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Shadaza

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  1. Allegri proves his team is the Alpha team. Austin came out on top by crushing Raleigh Rangers 4-0 to seal the title on the final day. San Antonio came close, often swapping positions with Austin during the final weeks but have to settle for 2nd. New York had a superb end to the year and was nipping on the heels of the top two. I think Memphis, Chicago and Raleigh are going to be a little disappointed as they fairly quickly fell out of the lead battle. I predicted a 24th place for Oklahoma and have quite a bit of egg on my face for that one. On the manager front over the season we had: Boston Braves: Benitez > Berdyev. No change in form. Dallas Determined: Deschamps > De Boer. No drastic form change. Fresno Freedom: Francisco > Paulo Fonseca (From Shakhtar) No change in form. Greensboro Gold: Guardiola > Gerets. No chance in form. Jacksonville Jumpers: Jesus > Paco Jemenez (Las Palmas) Slight increase in form. Kansas City Kickers: Klopp > Koller (Austria) It got worse! > Kozak (Slovenia) Massively improved form. It couldn't drag the team out of the Koller 24th pit, but there is progress there. Virginia Beach Victory: Valverde > Andre Villas-Boas (Unemployed after brief City spell). AVB has turned the team into the competitive force expected. Lexington X: Zu Genbao (retired from football end of the season) > Xandao (Assistant Manager of XV de Novembro, a Brazillian 4th tier side) Stats: Top Scorer: Aubameyang 36 Most Assists: Jordan Ibe 17 Most Clean Sheets: Sergio Asenjo 20 MVP: Neymar 7.79 Average Rating Most player of the Match: Neymar 15 Youngest Player and Goalscorer: Kylian Mbappe Fastest Goal: Mo Salah 12 seconds (vs Phoenix) Oldest Goal Scorer: Xavi 38 years old Oldest Player: Quim 42 years old Highest Attendance 31,726 San Antonio (vs Union City) This will be the last update. I plan on continuing offline and have already adjusted the teams so that they keep the best players for the right letter. Writing this has been both fun and a time-consuming exercise. So to Ben Arsenal and anyone else reading this. Thank you!
  2. European Big 5 Leagues. As you may imagine, with the best players in the world all destined to play for teams scattered across the USA this leads to a somewhat dramatic power shift. Starting in Spain. Top 5: Valencia 75, Sevilla 72, Espanyol 69, Vigo 68, Villarreal 66. The big 3 clubs are gone from the top! Leaving the regular europa league challengers to fight it out, with Valencia leading for most the year denying a late Sevilla charge. Bottom 5: Real Sociedad 41, Girona 0, Eibar 35 (R) Real Madrid 28 (R), Atheletico Madrid 24.(R) The real take here is Barcelona managed to avoid the pitfall both Madrid teams hit, indeed after a poor start Barce managed to recover to 8th place. It will be interesting to see how the balance of power changes over time, the best players in the world will continue to remain in their alphabet teams but even more interesting will be Madrid having to suffer in the second division! The Secunda doesn't finish until well into June, so I will update later, but it appears Tenerife is in the lead at the moment. England If you thought Spain was weird! Top 5: Newcastle 74, Bournemouth 66, Leicester 66, Southampton 64, Chelsea 61. Newcastle United topped the league from start to finish. Bournemouth, Leicester and Chelsea were late chargers with Chelsea in the relegation zone at the end of October and the only member of the big 5 in the top 5. Bottom 5: Crystal Palace 45, West Brom 45, Huddersfield 40 (R), Arsenal 32 (R), Man City 22 (R) City managed just 6 league wins! Arsenal was not much better, West Brom was in the champions league positions as late as January and just collapsed, saved by a poor Huddersfield who can't survive even in the chaos. Manchester United was stone last after matchday 10 but pulled back to 12th. Liverpool was mid-table and Tottenham scraped in at 15th. Promoted from the Championship: Aston Villa (1st), Leeds (2nd) and Ipswich (3rd and playoff winner). Middlesbrough were 5th and lost the play-off final, but can celebrate winning the FA cup, meaning they will play in Europe from the championship, fantastic stuff. Germany Top 5: Wolfsburg 65, Dortmund 60, Gladbach 59, Hannover 57, Freiburg 51. Dortmund started strong but it was Wolfsburg that came out of the woods with the win somewhat surprisingly. RBL and Leverkusen were not far from the top 5, but Bayern? Bottom 5: Werder Bremen 40, Stuttgart 39, Bayern Munich 36 PO Winner, Mainz 35 (R), Koln 29 (R) Bayern played it super close, avoiding automatic relegation by just one point and edging the playdown match with Bielefeld by 1 goal. Bayern's Goal difference was much worse than Mainz! In general, the point spread is small in the top leagues from top to bottom compared to what you'd expect in a normal season. Darmstadt dominated the Second Division and Heidenheim follow them up from a sizable 14 point gap behind. Italy Top 5: Spal 77, Fiorentina 71, Chievo 62, Benevento 61, Lazio 57. My favourite messed up division. Spal, Chievo and Benevento all earning champions league spots! With Spal crushing the league, they had a 9 point lead before the final match. Manuel Lazzari managed 17 assists for Spal as a stand out stat! Lazio and Roma are separated by results between teams as Roma actually had a better goal difference. I can imagine violent scenes in Rome! Bottom 5: Verona 40, Napoli 39, Crotone 37 (R), Torino 36 (R), Juventus 31 (R) From league domination to league humiliation. Juve is relegated and this time by lacking a squad, not by cheating. Napoli had to wait until the final day for safety as Crotone and Verona seemed to miss the crap team glory bus. Serie B was won by Empoli who defeat Bari by a single point not that Bari would care all that much knowing they have another shot at Serie A after nearly a decade out. Playoffs are ongoing with Froisone, Parma, Brescia and Perugia battling it out. Venizia actually finished ahead of Perugia on the table but are no in the play off for some reason? France 1. As Monaco 2. OL 3. Toulouse. 4.OM 5. Angers SCO. PSG survived a midseason scare and recovered to 14th. Bordeaux just survived the play off. Not much interesting going on in France. Champions League The chance was there for a big upset as the big euro league teams are all crippled and so it proved. Shakhtar Donetsk took a first champions league victory for Ukraine defeating Benfica in the final 1-0. Gustavo Blanco Leschuk an obscure Argentina player scoring the winner and earning a rating of 6.4 in the game, have you ever seen a Champions League winning goal scorer rated so low!?! The group stage saw PSG, Man CIty, Dortmund, Man United, Real and Athletico Madrid, Bayern, Roma, Tottenham and Juve all fail to get to the last 16 meaning it was Portugal, Russia and Ukraine fighting at the front. Europa League Dortmund ran out 2-1 winners over Zenit. The German team making up for their 3rd place in the CL groups.
  3. Updates are slowing so I've decided to press on a bit. Here is another sneak preview.
  4. Let's just say that sacking Klopp did not have the intended results for the Kickers. Here are the 100 days of Koller. The poisoned seat moves to Jan Kozak, the manager of the Slovak national team.
  5. Thanks for the support. On to the final stretch of teams! 6. Chicago Conquerors - Antonio Conte (12-6-7) Key Player: Christiano Ronaldo (POR) 7.62 Top Scorer: Christiano Ronaldo (POR) 15 Preseason Prediction: 2nd Chicago has the headline attack line up of Ronaldo, Cavani and Coman but actually it's their defence that has held the best, they are joint top in that department with just 24 conceded goals. If it wasn't for lacklustre away form, the Conquerors could be at the top right now instead of 9 points off. Injuries are having a brutal effect on the division and with a fractured arm, Ronaldo could be out for well over a month which might put a spanner in things as the legend has been by far the standout player with only one player in the division with a higher average. The good news is Cavani should be good for goals as he has 9 to his name. What I said: "Team Ronaldo." It seems very much to be the case and we will see how they do without him for a spell. I will save some time by saying I believe that all 6 teams left to cover have all the tools needed to go for a title challenge, its tight at the top. 5. Memphis Meteors - Jose Mourinho (12-6-7) Key Player: Mario Mandzukic (CRO) 7.44 Top Scorer: Mario Manzukic (CRO) 10 Preseason Prediction: 1st The very first games of the season saw the Meteors take an early lead and look set to hold on to their preseason prediction. However, things have not gone so smoothly for Mourinho and the team. When things go wrong for the team, it seems to hit the morale hard as any time their win streak is broken. There are 4 distinct periods where after a loss or draw they then lose or draw the next 2-3 games. They will need to snap out of this if they want to live up to their preseason ambition. Lionel Messi is in this team and hasn't been bad by any stretch but isn't really reaching the high bar he'd set himself, instead it's Dries Mertens that has provided the most balls for super Mario Mandzukic who has been the obvious solo striker choice since day one. What I said: "I think they are more likely to lose the title than win it, but they are still the favourites." - Not sure if they are still favourites, and this isn't me being polite, I don't have a clue who is the real favourite anymore. Memphis rank high on all the key stats, like goals scored, least conceded ect. But are not top of any of them. 4. Raleigh Rangers - Francisco Rufete (14-4-7) Key Player: Arjen Robben (NED) 7.51 Top Scorer: Rodrigo (ESP) 9 Preseason Prediction: 7th Rufete seems to be running a highly organised team. 2nd least goals conceded and the most goals from set pieces out of anybody. Arjen Robben is still proving difficult to handle for the opposition and there is no shortage of goals with half the team on about half a dozen. The top scorer is interesting, Rodrigo has only started 6 games and has about the same number of sub appearances but still leads the total. The one failure on the team is Radamel Falcao who seems to have gone MIA. Rufete started him 7 times and the Colombian didn't manage to score in that time so he's been consigned to the brig ever since. What I said: "This team may have been better 10 years ago." Well without turning the clock back I cant prove that, Rufete should be pleased with the job so far...though they did just lose to Quincy so maybe the pressure is building? 3. New York Nights - Julian Nagelsmann (15-4-6) Key Player: Neymar (BRA) 7.84 Top Scorer: Neymar (BRA) 17 Preseason Prediction: 12th What a run Nagelsmann, Neymar and the Nights have been having. The Brazillian striker in particular went from a quiet first quarter of the year to become the league's top scorer and form player. Alvaro Negredo would appear on most teams list of top scorers with 14 but has to settle for second fiddle here as Neymar also has 6 assists and has been responsible for 22 chances created. Wow! Another eye-popping stat is from wing back Nacho, who is on an incredible 7.9 tackles per game. Their one small weakness is that although they match the goal scoring ability of the two teams above, they do tend to concede more and this might hurt them in the long run. Still, they are far and away ahead of the preseason prediction of 12th! What I said: "I think this team will struggle....as there is little depth here." - Panning down the average ratings, this appears to be wrong as only 3 players on the first 20 names have a rating lower than 6.9! 2. San Antonio Spartans - Diego Simeone (14-8-3) Key Player: Alexis Sanchez (CHI) 7.47 Top Scorer: Luis Suarez (URG) 12 Presesaon Prediction: 5th The Spartans were in first place right up until the end of matchday 25, their last 2 games have been losses in what has otherwise been a highly successful campaign so far! Obviously, you can see Sanchez and Suarez up there but it's really a trio of attackers with Mo Salah 2nd in both categories. San Antonio has the most goals, fewest defeats, and the best goal difference. If I had to stick my neck out and make a prediction, it would be San Antonio for the title. The refs are not big fans, however, as they have been called for 411 fouls, that's over 50 more than the next "best" team. What I said: "With that attack, I can't imagine them being as low as 5th." - Team has scored more goals then anyone else and is one point off the top, yeah I called it. 1.Austin Alphas - Massimiliano Allegri (15-6-4) Key Player: Sergio Aguero (ARG) 7.80 Top Scorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB) 11 Preseason Prediction: 6th Austin has hit the top for the first time (well if you don't count day 0 alphabetical sorting that is!) after spending the season hovering mostly between 2nd and 4th. The Alpha's have done this with a lethal combination of wingbacks and strikers that form a flowing team that see's everybody contribute to attack and defence. Alex Sandro on the left and Azpilicueta on the right have been particularly great. San Antonio and New york are nipping at their heels whilst the preseason heavy hitters are finding form so it's going to be some chase but the "Untouchable" Allegri should keep doing what he's doing and the results will come, the team is currently on a 5 game win streak! What I said: "A potential for a title challenge if all falls in place." - Well, the best place to be is first so title challenge on. ---------------- Wew lad, that took more time to write out then I thought it would. Next post will be a look at the wider world of football. With the Manchesters and Madrids of this world losing all their star players, there are plenty of shakeups in the big 5 euro leagues!
  6. 12. Union City Uniform - Juan Carlos Unzue (10-6-9) Key Player: Paul Uscanga (MEX) 6.99 Top Scorer: Mark Uth 6 (GER) Season Prediction: 24th I don't think anyone would expect Union City this far up the table! Juan Carlos Unzue has done an incredible job and is the first manager rated "Untouchable" on job security. All this with no players with average ratings over 7 and a top scorer with only 6 goals. I'm trying to find what their silver bullet is but every stat I look at they are average or bellow. I wish I could give better insight than that! What I said: "Umtiti is a world-class defender for sure but the overall level in all areas is kinda weak." I guess sometimes if things just work, they work. Overachievers. 11. Dallas Determined - Didier Deschamps (11-3-11) Key Player: Gerard Deulofeu (FRA) 7.25 Top Scorer: Paulo Dybala (ARG) 5 Season Prediction: 4th The difference in preseason expectation. Ahead of Union by one place, but worse much worse when you look at the squads. Deschamps is sitting in an insecure position as the likes of Dybala and Di Maria have seriously underperformed. Too many times they are playing games and having nothing on the scoreboard to show for their efforts. There are still players putting in work, Deulofeu and de Bruyne for example but the impact just isn't there. The good news is the team is buzzing after a recent win against Memphis so there is still a squad determined to do well. It's not within the reals of possibility that Dallas finishes as the worst Texas team. Houston and El Passo have better attacks and defences respectively! What I said. "Should be an exciting team to watch." - Most of the preseason commentary was of the mark but that last part just makes painful reading. 10. Indianapolis Ignition - Simone Inzaghi (9-11-5) Key Player: Mauro Icardi (ARG) 7.50 Top Scorer: Mauro Icardi (ARG) 13 Season Prediction: 15th 80% of the time Indianapolis come home with points, that is a great haul for what was meant to be a mid-table side who at one stage had an 11 game unbeaten streak. Icardi has scored 13 goals in only 14 matches as injury has seen him miss more than the team would like forming a good series of plays with Jordan Ibe who leads the division with assists with 11. Inzaghi plays a defensive looking formation of 3CB, 2WB, 1 DM, 2CM, 1AM and 1ST but the goals have come and the defence has been solid too. It may be a surprise that Indianapolis are up here but I think they should be able to stay here as well. Also, there was a cameo from Zlatan, he scored twice in his only appearance so far! What I said "15th seems an ambitious target." - Well Inzaghi would be disappointed if the team ends up there, I also said Icardi wasn't part of the starting 11 but that turned out to be a horrible mistake as Insigne has barely featured. 9.Tucson Tornados - Tite (11-6-8) Key Player: Taison (BRA) 7.29 Top Scorer: Fernando Torres (ESP) 9 Season Prediction: 17th A boring team of nobodies and players past their best? Tite proved myself and everyone wrong with attractive possession-based football, Taison looks super at home dribbling through defenders like nothing and Fernando Torres has returned to decent goalscoring form and I had to gall to call this team boring, I hang my head in shame. I'm too embarrassed to even quote myself. Tite has a team that works and picks the same names for most games, not many managers have this confidence. 8. Phoenix Pilots - Mauricio Pochettino (11-6-8) Key Player: Marco Parolo (ITA) 7.26 Top Scorer: Diego Perotti (ARG) 8 Season Prediction: 8th Pochettino that mad man, he actually went from 3rd last and has flown up the order, his only loss since the MD15 break in coverage was their last game against Virginia Beach. Parolo has been a rock in midfield, earning 5 tackles per game on average to go with the 5 goals he has scored, pushing Pjanic out of the starting 11 in the process. Whilst Perotti joins a list of attacking players that just love to cut in from the wings to the very middle of the penalty box. "Spurs man Pochettino has got an incredible squad in Defence and midfield. The attacking force ever so slightly lets it down . " If anything it was the lack of performance from Pogba and Pjanic that gutted the team, when Pochettino sorted out the midfield the results came. 7. La Legends - Joachim Lowe (12-5-8) Key Player: Lucas Moura (BRA) 7.41 Top Goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski (POL) 14 Season Prediction: 13th Oh contrasting fortunes, as the Phoenix rise, Legends fall. From winning 10 games in a row to struggling to win anywhere, including Lexington! Whilst still well above preseason prediction, I'm sure Lowe will not be celebrating after a really difficult couple of months. Lucas Moura has been a star throughout though, providing the 2nd most assists (10) and the 3rd most chances created (20) in the division. Lewandowski has had an interesting time, he was for a while top scorer in the league but has been hit by two pieces of misfortune. First, Poland failed to qualify for the World Cup and so Robert stepped down as captain of the NT and also announced his retirement from future international matches. So moral down and form dipping slightly, the next problem came with an injury to the ankle (seriously, ankles seem to be going left and right.) At time of writing it looks like he will miss the next 2 match days at least. Hard to say where LA will go from here, If Lewandowski recovers they could go up again but fear their moment in the sun has passed. What I said: Hollywood Blockbuster or Box Office Bomb, this team could go either way." Well, it started out well on the opening weekends but the star factor seems to be very much worn off.
