Maverick Maniac's Musings

June 6, 2013

2013 Summit League Review–How did UNO stack up in their first year?

UNO, in just their 2nd year of D1 transition and first year playing in a conference had what has to be considered a fantastic season. UNO got solid, if not fantastic starts from their soccer teams and ended the year watching the baseball team win the school’s first Summit League title. Here’s a breakdown of how the school’s teams did throughout the year in comparison to other schools.

Fall Season

Type of Results Regular Season Regular Season Regular Season Championship Standings Championship Standings Average Finish
School Men’s Soccer Women’s Soccer Volleyball Men’s Cross Country Women’s Cross Country
Oakland 1st 1st T-3rd 4th 4th 2.6
South Dakota State N/A 5th T-5th 1st 3rd 3.5
North Dakota State N/A T-3rd T-5th T-6th 1st 3.75
Fort Wayne T-4th 2nd 2nd 8th 6th 4.4
South Dakota N/A 9th T-5th 2nd 2nd 4.5
IUPUI 6th 8th 1st 3rd 7th 5
Kansas City 2nd 6th T-3rd T-6th 9th 5.2
Western Illinois 3rd T-3rd 8th 5th 8th 5.4
Omaha T-4th 7th 9th N/A 5th 6.25

Winter Season

Type of Results Regular Season Regular Season Championship Standings Championship Standings Championship Standings Championship Standings Average Finish
School Men’s Basketball Women’s Basketball Men’s Swimming and Diving Women’s Swimming and Diving Men’s Indoor Track and Field Women’s Indoor Track and Field
South Dakota State T-1st 1st 2nd 4th 4th 5th 2.8
North Dakota State 3rd 7th N/A N/A 2nd 1st 3.25
IUPUI 9th 2nd 3rd 2nd N/A N/A 4
Omaha 6th T-5th N/A 3rd N/A 2nd 4
South Dakota T-7th 3rd 6th 5th 1st 3rd 4.2
Oakland 4th 9th 1st 1st 6th 6th 4.5
Western Illinois T-1st T-5th 5th 7th 5th 7th 5
Kansas City T-7th 8th N/A N/A 3rd 4th 5.5
Fort Wayne 5th 4th N/A N/A N/A 8th 5.7

Spring Season

Type of Results Regular Season Regular Season Regular Season Regular Season Championship Standings Championship Standings Championship Standings Championship Standings Average Finish
School Baseball Softball Men’s Tennis Women’s Tennis Men’s Golf Women’s Golf Men’s Outdoor T&F Women’s Outdoor T&F
NDSU 4th 1st N/A N/A 5th 1st 1st 1st 2.2
Kansas City N/A 5th 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 4th 5th 2.9
South Dakota N/A 4th N/A 4th 2nd 9th 2nd 2nd 3.8
SDSU 2nd 8th 2nd 3rd 3rd 7th 3rd 4th 4
Omaha 1st 2nd 6th 6th 8th 4th N/A 3rd 4.3
Fort Wayne 6th 3rd 3rd 1st 9th 8th N/A 8th 5.4
Western Illinois 5th 6th 4th 8th 4th 5th 5th 7th 5.5
Oakland 3rd 9th N/A 5th 6th 6th 6th 6th 5.9
IUPUI N/A 7th 5th 7th 7th 3rd 7th 9th 6.4

Overall Averages

School Fall  Average Fall Sports Winter Average Winter Sports Spring Average Spring Sports Total Sports Average Finish
NDSU 3.75 4 3.25 4 2.2 6 14 2.93
SDSU 3.5 4 2.8 6 4 8 18 3.5
South Dakota 4.5 4 4.2 6 3.8 6 16 4.13
Kansas City 5.2 5 5.5 4 2.9 7 16 4.25
Oakland 2.6 5 4.5 6 5.9 7 18 4.5
Omaha 6.25 4 4 4 4.3 7 15 4.73
Fort Wayne 4.4 5 5.7 3 5.4 7 15 5.13
Western Illinois 5.4 5 5 6 5.5 8 19 5.32
IUPUI 5 5 4 4 6.4 7 16 5.38

The tale of the tape is kind of interesting here. Knowing that Kansas City and Oakland won’t be around next year of the remaining seven schools you can see where the balance of power definitely is, the Dakotas. North Dakota State seems to be the premier program in the league right now with South Dakota State their closest competitor. It’s a bit of a further drop to South Dakota who was never spectacular as their best average was only 3.8 in the spring. they were however consistent with their worst average being only 4.5 in the fall.

