’10 to Track’ Globetrotting Friday soccer matches – Liga MX, Bundesliga, then off to see the world!

With the weekend imminent, league schedules run a little lighter on Fridays.  These are no Soccer Sabbaths though!

We find what league and Cup matches close to home are best, move on to Europe, South American, and then goodness knows where.  Usually, that’s anywhere in the world, far and wide!   Today, Noob keeps most of the focus on Europe.  We’ll be checking out some hot D2 action.

Matches with clubs you won’t see everywhere online, plus Fun Facts about them, their leagues and locales.  Takeoff time is now.  The stewardess is closing the first-class curtain.  Noobites are on the champagne side of it.

  1. Atlas vs. Toluca – Liga MX

Two Mexican top-tier matches today, and three of the involved teams are from the very bottom of the table.  Atlas are lowest of all, having yet to win a match this Apertura (first half-season).  That’ll happen when you’ve only managed to score once in all ten matches.

Toluca are the one good team in action there today, sitting pretty in 3rd place.  That makes this match a “Hiccup Watch”.   Even on the road, Toluca should cruise.  But will they rest usual starters?  Might they just prepare for this match as hard?  Hiccup.   (10:00 PM EST, Univision Deportes)

RESULT:   Atlas   2-0     The nightmare is over!

B.  Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich – Bundesliga

Bayern just dropped their first points of the season to bottom-half Augsburg.  For the rawest of Noobites, that means it’s the first match they didn’t win.  They’ll win most of them.  They had several stars not play, gave up the equalizing goal at 87’.

Hertha Berlin are the more interesting story.  Part of it, anyway.   Once you get past the top two in the table, there’s a host of teams just behind that were nowhere close last season.  Top four will make Champions League, and a couple clubs not used to such rarefied airs may well make it!

As for today’s match, Noob thinks HB are good for a draw, especially if Bayern are resting players or dealing with injuries already.   (2:30 PM, FS1)

RESULT:   Hertha Berlin   2-0        A sloppy, overly-aggressive match from Bayern seems HB pull into a 1st-place tie with them

Image result for letter B in the sky

 

 

I don’t mean to nitpick, Number B.

But it’s not “rarefied air” if you’re in outer space.

  1. Sheffield Wednesday vs. Leeds United – English Championship

England’s top league, noob as read, has been or is ranked as high as #13 in all Europe.  Add in the massive amounts money teams get for getting Promoted from here to Premier and it’s interesting two ways.

Looking to make that jump are current #1 Leeds.  They were deficient last year on defense in particular, but have made massive strikes, allowing fewer than a goal per game average.  Sheffield are in 10th, and so just average.  Noob counts them as a goal-underdog at home.

Fun Fact:   In the early 20th C., a player presented Sheffield Wednesday  with a monkey to be used as a mascot.   The idea did not catch on.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. Dundalk vs. UCD – FAI Cup (Ireland)

It’s a battle of league #1’s in this one-off Semifinal!   Dundalk lead the Premier while University College Dublin are tops in the First League.  They’re different league for a reason, no matter how strong the U. has been playing.  Dundalk by a pair.

Winners get the defending league and Cup champs Cork City, unless Bohemians defeat them.   Unlikely, but it’s a road match for the current trophy-keepers.

RESULT:   Dundalk   1-0

 

 

The town of Dundalk is closely tied to the mythological hero Cu Chulainn.

In story, he earned that name over his birthname after taking the place of a guardian dog he killed in self-defense.

  1. Viktoria Plzen vs. Sparta Prague – Czech First League

The Republic’s top league was getting close to a high enough UEFA ranking that they could’ve soon seen two clubs get Champions League invites.  Alas for them, they’re slipping from 13th to 17th in the rankings for 2019.

Still, this is a classic matchup for the country.  Sparta are undefeated, yet just #B in the table.  Viktoria Plzen are #3.  The latter’s goal differential looks a bit peakish, leading Noob to wonder if this league will be a two-horse race.  Already, Noob thinks they’re just an even match on their own pitch today.