  7. 21st: Fresno Freedom - Francisco (8-6-11) Key Player: Iago Falque (ESP) 7.10 Top Scorer: Fernandinho (BRA) 6 Preseason Prediction 16th Fresno is possibly the most mediocre team in the whole division. Don't score very much, don't concede much. Traditionally Fernandinho is a DM, but Francisco has been playing him as striker showing the problems Fresno have in attack. Normally I would have a minimum of 50% games played for a player to be called "Key", however, for Falque, I make an exception. He has only started 9 games but created more chances than any other player on the team and leads the assist charts with 5. He's also netted 3 times. Francisco was close to being set free by the chairman but has since stabilised and has settled for 4-4-2. What I said: "The saving grace is the team has plenty of quality in the centre mid position." I stand by that statement. 20th: Jacksonville Jets - Jorge Jesus (8-6-11) Key Player: Stevan Jovetic (MNE) 7.45 Top Scorer: Stevan Jovetic (MNE) 11 Preseason Prediction: 19th Jovetic has been the explosive player for the team, he has been hit with injuries so not played as much as he should but he has the best goals per game record of any starting member of any team. When he isn't scoring, Jonas is picking up the slack, with 9 goals in 24 games. This is another team that has plenty of squad rotation under Jorge Jesus and I still think they are finding their feet. Certainly, an entertaining team to watch I think it's impossible to predict where they will end up. What I said: "The prediction of 19th seems a bit harsh as the team is solid all round" turns out the prediction of 19th was pretty much on the money. 19th: Yakima Yell - Murat Yakin (9-3-13) Key Player: Reinhold Yabo (GER) 7.15 Top Scorer: Burak Yilmaz (TUR) 13 Preseason Prediction: 23rd Our first team running ahead of predictions. Yakin is running a consistent first 11 unlike most the managers above (or should I say below) and it seems to be helping. Interestingly, he has not been running a consistent formation. Going 3-4-3, 5-4-1 and 3-3-2-2. Reinhold Yabo isn't a name many would particularly think of as the best man, with Yarmolenko and Yilmaz scoring all the headlines, but Yabo has been consistently good in attack and defence always managing to place himself and the ball in the right spot. What I said: "Tiny team with aggressive playstyle, this could be a disaster or the start of something great." Disaster it certainly isn't. Though the aggression is showing as out of 25 games they've only kept 4 clean sheets. Though they are currently on somewhat shaky form, having only scored 1 point in the last 5 games! (get it I'm yelling) 18th: Kansas City Kickers - Jurgen Klopp (7-1-9), Marcel Koller (2-3-3) Key Player: Toni Kroos (GER) 7.23 Top Scorer: Harry Kane (ENG) 10 Preseason Prediction: 11th Oh dear, Jurgen Klopp missed being the first Kicked out by just 7 minutes on a day of double firing. The Kickers proved far too inconsistent and initial signs under Marcel Koller are no different. Koller is Swiss and the previous manager of the Austria NT meaning KC have kept it Germanic. The expected stars for the Kickers have been performing just for whatever reason it hasn't klicked. They play a 4-2-3(narrow)-1 formation and trying to not stay negative but the team lay outside the top 20 in goals scores and have conceded more goals then anyone else in the top 20. To make matters worse, Harry Kane is out for at least a month. Better hope Koller can turn it around. What I said "I feel like 11th is a huge under rating of the team." - Ouch. 17th Greensboro Gold - Pep Guardiola (7-3-9) Eric Gerets (2-3-1) Key Player: Alejandro Gomez (ARG) 7.18 Top Scorer: Antoine Griezmann (FRA) 7 Preseason Prediction: 10th Well, Guardiola is gone. Pep may have come in highly regarded but he never really got going. In his place is journeyman manager Eric Gerets, who has had spells in Belgium, France, the Morocco NT, Germany, Turkey, Saudi, Qatar and most recently UAE. The most interesting change Gerets has brung to the team is to drop Griezman from striker to attacking midfielder and put Giroud up front. Giroud never started under Guardiola! Alejandro Gomez has created the most chances for the team (19) and the most assists (5) to take the deserving spot as best player and under Gerets the team seems much more defence focused, the team was hardly attacking focused before! Still, this rebuild is what the team needs and if Gomez can stay in top form they should claw themselves up the division. What I said: "The captain of the team is Gignac, who probably won't start much." - I was very right there, Giggy has made just 3 sub appearances and has requested a transfer. 16th Zarephath Zoo - Zinedine Zidane (9-7-9) Key Player: Piotr Zielinski (POL) 7.08 Top Scorer: Eran Zahavi (ISR) 12 Preseason Prediction: 22nd Zidane has led the Zoo to a surprise 16th place so far and on merit too. They have only lost by a 3 goal or more margin twice and this is a team where every player's name begins with a Z, Z! It is winger Zahavi that leads the goal scoring as the lone striker Zaza works more as a supporting role, holding the ball up front before letting the wingers finish. It's neat and in a team with no real stand out players seems to be working a treat. There is nothing stopping the team from having a real shot at the top 10 and it feels great to say that. What I said "Gotta say this team is not as bad as I was expecting." Sometimes, I do say the right thing. 15th Boston Braves - Rafa Benitez (6-5-6) Kurban Berdyev (3-2-3) Key Player: Andrea Belotti (ITA) 7.27 Top Scorer: Andrea Belotti (ITA) 15 Season Prediction: 3rd Benitez was the very first manager to get the boot. A team that was predicted 3rd but had a run of 6 games without a goal. Somehow even with that Belotti has found time to net 15 times and that is only a couple goals shy of half the teams entire haul. Step up Kurban Berdyev, the Turkmenistan former USSR player. He is most famous for being the manager of Rubin Kazan and we'll see if his eastern style of play translates well. Early signs have him on a similar pace to Benitez. He plays a pretty standard 4-2DM-3-1 formation that should mean Bale and Bernado Silva continue to feed Belotti goals. Perhaps a surprise is that Benzema has started 10 games and only has the one goal to his name. What I said: "Personally I feel the game's prediction of 3rd on the tad ambitious side." Ambitious!? It looks bloody impossible now, I never would have expected them to be in the bottom half of the table with that squad! 14th Houston Heroes - Eddie Howe (10-5-10) Key Player: Eden Hazard (BEL) 7.28 Top Scorer: Javier Hernandez (MEX)15 Season Prediction: 9th Houston is good at scoring goals, only the top 5 in the division have scored more than the heroes. The fact that it's Hernandez that is comfortably outscoring Higuain is somewhat of a suprise (15 goals to 8). Either way, the strike partnership is backed up with Eden and Thorgan Hazard on the wings and Hulk rotating when either of the other 4 is out shows the convincing attack power of the team. You'd think with Hummels and Howedes the defence would be just as good but there are a few too many games dropped in practice. I think Houston have all the pieces to move up, maybe it's 4-4-2 that needs to change? What I said: "Probably a conservative media prediction of 9th." I still think it's conservative and Houston are down here in 14th, I don't really get. Oh, also, Eddie Howe's position is rated "Insecure!" 13th El Paso Elegant - Unai Emery (9-8-8) Key Player: Sergio Escudero (ESP) 7.03 Top Scorer: Eder (Italy) 5 Season Prediction: 21st Well, Emery has done a wonderful job with this team, they have the name Elegant and they play like it with an excellent passing game and defence record. They are obviously lacking that out and out star player and goal scorer, but here is the thing, Eder has the 3rd worst average rating at 6.75 and is top scorer! The team is incredibly consistent. Escudero on left back has been more of a traditional defender than an attacking winger, only 2 chances created but the most tackles per game of anyone on the team with 4.60. Individual players are going to need to step up if they want to keep this spot or even head towards the sharp end of the table but this is a mighty impressive run. What I said "Emery is an impressive manager, but this team is not quite on the level of the others so far (Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas)." Well, they are beating Boston so I was half wrong, Emery is a quality manager though. Next time, positions 12th to 6th.
  8. Shock Results, Sackings and Success. 2017-18 Mid Season Review. The best way to do this is to work my way from the bottom of the table to the top. There have been more changes to this leaderboard then I was expecting, so buckle up. 26th: Lexington X - Xu Genbao - (1-0-24) Key Player: Xisco (ESP) 6.87 AR Top Scorer: Xisco (ESP) 8 Goals Preseason Prediction: 26th Lexington was always expected to be bottom of the table by some margin, but they did finally manage to break their losing streak with a thrilling 4-3 home victory against... La Legends! Xisco has been the best striker scoring 1/3rd of the teams total which is actually a decent haul. It is t the back where Lexington are at their worst, they have never conceded less than 3 goals in a match! The chairman has kept faith with Xu Genbao who has stuck to a 4-2-3-1formation all season. The legendary player Xavi isn't making the impact fans would have hoped, but 19-year-old Portuguese star Xadas leads the assist chart in the team with 6 which could mean a long underdog career for him. What I said: "Xavi and Xhaka will be the key men for this team." - In reality, neither player has really stood out and it's obscure journeymen and youngsters that have done most the heavy lifting. 25th: Quincy Quest - Carlos Quiroz - (4-2-19) Key Player: Juan Fernando Quintero (COL) 6.87 Top Scorer: Fabio Quagliarella (ITA) 5 Goals Preseason Prediction: 25th The Quest are very much in their own bubble, well ahead of Lexington but someways off the rest of the teams. They recently managed a win against San Antonio to show they can pull off shocks on their day but in general, the team is hampered by lacklustre attack force. They have only scored 19 goals, this is 2 less than Lexington! 41-year-old Quim has played every single game for the team, so there is respect there. Carlos Quiroz likes to play a narrow structured game and it's obvious to everyone he is doing this to try and minimise bad days, the club seems to like him. As for the future, Colombia youth day will be watched with great interest. What I said: "Quiroz used to manage Real Madrid and should have no trouble settling into...wherever this is." I won't say Quiroz has put Quincy on the map, but he has settled in somewhat nicely. 24th: Virginia Beach Victory - Ernesto Valverde (7-7-11) Key Player: Borja Valero (ESP) 7.06 Top Scorer: Kevin Volland (GER) 5 Preseason Prediction: 14th Valverde has been hanging on by his fingertips, every time it looks like the axe will drop he just manages to get a vital result. At the midway point, his team are now on a 3 game win streak so he might be safe yet but Virginia Beach is way down on where they should be. The good news is the team is only 3 points behind 18th and 7 points behind their preseason prediction so there is every chance they could climb higher. Jamie Vardy has been perhaps the most disappointing player, scoring 0 goals a red and being consigned to the subs bench. There is heavy squad rotation as Valverde has tried everything to get things working but now he has some solid results I expect the Victory to climb up the ranks. What I said: "I think they will be fighting for a top 10 spot, not 14th." - Well that hasn't aged well. 23rd: Washington Warriors - Arsene Wenger (8-5-12) Key Player: Theo Walcott (ENG) 7.17 Top Scorer: Timo Werner (GER) 8 Preseason Prediction: 18th Washington has a GD of only -3 but find themselves down in 23rd, which is more a reflection on injuries and the overall closeness of the league. Theo Walcot has created 19 chances for the team that puts him way up with the teams at the top end of the division and all of Timo Werner's 8 goals have come during the opening half of play which means he must be having the right breakfasts. I think Wenger's Wingers will propel the team up the division whilst Arsene himself hasn't looked under pressure from the upper management. What I said: "There is a lot of work to get this team running." Wenger obviously took this literally as his players have done an awful lot of running! 22nd: Oklahoma City Overlords - Juan Carlos Osario (9-3-13) Key Player: Otavio (BRA) 7.22 Top Scorer: Divock Origi (BEL) 10 Preseason Prediction: 20th Hot and cold is how I'd rate this team. Otavio and Origi form a strong strike partnership with 19 goals between them. Osario plays a very aggressive tactic that means the team either wins big or loses big most days. The lack of draws shows that as only the barrel scraping Lexington and Quincy have less. Mesut Ozil has just 2 goals and 1 assist to his name as it seems the midfielders really struggle to make much of an impact here. I think Oklahoma is going to struggle to get any higher and will probably be more focused on trying to hold where they are. What I said "Based on preseason form, they could be a sleeper pick perhaps." This hasn't really panned out, though they can be proud of their 5-4 vicotry against Raleigh Rangers. So, no sacking amongst the Bottom 5, but the review headline suggests there were! Can you guess who? Until next time, Shadazy out.
  9. Match Day 15 - YAKIMA DOMINATE AUSTIN This is a result worth yelling about as a Yarmolenko hat trick inspires a Rebel Yell as the Austin suffer only their 2nd ever defeat and a huge one at that, 5-1 the final score. Asenjo went from hero to zero, earning a terrible 5.8 rating between the sticks. To the 30 away Austin fans, oof. Longtime leaders the Legends also went down in a big Los Angeles battle against the Rangers as between them saw 8 yellow cards and a red for Luiz Gustavo. Between the punches, Raleigh scored twice with Firmino and Raul Garcia. San Antonio Spartans, therefore, would top the league with a home win today. They faced Lexington X it would be the shock of the season if the X could do it...they can't. San Antonio run out 5-0 winners with Sterling scoring a hat trick with additional goals from Sturridge and amazingly a first for David Silva, he has played 11 games fruitless before now/ Boston Braves 0 - 2 Chicago Conquerors - One team had to break their curse today, goal-less Boston or away woeful Chicago. CR7 set up Coman for 2 goals for Chicago to finally make that away conquest. Dallas Determined 0 - 1 Fresno Freedom - Even the most determined Dallas fan must be worried now after a home defeat means that in their last 6 games their only points have come from a win against Quincy! Francisco's Fresno team secure the three points from Fernadinho footwork. Houston Heroes 3 - 2 El Paso Elegant - El Paso are only just holding on to that top 10 spot as they suffer their 3rd loss in a row. The Uncouth heroes edge out a close game with no player from either side particularly sticking out, it was just back and forth play. How I like it. Indianapolis Ignition 3 - 3 Virginia Beach Drawery - Indiana managed to Jones an escape here after coming back from 1-3 down. Illarramendi, Isco and Izquierdoz all score their first goals for the Ignition. Vietto (2) and Varane at least insure a draw. Kansas City Kickers 1 - 2 Tucson Tornadoes - Early October is normally well after Tornado season, but Kansas City was buffeted by two early Tello goals and a late penalty was not enough to recover. New York Nights 1 - 1 Jacksonville Jets - This is a rare sight, New York failing to score during open play. Negredo instead scoring a penalty. Zlatko Junuzovic has only been a bit part player for the Jets, but he came off the bench to tie up the game and took Man of the Match as reward. Phoenix Pilots 2 - 0 Oklahoma City Overlords - Pochettino should be threatened with the sack more often if this is the results it produces. Parolo and Perisic getting on the score sheet as yet again the Overlords are totally woeful. Union City Uniform 1 - 2 Greensboro Gold - Greensboro deservedly edge the Uniform, tearing up their defence more times than the scoreline would suggest. Kevin Gameiro scores his first goal of the season with super substitute Gabriel Jesus scoring the winner. 18-year-old Upemeacano scored the consolation. Zarephath Zoo 3 - 1 Memphis Meteors - Mourinho really needs to stop dropping stupid points. The Meteors took the lead with Thomas Muller but then broke apart in the last 20 minutes a Zurutuza goal from a corner and then not one but two own goals from further corners saw Memphis players turning a similar shade of pink to their kit. With 15 matches completed. I think everyone now has some idea of form, what upsets look like and who are the in's and outs. So it's time for a TIMESKIP. The next posts will see me very quickly cover the next 11 games to take us to the halfway point of the season followed by a mid-season review. Will all 26 managers survive when we come back? Will new leaders San Antonio still be top dog or will Austin, LA or maybe another team over throw them and last of all, will Lexington score any points? Find out next time.