Omaha has to feel fairly good about how their first year went. They were a bit off the pace in the fall as their 6.25 average was the 2nd worst of any school for any season (IUPUI had a 6.4 average in the spring) but they were much stronger in the winter and the spring as they got their season long average down to 4.73.

Historical Comparison

I wondered how UNO stacked up compared to the last few schools to move into the Summit. Now one thing to note here is that Fort Wayne began their transition in 2001, NDSU and SDSU began in 2004, and South Dakota began in 2008. None of the schools went through the kind of transition UNO is dealing with where they will spend 3 years competing in the Summit League while not being eligible for the postseason. All were able to build their programs much more before their first Summit competition. So how does UNO stack up in terms of average finish?

School Fall  Average Fall Sports Winter Average Winter Sports Spring Average Spring Sports Total Sports Average Finish
NDSU 2007-08 4.75 4 2.25 4 3.8 6 14 3.64
SDSU 2007-08 2.75 4 4.5 6 4.8 8 18 4.22
Omaha 2012-13 6.25 4 4 4 4.3 7 15 4.73
South Dakota 2011-12 6.25 4 4 6 5.3 6 16 5.06
Fort Wayne 2007-08 5.6 5 6 3 5.9 7 15 5.8

Few things of note… the Summit League was only 9 teams this year as opposed to 10 last year and 10 in 2007-08. Was that an advantage to Omaha? Probably slightly. But in that 2007-08 season there were only 7 returning members as three new members joined. So that was certainly an advantage for NDSU, SDSU and Fort Wayne.

NDSU had an amazing first year in the Summit and were extremely competitive. They stand out from the pack in this table. I think the case could be made though that Omaha’s season was the 2nd best of these five. Yes they were a half spot worse on average than SDSU five years ago, but that season for SDSU came in their last season of transition as opposed to Omaha’s second. I think this seems to show the future is very bright for UNO.

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October 4, 2009

MIAA Recap 10/3 – Mavericks Maintain Momentum!

Filed under: College Sports,D2,Football,Omaha Mavericks,Soccer,Volleyball — Jon Green @ 12:10 am

Football

Well since this is mostly geared towards the Mavericks, let’s start with their game.

UNO went down to Emporia St, probably the 2nd worst team in the league, and won fairly handily 34-13.  Freshman Running Back Levi Terrell had 192 yads on 34 carries with 2 TDs. The Mavericks moved to 3-1 in the MIAA, and now have some home cooking to look forward to as they host Washburn, Central Missouri, and Pittsburg State in the next 4 weeks.  If the Mavericks want to make a push for the post season they will need to take care of business in these games.  Up first is Washburn who…

Knocked off Fort Hays State 28-14 to go  to 3-1 in the MIAA as well.  Washburn will tell us all we need to know about their team in the next 3 weeks as they go to UNO, host Pittsburg State and travel to Northwest Missouri State.  Win the first two and they could be playing for an MIAA title at Northwest.  Lose to UNO and Northwest and they may see their playoff chances slip away.  Huge set of games for the Ichabods.  UNO-Washburn is a mega tilt next week when it comes to the playoff picture.

Then there is Central Missouri who dominated Truman State 38-3 to go to 3-1 in conference.  They have it fairly easy hosting Fort Hays State next week, as well as in their other remaining home game when they host Missouri Southern.  The problem is the 3 road games are trips to Missouri Western and Nebraska-Omaha back to back and a season ending trip to Northwest Missouri St.  Sure if they run the table ’til then they probably would be playing for a conference title, but a much more likely scenario sees them at 7-3/8-2 and playing for any hope of a playoff berth.  With the tough road trips against two teams who are also in the playoff hunt I’d bet AGAINST the Mules making the run they need.