Fun Fact:  Plzen’s best European finish was in 2013-14 when the qualified for Champions League and finished 3rd in the Group Stage.  After then getting dropped down to Europa League, they made the Round of 16.

RESULT:   Plzen   1-0

  1. Lens vs. Paris FC – France Ligue 2

Top two will be automatically Promoted to Ligue 1 at season’s end.  Next three will duke it out in a Playoff for one more to join them.  That’s where we find these two – #3 and #5.

Lens have made massive strides on defense since 2017-18 when they finished in the bottom half of the league.  Paris look about like they did last year, statistically anyway.  If that holds, they’ll be good, but not enough so to stay in the Promotion chase.

RESULT:   0-0

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Lens fans will raise their scarves and sing sang et or – “blood and gold” – after the club colors.

  1. NEC Nijmegen vs. Go Ahead Eagles – Netherlands Eerste Divisie

The Netherland’s top league is poised to nearly crack the top ten in Europe.  This is the Dutch second division.

NEC finished 3rd in the regular season last year before losing in a Promotion Playoff.  They’re defense is really suspect this season though.  And #1 GHE may be the club that can expose them.  Top-notch goal-scoring.

Fun Fact:  NEC was founded by its towns workers, lowest socioeconomic class.  This was very rare, as Dutch football was a very elitist sport at the turn of the 20th C.

RESULT:   1-1

  1. BW Linz vs. FC Leifering – Austria 2. Liga

Teams here are vying to move up to the Austrian Bundesliga, rated the #11 league in UEFA.   Only the top one gets to make that move though.

Linz is #1 and one of just two realistic-looking candidates.  Leifering are #3, but haven’t yet shown the firepower probably necessary to vie for the league title.

RESULT:   BWL   2-1

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The “Linzer torte” was thought for a long time to be the oldest recipe cake in the world.

  1. Sektzia Nes Tziona vs. Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem – Israel  Liga Leumit

Israel’s Premier is on the decline, will be down several notches to #25 next year.  But hey, that’s still above average!  SNT are #3, HKJ #B.

All the clubs in the top 2/3 of the league appear to play about the same defensively.  These two are among three that can score at a fair clip on top of that.

The top two finishers will get Promoted to Premier.  Before that happens, the going will get tougher for clubs like these, as the league divided into Championship and Relegation subdivisions.

Fun Fact:   The town of Ness Ziona was first known as “Wadi Channin”.

RESULT:    HJK   1-3

  1. Al-Wehdat vs. Al-Faisaly – Jordan Premier

At last, we head into Noob-uncharted waters!   Jordan’s top league – which you might just see as “The Jordan League” elsewhere soemtimes– is ranked 16th in Asia.  That’s about the 1/3 mark.  Just the winner will get into this federation’s Champions League.

Wehdat are the defending league champions.  No one could keep up with them on offense last year.   Or on defense.  But the difference was greater with the former.  Faisaly finished 3rd.  on the strength of their defense.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for Al-Wehdat

 

Also known as Amman Refugee Camp, Al-Wehdat is a Palestinian refugee area.

’10 to Track’ soccer matches for Saturday (9/1) – and working on a theme song

“Soccer Noob rockin Amuricuuuhhh! /

Mini-previews!  *clap clap* /

Insight!  *clap clapclap* /

O.K.notreallythatsecondwuuhhhhn!   /  *crickets*

Soccernoob rockin’ Amur-I-CUHHH!”

  1. Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City – Major League Soccer

Really, Track match No. 1 is all MLS.   This might be the most intriguing matchup, but all but two slated for today met Noob’s standards of high interest.  Good you up some ‘Muricuhn action today, Noobites.

Those goldurn Sounders Noob reviles so have won seven straight.  The first half of their season was so pitiful that this now has them in just a tie for the last Playoff berth (6th) in the Western Conference. They Haven’t allowed multiple goals in a match since their last loss.  On June 30th.

Tenured-Noobites will recall that Noob’s first exposure to a hardcore ‘Muricuhn soccer fan was a douchebag TA in college who was a bandwagon-jumping Seattle supporter.   And I’d still be rooting alongside The Management for KC today, given his ties to that area.  But the Sounders’ turnaround has been simply epic.  Much respect.