  10. Match Day 13 - Unlucky for some LA Legend's 10 Game win streak has come to an end from an unlikely source. Oklahoma City Overlords came back from a soft penalty call to have Shinji Okazaki score a hard-fought point for the hosts. 1 Point might not seem much to shout about but when you have a team being slaughtered by the likes of Yakima a draw with the top division team does two things. It establishes that LA is not invincible and that anyone can beat anyone. This can be seen by possibly the biggest shock result of the entire season. Quincy Quest took advantage of sloppy corner defending against visitors Memphis Meteors and saw Elicer Quinones score his first goal for the team and then put in a defensive effort that stunned the likes of Messi, Modric and Mourinho to send the small but packed stadium into a frenzy! Austin Alphas 2 - 0 Union City Uniform - Iago Aspas finally scores his first goal for the Alphas as he hopes to make it among the top dog strikers. Jordi Alba makes it two first time scorers as Uniform really were on the back foot all game following a red card for Necip Uysal after a record 16 minutes. Chicago Conquerors 2 - 1 Houston Heroes - The Home town heroes beat the away Heroes as Chicago controlled possession with Houston barely having 1/3rd of the time on the ball. Higuain's early goal was countered and bettered by Christiano Ronaldo and Coman. Dallas Determined 0 - 2 Phoenix Pilots - Okay, now Pochettino is trying! Paul Pogba finally scores along with reserve striker Thomas Partey. Dybala has gone back to being ineffective with a low 6.3 rating. It seems Dallas is Determined to stick with him though. El Paso Elegant 0 - 1 Indianapolis Ignition - It was a battle of philosophies at the Sun Bowl as short ball kings "El Passo" took on the direct straight-away approach of Indianapolis. It was a long ball from a defender to Immobile that was the decider today! Fresno Freedom 1 - 0 Yakima Yell - A vital win for Fresno gives Francisco freedom to breathe, Nabil Fakir the scorer in what was a close match but nothing to really Yell about. Greensboro Gold 3 - 1 Kansas Kickers - Greensboro and Kansas were both on golden form coming into the game but Kansas will be kicking themselves afterwards falling 3 quick goals behind in the first half. Gomez, Griezman and Gundogan making it GG for the match. Harry Kane scored on what was Kansas's only shot on target in a game they were thoroughly beat in. Jacksonville Jets 0 - 0 Boston Braves - Both teams are on somewhat of a goal drought. Jacksonville's cause not helped by an injury to top scorer Jovetic. Once again Bonucci is the man of the match for the Braves. Lexington X 0 - 3 Zarephath Zoo - It may have taken poor Lexington for the Zoo to break their goal drought but a win is a win. Zahavi and Zivkovic the scorers that put the Zoo back inside the top 20. Raleigh Rangers 1 - 2 San Antonio Spartans - A super win for the Spartans who played 2/3rd of the game with just 10 men after Strootman was dismissed. Davinson Sanchez and Luis Suarez the scorers for the away side as Raleigh only got one goal down range courtesy of Rafinha. Tucson Tornados 3 - 1 Virginia Beach Victory - A brace from a Torres and Arda Turan scoring a screamer put Tucson too far away for VBV to catch. Van Ginkel did at least nail down goal of the season with an incredible scissor kick volley. Washington Warriors 3 - 2 New York Nights - Two goals from Neymar was not enough to save the Nights as Wengers squad seem to jell really well together of late. Werner, Williams and Walcott the scorers. With wins for Fresno and Phoenix, it is now only Valverde who is rated Insecure. On the other end of the scale, unsurprisingly, Joachim Loew is now rated "Untouchable." Match Day 14 - Austin Close the Gap. Austin Alphas are now just one point off the Alpha position in a key match against the Legends from LA. With Aguero and Aubameyang both recovering from injuries it is a Spanish attack force that led the day with goals from Asensio, Alacer and MotM Jordi Alba that each scored one goal. Hirving Lozano was the only man that could beat Sergio Asenjo today as the former Villareal keeper made save after save himself. 3-1 the final score after a rare poor showing from Robert Lewandowski Away from the top of the division, it was a day for incredible solo goal-scoring efforts. As TWO more players join Luis Suarez on scoring 4 goals in a single match. The first of these was again from the San Antonio Spartans who in a 1-5 victory over Greensboro Gold saw Alexis Sanchez triple his season goal haul in a single show of class, With this win San Antonio go 2nd in the division ahead of Austin on goal difference and just the 1 point behind LA! Javier Hernandez has been quiet after a strong start to the season, but he silenced his doubters today by doubling his overall goal tally with a rout against Lexington X who can at least be happy to score twice in their 2-5 defeat to Houston Heroes with Xuxa and Xandao new scoring names. Chicago Conquerors 5 - 2 Union City Uniform - Union actually led this game twice (Uribe, Ujah) but the Conquerors never submit at home and Christiano Ronaldo scored his first Hat Trick of the year to seal the points with bonus goals from Carvajaj and Cavani. El Paso Elegant 2 - 3 Kansas City Kickers - A thrilling game with both teams throwing everything at this box to box game. None of the goals were particularly Elegant, with Elkeson and Elneny's bundling over the line met with slightly cleaner but still scrambling goals from Krovinovic, Koke and Kovacic. This was the first goal for Elkeson who won man of the match with his contribution even if El Passo didn't win today. It wouldn't surprise me if Kansas has scored more points from teams in the top 10 then teams from outside of it. Fresno Freedom 1 - 0 Phoenix Pilots - Fernadinho scored early and Fresno parked the bus after that. The Pilots couldn't navigate around it as this was a match where the strike force failed to make an impact. Jacksonville Jets 2 - 0 Yakima Yell - The Jets just had too much for Yakima to deal with. Johnson and Jiminez were the scorers but the two best players on the pitch were Juanfran and Juanfran. I must admit I sometimes get confused with which Juan is which. Memphis Meteors 1 - 1 Indianapolis Ignition - Memphis are going to be upset they couldn't hold on to the win here as Mkhitaryan managed the only successful finish in 8 attempts on target. Indianapolis on the other hand only had the one accurate shot and it was all they needed for a point, Immobile has been in lethal form with his 9th goal of the year. Oklahoma City Overlords 0 - 5 New York Nights - The Overlords must still be hungover from their famous point against LA as they were destroyed by the Nights today. Neymar has scored 2 more in his blazing streak, he has now scored in 4 games in a row. Along with Ndidi and Negredo.It seems Nagelsman has found a trio of goal scorers that consistently deliver now. Quincy Quest 0 - 0 Virginia Beach Victory - I suggested that Quim was struggling a few games ago and of course he counters with MotM performance to score another point for Quincy! If that wasn't bad enough for Virginia Beach, this was actually a fairly even game and Valverde is still very much under pressure here! Raleigh Rangers 2 - 0 Boston Braves - Boston are a team that has forgotten how to score. Roberto Firmino's strike and a header from Romagnoli gave the Rangers the three points to find themselves somewhat in contention. Boston never even looked like countering. Tucson Tornadoes 0 - 0 Zarephath Zoo - Is it okay to call Tucson boring again? I'm calling Tucson boring again. Only 3 shots recorded from either team all game, bleh. Washington Warriors 2 - 0 Dallas Determined - The Dallas defence could not cope with the Washington wingers who cut through multiple times. Kyle Walker broke forward to score his first goal with Jack Wilshere sealing the game. I feel a general overview of how the league is going is due today.
  11. Match Day 11. San Antonio ensure all teams have suffered a loss with Austin Alpha's impressive 10 game streak finally broken. As is classic Spartan form, they leave it until late to show up and finish the battle with Stefan Savic scoring from a deflected Mo Salah shot to just edge out an even game. Match Day 11 was filled with close games with only one game *ahem Lexington* being decided by a margin of more than 2 goals and after the goalfest last time out it was always due to become a quieter affair. Boston Braves 2 - 0 Oklahoma Overlord - Yet another game where the Overlords produce absolutely nothing, their brief win spell a distant memory. 62-38 is possibly the most one-sided possession stat yet seen with Banega and Bernado Silva bagging the goals. Houston Heroes 0 - 0 Raleigh Rangers - A Heroic Handovic save was the only thing of note in this game, not a classic by any stretch but I think Houston would have taken this if offered pregame. Indianapolis Ignition 4 - 1 Lexington X - Ismaily and Ilicic score their first goals for Indianapolis as they motor past Lexington. Xalilzada took advantage of a lapse in concentration from the defence but Immobille (2) made sure there was to be no come back. Kansas City Kickers 2 - 0 Chicago Conquerors - It seems Chicago very much like to stay in their home kingdom as their only away win has been against Quincy. It wasn't a weakened team either, it was the full Christiano Ronaldo, Coman, Cavani attack that just failed to break through. Kovacic just controlled the pace with an assist for Kalinic and a goal of his own. Kansas plays Lexington next so will probably lose that game considering how weird their form is. La Legends 1 - 0 Fresno Freedom - La have normally been free-scoring monsters but got a little lucky this time as it was a Luis Alberto long shot that broke the deadlock and after that, they kept Freedom on lock. Memphis Meteors 2 - 0 Tucson Tornadoes - The Messi and Mertens star factor proved too much for a well organised but otherwise lacking Tucson. Mourinho barely plays Mbappe which is an interesting observation as once again the youngster sat on the bench. New York Nights 2 - 0 Dallas Determined - Dallas only has 12 goals to their name and a third of those are from that freaky San Antonio game. They also only have 12 conceded, two of them today from the Nights who had Neymar and Negredo back on form to allow the fans to party well into the morning. Phoenix Pilots 2 - 1 Quincy Quest - Pochettino really needed a win here and yeah he got one but I doubt anyone is really impressed with this result! Quaner scores for the 3rd time in 4 matches and each time it has been for the lead, but Parole and Promes deny Quincy any points today. Union City Uniform 0 - 0 Jacksonville Jets - The Jets had the ref blow the whistle on them 28 times as the match never really got off the ground. Next. Virginia Beach "Victory" 0 - 1 El Passo Elegant - Is this the kiss of death for Valverde? At the time of writing, he still has his job but it's another home defeat from sloppy defending (this time from the wing backs) that sees Eder add another to his tally and more points for an impressive Elegant. Yakima Yell 2 - 1 Washington Warriors - Ha, guess who scored first! Unfortunatly for Washington, Yarmolenko has found his scoring boots after being out at sea for a while and scored two to counter Witsel's early effort. Zarephath Zoo 0 - 1 Greensboro Gold - Gundogan scored the winner but in many ways it was Zieler who was the star, making many saves in a valiant conservation attempt as the rest of the team seem to be losing their way, never work with animals huh? Match Day 12: Fresno Implode. Francisco is left fighting for his future after his team spectacularly crumbled against a relieved New York Nights. Neymar caught the defence sleeping with the opening goal before 2 minutes had even elapsed. Afterwards Bruno Fernandes flew the banner of Freedom by rallying the side and scoring a stunner but from there Fresno just lost the plot. A red card for Fagner on the 37th minute, an own goal from Fernando and Filipe Luis also earning red and giving New York a penalty right on the death. Negredo missed it but it didn't matter. New York take the game 2-1 and the Fresno board are Ab-so-lutely furious. Boston Braves 0 - 0 Austin Alphas - The anticipated B vs A match turned into something of a let down as Alderweld and Benatia both kept tight defences for their teams. Dallas Determined 4 - 0 Quincy Quest- Dybala has been somewhat disappointing for Dallas with only a token couple of goals and a very low average rating. But he made amends here doubling his tally with Diawara and Demirbay helpingto demonstrate the difference in class between the teams. Quincy's goalkeeper, Quim, is the oldest player in the Division at 41 and didn't have the best of games today. Houston Heroes 2 - 1 Greensboro Gold - Wesley Hoedt was the pick from the tub of Heroes today. The defender scoring the winner whilst also maintaining an almost rock solid defence. Houston played most the game with a counter attack strategy and it worked well with J. Hernandez the other scorer. Jesus saves a little face for Greensboro. Indianapolis Ignition 3 - 0 Tucson Tornadoes - The biggest shock of the day, Immobile getting his first hat trick for the Ignition as they left the Tornados for dust. That's two defeats in a row for Tucson who will be hoping to regain momentum back at home. Two assists for Jordon Ibe puts him close to the top of the division in that regard, he has 8 assists in 10 games. Kansas City Kickers 4 - 1 Lexington X - Kansas my be inconsistent, but they are not THAT inconsistent. 4 Goals in the first half from Kampl, Krovinovic, Kane and Kolarov LA Legends 1 - 0 Jacksonville Jumpers -Lucas Moura has been a key player for LA, he scored the winner here, has 9 assists already to his name and has won Man of the Match 4 times. He made the difference against Jacksonville. Phoenix Pilots 2 - 2 Washington Warriors - Phoenix must have felt good scoring 2 Parole goals against the low stamina Warriors. But Washington dug deep and had star man Walcott pull back the first and Jack Wilshere score his first goal of the campaign to tie the game. Not sure either team would be ultimatly happy with this one, though I guess the Warriors should be glad they can come from behind. San Antonio Spartans 3 - 1 Chicago Conquerors - Another away defeat for Chicago in a game that is hard to judge. Stat wise it looks even but Salah, Skriniar and D. Sanchez all scored in open play and Chicago's goal was 90th-minute penalty from Penaldo. Union City Uniform 1 - 4 Raleigh Rangers - Raleigh has made an example by cutting the Uniform to shreds. An injury to Robben that see's him out for 4 weeks may have dampened their spirits a little, but this is still a great result against a team that isn't usally pushed over like this. Virginia Beach Victory 0 - 0 Memphis Meteors - It may well be a bore draw, but for Virginia, this IS a Victory. Memphis might be seeing LA slip away if they can't win games like this but this may have just saved Valverde. Yakima Yell 2 - 0 Oklahoma Overlords and Zarephath Zoo 0 - 1 El Passo Elegant. It's only fitting to put these two games together. On one side we have two teams finding form an surpassing expectations and on the other we have two teams that just can't find points anymore. Yarmolenko scores his 5th goal in 3 matches along with Yuri and El Shaarawy also scores again as El Passo and Yakima are very much on similar trends. I'd back Zidane's Zoo to recover before Oklahoma of the losers, I just don't see the Overlords Overtaking anyone at this rate. Meanwhile on the manager front. Valverde is still hanging on as Very Insecure at Virginia. With Pochettino and now Francisco rated as Insecure. Despite nothing but losses, Xu Genbao is now rated as stable at Lexington.
