’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’- Fri 12/21 – Premier League soccer to hitting on Betty White

TGIGF — Thank goodness it’s Globetrotting Friday!  With T2T, Noob daily points out the best matchups from top leagues of the world.  They glisten like dewdrops on a spring morn.

Fridays, we wax a different kind of poetically.  With “big leagues” not offering as much, we go in search of diamonds in the rough.  Noob always starts us off with more familiar locales, but then we jet off to parts less known and heralded.

Come, Noobites, let’s safari into the footyball jungle.

  1. Arsenal vs. Liverpool – English Premier

EPL sends its top four to next year’s Champions League.  With Manchester City nearly running away with the title now, top four is the goal.

These two are in 5th and 4th place respectively, separated by just one point in the table.  Arsenal haven’t lost in their last four league matches, but Liverpool better than doubles that.

There’s a rumor that the winners will get to feast on unlimited figgy pudding.   That rumor exists because Noob just started it.

RESULT:   3-3

Image result for world record figgy pudding

 

We don’t need no water, let the figgy pudding burn.

 

Burn figgy pudding, burn.

 

B.  Vitoria de Setubal vs. Braga – Portugal League Cup

The remaining 16 teams in this event are divided into Groups of four, where they play a round-robin.  Only the winners of each Group advance.

Even though they’ve only played one of their three games, if VdS can win today, they win their Group.  This would be a nice salve on a awful league season.  They’re in dead last.   Braga is in 4th in the Primeira Liga.

RESULT:    Setubal   2-1      VdS will advance!

  1. Lugo vs. Rayo Vallecano – Spain Segunda Division

4th place hosts 5th in Spain’s second division.   The top two from this league are automatically promoted to La Liga.  The next four play in a mini-tournament for a promotion.

The top seven in this league are in an absolute dogfight in the table.  Just second division?  Sure.   But the chance to get moved up into arguably the world’s best league make this intense.

Fun(ny) fact:  Lugo is nicknamed O xogo bonito – “the Beautiful Game”.  You know, what soccer itself is nicknamed.  Noob thinks you need to be a LOT higher in world stature to hold that moniker down.

RESULT:   Vallecano   1-2

Image result for bad nickname funny

 

Betty!!  

(Care to “Track Noob’s ten”?)

 

  1. Telstar vs. De Graafschap – Dutch Eerste Divisie

This Netherlands league only auto-promotes its champion into the top tier, the Eredivisie.   Eight teams from here, plus to in the top-flight, have a postseason playoff to see which two teams move/stay up.

These two are in good shape so far, in 4th and 5th place.  More, one of the teams ahead of them is an ineligible-for-promotion reserve team.   Telstar actually have a negative goal differential, however, could be a candidate to start falling.   Noobstradamus smells a road win in the works.

RESULT:   Telstar   3-2

  1. Cerezo Osaka vs. Vissel Kobe – Japan Emperor’s Cup

This is essentially Japan’s FA Cup, and it has reached the Semifinals.

Presumably C.Osaka is hosting by virtue of its higher league finish this season (3rd).  Kobe finished in 9th, so this has been a surprising run for them.  It likely ends here.  The hosts were better in league by nearly a goal per game, and beat them 3-1 a month ago.

RESULT:   Cerezo   1-3 (AET)     What a match!   Each team scored in at 90′, and then C.Osaka added two more in extra time.

Image result for beat you again

  1. Kuwait vs. Saudi Arabia – Arabian Gulf Cup

Noob previously labeled this “Gulf Cup of Nations”.  The above appears to be the more official name.  This confederation includes seven Gulf nations, plus Yemen.  The event is just starting its Group Stage – two groups of four each.  The top two finishers from each will advance.

After much political to-do, they finally decided to hold it in Kuwait this year.   Despite getting to play this match at home, Kuwait is in trouble here.  They are three times farther down the FIFA rankings than the Saudis.

RESULT:   Saudi Arabia   1-2

  1. United Arab Emirates vs. Oman – Arabian Gulf Cup

UAE should definitely be favored, but this one should at least be more competitive.  They are FIFA-ranked #73 and #101 respectively.

RESULT:   UAE   1-0

Image result for oman funny

 

 

 

With some sports, everyone’s a loser.

 

 

  1. Pirae vs. Dragon – Tahiti Ligue 1

Yep!   They run around and sweat profusely, even in paradise.  This match up features #2 hosting #1.  Looking at GD and with Pirae hosting, this looks to be a very even matchup.  Dragon lights it up, scoring at a four games per goal pace.   I don’t care what nation league it’s in, that’s incredible.

Fun fact:   Pirae were the first French Polynesia Club to ever win the OCF (Oceania) Champions League, back in ’06.

RESULT:   Dragon   2-5

Image result for tahiti soccer

 

The only soccer that should be allowed in Tahiti.  

 

  1. Jinja SSS vs. SC Villa – Uganda Super League

This doesn’t seem to be a very high-scoring league.   Villa is on top of the table, but doesn’t average even two goals per contest.   Jinja sits in 9th.

Fun Fact:  The city of Jinja’s largest employer is a sugar works (Kakira).

RESULT:   1-1

Image result for kakira sugar works

  1. Kamza vs. Flamurtari – Albania Superliga

Back to Europe to close things out!   Noob’s initial scouting had included an Egyptian Premier match, but ENPPI fell too far in the standings for me to give a poop about them now.  Be gone, “the Petroleum Team”!