Pittsburg State has hung around in relevance by knocking off Missouri Southern State 21-13 (in Joplin).  First of all look out for Missouri Southern, they look like they could be a spoiler after giving UNO and Pittsburg State some tests in the last two weeks.  Unfortunately those were both at home and their remaining three big games are at Northwest Missouri State, at Missouri Western, and at Central Missouri. So if they do it I told you so, but it probably won’t happen.  But remember I told you so.  Pittsburg State still needs to win out and has it easier next week hosting Emporia St before a big game at Washburn.

And then there’s Missouri Western and Northwest Missouri State who battled for the inside track today in St Joseph. Northwest proved they are still  the team to beat with a 49-35 win.  The Missouri Western defense is now looking very suspect having given up 31,34,40,and 49 in the first 4 MIAA games.  Still 3 of their last 5 games appear winnable (although Truman and Emporia are both going to be eyeing upsets).  If Missouri Western can avoid upset bids there and win one of their two games against Central Missouri and Nebraska Omaha they should be in good shape for the playoffs still. Northwest has easier games the next two weeks before hosting Washburn and Central Missouri in the final 3 weeks of the year.  Northwest has a fairly clear path now and should win the MIAA Title unless someone else (Washburn or Central) can run the table the rest of the way and get the tie-breaker over them.

So looking ahead to next week we have.

Missouri Southern State @ Northwest Missouri State – Should be no problem for Northwest Missouri State at home,  even with Missouri Southern’s play the last few weeks.

Missouri Western @ Truman State – Missouri Western wouldn’t expect to have any trouble against a Truman State team who hasn’t put up a touchdown in 3 of their 4 MIAA games so far (the exception being 31 against Fort Hays State), but Truman knocked off UNO around this time last year and can’t be overlooked… still an upset here would be a big surprise.

Fort Hays State @ Central Missouri – Fort Hays State probably can keep this one close, and Central could overlook them a bit as they look ahead to Missouri Western and UNO.  If Central stays focused though this one shouldn’t be a problem.

Emporia State @ Pittsburg State – Pittsburg State shouldn’t have any trouble with Emporia State on Saturday as long as they don’t overlook them.  Emporia has not shown they can win a game like this.

Washburn @ Nebraska-Omaha – This is easily the game of the week.  UNO would set themselves in front of Washburn with a home win while Washburn would all but finish UNO by knocking them to 3 losses at this point.  If UNO keeps improving like they have been the last few weeks this team should take care of business at home, a place where they are 46-4  in their last 50 regular season home games  and have won 6 straight Homecoming games.

Volleyball

The only conference game this week was Central Missouri traveling to Pittsburg State on Friday night where they avenged their earlier home loss with a 3-0 win.

So my updated standings are (-1 for any loss at a bottom level team, -1 for any home loss to a top level team, and +1 for a road win at a top level team)

Central Missouri and Emporia State (+1)

Nebraska-Omaha and Pittsburg State (0)

Washburn (-1)

Truman State (-2)

Official Standings show Central, UNO, and Emporia near the top.  Pittsburg is a bit futher back at 4-3 but remember 2 of those losses were at UNO and at Truman State, so until the other teams make those trips and try to upset those teams Pittsburg is going to look a bit shakier.

Next week will see Central travel to Truman on Wednesday night, Emporia travel to Pittsburg on Friday night, Truman travel to Omaha on Saturday, and Washburn travel to Pittsburg on Saturday!  So some big games for all 6 of the big teams!  We’ll see if anyone can make a move. Truman needs this home game against Central really bad, and would love to make up some ground with the road upset at Omaha on Saturday.

Soccer

This week in big games we saw Central and Northwest tie in Maryville (meh have fun with that one standing guy!), UNO hold off Southwest Baptist 3-0 at home, and knock of Northwest 2-1 at home in OT,  and  Truman destroyed Southwest Baptist on the road 4-0.