  12. MD9 Kickers Kick Back. Raleigh Rangers defence took a battering at home from a spirited Kansas performance with Kane providing the best kick of the game with an out of area volley flying into the net with real venom to add to his penalty score. Naturally highlighted player Rudiger immediately had a howler with an abysmal 6.0 rating. Kevin Kampl scored his first goal for the team to fully burry Raleigh. Final score Rangers 0 - 3 Kickers. Predicting how well Kansas City will play is a fool errand. Austin Alphas 3 - 0 Houston Heroes - As one team goes from strength to strength the other sinks to the 4th defeat in 5 games. It took just 6 minutes for Aubameyang to star again and it wasn't just him on song it was a team effort as shown by captain Azpilicueta getting on the sheet and it was a debut goal for Paco Alacer! Howe must be scrambling to avoid another big 0 for the Heroes. Chicago Conquerors 4 - 0 Zarephath Zoo - Chicago made a determined Zoo team look very average as they finally appear to be back to full form with goals from the opening whistle up to the very last kick of the game. Candevera, Cavani, Casemiro, Christiano Ronaldo. A scary looking set of scorers! This is the first slaughtering Zarephath have hit and will be hoping to restore their pride in the next game. Next stop, World domination for Chicago? Dallas Determined 1 - 0 Yakima Yell - Deulofeu broke the deadlock fairly early and Yakima just don't have the attacking prowess to come back. Deschamps isn't the sort of manager to let a lead slide out of his fingers no matter how loud you scream and yell at him. El Paso Elegant 0 - 1 Memphis Meteors - A somewhat Inelegant tackle saw Mohamed Eleney given a red on 53 minutes and it took no time for Mkhitaryan to score his and by extension Armenia's first goal in the division after a curling long shot. El Paso couldn't climb the crater they were in from there. Fresno Freedom 1 - 2 Boston Brave - Bale-Belotti is one of the most common combos you see as the Welshman provides ball after ball to the lethal attacker. Nabil Fekir brought one back from the home side, the French man is a ray of light in what is otherwise a mediocre team. Greensboro Gold 2 - 3 Indianapolis Ignition - Indianapolis has been stuck in the pits of late and Greensboro must have thought they had a golden ticket for this week but it was not to be. Guedes clawed what he thought would have been the equaliser only for Ander Iturraspe to score his first goal to seal the game. Dependable scorer Icardi and new face Iwobi were the other away scorers whilst a controversial penalty for Garay ultimately proved irrelevant. After nearly a 1/5th of the season, Greensboro has really yet to show anything captivating to their full capacity stadium. Jacksonville Jets 2 - 2 San Antonio Spartans - The goals didn't come until late with Juankar taking the lead for the home team after 76 minutes. It's dangerous to play the late attacking game vs San Antonio as with this game 6 of their last 7 goals scored have come after the 80th minute! This time it was Adrien Silva and Luis Suarez that did the business vs Raul Jiminez and the early mentioned Juankar. Entertaining game and I have no idea where the Jets will be in the long haul. The Spartans must have wanted the win here so probably count this as a disappointment. Lexington X 2 - 3 Virginia Beach Victory - Heartbreak for Lexignton! Xaydarov the first scorer from Azerbaijan to rival Armenia (see Memphis) pulled Lexington from 2 goals down to make it seem like the first points for the X but a late strike from Verdi saw the ball slip under the goalkeeper and Virginia Beach had a hard-fought and somewhat rare Victory. Press X to pay respects. Oklahoma City Overlords 0 - 3 Union City Uniform - Well with another heavy defeat the Oklahoma City hype train has overturned. Hard to get a read on either of these teams as they seem to bounce wildly from Under rated to Over Achieving. Anthony Ujah made his first full start for Union City and scored twice in what appeared a Uniform victory as the Overlords Oblak fumbled the ball in his own net in a really crappy showing from the Overlords. Phoenix Pilots 3 - 1 New York Nights - Oh lordy lord, Phoenix wins again and in style against highly rated opposition. Piatti, Pjanic and Payet piloted the team to a good lead and it was getting dark when the Night finally responded with Niang. The New York players had a nightmare, with the team earning 6 yellow cards as their frustration boiled over. Quincy Quest 1 - 3 Tucson Tornadoes - Collin Quaner gave the fans something to cheer for as he scored the opener but in truth, Tucson very much deserved this win. Taison once again staring with 2 goals with regular sub-Christian Tello closing out the game. Washington Warriors 1 - 2 La Legends - Leaders LA maintains their spot on the top with a win on the Wounded Warriors. Lingard and Lewandowski have been the keymen over the campaign so far so it's no surprise to see them both score again. Daniel Wass made the tactical decision to get himself sent off in the first half, save him from potential injury after all. Danny Welbeck didn't let the loss of a teammate get him down with a late score to raise the tempo a little bit but there was to be no hollywood ending. MD10 Suarez into the record books on a day filled with goals. Luis Suarez becomes the first player to record FOUR goals in a match as the San Antonio Spartans thump the Oklahoma City Overlords 7-2. Luis Suarez's outstanding goal scoring effort was down to an incredible team showing from Daniel Sturridge who provided all four of the assists! Sturridge also got on the score sheet himself along with Suso and Alexis Sanchez. Oklahoma even started the game well with Divock Origi putting the away team ahead twice but as many teams are finding San Antonio just get stronger the longer the game goes on! Boston Braves 4 - 1 Washington Warriors - If the games were decided by who scores first. Washington would be title contenders! Once again Timo Werner got in the first blow in only for a battling Boston to rally. Andrea Belotti has scored his first hat trick of the season to go an impressive 8 goals in 8 games played with a special cameo from our friend Own Goal (Kyle Walker). Houston Heroes 2 - 2 Jacksonville Jumpers - Jovetic magic denied Houston the win here as the jumpers recent form has seen them leap back up the table. Houston controlled the game with Pablo (not Javier) Hernandez and Hulk scoring. Hamsik and Hazard ripped open Jacksonville time and time again but the Jumpers only had two real chances on goal and clearly that's all Jovetic needed! Indianapolis Ignition 1 - 1 Chicago Conqueror - Chicago couldn't fully add Indianapolis to their list of names as the Ignition scored early with Icardi and bolted the gates from there. Andreas Christensen at least smashed the gate down at the end to call the day a draw. Kansas City Kickers 0 - 2 Austin Alphas - Austin still remain undefeated after 10 games as the Kickers spent more time kicking shins than the ball. Kolarov was sent off for persistent fouling allowing the Alphas to show who the top dogs are with Alex Sandro and Deli Alli both scoring in the closing moments of the game. But there is bad news for Austin, Aubamayang will likley miss the next 4 games at least with an ankle injury! La Legends 4 - 1 Dallas Determined - I am still shocked at LA's continued form. Lewandowski is now clear in the top scorers chart with 2 more to add to his tally with less prolific playing Lucas Moura also adding 2. Not much grit and determination from Dallas as their one goal was a David Luiz penalty. Across the starting 11, LA had better player ratings for every position! Memphis Meteors 7 - 0 Lexington X - The most expensive team in the division in terms of player value versus the least. This is a scoreline that both sides were expecting but it was nice to see Thomas Muller get his 1st, 2nd and 3rd goals of the season and Mandzukic continues his challenge for best player and top goal scorer with another effort. Matic, Martinez and Modric enhance the impact. New York Nights 2 - 0 Quincy Quest- For a high scoring team like New York you'd actually expect the scoreline to be MORE in New York favour, It took until midway through the second half for Nolito and Jesus Navas to finally bury the Quest. Quincy never had a look in this game so the quest for points away from home continues. Tucson Tornadoes 2 - 2 El Paso Elegant - El Paso isn't a team most people would think of as top tier but they have proven tough to crack for anyone that faces them. Tite can depend on Talisca and Taison to score but Emery has weapons of his own with Eder and El Shaarawy, in particular, proving quite the classy finishers. Tucson still sit in the top 4 places but a home win of course would have been prefered Union City Uniform 0 - 1 Fresno Freedom - Union's smart run of form is stopped by Fresno of all teams. Fernandinho smashing in a powerful shot to give the Freedom the Free(three? Ed.) points as Fresno record only their second win. Fresno have scored 9 points away and only 2 at home. They are away to Cali rivals LA next match so their form might lead to something fun. Virginia Beach Victory 0 - 3 Greensboro Gold - Really Valverde? Losing 3-0 to Greensboro!?! It was a golden performance for the Gold who I slated for not stepping up yet, they have now. Godin didnt allow anything past him, Gundogan controlled the midfield, scored and provided and provided an assist. Guedes carried on his goal form and Griezman completed the rout. Again, smashed at home by Greensboro!? Yakima Yell 5 - 2 Phoenix Pilots - This is an even more embarrassing result than the game above! Before this game, Yakima had scored even fewer goals than Quincy! Yarmolenko (2), Yacob, Yoshida and Yuri stun the travelling fans as their meagre two goals from Peresic and Promes do little to raise spirits. Zarephath Zoo 1 - 3 Raleigh Rangers - Ooof, rough time to be facing Raleigh after that previous defeat. Mind the Rangers also needed a big result after their previous embarrassment. This was actually a rather close game with Zahavi scoring first. Rodrigo equalisied and PotM Rakitic powered the ball home 2 more times this time unanswered. The big news after this game is the job security of some of our managers. Xu Genbao for the pointless Lexington is now rated as Insecure. Sure his team is bad but the board would have expected at least something to show for. But it's at Virginia Beach or Phoenix that the first sacking looks to be happening as both Valverde and Pochettino are rated "Very Insecure" and I don't think you'll find many supporters of either manager after some shockingly bad performances and not just this match day. Stat Attack: Mo Salah has by far the most shots on goal of any player, with 51 in just 7 games. Lewandowski trails some distance with 33. Though the Pole does have over double the goals scored in 5 vs 11. Top 2 in the league LA and Austin have scored in every single game this season and both have impressive stats, LA 6have the most completed crosses (61) and Austin the best pass success rate 84%. Indianapolis are at the very bottom for passes completed and pass completion percentage with only 73% of balls finding their target and over 2000 passes less than El Paso, or El Passo if you like. Phoenix Pilots actuall top the division in dribbles attempted per game with an average of 16. It hasn't done them much good! The nicest boys in the game might be the Brave from Boston, who have committed the least fouls and at the other end of the scale also been fouled the most! Though Oklahoma might be the masters of the tactical foul as they have only received 2 yellow cards over the course of the first 20% of the season and have finished every game with 11 players. The bad boys are Washington with 27 yellows and 3 reds!!
  13. 6 Match Day 7. A day of upsets makes it hard to pick the single best match but the highlight would have to be from Virginia Beach Sportsplex. The notoriously leaky home defence was tested today as they take on the league leaders Raleigh Rangers. It took just 9 minutes for Raleigh's unbreakable defence to be well, broken as Valbuena slotted home. Raleigh hit and Virginia would punch again and suddenly it's 3-3 with seconds left on the clock. Valbuena shoots and hits the post! But before anyone can clear the ball he rushed forward to score Virginia's first win and Raleigh's first loss! What a wild season this is. This game also featured a goal from the legendary David Villa, all be it just a tap in from a corner kick. Boston Braves 1 - 3 Phoenix Pilots - Another big upset, Benitez faces a loss from Phoenix who also were yet to win this season! Pastore and Parejo were too strong for the braves who at least got one goal in. El Paso Elegant 6 - 2 Lexington X - Many shocks today but this wasn't one. At least Lexington seems to have a taste for goals now. The legend Samuel Eto got on the score sheet along with half the outfield players. It wasn't Xisco but versatile winger Xavier that scored both Lexington's goals. Houston Heroes 0 - 3 Fresno Freedom - Another 0-3 result for Houston on the bounce, is this the act where the Heroes go down only to rise back up again or is this a darker tale? Falque scored two of the goals before promptly getting injured for 3-6 weeks! Fresno has been one of the more under the radar teams so let us see if this sparks something Indianapolis Ignition 0 - 1 Austin Alphas - Austin had to rely on a greyed out player with most the team out on international duty but it was enough to get the win here and go top, fair no? but life isn't. Kansas City Kickers 0 - 4 Oklahoma City Overlords - Overlords form after 3 games LLL, form in the next 4 WDWW. Osorio has really turned the fortune around for the underdog team. Today Otavio scored a hat trick with Origi also chipping it in. Klopp wacky form continues. LA Legends 2-1 New York Nights - The cultural capitals of the US do battle and it's the West that runs out victors. LA are now one point off an unlikely lead whilst still playing absolutely bananas football. Leo Baptistao and Lucas Leiva score their first goals whilst Negredo keeps arguing his spot on the team with his own contribution. Memphis Meteors 3 - 3 Chicago Conquerors - Another battle of the giants and before both of these teams dipped a little would have been top billing. Candevera scored twice in a game thin on quality players. San Antonio Spartans 3 - 3 Washington Warriors - Not a game for the weak hearted, this was a real battle. Washington rushed to a 2-0 lead courtesy Wendel and Inaki Williams. But then in the final minutes San Antonio looked to steal the game with Suso, Dennis Suarez and a San Jose penalty. But 90+4 Sandro Wagner earned a hard-fought point for the Warriors, wow what a game. Tucson Tornados 4 - 2 Greensboro Gold - Fernando Torres Hat trick. I take back anything bad I ever said about Tucson and move the boring tag to Greensboro. Sorry guys. Union City Uniform 2 - 0 Dallas Determined - Naturally after walloping the Spartans Dallas immediatly lose to Union City of all places. Umar and Uscanga driving the small but packed stadium wild. Zarephath Zoo 2 - 1 Jacksonville Jets - Trying to make a pun or imagery of animals fighting fighter aircraft and it's not really working. The Jets are sleeping with the fishes? wait that's an aquarium ahh I don't know. Good win for the Zoo. Top 5: Austin Alphas 17 (+9) LA Legends 16 (+8) Raleigh Rangers 14 (+8) Tucson Tornadoes 14 (+5) Memphis Meteors 13 (+10) Match Day 8. Can Virginia Beach keep up their momentum after taking out Raleigh? No, they can't Chicago Conquerors get their season back on track with a solid 3-1 victory with Castilejo, Criscito and Candreva scoring, not the usual trio! Jamie Vardy appears on the review for the first time all season, but it's for a red card! Ouch. Austin Alphas 1 - 1 Zarephath Zoo - The A-Z clash as leaders Austin Allegri take on Zidane the Zookeeper. Aubameyang scores once again as the Gabonese player not only the best average rating in the team but the entire division but Eran Zahavi scored an absolute beaut of a freekick to level the game. Iago Aspas had the opportunity to win the game with the easier set piece, a penalty but Zieler denied him! Dallas Determined 0 - 0 Boston Braves - Bravery and Determination are important stats for defenders and it's their day to shine here with Bonucci taking the player of the match ahead of counterpart Dier in probably the best 0-0 game yet. Fresno Freedom 0 - 2 San Antonio Spartans - Any chance Fresno had of gaining momentum has been crushed under the abs of Mo Salah, who scored one and set up Sturridge for another. Just what the Spartans needed. Greensboro Gold 0 - 4 Memphis Meteors - An emphatic win for the Meteors who crashed into Greensboro. The Gold are looking far away from any medal positions now and some are muttering that Guardiola may be the first manager to go. First league goal for Mbappe with Morata, Martial and Matic all adding to the shower. Jacksonville Jets 0 - 1 Kansas City Kickers - A fairly even game between two fairly evenly matched squads, but it was Jacksonville that made the fatal error, giving far too much space to Harry Kane in the final minute of play. Lexington X 1 - 4 Tucson Tornados - Lexington once again blown away by the opposition. I admire the fighting spirit this team has but the fighting spirit doesn't stop Talisca from dominating another game. By far the stand out player for the Tornadoes. New York Nights 3 - 0 Yakima Yell - Stopping New York from scoring is about as easy as stopping the sun from setting. Even so, this was a Yakima Whisper, not a Yell. Nainggolan and Negredo (2)performing well every night out now which is good to see. Oklahoma City Overlords 0 - 3 Houston Heroes - The Heroes defeated the villains as Oklahoma's incredible form has been subdued. The Hazard brothers were once again the stars with Eden setting up Thorgan twice and helpful Higuain heading home. Phoenix Pilots 0 - 2 Los Angeles Legends - The legends are living up to their name as another excellent outing see's them go top of the table. After the big shock last week it seems it's buisiness as usal for Phoenix. Adem Ljajic scoring on his first showing and Lingard having the season of his life. Quincy Quest 1 - 2 El Paso Elegant - Eder's 'Edder ends Quincy's fighting challenge. The underdogs scored first with Collin Quaner but it wasn't quite quality enough as Everton leveled before the headline Eder winner. El Paso are sitting way up in 6th so this was a good showing from Quincy all things considered. Raleigh Rangers 4 - 0 Indianapolis Ignition - Yikes, the Indy boys seem to have stalled after losing their 3rd game in a row. Rudy, Robben, Raul Garcia and Ribery hitting accurate shots at the Range. Washington Warriors 1 - 2 Union City Uniform - Hard to say who deserved this game more as Washington had the shots and posession but Union had the better accuracy rate. In the end, Washington will feel hard done by to concede an Ulloa penalty so late in the game. Theo Walcott scored a screamer though with other goal scorers Aminu Umar securing player of the match. Union are way outperforming their predicted finishing position. They in 10th place and were predicted to fall aways short of even the top 20! Stylish Uniform! We are now 1 month into the season and here are the top players based on average rating: 10. Jesse Lingard - LA 7.66 - Lingard has been a dominant force for the Legends and has scored 4 goals from the midfield, I am surprised he isn't higher on this list. 9. Theo Walcott - Washington 7.69 - Theo has been a recent high flying for Washington on the scoreboard, but has been a constant presence win or lose, starting or being subbed into all 8 games. To be rated this high after the highs and lows of the team is impressive. =7. Antonio Rudiger - Raleigh 7.70 - Rudiger has been leading the Rangers defence and was only away for the 4-0 defeat at Virginia. Meaning that as long as Rudiger has been on the pitch, Raleigh has never let a goal in. Says it all. =7. Javi Martinez - Memphis 7.70 - The heart of the midfield, Martinez has been the bridge between attack and defence. Just the one goal and average passing and tackling stats mean he must be getting himself into great positions and trying risky passes. 6. Arjen Robben - Raleigh 7.71 - Age doesn't appear to be slowing Robben who has started all eight games for Raleigh and from watching the goals has been a significant part of many of them. Thoroughly deserves this placing. 5.Stevan Jovetic - Jacksonville 7.90 - Hot and cold, Jovetic IS the Jacksonville Jumpers. When he plays well they win, when he doesn't they lose. Has scored 8 goals in 6 games. Which is really 8 goals in 3 games and 0 goals in another 3 games. 4.Dries Mertens - Memphis 7.97 - My pick for top player, everyone preseason had eyes on Messi on the right wing but it's Mertens on the left that has been the better player. 6 games played, 5 assists, 4 goals. Excellent passing and shooting rates the complete package. =2.Robert Lewandowski - LA 8.03 - The most dangerous day in day out striker in the division. Neymar may have high peaks, but Lewandowski doesn't have bad days and makes something out of nothing. 8 goals scored. 4 assists. =2.Mario Mandzukic - Memphis 8.03 - Unique compared to the other top strikers, Mandzukic is peerless in the air and with the creative players that Memphis has supporting him, make him an unstoppable juggernaut! 6 goals in 6 games. 1.Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang - Austin 8.06- Began the season as a reserve stiker, his form has been sucih that the formation has been adjusted for him and he has convincingly overshadowed teammate Aguerro. 6 goals and 3 assists in what has been only 4 starts.
