mockumentary done by Norwegian women’s national team.  I’m sure is the current team, but regardless, this is priceless.

RESULT:   Norway   2-1     had the home/away mixed up