So my updated standings are (-1 for any loss at a bottom level team, -1 for any home loss to a top level team, and +1 for a road win at a top level team, oh and .5 points for a tie.)

Truman State (+2)

Nebraska Omaha  (0)

Central Missouri (-.5)

Southwest Baptist (-2)

Northwest Missouri State (-2.5)

When we look at the MIAA Standings we see Truman and UNO one two, just like this, but these standings show that Truman has pulled off some road upsets, so UNO is going to have to match them to keep pace while Truman has an easier run the rest of the way. Central Missouri is hanging around and gets all 4 of the other big teams in a row at home to end the season.  Their last chances to get a big road win are going to be at Truman and at Southwest Baptist.  If they can’t win those games they are going to need Truman to stumble to have any chance.

Next week we’ll see the Central at Truman match-up on Thursday, and Truman will also host Southwest Baptist on Saturday.

September 26, 2009

MIAA Review 9/26

Filed under: College Sports,D2,Football,Omaha Mavericks,Soccer,Volleyball — Jon Green @ 10:58 pm
Football
Northwest Missouri State – Northwest, who was now won 31 straight MIAA games (last loss Oct 2005 vs. Pittsburg State), has what might be the biggest game of the conference season on Saturday when they go on the road to fellow 3-0 in conference foe Missouri Western.  This game could be for all the marbles.  NW has a fairly easy schedule after that with the best remaining chances to stumble being vs. Washburn and Central Missouri at home. But if they lose to Missouri Western even a 8-1 season might not be enough to win the conference this year…
Missouri Western – Missouri Western, after upseting Pittsburg State on the road this weekend, is now in position to win the conference through some MAJOR home games. It starts this weekend with Northwest Missouri State coming to town.  A win would make them the team to beat in the MIAA and mean if they could go 4-1 the rest of the way they would win the conference.  After Northwest the biggest tests are all at home.  A October 17th meeting with Central Missouri and a November 7th year end game with Nebraska-Omaha.  A game that could mean a conference title with a win for Western and could be UNO’s last chance to reach the playoffs.
Central Missouri – The team that looked like the team on the rise after beating Pittsburg State last week has taken a step back falling on the road @ Washburn. They still are in position for a great finish and a possible playoff berth, but it looks A LOT tougher now.  This team doesn’t look good on the road, barely scraping bye @ Emporia State, and has to go to Missouri Western, UNO, and Northwest Missouri State in 3 of the last 4 weeks of the season.  I don’t see them getting through that stretch any better than 1-2, can they make the playoffs if they finish 8-3?
Washburn – Maybe this is the new team to watch out for? Washburn’s only loss on the year was a tough loss on a FG at the end to Missouri Western last week.  We’ll know all about Washburn after a 3 game stretch in mid October (@ UNO, Pittsburg State, @ Northwest Missouri State).  If they want to make the playoffs they’ll need to avoid slipping up outside of that and go at least 1-2 in that stretch.
Nebraska-Omaha – UNO has looked up and down, and didn’t look at their best vs. Missouri Southern, but got the job done none the less. The Mavericks need to take care of business on the road at Emporia State and Fort Hays State in the next 3 weeks, but the real tests will come at home where they take on Washburn, Central Missouri, and Pittsburg State.  The Mavericks probably need to go 3-0 in this stretch as they already have 2 losses, but if they do they would have the edge on Washburn and Central Missouri, and Pittsburg State would be done.  Can the Mavericks finish 8-3 with a loss at Missouri Western in the final game and make the playoffs or would they need a win to get in there?  If UNO can get rolling they could be an interesting team to watch.
Pittsburg State – I don’t think anyone saw this coming, Pittsburg State with their backs firmly pressed into the wall with 6 weeks left in the season.  They can’t lose again and still have road tests @ Washburn and @ UNO.  The good news is outside of those two games they appear to have 4 very winnable games, but they’ll have to win all 6 to have a shot.
Fort Hays State – Fort Hays looks to be one of those bottom 4 teams, and the schedule does them no favors sending them @ Washburn, @ Central, home with UNO, @ Pittsburg State, and home with Northwest Missouri State in the next 5 weeks.  I imagine they’ll be lucky to emerge from that schedule 1-4.
Missouri Southern State – Missouri Southern has not looked great so far and has only one more chance to get a big upset at home when they host Pittsburg State next week.  If they don’t get the job done there they’ll probably finish 3-6 in conference, 3-7 overall.
Emporia State – Emporia State doesn’t appear to have much bite in them which will hurt their chances with the next 3 games home with UNO, @ Pittsburg State, and home with Northwest Missouri State.  They also host Missouri Western and Washburn, so they’ll have plenty of chances to play spoiler…
Truman State – Truman State should be glad they got to play Oklahoma Panhandle in the non-conference season because I don’t see a conference win coming.  MAYBE at home against Emporia State on October 24th… but that’d be the best chance by far.
Volleyball
This weekend gave us several big games.  Central Missouri went to Washburn and pulled off a win 3-2, giving Washburn it’s second straight loss.  Truman lost at home to Missouri Southern 3-2 in a major let down. Truman did respond however by knocking off Pittsburg State at home 3-1 on Saturday.  UNO went to Emporia State and gave them all they could handle in a 3-2 Emporia win.  The Mavericks are for real, they’ll be in contention for the conference title. UNO had two KEY service errors in the final set down the stretch and still managed to make it 15-13.
So my updated standings are (-1 for any loss at a bottom level team, -1 for any home loss to a top level team, and +1 for a road win at a top level team)
Emporia State and Pittsburg State (+1)
Nebraska-Omaha and Central Missouri (0)
Washburn (-1)
Truman State (-2)
The next big game, and the only conference match next weekend, is when Central travels to Pittsburg State on Friday night as part of the PSU Classic looking to avenge the home loss they had earlier this year.
Soccer
Soccer is probably a 5 taeam race at this point.  Truman State at 5-1, UNO at 4-1, Southwest Baptist at 3-1, Northwest Missouri State at 3-2, and Central Missouri at 3-2.  Central fell @ Washburn 1-0, and Northwest Missouri State fell @ Missouri Western 2-0 on Thursday. Truman had a big win Saturday 1-0 over UNO at home.
I’m going to use the same method as we have for volleyball (-1 for any loss at a bottom level team, -1 for any home loss to a top level team, and +1 for a road win at a top level team) amongst these 5 teams to see where things stand.
Truman State (+1)
Nebraska Omaha and Southwest Baptist (0)
Central Misouri (-1)
Northwest Missouri State (-2)
Northwest is a team to question, they are having a solid year so far but may not be up to the level of competing for the conference title.