  14. bay MD5 Stone Cold Austin crack the Meteors. Today's headline match see the travelling Alpha fans celebrating a big win. Both sides were unbeaten going into the game but few would have predicted this result. Mandzukic got the hosts to an early lead but after Alex Sandro equalised it was Aubameyang that starred with two goals. Austin is playing a dramatically different formation from preseason 3-2-3-2 is the new look. Two strikers seem to be the way to go for the team as they can now play both Aguerro and Aubameyang together. The positives for Memphis are that Mandzukik becomes the top scorer with his 6th goal and they still top the table. Jovetic is still yet to score from MD2! Final Score Memphis 1-3 Austin. Second place Chicago could not capitalise Memphis loss as they also face a shock defeat conceding their first ever goals in the process. Elegant El Paso saw Ahmadi score on the 80th minute to lead. A 90th-minute penalty looked to tie the match after Penaldo scored it but in injury time the man the myth the legend Eder nodded home to take a famous win in what is a mostly empty stadium as only 9% of the capacity is filled with fans! El Paso 2 - 1 Chicago. Boston Braves 2 - 1 Yakima Yell - It's Boston that may be "the braves" but it was another brave performance for Yakima that just fall short of points today. Eric Bailly opened the scoring with a decent strike and dependable Yilmaz equalised but it was a Bale through ball to Belotti that secured the win for the hosts. Houston Heroes 0 - 1 Dallas Determined - A Texas derby match saw the most determined team win through and of course that's Dallas! Houston have looked the more impressive in the first 4 games of the season but Dallas are quietly climbing the order and Douglas Costa scoring in 2 games in a row puts Dallas just 2 points from the top of the league and 8th place, it's tight at the top. Indianapolis Ignition 1 -1 Oklahoma Overlords - Indianapolis is one of 4 teams yet to see a loss in the competition, though frustratingly perhaps this is their 4th draw. Icardi was the goal scorer for the hosts but a quick equaliser from Origi gives Oklahoma a precious point. Kansas Kickers 3 - 1 Washington Warriors - Klopp vs Wenger in the "Ben Arsenal Bowl". Washington opened the scoring with Werner but in what seems to be a common theme they just ran out of steam and Harry Kane dominated the rest of the game, providing 2 assists and scoring one himself. Keita and Kramaric the gracious tap-in scorers. LA Legends 3 - 0 Quincy Quest - Lacazzete and Lewandowski (2) are the scorers in a match of no surprises. Sorry, Quincy. Lexington X 1 - 3 Greensboro Gold - Lexington Score! It wasn't a pity goal either as heroic Xisco scored an equaliser on the 13th minute to pull back from a Guedes strike. Half time the score was 1-1 and Lexington has never looked as competitive. Unfortunately, keyman Griezman (2) put an end to Lexington's challenge. That's 2 wins now for Greensboro but they were both shakey results against Quincy and Lexington. San Antonio Spartans 3 - 0 Phoenix Pilots - San Antonio are just one point off the top of the league as Phoenix still have just the one point. A Silva, D Sidibe and Suarez all scored in the first half to not just ground the Pilots, but bury them. Phoenix have Pochettino as manager and the likes of Pogba, Pjanic and Pique on the team, they need to do better, much better. The score might as well have been 300 - 0 For how strong the Spartans were. Tucson Tornadoes 0 - 1 Raleigh Rangers - Two teams that were unbeaten, but it's Roberto Firmino that breaks the deadline. Thiago Silva was resolute in defence though and denied Raleigh from winning by an even greater margin. Still, Raleigh now sit 2nd on the table with no goals conceded. Rufete seems to be running an efficient if not a high scoring team. The real test will be next match as they host top of the division Memphis in what should be the headline game! I am growing to like Tucson though as they have no real standout players yet are working well as a team. Union City Uniform 2 - 3 New York Nights - Don't let the scoreline fool you, New York was the dominant team here. Neymar, Neto and Naldo made it 3 - 0 to the away side after 70 minutes but a 80th and 89th minute rush of goals from Uth and Urrego must have made Nagelsmann sweat! New York will just need to make sure there are no leaky holes in their defence going forward as nobody can doubt their attacking power. Virginia Beach Victory 1 -1 Jacksonville Jets - This was the best shot Virginia have had at a Victroy as Jacksonville are very much on a low and things looked good when Marco van Ginkel took the lead for the hosts. But, again it was a messy set piece defence that saw Juanpi steal a point. For good measure Jan Vertonghen got himself sent off on 92 minutes. Zarephath Zoo 0 - 0 Fresno Freedom - And we end the day on a bore draw. A single Zoo shot on target was all the fans got as Fresno pull off their 4th draw. Top 8: Memphis Meteors 12(+11) Raleigh Rangers 11(+8) Autsin Alphas 11(+7) San Antonio Spartans 11(+6) Boston Braves 10(+7) New York Nights 10 (+5) La Legends 10(+5) Dallas Determined 10(+3) MD6 You were probably expecting the big Raleigh vs Memphis game to be the headline match, and whilst important, it's not. We look at the other end of the table today as Quincy Quest take on Lexington X. No matter what, at least one team will score their first point(s) today and for two teams notorious for not scoring goals we ended up with a goalfest and 3 players scoring hat tricks! Colombian ex Porto man Juan Fernando Quintero is the first of them showing explosive pace. The two best goals of the game were both scored by Lexington 's Xisco, the 31-year-old Spanish player that spent a season playing in Thailand! With a smashing volley and top corner long shot among his goals. The final hat trick hero and the decider that made it 6-3 is probably the most famous player on the Quincy team. It's former Juventus player Fabio Quagliarella, who added impressive finishing to impressive Qrossing to his talents today. The Quest for a win has been completed for Quincy but Lexington will hope X marks the spot soon. Now the Division leaders game! Raleigh Rangers vs Memphis Meteors. Now I'm not going to sugar coat it, this game was not even close to as entertaining as the game above, or even really entertaining at all. Ivan Rakitic scored the first direct freekick goal in Alphaleague history after 20 minutes and the Rangers went into full lockdown mode after this. Memphis never managed a shot on target all game and Raleigh played to a safe 1-0 win to go top! A number of nations were calling players up for international friendlies and that did unfortunatley cause some chaos this week, here are the rest of the games: Austin Alphas 2 - 1 Virginia Beach Victory - Acosta put on a show for the home crowd as they fended off a fight Virginia with Vidal scoring the best goal of the game, alas it was only a consolation. Dallas Determined 4 - 1 San Antonio Spartans - Dallas are going from strength to strength as Deulofeu put in an incredible performance to really control the game scoring once and adding 2 assists. Doucore was the first to score and Demirbay scored his first goal of the season courtesy of a penalty. Daniel Sturridge scored the consolation goal for the Spartans who finally had their line broken. Fresno Freedom 1 - 1 Kansas City Kickers - ANOTHER draw for the Freedom. There are mutterings that Fresno should be called the Communists for the number of points they share out! Kalinic and Fernandez are the goal scorers, in truth Kansas should have won this game they had the more goal chances but Fresno played an aggressive game to keep the tempo down. Greensboro Gold 0 - 0 El Paso Elegant - El Paso Elegant really had nothing to offer this game and pretty much played for the draw from the outset, providing only token shots and none on target. Greensboro had all the chance in the world to win this game but their strikers proved wasteful and it's another disappointing result for them. Jacksonville Jets 5 - 1 Indianapolis Ignition - Jovetic turned on the afterburners to return to the top of the scoring charts with a dominant hat trick at home as a shell shocked Indianapolis finally lose and lose hard! Jonas has been consistently good for the Jets and scored another with Winger Fabian Johnson scoring a late goal in what I believe is the USA's first goal scorer. Insigne finally scores to at least break that drought. New York Nights 2 - 2 Boston Braves - New York left it late to draw this one, it was 0-2 after 90 minutes! Balotelli made his first appearance and duly scored a penalty but it was Nwakaeme that was the star on his first night of play scoring both goals to draw the game! Oklahoma City Overlords 2 - 1 Zarephath Zoo - After strong results against front runners, Zarephath has slipped up against the likes of Fresno and now Oklahoma. The Overlords fully deserved this win as Otavio and Origi blasted to an early lead. Zidane's men could only manage a Ziyech effort in response. Phoenix Pilots 3 - 3 Union City Uniform - It's still very early in the season but if any manager is under pressure it's Pochettino. Uniform leading by 2 goals after less than 10 minutes played (Ubilla, Uribe). Perisic rose from the flames and scored a couple of goals to bring it back but a red card for Pareja and Mark Uth scoring the resulting penalty must have had the Uniform fans celebrating early but Dani Parejo left it late to give Phoenix a draw. This is a game Phoenix should have won comfortably though and Union City keep doing an excellent job racking up points here and there. Washington Warriors 3 - 0 Houston Heroes - Washington are no strangers to missing key players and used it to their advantage to record a rout against the not so heroic Heroes. Welbeck, Wagner and Own Goal the scorers. Yakima Yell 1 - 3 La Legends - Yilmaz scores again for Yakima but he is going to need his teammates to step up if the Yell are to be feared as opponents. LA continue their goal glut as Lewandowski goes joint top of the scorer's table with his 7th and 8th goals of the campaign. Luis Alberto completes the scorers in what was a game of 11 stars playing what appears to be just the one in Yakima. With this result, LA have now scored the most goals of any team with 17 in 6 matches. Top 5: Raleigh 14 (+9) Austin 14 (+8) LA 13(+7) Dallas 13 (+6) Memphis 12 (+10) Bottom 5: Yakima 4 (-4) Quincy 3 (-12) Virginia Beach 2 (-7) Phoenix Pilots 2 (-10) Lexington X 0 (-24) Stat Attack Most Injuries: Washington Warriors 9, Boston Braves 6, Chicago Raleigh Indianapolis NewYork UnionCity 5. I wasn't joking about the Washington Injuries. Most Distance Covered: 1st Hector Bellerin, 2nd Bernado Silva and 3rd Christian Eriksson. Boston players like to run it seems. But it's Antonio Valencia who spends the highest percentage of time running fast. Most Headers Won: 1st Mandzukic 62, Naldo 51, Iborra 49. It can't be overstated how dominant Mandzukic has been in the air and is a big part as to why Memphis is such a threat.
  15. Match Day 4 Meteor Strikes Jets. The headline game this week is the utter destruction Memphis dished out away to Jacksonville breaking the goals in a game record too. The score? 2-7 Jonas did his best to stop Armageddon scoring both the home sides goals but Mertens, Messi and Mandzukic each scored a brace and Matuidi scored the decider. This match was key for two reasons, it sends a message of intent that Memphis deserves the favourites tag and also it's a blow to the high flying Jacksonville who have been very much grounded. LA Legends put up the best competitive match of the day as they took on another top tier team and won! Boston Braves on the wrong side of a 4-3 result! To this point, Buffon had kept a perfect defence and has seen that very much shattered. The man of the match and LA's star player so far in the early season is Jesse Lingard, the powerful midfield player tackled the ball away from opposition defence for his first, assisted Lewandowski and his second goal was a thumping header on the 92nd minute that won them the game! What a match. Boston were 3-2 leaders at half time Bernadeschi, Banega and Belotti the scorers. But Lacazetter on the 85th and the previously mentioned Lingard goal saw LA take a famous win. Austin Alphas 3 - 3 Tucson Tornados - Two teams that are quietly working their way towards the top of the leaderboard as they are now each 2-2-0. But this was no quiet game. Tucson whipped up a storm scoring 3 goals in 10 minutes of play Via Tosun (x2) and Talisca! But a more steady drip of goals from Austin drew the game. Ali, Arnautovic and Aubameyang the scorers. Chicago Conquerors 5 - 0 Lexington X - No surprises here as Cavani (x2) Callejon (x2) and CR7 show a class over the X. Chicago was 4-0 up after just 20 minutes and very much had their foot off the gas from there! Dallas Determined 1 - 0 Kansas Kickers - Possibly an important match for both teams as neither has had a great start to the season. Substitute Douglas Costa got his first goal of the year to give Dallas the points in what was an edgy game. Fresno Freedom 2 -2 Indianapolis Ignition - Fresno are still looking for their first win of the year but couldn't keep high scoring Indianapolis from denying them victory. Fernadinho and Forsberg cancelled out Iborra and Icardi. New York Nights 0 - 2 San Antonio Spartans - Mo Salah (2) can't stop scoring at the moment and showed too much talent for New York to deal with. This hopefully isn't too dark a hit for the Nights who to this point have failed to score less than 3 goals in a game! Oklahoma Overlords 2 - 0 Virginia Beach Victory - Oklahoma pull off a neat win over Virginia Beach, to the Victory's credit only one of the concessions was from abysmal defending. Okazaki and Orban the scorers. Oklahoma are low on the table but have never lost badly, this is a deserved upswing for them. Phoenix Pilots 0 - 3 Houston Heroes - Phoenix could well be in trouble already, they very badly failed to overcome the Hazards here. Eden and Thorgen Hazard (2) for that matter and have barely got off the ground yet on this long season. Houston are very much in the cramped battle for the top places after another impressive result. Quincy Quest 1 - 2 Greensboro Gold - Two goalless teams finally off the mark leaving only poor Lexington behind. Griezmann and Gueye got Greensboro off to a flier but an early 2nd half goal from Juan Fernando Quintero left Greensboro sweating. Not the most convincing win from the team that preseason was predicted 10th! Raleigh Rangers 0 - 0 El Paso Elegant - Raleigh and Chicago have both gone an impressive 4 games without conceding but I'm sure the Rangers wanted to win this one! 2 on target shots each from both teams that lead nowhere. 20 Raleigh fouls to 4 from El Paso tells an interesting story! Washington Warriors 1 - 3 Zarephath Zoo - Walcott put the Wounded Warriors in front but the frail squad was fed to lions, with Zahavi, Zaza and Zielinski all netting for the Zoo. Both teams put on a good show, indeed in general, these two perform every game, win or lose! Yakima Yell 0 - 1 Union City Uniform - An early unfortunate Yarbrough own goal led to a spirited defensive showing from the Uniform. Umtiti and MotM Upamecano proved to be a formidable defence partnership. Yakima may feel hard done by, but they have been the other side of lucky results allready. ---------- So Memphis stay top, the first team to maintain a lead and will be top after next match day as they are 4 points clear of second. But from Chicago in 2nd down to El Paso in 16th there is only 3 points seperating them! Top 5: Memphis 12 (+13) Chicago 8 (+9) Raleigh 8 (+7) Austin 8 (+5) Houston 8 (+4) Bottom 5: Kansas 3 (-5) Virginia Beach 1 (-6) Phoenix 1 (-7) Quincy 0 (-12) Lexington 0 (-19) Stat Attack Attendances across the board are increasing, with Memphis now holding the record at 22,000 fans, up from 18,000. In terms of Average possession, it's Boston Braves that lead with 55.25% average. Possession isn't everything though as the next two behind Boston are Virginia Beach Victory and Phoenix Pilots who have endured bad starts. The lowest is Quincy Quest with 45.25% Neither end of this scale is too extreme. El Paso leads the way in passes completed from Tucson, Austin, Virginia Beach and 5th place surprisingly is Lexington X! The least passes completed go to the very direct playing Indianapolis Ignition and San Antonio. MD4 was supposed to come out the same time ad MD3 but real life jumped in the way. Hopefully 5 and 6 will come together.