Sporting could do absolutely nothing right in July.  Noob would’ve best against them hosting mid-table FC Seoul (picked as a nod to The Management’s current business trip).   But now they’ve won four in a row themselves, are only a point or two from retaking 1st place back from FC Dallas.  They haven’t allowed ANY goals over that stretch.

This match might be a defensive slugfest.   But it’s going to be more than worth the view.  4:00 PM EST today online with ESPN+ or broadcast on Univision Deportes.

RESULT:   Seattle   3-1       So much for defense.  KC scored at 2′, though it was all Sounders after that.

B.  Cincinatti vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds – United Soccer League

Yup.  We’re shifting to a second-division matchup instead of a second MLS one.  We’ll spread our love through multiple leagues.

And it is a doozy.  Cinci has all but wrapped up the Eastern Conference.  No surprise, as they’re making the move to MLS next year.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is in a tie for #B!   Noob adds the exclamation point because they’ve flown under my radar all year.   They were near the very bottom of the standings last season.  They couldn’t score then, and they don’t do much of it now.  But they’ve conceded just 14 goals all season.  To quote Tom Cruise from “The Firm”, “It’s not sexy, but it’s got teeth.”

You know, I never found that line quite so disturbing as I do now.  Must be seeing it written.

RESULT:   Cinci   2-1      But Pitt made them work for it.   FCC got it’s two goals in the last 10 minutes of regular time.

Image result for tom Cruise weird

 

Cruise without teeth.

Good LAWD.   This was an error in judgement.

Should’ve put in a Number B-image.

  1. Leon vs. UNAM Pumas – Liga MX

One of the radio hosts I listen to regularly pronounces the “MX” letters as they would be in Spanish.

We’re in Amuricuh.  We can say just “em. ecks.”   It’ll be fine.

(tied-for-8th versus tied-for-5th)  (8:00 PM, ESPN Deportes)

RESULT:   Pumas   1-2         Felipe Mora with a pair of goals

  1. Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth – English Premier League

Leicester City hosting Liverpool might have a shade more cache, but Noob’s giving the edge to his Fighting Cherries!  Given that they’re one of the three matches being given stateside TV coverage (10:00 AM, NBCSN).

Chelsea have been electric on offense in their first three matches, winning them all.  Bournemouth should’ve beaten Everton to get a third win, too, after they’d gone a man up.  My guys will do well to get a draw at one of the mammoth-budgeted teams grounds today.

RESULT:   Chelsea   2-0       Noob has read and heard some are encouraged by AFCB’s keeping the match scoreless most of the way.  I say you’ll rarely if ever get a result possessing the ball just 27% of the game.  Oy veh.

Image result for aFC bournemouth funny

 

Guys!   I’m pretty sure “standing on one’s head” is an expression regarding goalies.

Noob is worried.

  1. Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue – National Women’s Soccer League

Four of the eight teams make the postseason.  These two have been out of the running all summer.  So why Track it?   It’s the only domestic top-flite ladies’ match today.  Also, Sky Blue is running out of chances to get their first win of the season.  This may be as close as they get.

RESULT:      ppd

  1. France vs. Mexico – international women’s friendly

France are the host country for the 2019 women’s World Cup, so they’re not having to play in the UEFA qualifying tournament.  Mexico needs the tuneup before they enter at the final stage of the CONCACAF qualifying event going on now.

They are ranked #3 and #25, respectively, by FIFA.  (3:00 PM, TV5MONDE)

RESULT:   France   4-0       Eugenie Le Sommer with two goals in the second half

Image result for waiting gif

 

They must wait, Inigo.  

We must all wait sometimes.

  1. Iceland vs. Germany – UEFA women’s World Cup qualification

Germany are #3 in FIFA and ranked #1 in Europe.  Yet they trail Iceland by a point in their Group table with just two matches left to play.  Only the winners automatically qualify, and only about half the runners-up will get to vie for one last berth in their own mini-tournament.