Football

Northwest Missouri State – Northwest, who was now won 31 straight MIAA games (last loss Oct 2005 vs. Pittsburg State), has what might be the biggest game of the conference season on Saturday when they go on the road to fellow 3-0 in conference foe Missouri Western.  This game could be for all the marbles.  NW has a fairly easy schedule after that with the best remaining chances to stumble being vs. Washburn and Central Missouri at home. But if they lose to Missouri Western even a 8-1 season might not be enough to win the conference this year…

Missouri Western – Missouri Western, after upseting Pittsburg State on the road this weekend, is now in position to win the conference through some MAJOR home games. It starts this weekend with Northwest Missouri State coming to town.  A win would make them the team to beat in the MIAA and mean if they could go 4-1 the rest of the way they would win the conference.  After Northwest the biggest tests are all at home.  A October 17th meeting with Central Missouri and a November 7th year end game with Nebraska-Omaha.  A game that could mean a conference title with a win for Western and could be UNO’s last chance to reach the playoffs.

Central Missouri – The team that looked like the team on the rise after beating Pittsburg State last week has taken a step back falling on the road @ Washburn. They still are in position for a great finish and a possible playoff berth, but it looks A LOT tougher now.  This team doesn’t look good on the road, barely scraping bye @ Emporia State, and has to go to Missouri Western, UNO, and Northwest Missouri State in 3 of the last 4 weeks of the season.  I don’t see them getting through that stretch any better than 1-2, can they make the playoffs if they finish 8-3?