  16. MarMatch Day 3 Today's Highlight game sees Houston Heroes take on the New York Nights. Not a surprise to see New York appear as they have been very much free scoring. Ruben Neves scored 3 minutes into the game to prove the point. A messy cross led to a Howdes own goal and less than 10 minutes in and New York are showing they want to stay top. Higuain makes it 2-1 as he finally goes on the scoresheet. Ndidi went from Hero to zero, scoring and then conceding a penalty that Eden Hazard slotted home to make it 3-2 and Higuain made it 3-3 right on half time. Wow! There were to be no more goals, so anyone that arrived at the stadium late missed out! Houston has now been in three super tight games with a win and 2 draws to show. Zarephath Zoo have played some impressive football so they get a well deserved 2-1 win as French legend Zidane beat French Legend Deschamps. Simone Zaza scored twice against Di Maria's one in what was a great win for the home side. Into Match Day 3, four teams had perfect win records and by the end of it, that number has dropped to just one. We've already seen New York falter, what of the others? Jacksonville Jets and Jovetic have started with pace but have suffered extreme turbulence from the Tucson Tornados as Tousan and Taisan ensured a home victory in Tucson. Tucson 2 - 0 Jacksonville. El Paso Elegant was just 5 minutes from an upset over Austin Alpha as Johnny Evans propelled them into a well-fought lead, but Aguero managed to win a controversial penalty to level the score. That means the team that is top after MD3 is the Memphis Meteors with Mandzukik putting two unanswered goals against Oklahoma Overlords. Here are the other games: Boston Braves 4 - 0 Quincy Quest - Far too much quality for Quincy to handle in the local derby with B.Silva, Bale, Belotti and L Bailey. Greensboro Gold 0 - 0 Chicago Conquerors - Greensboro are still yet to score a goal and only the hopeless Lexington and Quincy teams are also stuck on 0. Still holding Chicago to a draw is a great result as Chicago goes to a second 0-0 draw in 3 matches. Indianapolis Ignition 0 - 0 Washington Warriors - Washington are already suffering from injuries, so to have both Welbeck and Weisser subbed off for ankle injuries is a big concern. Wasteful shooting from both teams but a draw neither side will be disappointed with. Kansas City Kickers 2 - 1 Phoenix Pilots - Kansas record a win! Harry Kane is finally on the board after a slow start and Toni Kroos scored the winner. Marco Parole had put Phoenix in the lead early on but it's another disappointing result for the team. Union City Uniform 0 - 2 LA Legends - LA deserve a win after the great football they have been playing and Jesse Lingard is the man to earn it after muscling the ball away from defence and scoring as Moura scored the final. Union City still trying to find where they really stand. Lexington X 0 - 5 Raleigh Rangers - Lexington have yet to score and Raleigh have yet to concede. This never looked like changing today. Rabiot, Robben, Ribery, Roberto Firmino and Rashford the scorers as Raleigh look towards the top and Lexington hope for a morsal from someone. San Antonio Spartans 2 - 1 Yakima Yell - San Antonio went in to the game favourites and despite Yakimas best efforts the Spatan's were too strong with Mo Salah and Alexis Sanchez scoring. Yakima did get a goal back from a corner with the seasons top scorer "Own Goal" helping out. Virginia Beach Victory 1 - 1 Fresno Freedom - Virginia have shown flashes of quality in their games and their attack is fine as shown by a sweet Vitolo goal. But, alas, they conceded another penalty to allow Fabinho Fresno to steal an undeserved point. *sigh* get it together VBV. Top 5: Memphis 9 (+8) Boston 7 (+7) Raeligh 7 (+7) New York 7 (+6) Austin 7 (+5) Bottom 5: Phoenix 1 (-4) Virginia Beach 1 (-4) Oklahoma City 0 (-4) Quincy Quest 0 (-11) Lexington x 0 (-14)
  17. Match Day 2 For the second time on the bounce, it is a game featuring LA Legends that provides the best entertainment as they hosted the San Antonio Spartans and produced an entertaining 3-3 draw. Lavezzi once again opened the scoring and Lewandowski scored just one minute later to go 2-0 up. Stefan Savic of all people scoring a thumping out of the box shot to the top corner to pull one back going into half time. With a Red Card for Semedo and Lewandowski scoring his 2nd at the 87th minute you'd be forgiven for thinking the game was done, but Mo Salah scored on the 89th minute and Suarez the 90th to make it a surprise 3-3. Mikel San Jose even found time to miss a penalty in all that! Virginia Beach Victory seems to be a team in defence crisis right now in their match against Washington Warriors. Timo Werner tackled the ball off of Virgil Van Djik to score an easy goal and Virginia gave away not one but two penalties that Axel Witsel slotted home to win the game 3-1. Kevin Volland scored a superb goal but Virginia Beach have work to do. This is a result Wenger and Washington needed after their horror opening game. Kansas City Kickers now have the record for fastest goal scored, with Kagawa taking just 2 minutes to put the ball past the New York Nights. Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends for the Kickers as the next 5 were all from New York with Negredo and Nolito scoring 2 each and M'Baye Niang scoring an overhead scissor kick. This result puts New York top of the Division, with 8 goals scored and 2 goals against. Meanwhile, Jacksonville Jet's Stevan Jovetic goes clear in the top scorers' race with 2 more goals to add to his 3 against Lexington. The unfortunate opponent this time? El Paso Elegant who ended up losing 2-1 with the one goal a blessing from Jesus, Juan Jesus. Fresno Freedom 0 - 3 Memphis - Memphis join Jacksonville and New York at the top as all are on +6 GD. This game didn't feature red cards or injuries to Fresno's relief but Sadio Mane (2) and D Mertens (1) proved too good. Austin Alphas 4 - 0 Lexington X - Easy game for Austin who gave Aubamayang the staring roll scoring twice with Alaba and Ali also scoring all before half time. The foot was well off the gas after that. There will be celebrations when Lexington score their first goal, but that may be some way off. Boston Braves 3 - 0 Union City Uniform - Union City were brought back to Earth with a bump after Leon Bailey scored after 4 minutes. The Uniform put up a brave fight but 2nd half goals from Belotti and Bernado Silva sealed their fate. Beneti'z Braves are looking really solid and Buffon is yet to concede. Quincy Quest 0 - 4 Chicago Conquerors - Here are the promised Chicago goals, albeit against little Quincy. Cavani opened the scoring after 30 minutes but Quincy fought bravely across the first hour even earning a penalty! Unfortunately for them Courtois managed to save Quintero's effort and the spirit of the team collapsed as Ronaldo, Cann and Cavani all scored in a 10-minute frenzy. The jury is still out on Chicago. Dallas Determined 1 - 1 Indianapolis Ignition - Ignition again took just 3 minutes to score with Immobile. However, after losing their fast goal record, they decided to go for another record and Jordan Ibe was sent off after just 23 minutes. The Discipline problems didn't end there as Daniel de Rossi's equaliser came from a spot-kick courtesy of Inigo. Raleigh Rangers 2 - 0 Greensboro Gold - They should check the pitch for sink holes after both Gundogan and Radamel Falcao has to be subbed off for twisted ankles! As for the game, Greensboro gave far too much space on the wings and Raul Garcia and Arjen Robben made them pay. Dissapointing start to the season for Pep! Yakima Yell 1 - 1 Houston Heroes - Yilmaz scores again for Yakima as they start the season really well! Javier Hernandez is leading the charge for Houston as he got the equaliser but it's Yakima that will be happier here Murat Yakin is running a disciplined side. Oklahoma Overlords 1 - 2Tucson Tornados - A Tornado is not an unusal sight in Oklahoma, Tucson players breezed through and scored all 3 goals. A Toure Penalty, Trippier OG and Thauvin scored on the 23rd minute. The Tucson style is to do no more than necessary so after 23 minutes they held station and that's the game. Phoenix Pilots 1 - 1 Zarephath Zoo - In yet another penalty, Eran Zahavi put the Zoo in front but Pablo Piatti scored an early candidate for goal of the season with a 22-metre curling strike into the top corner to equalise. It was a very even game which considering Zidane's squad had to travel all the way across the country to the blazing heat of Phoenix, I think the Zoo will be the happier lot. All teams began the season with the same reputation and finances. Now all teams have played a home game, let's see what the attendances are like. It is Jacksonville who has the largest attendance, with 18786 coming to see them play. That is 24% of their stadium filled so plenty of room to grow too. Indianapolis, Chicago and Washington also have attendances over 18,000. Indeed most teams significantly below that are limited by the size of their stadium with all teams below 17,000 with over 95% stadium capacity with one exception. El Paso has a huge stadium but only sold 9648 tickets for their game, just 18% of the seats. League Leaders: Newyork 6 (+6 GD) Memphis 6 (+6 GD) Jacksonville 6 (+6 GD) Austin 6 (+5 GD) Chicago 4 (+4GD) Bottom League: Greensboro 0 (-3 GD) Virginia Beach (-4 GD) Kansas City (-5 GD) Quincy (-7 GD) Lexington (-9 GD) Next time, Matches 3 and 4!
  18. Thank You. On the topic of Geography, here is the Map of where all the teams are based: Yakima Yell is the loneliest club, the only one up there in the North West whilst if you count you might only see 25 locations marked, that's because Boston Braves and Quincy Quest are only located 12KM apart. Texas has 5 teams and would have another at Fort Worth too but 5 teams is the state limit. On to Match Day 1 of the season, this is the Middle of August so for matches in LA, Arizona, Texas, or Florida it should be scorchers, the heat is on. The Best game of the day saw the Houston Heroes defeat LA Legends in a 3-2 back and forth game. Lavezzi opened the scoring after 14 minutes but an own goal and a brace from Javier Hernandez put the Heroes clear. Lewandowski pulled one back but the challenge was all but ended when Lulic got a second yellow card on 80 minutes. Indianapolis Ignition begins their campaign with a convincing 4-1 victory over Phoenix Pilots. Mauro Icardi entered the record books by scoring the very first goal of the season after just 3 minutes of play and added a 2nd before half time. Immobile and Imbula also added to the scores with captain Pique providing Phoenix's consolation. Jacksonville Jets are top of the table with a convincing 5-0 Away win against Lexington X. This match highlights just how hard this season is going to be for Lexington as this is a home loss to a probable mid-tier side! Stevan Jovetic is the headline hero for week 1 after scoring a hat trick and an assist. Jonas and Juankar complete the scoring. Jovetic hasn't got the record for the fastest hat-trick, that goes to a rather unheralded player in Takashi Usami of Union City Uniform who ran out 3-0 winners over Quincy Quest. The game was over at just after the hour mark with Usami completing the hat-trick at 64 minutes. Union were predicted to finish 24th this season and Quincy 25th so that shows a potential worrying gap between the bottom 2 and everyone else! There were 5 Red Cards on the opening day of competition. The very first of these went to Austin Alpha's Allan on 40 minutes in their away game against Greensboro Gold. This didn't stop the team however as Aguero scored the games only goal. Chicago Conquerers 0 - 0 Raleigh Rangers - I promised goals in the Chicago team preview and so naturally the first match is a bore draw. El Paso Elegant 1 - 0 Oklahoma City Overlords - Oklahoma dominated the game, but a lucky deflection into the path of Epureanu saw El Paso through. Mohammed Elyounossi broke some ribs in the final moments of the game and will be out for a predicted 2 months. Tucson Tornados 1 - 1 Fresno Freedom - A rather dull match from Tucson of all places, Fekir and Talisca the scorers. Kansas City Kickers 0 - 1 Yakima Yell - Murat Yakim admits to the media that this was a fortunate win as Yilmaz scored in injury time to steal the match. Kansas needs to make sure when they kick, the kick it in the goal and not Row Z. Memphis Meteors 3 - 0 Washington Warriors - A disaster of a game for Wenger's Washington. 3 goals conceded, a red card for Wijnaldum and Willian out for 4-6 months with damaged Achillies Tendon. Ouch. None of that bothers Mourinho with Mandzukic, Martinez and Mertens sending the Meteors soaring up the leaderboard. Zarephath Zoo 1 - 3 New York Nights - A somewhat misleading scoreline as the Zoo actually controlled most the game. Neymar wasn't expected to play but came on as a sub at half time and immediately put Zarephath to the sword scoring 3 solo effort goals. A Steven Zuber header does little to cheer up Zarephath and Zidane. San Antonio Spartans 0 - 0 Boston Braves - Plenty of shots on goal from both teams but nothing to show for it, Boston actually won a penalty but Bernado Silva failed to beat Szczesny. I think overall both teams should be happy with a draw. Virginia Beach Victory 0 - 2 Dallas Determined - Virginia pretty much beat themselves here, atrocious defending led to two early goals from Dybala and Dembele and then Vertonghen earned a red shortly into the second half. So, that's losses for both Team's Ben Arsenal is considering supporting! Indianapolis pulling off the most impressive result on the day with Neymar stealing headlines already and he was supposed to be injured!