Iceland are only ranked 29th in the world.  But they upset Germany on the road 2-3 in the first match they played of this double-round robin.   Germany must get at least a draw today, or they could be sitting at home for WC 2019.

RESULT:   Germany   0-2       Svenja Huth with two scores

  1. Slavia Prague vs. Viktoria Plzen – Czech First League

I was just reading up today on the 80’s-90’s new jack swing group ‘Wreckx-n-Effect”.  Checking oneself before the possibility of wrecking oneself comes recommended, by them and Noob both.  Safety first.

What I did not know was that the group’s name originally was not spelled with an X in it.  That was only added after one of their members was shot, symbolic of his absence.

(League #1 versus #2)

RESULT:   Slavia Prague   4-0      S.P. take over 1st now on GD.   Tomas Soucek scored twice.  Plzen had a tough go of it after going down to ten men in the 1st half (red card).

Image result for wreckx n effect

 

 

 

Rest in Power, Brandon Mitchell.

  1. Consadole Sapporo vs. Vissel Kobe – Japan J1 League

4th versus 5th doesn’t quite match Noob’s criterion coming out of an 18-team league.   But The Management must be appeased.  Since he’s a Japanophile, Match Nine is a sop to him.

Only the top three from Japan make the AFC Champions League.  With the season 2/3 over, this isn’t quite and elimination match, but both sides will likely play like it’s one.  And they should.

Neither has quite the defense to match up properly with the top three teams, yet Noob thinks both teams will be tight and we’ll have a low-scoring affair here today.

RESULT:   Sapporo   3-1      Kobe lost a player to a red card right at the half.

  1. Metz vs. Lens – France Ligue 2

At time of scouting, this was a 1-2 matchup.  But Niort just climbed to #B in the table as Noob was writing, so it’s #1 versus #3. But Niort have played one or two more games than these clubs, so they’re cheaters and we’re Tracking this. 😊

I thought about going back and featuring Columbus vs. NYCFC.  But variety is the spice of life.  And since there’s spice, we’re letting the French cook.  Not Ohioans.

Last season in Ligue 1, an attacking side of The Management, Dan the former Intern-o Inferno and I could’ve scored on Metz.  And so they finished last and were unceremoniously Relegated.  Lens were a bottom-feeder in this league, but stayed afloat with enough draws.

And look at them now!  Metz says they’re ready to go right back up, are 5-0-0, scoring at will.    Lenz have yet to let anyone score on them.  Viva la France!  Top three will all get automatically Promoted to Ligue 1 at season’s end.

RESULT:   Metz   2-0      It’s a Track full of red cards!   Lens lost a man mid-first half.

Image result for cathedrale st etienne metz stained glass

So long from Metz, Lorraine!

Cathedrale St. Etienne – home of perhaps the world’s broadest stained glass collection.

’10 to Track’ for Saturday (5/5) – MLS goodies and Liga MX Liguilla lead the way

Ah, the weekend!  Where Noob takes his soccer coverage (comparatively) seriously).

Let’s dig right into the ten best matches for us – the newish American fans of the game – to follow.  Commence!

  1. LAFC vs. FC Dallas – MLS

Which will be the better expansion club in their first season – LAFC or the NHL’s Golden Knights?  LAFC are #B in the Western Conference while Dallas lurk in 4th, just three points behind.   (1:00 PM Eastern, NBA League Pass 6)

Noobstradamus Sees:  Dallas   0-1    Defense travels, and Dallas has the best in the West.

RESULT:   1-1

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No defense for this in Dallas…

 

B.  New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC – MLS

It’s Hudson River Derby.   That’s cool.  Not as cool as Hudson River School, but cool.

#6 hosts #1 in the East.  Red Bulls score just about as much as their hosts today, and are just as good on defense.

Noobstradamus Sees:   NYRB   3-2     And every goal will be scored in the second half.  *bonnngggg*   (10:00 PM, ESPN)

RESULT:   NYRB   4-0

Image result for hudson river school

 

 

Noob- where footyball and art history collide.