Washburn – Maybe this is the new team to watch out for? Washburn’s only loss on the year was a tough loss on a FG at the end to Missouri Western last week.  We’ll know all about Washburn after a 3 game stretch in mid October (@ UNO, Pittsburg State, @ Northwest Missouri State).  If they want to make the playoffs they’ll need to avoid slipping up outside of that and go at least 1-2 in that stretch.

Nebraska-Omaha – UNO has looked up and down, and didn’t look at their best vs. Missouri Southern, but got the job done none the less. The Mavericks need to take care of business on the road at Emporia State and Fort Hays State in the next 3 weeks, but the real tests will come at home where they take on Washburn, Central Missouri, and Pittsburg State.  The Mavericks probably need to go 3-0 in this stretch as they already have 2 losses, but if they do they would have the edge on Washburn and Central Missouri, and Pittsburg State would be done.  Can the Mavericks finish 8-3 with a loss at Missouri Western in the final game and make the playoffs or would they need a win to get in there?  If UNO can get rolling they could be an interesting team to watch.

Pittsburg State – I don’t think anyone saw this coming, Pittsburg State with their backs firmly pressed into the wall with 6 weeks left in the season.  They can’t lose again and still have road tests @ Washburn and @ UNO.  The good news is outside of those two games they appear to have 4 very winnable games, but they’ll have to win all 6 to have a shot.

Fort Hays State – Fort Hays probably is one of those bottom 4 teams still despite winning 2 of their first 3 conference games, and the schedule does them no favors sending them @ Washburn, @ Central, home with UNO, @ Pittsburg State, and home with Northwest Missouri State in the next 5 weeks.  I imagine they’ll be lucky to emerge from that schedule 1-4.

Missouri Southern State – Missouri Southern has not looked great so far and has only one more chance to get a big upset at home when they host Pittsburg State next week.  If they don’t get the job done there they’ll probably finish 3-6 in conference, 3-7 overall.

Emporia State – Emporia State doesn’t appear to have much bite in them which will hurt their chances with the next 3 games home with UNO, @ Pittsburg State, and home with Northwest Missouri State.  They also host Missouri Western and Washburn, so they’ll have plenty of chances to play spoiler…

Truman State – Truman State should be glad they got to play Oklahoma Panhandle in the non-conference season because I don’t see a conference win coming.  MAYBE at home against Emporia State on October 24th… but that’d be the best chance by far.

Volleyball

This weekend gave us several big games.  Central Missouri went to Washburn and pulled off a win 3-2, giving Washburn it’s second straight loss.  Truman lost at home to Missouri Southern 3-2 in a major let down. Truman did respond however by knocking off Pittsburg State at home 3-1 on Saturday.  UNO went to Emporia State and gave them all they could handle in a 3-2 Emporia win.  The Mavericks are for real, they’ll be in contention for the conference title. UNO had two KEY service errors in the final set down the stretch and still managed to make it 15-13.

So my updated standings are (-1 for any loss at a bottom level team, -1 for any home loss to a top level team, and +1 for a road win at a top level team)

Emporia State and Pittsburg State (+1)

Nebraska-Omaha and Central Missouri (0)

Washburn (-1)

Truman State (-2)

The next big game, and the only conference match next weekend, is when Central travels to Pittsburg State on Friday night as part of the PSU Classic looking to avenge the home loss they had earlier this year.

Soccer

Soccer is probably a 5 taeam race at this point.  Truman State at 5-1, UNO at 4-1, Southwest Baptist at 3-2, Northwest Missouri State at 3-2, and Central Missouri at 3-2.  Central fell @ Washburn 1-0, and Northwest Missouri State fell @ Missouri Western 2-0 on Thursday. Truman had a big win Saturday 1-0 over UNO at home.  Southwest Baptist dropped a game @ Washburn 4-3.