  19. Tucson Tornados - Tite Stadium: Catalina High School, Tucson (AZ) 6,300 Predicted First 11: GK Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (C), LB Jeremy Toljan, DC Thiago Silva, DC Omer Toprak, RB Kieran Trippier, DM Corentin Tolisso, MC Thiago, MC Youri Tielmans, ST Taison, ST Fernando Torres, ST Cenk Tosun Predicted Finishing Position: 17th Tite has reformed Brazil back to the top of football and now has to travel to Arizona with this lot. Have to say, I am somewhat underwhelmed with this team, but big up for Tite for attempting the 3 striker route, no other team is trying this. The Thiagos' (Silva and uh, just Thiago) will be the heart of the team and Ter Stegen will earn points by keeping things safe by the sticks. Would be nice to see Torres do something! Reason to Support the team: If you are a fan of sprawling cities with nothing of interest, then Tucson is the place for you. Okay, the Mountain is kinda cool. Union City Uniform - Juan Carlos Unzue Stadium: Owen T Carroll Field, South Orange, (NJ) 1,800 Predicted First 11: GK Sven Ulrich, DR Hector Urrego, DC Samuel Umtiti, DC Dayot Upmecano, DL Andreas Ulmer(C), MC Mateus Uribe, MC Uillian Correia, AML Takashi Usami, AMC Cengiz Under, AMR Johnathan Urretaviscaya, ST Mark Uth. Predicted Finishing Position: 24th Union City Uniform's name comes from the fact that the place is the "Embroidery Capital of the United States" so yeah, fun fact. Juan Carlos Unzue might find this team a bit less fun. Umtiti is a world-class defender for sure but the overall level in all areas is kinda weak. Still the only way is up, well that is unless they somehow lose to Q and the team predicted to be 26th! Had fun beating the Chinese team in preseason. Reason to Support this team: Union City is also where the Mallowmar and the Lunch Wagon were invented. So, you should be able to find a bite to eat here. More interesting than Tucson. Virginia Beach Victory - Ernesto Valverde Stadium: Virginia Beach Sportsplex, Virginia Beach (VA) 10,780 Predicted First 11: GK Vanderlei, DL Jan Vertonghen (C), DC Raphael Varane , DC Virgil van Dijk DR Antonio Valencia, DM Arturo Vidal, MC Marco Verratti, MC Marco van Ginkel, AML Vitolo, AMR Carlos Vela, ST Jamie Vardy Predicted Finishing Position: 14th Welcome to Virginia Beach, not far from the European first landing site. The V's can certainly fight for Victory with this team, Vidal at the heart and talented defenders coming out the ears and a solid selection of attacking players. I think they will be fighting for a good top 10 spot not 14th, but then I've been saying that for probably more than 10 teams now! Hoping for a Vardy party. Solid preseason but a loss to Chicago puts a damper on things. Reason to Support this team: The longest pleasure Beach in the world, oh gosh, is this the Blackpool of the USA? Washington Warriors - Arsene Wenger Stadium: FedEx Field, Washington (DC) 91,673 Predicted First 11: GK Weverton, DL Jetro Willems, DC Wallace, DC Kyle Walker, DR Daniel Wass, MC Jack WIltshire (C), MC Georginio Wijnaldum, AML Inaki WIlliams, AMC William Jose AMR Willian, ST Timo Werner Predicted FInishing Position: 18th Live from the Capital, Arsene Wenger is playing a team with more English players than ever before. No standout stars, only the one true CB means a lot of work to get this team running. But having Danny Welbeck dunk on you could be fun. Reason to Support this team: Wenger in the Whitehouse is the sitcom we all want. Lexington X - Xu Genbao Stadium: Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex, Lexington (KY) 3000 Predicted First 11: GK, Gennaday Xenodochov , DR Taulant Xhaka, DC Xandao, DC Siyandu Xulu, DL Xavier, MC Granit Xhaka, MC Xavi (C), AMC Xadas, AMC Xisco Hernandez, AMC Xuxa, ST Xisco Predicted Finishing Position: 26th Wait, Lexington? There are no US cities beginning with X, at least not in the game database. Even finding Cities with "X" in them is tricky. or managers, or goal keepers. Yeah, X is not a common starting letter for anything! Xu Genbao is Chinese and 73 years old he has managed various Chinese teams in the past. Looking at the team, Xhaka and Xavi make a good pair in the midfield but that really is as good as it gets. Anything other than Not last will be an achievement frankly. Reason to Support this team: The underdog, where every point feels like a victory and every victory a trophey makes being a fan fun. Players from all corners of the world as we really stretch the database. Yakima Yell - Murat Yakin Stadium: Marquette Stadium, Yakima (WA) 1500 Predicted First 11: GK William Yarbrough, DC Maya Yoshida, DC Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, DC Hector Yuste, ML Yeom Ki-Hoon (C), MC Claudio Yacob, MC Reinhold Yabo, MR Yago Pikachu, ST Andriy Yarmolenko, ST Ashley Young, ST Burak Yilmaz Predicted Finishing Position 23rd. Murat Yakin has managed pretty much all the top Swiss squads so has plenty of experience. He might need all of it to get the best out of this team. 3-4-3 is Bold, I respect that and Yarmolenko is still a superstar even if he is aging. The team toured South Korea with their captain Yeom Ki-Hoon enjoying the attention and it did them well as they beat El-Paso when they got back. This Tiny Town in the Northwest is a fun little experiment in what is a fun big experiment. Reason to Support this Team: Tiny team with aggressive playstyle. This could be a disaster or the start of something great. Zarephath Zoo - Zinidine Zidane Stadium: PDA Facility, Zarephath (NJ) 1,875 Predicted First 11: GK Ron-Robert Zieler, DL Yury Zhirkov, DC Kurt Zouma, DC Cristian Zapata, DR Davide Zappacosta, DM Denis Zakaria, MC Piotr Zielinski, MC Hakim ZIyech, AML Eran Zahavi, AMR Andriija Zivkovic, ST Simone Zaza Predicted Finishing Position: 22nd. Gotta say, this team isn't as bad as I was expecting, not exactly a title contender but should be enough to comfortably avoid the bottom couple of placings. Zidane is our final manager and certainly not the worst on this list after champions league success so good luck to the team. Okay the elephant in the room, where the hell is Zarephath? Or where the heaven as it's home to the Pillar of Fire Church. Indeed, the area is tiny and has a population of just 36. This is the only place in the US that begins with Z and has a football pitch, who programmed this In, I don't know. But I'm calling this USA Vatican. Another team that toured China in the Preseason to great results hopes to start the season strong. Reason to Support this Team: If you want to back an obscure letter but don't want the full lunacy of Backing X. Also, Pillar of Fire Church is a sick name and that alone makes this place more interesting than Tucson.
  20. Oklahoma City Overlords - Juan Carlos Osorio Stadium: Miller Stadium, Oklahoma City (OK) - 10,000 Predicted First 11: GK Jan Oblak, RB Alvaro Odriozola, CB Nicolas Otamendi (C), CB Willi Orban, LB Bastian Oczipka, MC Oguzhan Ozyakup, MC Oscar, MC Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain, AMC Mesut Ozil, ST Divock Origi, ST Shinji Okazaki Predicted Finishing Position: 20th Osorio is the current manager of the Mexico NT and has plenty of experience managing in North America, so he has that. He Also has Ozil and Oblak as real star players. Their preseason was exclusively against other Alpha League teams and they ended up with 3 wins and a draw. So based on that they should be aiming higher than 20th, after all, there are no glaring weaknesses on this squad compared to others around this level. A sleeper pick perhaps. Reason to Support this team: Oklahoma City is actually in Oklahoma. Whilst Kansas City is not in Kansas, so if you want to support a middle America team without getting geographically confused, Oklahoma it is. Phoenix Pilots - Mauricio Pochettino Stadium: University of Phoneix Stadium, Phoenix AZ. 63,400 Predicted First 11: GK Rui Patricio, DC Gerard Pique(C), DC Pepe, DC Sokratis Papastathopolous, WBL Lukasz Piszczek, WBR Ricardo Pereira, MC Paul Pogba, MC Miralem Pjanic, AMC Pedro, AMC Javier Pastore, ST Ivan Perisic (?) Predicted Finishing Position: 8th Spurs man Pochettino has got an incredible squad in Defence and midfield. The attacking force ever so slightly lets it down but this is not a team to be ignored, I feel 8th is a low estimate. Other teams may struggle to take the heat against them. If I was another team and saw Pogba on the starting list, I'd Pjanic too. Reason to Support this team: This city is a monument to man's arrogance. Quincy Quest - Carlos Quiroz Stadium: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy (MA) 2500 Predicted FIrst 11: GK Quim, DL Hector Quinones, DC Julian Quinones, DC Carlos Quintana, DR Quini, DM Facundo Quignon, MC Juan Fernando Quintero, MC Michael Quinonez (C) AML Quique, AMR Ricardo Quaresma, ST Darwin Quintero Predicted Finishing Position: 25th Allright, we are approaching the bottom here, all I can say is thank goodness for Colombian names as that is where nearly 1/3rd of the team is from. Quiroz used to manage Real Madrid so will have no problem settling in at ....wherever this place is. A lot of pressure on Quaresma and Quintero to deliver...something anything. The good news is a team is predicted to do worse, I am sure you can probably guess what letter that is. Reason to support this team: Do you have an irrational hatred of carnival, do you ever look at a map and go "Damn, that one country in South America is just tooo big." This is one of the only teams not to have a Brazillian player on the roster. Raleigh Rangers - Francisco Rufete Stadium: S.A.S Soccer Park Raleigh (NC) 7000 Predicted First 11: GK Sergio Rico, DL Ricardo Rodriguez, DC Sergio Ramos (C) DC Daniele Rugani, DR Sergi Roberto ML Roberto Frimino (?) MC Ivan Rakitic, MC Adrien Rabiot, MR Arjen Robben, AMC James Rodriguez, ST Radamael Falcao Predicted Finishing Position: 7th Who is Francisco Rufete? Well, he was director of football at Valencia for a while and has the highest CA of anyone beginning with R who has Manager listed as one of his jobs, so there you go. He is in charge of the Military themed Raleigh Rangers, and with Ramos as captain, it might as well be a warzone. The attacking/midfield players of this team all seem to be able to play anywhere on the pitch so where anyone is starting each week will be anyone's guess. I can't help but feel this team would have been stronger 10 years ago with the Rossi, Ronaldo, Robben prime and various Ronaldos out there. But this is a solid squad. I think a title challenge is unlikely though. Reason to support this team: Plenty of versatile creative players could lead to some entertaining free-flowing football. Also, if you like the sport of diving, this might be the team for you. San Antonio Spartans - Diego Simone Stadium: Alamo Dome San Antonio (TX) 65,000 Predicted First 11: GK Wojciech Szczesny, LB Djibrill Sidbe, DC Stefan Savic, DC John Stones, RB Nelson Semedo, MC Adrien Silva (C), MC Kevin Strootman, AML David Silva (?) AMR Mo Salah (?) ST Luis Suarez ST Alexis Sanchez (?) Predicted Finishing Position: 5th Simone the mad man is going full aggression with this team. Though with how strong the attacking options are I dont blame him. Luis Suarez upfront is the only obvious position. Where you put the likes of Sanchez, Silva and Salah let alone support from Sane, Schurlle, Son Heung-min, Raheem Sterling and more. The Defence is solid, all of these leading teams quality if not headline members of those teams. With that attack I can't imagine them being as low as 5th I think there is a real title challenge in this team. It has real Bite. Reason to support this team: Simone's attacking football should be a treat to watch. I know this is similar to the team above, but I'm working on this team by team and the Spartans look great. Next up, the final Preview.
  21. Indianapolis Ignition - Simone Inzaghi Stadium: Lucas Oil, Indianapolis (IN) 70,000 Predicted Starting 11: GK Gorka Iraizoz, DC Inigo Martinez, DC Branislav Ivanovic (C), DC Carlos Izquierdoz, WBL Ismaily, WBR Gianelli Imbula (?) DM Vicente Iborra, MC Andreas Iniesta, MC Asier Illarramedi, AMC Isco, ST Insigne Predicted Finishing Position: 15th Lazio Legend Inzaghi finds himself in Indianapolis, historic home of US motor racing. A squad of largely aging players with some sparks it will be interesting to see what they can do. 15th seems to be an ambitious target but Icardi didn't even make the starting 11 so there is some depth! Ibra is also on the team, but with his injuries there is a chance he will never play for the team, I hope he does. This team had a busy preseason, playing 7 games when most other teams had 4 or less! A win and 2 draws against top opposition in Europe has them in decent shape. Reason to support the team: If you are unhappy come the seasons end in May, simply enjoy the Indy 500 instead! Jacksonville Jets - Jorge Jesus Stadium: Everbank Field, Jacksonville FL, 76,867 Predicted Starting 11: GK Jefferson (C), DL Juan Jesus, DC Phil Jones, DC Jemerson, DR Juan Fran, DM Jorghino, DM Joao Mario, ML Adnan Januzaj, MR Juan Fran (no relation to RB) ST Jonas, ST Steven Jovatic Predicted Finishing Position 19th. To sunny Florida and the Jets. Jorge Jesus has a team has a case of the 2nd stringitis with plenty of Brazilian and Spanish, BUT the prediction of 19th seems a bit harsh as the team is solid all round. Jorge Jesus has actually built a formation that fits the team rather than trying to fit a team to a formation and I like the look of it. The DM's really are the strongest part of the team and Jonas and Jovatic make a decent strike partner, I like it. Won 5/5 in preseason albeit not against particularly strong opposition. Reason to support the team: This is the sunny state of Floridas only representative. If you like it humid, here is your stop. Kansas City Kickers - Jurgen Klopp Stadium: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO. (76,414.) Predicted Starting 11: GK Louis Karius, DL Aleksandar Kolarov, DC Laurent Koscielny, DC Vincent Kompany (C), DR Joshua Kimmich, MC Toni Kroos, MC Ngolo Kante, AML Koke, AMC Mateo Kovacic(?) AMR Kevin Kampl, ST Harry Kane. Predicted Finishing Position: 11th What a congested midfield with Kagewa, Khedira and Keita not finding starting places! Kansas City (not in Kansas) is going to be swept up in a Harry Kane as he attempts to try for top goal scorer. I feel that 11th is a huge underrating of this team, with Klopp in Kommand I feel this team is an outside title contender. A quiet preseason with a couple of games in China all to show for build up. Why support this team: A rare glimpse of middle America. The vast majority of teams are on the coasts or Texas megacities. The name "Kickers" is so bad it's good. Los Angeles Legends- Joachim Lowe Stadium, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles CA, 93,607 Predicted Starting 11: GK Hugo Lloris (C), DL Senad Lullic, DC Dejan Lovren, DC Aymeric Laporte DR Viktor Lindelof, MC Luiz Gustavo, MC Jesse Lingard, AML Hirving Lozano, AMC Luan, AMR Alexandre Lacazette, ST Robert Lewandowski Predicted Finish Position: 13th. Lowe's stock may have fallen after the world cup, but he has a redemption chance here. Quality in goal, quality upfront. Rather average in the middle. In the City that is very much not average, they will be expecting more but it is unlikely. Lewandowski is the best Legend and will join the hunt for golden boot. Hollwood Block Buster or B movie bomb, this team could go either way. Why support the team: LA baby, celebrities, fast cars and drama to be found! Memphis Meteors - Jose Mourinho Stadium, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis TN, 59,308 Predicted Starting 11: GK Fernando Muslera, DL Marcelo, DC Kostas Manolas, DC Javi Martinez, DR Marquinhos, MC Luka Modric, MC Nemanja Matic, AML Dres Martins, AMC Henrikh Mkhitaryan, AMR Lionel Messi, ST Mario Mandzukic (C) Predicted Finishing Position: 1st The special one has a special team, one the media think is destined to win this season. Any team with Messi onboard is likely to challenge, but with Modric there too and Mandzukic to captain and steal all the goals it is a scary team. Even scarier is the list of non-first 11 players that can step in. Mane, Muller, Mbappe, Matta, Mahrez, Moutinho, Matic, Matuidi, Maschereno ect. There is plenty of depth here. Is it the winner the media predict. Going to be a tough fight with Chicago and some others so I think it is more likely they don't win the title than do. But still, they are favourites. Why Support the team: If the quality of names above doesn't win you over then maybe the World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest held annually in Memphis will. New York Nights - Julian Nagelsmann Stadium: MCU Park, New York (NY) 7000 Predicted First 11: GK Manuel Neur, DC Naldo, DC Nacho, DC Raul Navas, WBL Matija Nastasic (?), WBR Unai Nunez, MC Radja Nainggolan, MC Steven N'Zonzi, AMC Samir Nasri, ST Neymar, ST Alvaro Negredo Predicted Finishing Position: 12th Nagelsmann comes from managing Hamburg to managing a team in the largest US city, surpisingly with only a tiny stadium! This is very much team Neymar there is other talent there such as Nainggolan and of course a healthy Neur but only one man will bring all the headlines, the first being Neymar will miss the first week possibly two weeks with a twisted knee! I think this team will struggle if the key players keep getting injured as there is little depth here. But if they fire on all cylinders then I think they can take on anyone. Reason to support the team: New York, New York NEWWWW YOOOORK do do doo de do, do do doo de do.