League #3 hosts #5.  Skënderbeu Korçë is running away with the leagues one Champions League berth.   The Europa League slot the 2nd and 3rd place teams will get an open race though.   Kamza was just promoted from the second-tier First Division last year, so they’re doing well to just be two points out of one of those.

RESULT:   Flamurtari   0-3

Image result for can't unseeNo kidding.  Noob Googled “Team Petroleum”.  

Judgement error.

Ten to Track (8/9/2017)

1. Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes – U.S. Open Cup

It’s not clear to me how seriously teams take this event since it’s during the MLS regular season. I suspect they care more than European teams do over their Super Cups.

B. Juarez vs. Guadalajara – Copa MX (group stage)

Juarez finished 4th in the tier two Ascenso MX last season (Well, half season. More on that another time.). They’ve probably got a lot more than they can handle in last season’s Liga MX 5th place side. But Juarez gets to host, so fun to see if this minnow can swim.

I know they call smaller league teams minnows in England. I wonder if it’s used in Mexico. “Pececillos”. Let’s practice.

“Por que tengo pececillos in mis pantalones?” *nod*

Excelente.

3. Palmeiras vs. Barcelona SC – Copa Libertadores

Most competitive-looking of the Round of 16 games slated for today.

4. Colchester United FC vs. Aston Villa – EFL Cup

Colchester plays in League Two, three levels off Premiere. The Noob thinks they reside in the professional dregs because of their crappy nickname – “the U’s”. They were or are also The Eagles, and their badge actually has a Roman eagle standard. Infinitely cooler.

Image result for roman eagle standard

[Actual photo preceding The Battle of Teuteborg Forest]

The Noob loves his history.

5. Vissel Kobe vs. Kashima Antlers – J-League

The Management, as we’ve learned previously, is a big Japanophile. The Noob is afeared of mighty retribution if he fails to Track a J-League game and one or more is available. His wrath may be swift and terrible!

Maybe we can crowdfund a gift certificate to a soapland for The Management’s trip to Land of the Rising Sun.

6. Honduras Progreso vs. Chorrillo – CONCACAF League (group stage)

Count thy blessings, Panamanian Chorrillo team. You’re only in this thing because The National Football Federation of Guatemala was suspended from all international competitions over political interference of some kind by your actual government.

Oh and leave Belize alone.  American Realtors have 6% to keep earning.

Image result for belize independence

 

7. Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Botev Plovdiv – Bulgairan Super Cup

You can’t end so many words in V, Bulgarian Soccer! Learn you some American.

8. APOEL Nicosia vs. Apollon Limassol – Cypriot Super Cup

I -think- this in @ Nicosia. I blame Turkey for interfering, as usual in Cyprus.

9. Unversidad de Catolica vs. Talca – Copa Chile (Round of 16)

If you don’t think the Noob likes writing “Cope Chile”, you don’t know me. Of course, I don’t know me. I’m so tired all the time.

Night/overnight job.

Kindergartner daughter.

Severe sleep apnea.

What is this place? Where are my pants? Did I have a good time?

10. Toronto FC II vs. Charlotte Independence – USL

Because American Tier Two soccer r00ls. And Canadia.

Ten To Track (8/5/2017)

Hello, and welcome to what will be the start of an exciting, shared educational football adventure.  Even though I’m new to soccer and, yes, American, I can tell you what games around the world are important to watch.  And so much more.  No autobiographical foreplay, that will come in time.  Let’s just push in soccer balls deep.

1. Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution – MLS

Why? Amuricuh, that’s why!

2. Leon vs. Cruz Azul – Liga MX

It’s the least-crappy looking match, and The Management can actually watch some of these league matches on TV.

3. San Francisco vs. New York Cosmos – NASL

The SF Deltas will one day rule the Tier Two landscape! They are an adopted team of Avis and The Management. The Management may not feel similarly, but I will persuade The Management, despite my utter lack of leverage.

4. Saint Louis vs. Swope Park Rangers – USL

Rumor has it The Management used to do stuff at non-soccer stuff at Swope Park. Another adopted Tier Two team.

5. North Carolina Courage vs. Seattle Reign – NWSL

If the Lifetime Network not only airs but buys ownership stake in a league, the Noob is following. Even if he’s wondering if the halftime show will still vilify men in some cheaply dramatic way.

6. Kashima Antlers vs. Vissel Kobe Japanese (blow) – J-League

Japan is a league I’m highlighting for reasons The Management may or may not wish to make clear in time.

7. Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich – German Super Cup

At Dortmund. They probably call this something other the other than “German Super Cup”, even in translation. I’ve learned Super Cups in various nations match up the previous season’s top flite league winner with the last Football Association Cup winner. Given that this is a lead-in match for the regular season, I honestly have no clue if these teams will care, play anything but third stringers. But it’s Super!

8. Benifica vs. Guimares – Portuguese Super Cup

In Aveiro (neutral). See #7. I also like the city name. Portuguese tends to invert the I before E-rule I grew up with in the greatest nation on Earth, so I find that exotic and sexy.

9. Feyenoord Rotterdam vs. Vitesse – Dutch Super Cup

@ Feyenoord. The Dutch also have cool vowel clumpings. So hawt.

10. Kaizer Chiefs vs. SuperSport – MTN 8 Cup

Looks like a South African knockout tournament similar to MLS Cup, but I don’t know if it determines their league championship or if it’s more of a stand-alone. Because I’m noooob!

But I still know a sweet Kaiser Chiefs jam:

The Angry Mob – Kaiser Chiefs