I’m going to use the same method as we have for volleyball (-1 for any loss at a bottom level team, -1 for any home loss to a top level team, and +1 for a road win at a top level team) amongst these 5 teams to see where things stand.

Truman State (+1)

Nebraska Omaha  (0)

Central Missouri and Southwest Baptist (-1)

Northwest Missouri State (-2)

Northwest is a team to question, they are having a solid year so far but may not be up to the level of competing for the conference title.

March 30, 2009

CFU Club Championship 2009 Update – 3-30

Filed under: CONCACAF Champions League,Soccer — Jon Green @ 1:29 am

Well Tempête and Alpha United didn’t play today as their match was postponed for a week until April 5th.

AS Cavaly and Britannia are still played today, to the result of a 1-0 Cavaly win, advancing them 6-0 on aggregate.  They take on W Connection of Trinidad and Tobago in the next round.

Hoppers apparently beat Sevilla Bayamón 2-0 to advance to the 2nd round. (Also here) Apparently Sevilla was up 3-1 in that first game, gave up 2 goals in the final 20 minutes to only get a draw, and then gave up 2 goals today to get knocked out.  Disappointing for sure.

So Hoppers now has to wait to see if they will face Tempête or Alpha United in the next round.

Check out The Puerto Rico Islanders Offside for more info on the CFU Championship

March 29, 2009

CONCACAF Champions League 2009-2010 Qualifying

Filed under: CONCACAF Champions League,Soccer — Jon Green @ 12:11 pm

Qualifying is underway for the CONCACAF Champions League, 2009-2010 Version!  The former Champions Cup has transitioned to the Champions League, and everything is falling into the time frames that will work for the future.  24 teams will qualify for the Champions League, and 11 of those are already in.  So let’s take a look at the contenders for those final 13 spots.  The first games of the actual Champions League will be the week of July 28th :).

USA

USA did all of their qualifying by results from the 2008 MLS Season, and the U.S. Open Cup.  The Columbus Crew qualified ast the MLS Cup 2008 Winner, with the New York Red Bulls qualifying as the runner-up.  The Crew were also the Supporters’ Shield winner, so the Houston Dynamo qualified as the runner-up.  Finally D.C. United Qualified as the U.S. Open Cup winner.   Columbus and Houston will be in the group stage, while New York and D.C. will be in the preliminary round.

Mexico

Mexico will qualify the top 2 finishers in Clausura 2009 (The Spring season in Mexico).  Deportivo Toluca (group stage) and Cruz Azul (preliminary stage) are already in thanks to their finishes in the Apertura 2008.  The Clausura ends in a playoff where the top 2 finishers will be determined.  The top 8 teams make the playoff.  It appears that if Deportivo Toluca or Cruz Azul were to make the playoff final, the highest finisher in the regular season of Clausura 2009 would qualify.  Anyways, after 11 of 17 rounds in the Clausura, the top 8 are Deportivo Toluca, Pachuca, Puebla, Chiapas, Monterrey, Universidad Nacional, Atlas, and San Luis F.C.  If form holds, Pachuca and Puebla would be the top 2 teams favored to qualify.  Cruz Azul is in 13th place, and looks like they won’t be a factor.  The Clausura is scheduled to end May 10th, with the playoffs being played between May 13th and May 31st.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica will qualify the top finisher in Verano 2009, joining the winner of Invierno 2008 (Saprissa).  Much like in Mexico’s Primera División, Costa Rica’s Primera División ends in a playoff.  The winner of the Verano 2009 will take on Saprissa in a 2 game playoff with the winner entering the group stage and the loser entering the preliminary stage.  If Saprissa should win Verano 2009, they would take the group slot and the team with the best overall record (other than Saprissa) in the Verano 2009 regular season would qualify.  At this point after 11 of 16 rounds, Saprissa, Liberia Mia, Pérez Zeledón, AD Ramonense, CS Herediano, and Puntarenas F.C would make the playoff, with Saprissa favored to win the playoff and CS Herediano to grab the 2nd Champions League spot.  The Verano is scheduled to end May 3rd with the playoffs running from May 6th until May 31st.

