Time to bear down on the ten most important games to follow, for us, the newish American soccer fans!
Relegation Monday was a rousing success for the underdogs, as three Drop Zone-sides found ways to win. But now is the time of week for mostly Cup tournament action.
And to see how Noobstradamus, The Management, and Dan “the Intern-o Inferno” are faring in their Prognostication Challenge (*echo* challenge..challenge..)
Mansfield Town vs. Cardiff City – English FA Cup
Excellent League Two (fourth tier) Mansfield earned a 0-0 draw in the match in Cardiff. So now they Replay it, but this time on their own pitch. Cardiff is a top-notch EFL Championship (second-tier) club.
Fun Fact: Mansfield’s Town was first “Mansfield Wesleyan”. The church abandoned the team when they turned professional.
RESULT: Cardiff 1-4
Thou shalt NOT play for money.
B. AS Monaco vs. Nice – Ligue 1
Nice isn’t bombing by any means, being in 6th. But they’re 11 points out of even 4th place and a Europa League berth, so this match is all about Monaco.
The hosts are in second, but lead Lyon by only a single goal on differential, and Marseille by just one point in the table. Nice can’t score, so Monaco should be fine. For the moment.
Vintage French painted metal marquee sign…
Zacatecas vs. Santos – Copa MX
This is the Clausura (“closing”) Copa. Just as the Mexican season is divided into two halves, so there are two Copas. This is in the Group Stage. The top two leagues’ teams are divided into Groups of three for a single Round Robin. Winners of each advance.
Zacatecas is the only second-division team in their Group. But the got a draw against Toluca in their first match, and Santos isn’t nearly as good. Noobstradamus is calling this one for the host Miners.
RESULT: Santos 0-1 Turns out the egg was on Noobstradamus’ face
Yo pronostico juevos en mis pantalones.
Juevos por todas las personas.
Club Brugge vs. Sporting Charleroi – Belgian FA Cup
It’s a shame these two are meeting in the Quarterfinals, given that they’re #1 and #2 in Belgium’s top league. That said, Brugge will win. They score half again as many goals as Charleroi, and boast the league’s second-best defense as well.
RESULT: Brugge 5-1
Wigan Athletic vs. AFC Bournemouth – FA Cup
For those who love underdogs, Wigan is your team today. They’re in 1st place In third-tier League One, kicking tail and taking names.
For Noob, it’s all about the Fighting Cherries. Bournemouth are my first Adopted team. They’re coming off a sweet upset of Arsenal a couple days ago. Here’s to hoping that confidence carries over now. They tied 2-2 in their first meeting, so this is another Replay.
RESULT: Wigan 3-0 Sadness reigns! Noob’s fave goes down
Fighting cherries. Right.
Oldham Athletic vs. Leicester Academy – EFL Trophy
A reminder of what this event is: While FA Cup, has hundreds of teams from many levels of English football, EFL Trophy is a tournament just for the third and fourth-tier leagues, plus the Youth teams of clubs from the top two leagues.
The winner here gets the last Quarterfinal slot. Oldham play in third-tier League One, and are barely above the Relegation line there. Noob would have no idea how to handicap them against a U21 squad, so we’ll all learn together, Noobites.
RESULT: Oldham 4-2
Dorados de Sinaloa vs. Monterrey – Copa MX
Dorados lost their first Group Stage match to a fellow Ascenso league side. At home or not, Apertura Copa champion Monterrey are going to swallow them whole.
RESULT: Monterrey 1-2 The Albiazules come back with goals at 75′ and 90′.
Espanyol vs. Barcelona – Copa del Rey
Spain’s FA Cup is down to 16 teams. Unlike a lot of these sorts of events, they’re play two-legged ties (two games) to determine who advances.
And so, good news, La Liga 14th-place Espanyol! You’ve overachieved. Bad news. You drew league-undefeated Barcelona as your opponent. Good luck with that. Here’s creepy shite to help…
RESULT: Espanyol 1-0 Holy mackerel!
Morocco vs. Guinea – African Nations Championship
You’ll find this event frequently abbreviated as “CHAN” many places, Noobites. It’s early in its Group Stage.
This event is a tough one for Noob to handicap. FIFA rankings for national teams just don’t seem likely to be applicable here. Players are only eligible if they are both from and play in a league IN their respective countries. No expatriates allowed.
RESULT: Morocco 3-1
South Africa vs. Sweden – women’s international friendly
Dan the Intern-o Inferno has made it clear to me he will always pick the lady Swedes in the ongoing Midweek Prognostication Challenge (*echo* challenge..challenge..) below.
Who can blame him for this bias? They’re sure to be lovely, and they carry a superior FIFA ranking to that of the South Africans (who are also lovely and kick-ass Noob is certain).
WEEK 3 PICKS
Dan the Intern-o Inferno: Mansfield, Monaco (“you try living in a country the size of a thumbnail”), Sporting Charleroi, Santos, Wigan, Oldham, Espanyol, Guinea, Dorados, and (of course) Sweden
The Management: Mansfield, Nice, Brugge, Zacatecas, Bournemouth, Leicester Academy, Espanyol, Morocco, Dorados, South Africa
Noobstradamus: Cardiff, Monaco, Brugge, Zacatecas, Bournemouth, Oldham, Barcelona, Morocco, Monterrey, Sweden
–Every Midweek, we pick the 10 midweek Tracked matches. Pick a winner, get a point. Pick a predesignated heavy underdog, get two points. —
Week Two Results: The Management = 3; Dan = 7; Noob = 7
OVERALL: Dan = 11; Noob = 10; The Management = 7