 

  1. Monterrey vs. Tijuana – Liga MX

It’s a Quarterfinal in the Liguilla.  #3 Monterrey achieved a draw in the first leg, 1-1, can now take care of business at home.  Tijuana finished the regular season 6th.

Noobstradamus Sees:   An upset!   Once again, defense travels.  Tijuana goalie Gibran Lajud stands on his head, and time ends with 0-0.   Then the Xolos take it in pk’s!

RESULT:   Tijuana   1-2    Los Xolos advance to the Semis!

  1. Sporting vs. Benfica – Primeira Liga

These two are tied for #B in Portugal, and only two will get invited to Champions League – high drama!

They look about the same on paper.  They trail #1 Porto by five in the table.  Someone has to win to stay in the title chase.  Loser is out.  If they draw, both are likely finished.

Noobstradamus Sees:   Sporting 3-2 in a shootout!   Offensive whirlwind Bas Dost scores two for Sporting, including the game-winner.

RESULT:   0-0

Image result for Bas Dost goal

 

Bas wants to know if you are entertained.  Are you not?

 

  1. Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne Victory – Australian A-League

The Semifinals featured a stunner as league behemoth Sydney FC went down to the Jets.  Now they get to host the Final!  Melbourne V. finished 3rd in league play.

Noobstrdamus Sees:   …that this was a two-team league.  Newcastle 3-1.

RESULT:   MV   0-1    “Half your luck” to MV!  Champeeeens

  1. Slavia Prague vs. Viktoria Plzen – Czech First League

The Plzen-ers have the league title nearly wrapped up, leading #B Slavia Prague by nine points in the table with four matches to play.  S.P’s more worried about hanging onto the league’s second Champions League invite, as Olomouc are just two points away.

Noobstrdamus Sees:   Plzen win 1-2 in pk!

RESULT:   Slavia Prague   2-0

  1. Beitar Jerusalem vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva – Israeli Premier

Plzen-er?  Be’er?   Noob’s looking for a sponsor, and has no problem with it being a boozahol producer.

Since the league divided into championship and relegation subdivisions, Beitar Jerusalem have only expanded their small lead over today’s gusts.  Four matches to go, and that change in the air you feel is a changing of the guard coming.

Noobstradamus Sees:   Beitar Jerusalem 2-1

RESULT:   Be’er Sheva   1-4

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Quiet, tot!  You’re not old enough to be judging my boozahol jokes.

 

  1. Trnava vs. Dunajska Streda – Slovakia First League

Three league matches to go, and Trnava lead D.S. by seven in the table.   A win today all but mathematically wraps up the title and only CL slot.

Trnava are a rare breed, as they’re winning it all without having anywhere near the league’s best offense.  And their league-leading defense isn’t that impressive on paper (20 goals given up in 29 matches).

Noobstradamus Sees:   0-0    *sad sound effect*

RESULT:   Trnava   2-0

  1. Videoton vs. Ferenczaros – Hungary NB 1

#B hosts #1 in a two-horse race for the title and only CL berth!  They’re separated by only a point in the table, and about statistically even as well.

Noobstradamus Sees:   Nothing.  I’m blocked mentally by the idea that Videoton sounds like a place where I can rent “Better Off Dead” on VHS.

RESULT:   0-0

  1. Kawasaki Frontale vs. FC Tokyo – J1 League

This is a slight The Management-sop.  Not that this isn’t a quality matchup – #3 hosting #2 – but there are plenty of equally good and important matches around the globe to follow.  But The Management is a Japanophile and must be appeased.

FC Tokyo luuuhhhv a wide-open game.  Score aplenty, let the other side try and keep up.  And it’s worked to date.  Kawasaki play some amazing defense, giving up about half a goal per game average.

Noobstradamus Sees:   …having to restrain The Management to keep him out of seedy soaplands if and when we ever go East at the same time.

RESULT:   FC Tokyo   0-2

Image result for soapland police

 

Aftermath of soapland fire in Saitama, Tokyo.

Listen to the Noob.  They are bad.

Goodbye from Japan!