  22. El Paso Elegant, Unai Emery Stadium, Sun Bowl, El paso TX, 51,000 (Capacity 10,000 in matches!) Predicted Starting 11: GK Ederson, DL Sergio Escudero, DC,Johnny Evans(C), DC Mohamed Elneny, DR Ricardo Esagio, DM Karim El Ahmadi, MC Christian Eriksen, MC Javier Eraso, AML Eder, AMR Stepahn El Shaarawy, ST Elkeson Predicted Finishing Position: 21st Emery is a top manager but this is not a team quite on the same level as the others so far. Ederson, Christian Ericsson and even captain Evans are the standouts of an otherwise average bunch but I'm sure this team can pull surprises on their day. Friendlies against Chicago and Yakima have not quite gone their way but they were away games and neither match was a rout. Reason to support the team: Captain Johnny Evans is the only Northern Ireland player in the division, Alexandru Epureanu is equally as lonely as the division's only Moldovan player. Share the love if you are from either country. Fresno Freedom, Francisco Stadium: Chukchansi Park, Fresno CA, 12,500 Predicted Starting 11: GK Ralf Fahrmann, DL, Filipe Luis, DC Felipe(C), DC Federico Fazio, DR Fagner, ML Emil Forsberg, MC,Fernadinho, MC Fabinho, MR Iago Falque, ST Nabil Fekir, ST Jefferson Farfan? Predicted Finishing Position: 16th First things first, Francisco was the manager of Numancia before becoming a scout for Sevilla. So a somewhat odd choice of manager it would seem and the team is for the most part made of Brazilian and Spanish second string players. The saving grace is the team has plenty of quality in the centre mid position so if they can win battles there then maybe they can win games as well. Cesc Fabregas is also on the team and a probably first 11 player, it's just where Francisco wishes to play him is a bit of a mystery, CM, on the wing!? striker? Reason to support the team: To try and say all the Brazilian player names without tripping up or repeating! Or maybe you want to support a California team but not the BIG California teams, Hipster Cali? Also, Freeeeeeeedom. Greensboro Gold, Pep Guardiola Stadium: UNCG Soccer Stadium, Greensboro NC, 3540 Predicted Starting 11: GK Nahul Guzman, DL Raphael Guerreiro, DC Diego Godin, DC Kamil Gilk, DR Jose Gimenez, DM Gabi, MC, Ilkay Gundogan, MC Mario Gotze, AML Alejandro Gomez, AMR Gabriel Jesus, ST, Antoine Griezeman Predicted Finishing Position: 10th. Guardiola moves to North Carolina and has a solid but unspectacular all-round squad. Griezeman, as we know, was crucial for Frances world cup efforts and is the key player for the team. Interestingly, the captain for the team is Gignac who probably won't start many games as he has 3 of his other countrymen to fight for the striker spot with Giroud Gamerio and Griezeman. No big friendly games mean they come in relatively unknown but well rested. Reason to support the team: Greensboro doesn't have a professional sports team, this is their first. There are bigger cities out there and with the squad they have, they can beat some of those! Houston Heroes, Eddie Howe Stadium: NRG Stadium, Houston TX, 71,054 Predicted Starting 11: GK Samir Handanovic, DL Jonas Hector, DC Mats Hummels, DC Benedikt Howedes, DR Elseid Hysaj, ML Eden Hazard (?) MC, Jordan Henderson (C) MR Thorgan Hazard (?) AMC Marek Hamsik, ST Gonzalo Higuain Predicted Finishing Position: 9th Eddie Howe vs many of the best managers of the world. This should be interesting. Possibly the best back 4 so far and solid central players. But there is a weakness on the wings, especially as Howe favours a 4-4-1-1 formation. Where he will put the Hazards is still somewhat of a mystery. Eden as the AMC would mean no spot for Hamsik. I think Higuain is in the running for top scorer and if he does have them flying in then Houston can do better then what is probably a conservative media prediction of 9th. Reason to support the team: The core squad is mostly German and other north and central Europeans. For this team, it's always Oktoberfest.
  23. The United States. Home to the Big Mac, Ford Mustang and now the greatest Alphabised football competition in the World! 26 Cities across this great nation are now hosting a Football (or Soccer if you really must) team whose players' and manger's names each belongs to a corresponding letter of the English Alphabet! From Austin Texas to Zarephath New Jersey, 780 players await the start of the 2017-18 footballing season. How are the Cities and players chosen you ask? Simple, for the Cities, simply the largest City beginning with that letter in the USA is chosen. There is a wild range of city sizes and more importantly stadium sizes in this competition as each team was given the largest stadium in the City. In some cases, this is a mega stadium and other times it's a small college pitch! As for the players: The best 30 players by CA with last names beginning with the correct letter go to the corresponding team. E.g Sergio Aguero plays for A Austin and not S San Antonio. In some cases, the last name isn't obvious or commonly used by the footballer, so ultimately the decider is where they appear alphabetically on the editor first. This may lead to controversy but it's the final way. This leads to Christiano Ronaldo playing for C Chicago and not R Raleigh. Rona Still with me? Here is part one of the season Preview, in Alphabetical order of course! Austin Alphas, Massimilano Allegri Stadium: Tony Burger Center, Austin TX. 15,000 Predicted Starting 11: GK Segio Asenjo DL, David Alaba, DC Toby Alderweild, DC Raul Albiol, DR Cesar Azpilicueta, DM Charles Aranguiz (C), MC Dele Alli, MC Andre Gomes, AML Marco Asensio, AMR Iago Aspas, ST Sergio Aguero Predicted Finishing Position: 6th Allegri certainly has some great players to chose from! The first of many Texas teams, the Alphas have a decent but not spectacular start location, a great manager and potential for a title challenge if all falls into place. A fit Aguero is a dangerous one and he is most certainly their key man. Though Aspas has scored the most goals in a preseason that featured a successful tour of China before wins at home against Indianapolis and Fresno. They did lose to Oklahoma though! The team has weaknesses though. There isn't much to shout about in terms of CB's with Alderweild the only standout. Plus only running the one striker means they might under use Aubumayang who barely featured in the preseason. If Allegri can win it at the Allianz he should have no problem at his new home at Tony Burger. Reason to support the team: Love Paella? Austin has 8 Spanish players on its roster including captain Azpilicueta. Boston Braves, Rafa Benitez Stadium: Paul Revere Field, Boston MA, 22,500 Predicted Starting 11: GK Gianluigi Buffon(C), DL Marc Bartra, DC Jerome Boateng, DC Leonardo Bonucci, DR Hector Bellerin, MC Sergio Busquets MC, Lucas Biglia, AML Gareth Bale, AMC Bernado Silva, AMR Yacinie Brahimi, ST Karim Benzema Predicted Finishing Position: 3rd The northernmost team in the division, a last season hurrah for Buffon and Rafa Benitez back in with a title shout? The bookies seem to think so! They have players that can control the pace of the game and have some devastatingly technical players. The only let down on the squad is their only real left back is Juan Bernat who will miss the first 6 months of the season at least! Bale is the keyman of the team, can he rise to it? Personally I feel the games preseason prediction of 3rd is on the ambitious side but I certainly wouldn't count them out either. Reason to support the team: The final season for one of the all-time greatest goalkeepers. Chicago Conquerors, Antonio Conte Stadium: Soldier Field, Chicago IL. 61,500 Predicted Starting 11: GK Thibaut Courtois, DC Giorgio Chiellini, DC Emre Can, DC Andreas Christensen. WBL Domenico Criscito, WBR Dani Carvajal, MC Casemiro, MC Phillipe Coutinho, AML Chrisiano Ronaldo (C), AMR Kinglsy Coman, ST Edinson Cavani Predicted Finishing Position: 2nd Team Ronaldo. Conte has an interesting mix of experienced super stars and young guns a giant stadium and quality all around. An ubeaten preseason that saw them beat Chealsea will no doubt please Conte and anger the blues! Though as the season dawns there is a big blow to the team as Coutinho has suffered a hip injury that could see him miss 4 months of play! Ronaldo has been playing on the wing so far and it will be interesting to see if he stays there or moves into a more central position. Reason to Support the team: They have CR7, Coman and Cavani as the front 3, Expect Goals! Dallas Determined, Didier Deschamps Stadium, AT&T Stadium Dallas, TX. 105,121 Predicted Starting 11: GK David De Gea, DL Danillo, DC Eric Dier, DC Daniele de Rossi(C), DR Daniel Alves, MC Mousa Dembele MC Kevin de Bruyne, AML Ousmane Dembele, AMR Douglas Costa, ST, Paulo Dybala Predicted Finishing Position: 4th Deschamps has one of the biggest stadiums in the world to fill but the Frenchman certainly has the talent to fill it and the squad to bring the crowds. A no nonsense CB pairing with one of the strongest midfields in the game means this should be a team that is smart on defence and with Dybala and the incredible De Bruyne there should be no shortage of goals either. A somewhat quiet preseason had them only play 2 games against nonleague american sides with the expected comfortable wins. Should be an exciting team to watch. (Next up, part 2 of preseason)
  24. M Russia The Hosts. In many ways, this team is the opposite of Colombia! Russia has lots of good players but few great ones, this gave me the confidence to build a team to any formation. The players, for the most part, are Determined and disciplined and I can see those qualities being very helpful for an "underdog" run. I keep hearing how "3 strikers" is overpowered in this match engine so I want to try it out, and if there is any team that would take advantage of technicalities and questionable moral decisions it would be Russia. First impressions are mixed, we smashed Qatar but only just scraped past Israel in the warm up games so there are still question marks as we open the Tournament against Egypt. Game 1, Egypt. It took 7 min for Gushakov to open 2018 world cup scoring. Drilling a long shot to the bottom corner. We had plenty of chances across the half with Egypt having the odd counter-attack but not having much in the way of the ball themselves but it remained 1-0. The Second half looked to be much the same but my nemesis of this entire campaign Mo Salah only went on a break and scored the equaliser! I really love the spirit of this Russian team though, they didn't waiver and switching focus to inside the penalty box paid off as Egypt clumsily gave away a penalty on the 80th minute. Kokorin duly scored and we held on for a deserved 2-1 win. Game 2, Saudi Arabia . A win here would all but guarantee us a spot in the last 16 and I wanted to go into this match guns blazing. Kokorin took this philosophy to heart and scored a lovely header after just 4 minutes. His guns were a little TOO blazing though as a short temper span left him collecting two yellow cards just before the stroke of half-time. Being a man down is never something you want, but Russia's big weakness is most the players don't have the stamina or natural fitness to match up to how determined and hardworking they are. For once, I was playing as the cleaner team as I didn't want any more sending offs, the Saudis pressed on but over eager they gave away a freekick on the edge of the box. Dzagoev stepped forward and buried it! Cleanest strike you will ever see to put us 2-0 up and relieve the pressure. Saudi knowing that since they had already lost game 1, this loss would put them out if they were not careful and they got desperate. Artem Dzyuba got in a postion to counter and the forward finally got himself on the score sheet after harassing the Saudis for a large part of the game. 3-0 win! Bring on the Vodka. Game 3. Uruguay The South Americans also go into this game on 6 points after 1 goal victories over both Saudi and Egypt. This means We are guranteed to the last 16 and if this game ends in a draw, we will top the group! So I picked the strongest team I could, minus Kokorin who is suspended. Zabolotny the defensive striker will make his world cup entry. Things started excellently once again as we win a penalty after just 3 minutes! It appears my best penalty taker is...Akinfeev! The Goalkeeper, well I like psychological warfare. Keeper vs Keeper lined up and Akinfeev does it, he takes the rare honour of being a goal keeper on the score sheet! Things were looking acceptably dull when on the stroke of half-time Cavani snuck a header in to go 1-1. Doh! The second half carried on the same form. Dzyuba and Cavani both had look-ins on either side but it looked like we would top the group with a fine draw....oh snap. Injury time came along and Maxi Perira somehow finds Maxi Gomez and now I'm Maxi Furious. Vodka Please. 1-2 Loss. Game 4. Spain Sometimes in this challenge, Spain collapse and do nothing of note. Not this time, they scored 12 goals in the group stage and easily topped their group! Early goals have been a thing for Russia, but this time it's in the wrong net :(. Diego Costa jumps in between a mix up between keeper and defence and scores an easy goal. Opps. This is the worst team to go down too aswell, as Spain just love to have the ball and after 20 minutes had over 70% posession and 6 shots on target to my none. It got a little better but not much. I'd love to say I masterminded an epic comeback, but Spain just did to me what they did to everyone nearly a decade ago. 0-1. сука блять. ---------- Eventually, it came down to a Spain vs Portugal final, so It probably would have been a bad story even had we won the group! CR7 scored a penalty to win the game. Dem Portugal boys :D. Timo Werner top scorer with 8, David Silva best player. Next up, we are going Sub Sahara.
  25. Thanks for all the support so far Colombia My first (both this challenge and in FM) foray into South American management. Of all the Formation/Team selecting this was by far the hardest of the challenge so far. Colombia has a few great players, Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Falcao for example but lots of missing areas or players that don't excel in one position but play many. There is a real shortage of talented right backs, left backs, central midfield (other than James R) that just make a mess of my core plans. I drafted up a 4-3-3, a 4-4-2 and a 4-4-2 Diamond before eventually dropping to just the one striker with an AM/Shadow behind with one winger. The chopping and changing was reflected in the warmup games with a 0-1 to Serbia and an embarrassing 0-3 to France. So we were far from confident for game 1. Poland. Fortunatly, Poland were woeful like real life, I have never seen a team so rigid that they would leave the ball alone rather than press with any sense of urgency. We easily could have been several goals up but Szeczney pulled off a string of great saves. Jose Izquiedo scored what proved to be the winner. The relative unknown Brighton winger was key player for all 60 minutes he played. Before a 2 footed tackle saw him booted from the game! Killed our forward momentum but really Poland never looked in it. James Rodriguez decided that to make things more interesting, he'd blow his Hamstrings. Yay :(. 1-0. Game 2. Japan Japan went in guns blazing and corner defending was nowhere near to scratch, a failed clearance and a bit of bouncing about saw CB Yoshida take a surprise lead after just 2 minutes. It took a relentless push for the rest of the half for Cuadrado to edge the equaliser but our team is looking tired from the hard work yikes, the average age of my teams is one of the higher ones! The 2nd half dragged and dragged and Japan got more and more punchy, and took the lead on shots and shots on target. On the 80th minute, my final sub of the game, I brought on Andres Ricaurte. A near unknown attacking mid who at 26 has never left the Colombian leagues. He was on the pitch a good 20 seconds before scoring his first goal for Colombia and scraping a probably undeserved 2-1 win for Colombia! Game 3. Senegal . I'm now on 6 points, Poland on 3 after defeating Senegal. The Africans are on 1 point due to a draw with Japan. So I am guaranteed in the next round. So I went ahead and "rested" most of the starting 11 for this game. I kept Falcao on because I am hoping that a goal will finally get his world cup run into gear! It is here where Barrios earned his true spot on the starting 11. The DM had more control of the game then C.Sanchez showed in the two previous. Calling the shots and providing a beautiful long ball for Falcao to finally earn a world cup goal! 4 Minutes later, Ricaurte who I never expected to even play, being the "cover man" I hired for versatility made it 2-0 and back from a red, Izqueido scored a glorious edge of the box curler to Burry the game. This was meant to be my B team, hang on? Final score 3-0. After the worst warm up period I've had with the hardest team selection. I get my first Perfect group run. 9 points. My reward. England (Who lost the Belgium game 5-1!!). James Rodriguez is still injured and after the Senegal game I had a bit of a headache trying to pick a starting 11! The formation and tactics remained the same though and England line up surprisingly defensive. With Kane, Rashford and Stirling the only players ahead of 1CM 2 DM's and the back 4. Other than the snooze against Japan, out defence had proved really disciplined. And they were even when England took the lead, it's just Harry Kane smashing it into the top corner is just something we couldn't stop. I tried to push for a more attacking focus as England were giving the ball away fairly often, nut they then struck with pace on the counter with Sterling and Rashford proving too good for our Wingbacks who play more attack then defence minded! Rashford putting us in real danger. The second half saw what is now surely national hero Andres Ricaurte score his 3rd goal in 3 games but it wasn't enough. England sharpened up and wouldn't give up the ball and we just ran out of time to get the score level and go to extra time. We are out in the knock out stage again. Egyp The rest of the World Cup was a big of a strange one. England lost to Germany, who themselves lost out in the semi final to...Egypt of all teams. Mo Salah scoring a hat trick. See, he turns up when the Ai run it :(. Egypt themselves came to face Uruguay for the 2nd time in the least expected final. Uruguay won it. Salah best player, Lewandowski top goal scorer.
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