Matchweek 3 Recap and World Cup Qualifying Preview

Night and day for your boy. Whiffed on all three of my parlays after Tottenham blew ANOTHER game at home, this time to lowly Burnley and Real Madrid somehow drew Valencia at home. Two results nobody really would’ve seen coming but that’s the beauty of the beautiful game. Went 5-6-1 for the predictions in the Premier League and MLS. Let’s get into the results from this weekend.

Matchweek 3 results

Manchester City traveled to Bournemouth and went down within 13 minutes, before pulling one back before the halftime break to tie it 1-1. The tie lasted all the way until Raheem Sterling scored a winner at the death in the 97th minute, getting a red card with it after a wild mosh pit celebration with the traveling City fans. The scrum included what seemed to be a fight between Aguero and a steward as City fans stormed the corner flag area.

Newcastle finally got their 3 points in a win at home to West Ham who looked very poor. Manchester United cruised easily against Leicester outshooting them 22-11 with 70% possession. Chelsea also handled Everton, as they look much better than their collapse on opening weekend.

Sunday came along and produced two wild games. Tottenham was holding a lead from the 49th minute and looked as if they were going to cruise to only their second ever win at home in their new temporary stadium, Wembley. But Tottenham will be Tottenham, (so Spursy), and they gave up an equalizer in the 92nd to newly acquired Burnley striker Chris Wood.

Arsenal traveled to Liverpool for what was the return of Alexis Sanchez, arguably one of the best players in the league. He was held out with injury and has had transfer rumors circulating around him all summer, so his return had Gunner fans excited. Well, Arsenal came out flat letting in a goal in the 17th and it fell apart from there. They suffered a 4-0 defeat without even registering a shot on target. Arsenal is slowly falling apart and it looks like Sanchez may be out the door, possibly to Man City. A picture tells a thousand words:

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In the MLS; the Chicago Fire were on the wrong side of one of the upsets of the year losing 2-1 to brand new team Minnesota United. Real Salt Lake manhandled rivals Colorado at home 4-1, and Seattle tied arch-rivals Portland 1-1 putting my MLS record this weekend to 1-2.

Parlays went 0-3 and I went 5-6-1 putting my total record to 18-17-1 in predictions and 3-4 in parlays. Not the way I wanted to go into the International Break, but we shall rebound. Speaking of the International Break………

World Cup Qualifying:

The greatest sporting event is less than a year away as Qualifying begins to wrap up to see which 32 teams will have the privilege to play in the World Cup in Russia.

Concacaf:

For all you noobs, Concacaf is the federation which includes Central and North America who compete to qualify for the World Cup. The United States started off in a frenzy losing their first two games in Qualifying and putting them in danger to not make the World Cup.

As a result, they fired coach Jurgen Klinsmann and brought in U.S. Coaching legend Bruce Arena. Since the change, the U.S. hasn’t lost a game in the year 2017. The run includes a Gold Cup championship as well as getting 2 wins at home and 2 crucial ties in Qualifying in hostile environments including Mexico, where the U.S. have only tied them once before in Qualifying. Here is where we stand in the final stage of Qualifying called the ‘Hexagonal’ (top 3 automatically qualify with the 4th team playing an Asian team in a playoff):

 

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Costa Rica @ United States, Friday 7:00 pm ESPN

Costa Rica (+350)

United States (-141)

Draw (+240)

The United States lost away to Costa Rica 4-0 in a disastrous game, which eventually got Klinsmann fired. Costa Rica sits 3 points above the United States and with a win we would tie them, and if we win by 2 goals we surpass them on goal differential. But Costa Rica is not a squad to overlook, even with the injuries they have. Their goalie is the starting goalie for Real Madrid (ya those guys) and they have three players who play in the Champions League. They’ve only let up 4 goals in 6 games during this stage in qualifying, which is an amazing record. With that being said, the United States has scored the most goals in this stage, and Costa Rica hasn’t won in the Hex in their last 3 matches. They are also the better top to bottom team, not relying on a group of a few stars to carry the team. The U.S. should come out in New York looking for revenge against Costa Rica and will score an early goal from the one and only Pulisic. They’ll hold their lead and get the 3 points needed to almost secure a trip to Russia next summer. United States 1-0.

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Panama sits 1 point behind us, but they travel to the fortress that is Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, which sits 7,200 ft. above sea level (2,000 ft. higher than Denver), and packs 87,000 wild Mexican fans. This should bode very well if we get 3 points in New York, putting us tied (or above) Costa Rica and 4 points clear of Panama which could almost guarantee a trip to Russia next summer.

Other Qualifying Games:

Thursday:

Netherlands @ France (-179)

Colombia (-147) @ Venezuela

Ecuador @ Brazil ( -1½ )

Friday:

Germany ( -1 ) @ Czech Republic

Parlay:

Brazil (-400), Mexico (-345), Hungary (-303) = (-110)

Ghana (-312), Germany (-213), Chile (-233) = (+175)

Mix and match all you want, as other picks you could throw in are Romania (-233) and Greece (-286).

That’s all for this recap and Qualifying Preview. I hope everyone can catch the U.S. in action on Saturday and I hope you enjoy your Labor Day Weekend. I should be back before the next U.S. Qualifying game on Tuesday and maybe even some bonus European Qualifying picks for this weekend. Until then;

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

 

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Nico

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