Honduras

Honduras will qualify the winner of the playoff following their Apertura and Clausura, with the winners facing in a two-game playoff to determine who qualifies for the group stage. Marathon qualified as the winner of the Liga Nacional’s 2008 Apertura season.  The playoff in Honduras is amongst the top 4 teams.  After 13 of 18 rounds, Olimpia, Real España, Marathón, and Victoria are in qualifying position.  Olimpia is the favorite to get the 2nd qualifying spot.   The Regular season will end May 2nd, with the playoffs after that.

Guatemala

Guatemala will qualify the winner of the playoff following their Apertura and Clausura, with the winners facing in a two-game playoff to determine who qualifies for the group stage. Municipal qualified as the winner of the Liga Nacional’s 2008 Apertura season. The playoff in Guatemala is amongst the top 6 teams.  After 8 of 18 rounds, Jalapa, Deportivo Heredia, Club Xelajú MC, Deportivo Zacapa, Deportivo Xinabajul, and Municipal are in qualifying position.  Jalapa and Deportivo Heredia are the favorites to get the 2nd qualifying spot.   The Regular season will end May 24th, with the playoffs after that.

Guatemala

Guatemala will qualify the winner of the playoff following their Apertura and Clausura, with the winners facing in a two-game playoff to determine who qualifies for the group stage. Municipal qualified as the winner of the Liga Nacional’s 2008 Apertura season. The playoff in Guatemala is amongst the top 6 teams.  After 8 of 18 rounds, Jalapa, Deportivo Heredia, Club Xelajú MC, Deportivo Zacapa, Deportivo Xinabajul, and Municipal are in qualifying position.  Jalapa and Deportivo Heredia are the favorites to get the 2nd qualifying spot.   The Regular season will end May 24th, with the playoffs after that.

El Salvador

El Salvador will qualify the winner of the playoff following their Apertura and Clausura, with the winners facing in a two-game playoff to determine who qualifies for the group stage. Isidro Metapán qualified as the winner of the Liga Mayor’s 2008 Apertura season. The playoff in El Salvador is amongst the top 4 teams.  After 10 of 18 rounds, Isidro Metapán, Luis Angel Firpo, Nejapa, and Chalatenango are in qualifying position.  Isidro Metapán is the favorite to win the playoff, and Luis Angel Firpo is in position to get the 2nd qualifying spot.   The Regular season will end in May, with the playoffs after that.  It all should be wrapped up on May 31st.

Panama

Panama will qualify the winner of the playoff following their Apertura and Clausura, with the winners facing in a two-game playoff to determine who qualifies for the group stage. Árabe Unido qualified as the winner of the Liga Profesional’s 2008 Apertura season. The playoff in Panama is amongst the top 4 teams.  After 4 of 18 rounds, Tauro FC, Atlético Chiriqui, Chorrillo F.C. , and Atlético Veragüense are in qualifying position.  Tauro FC is the favorite to win the playoff, and Árabe Unido is in 8th place at this point.   The Regular season will end in May, with the playoffs after that.  It all should be wrapped up on May 31st.

Belize

Belize only gets one spot, which works well since the league only has one season.  There are 10 teams in the league, according to wikipedia, but since nothing has been updated and belize’s website is… obselete and outdated, I have no idea what’s going on here. Last time the qualifier was Hankook Verdes, so maybe they are the favorites again… hard to say if we’ll know anything about what’s going on anytime soon.

Nicaragua

Like Belize, Nicaragua only gets one spot.  That said, I’ve actually been able to find out a few things about their football situation!  Real Estelí won the Apertura 2008, and then Clausura 2009 began with 10 teams.  They played a single round robin, and the top 6 moved on to a Hexagonal.  Real Estelí was on top of the table for the Clausura 2009, with Xilotepetl, Deportivo Walter Ferreti, Deportivo Masatepe, Real Madriz FC, and Diriangén FC also qualifying for the Hexagonal.  The top 4 teams in the Hexagonal are going to move on to the Semfinals (which will either be two pairs, or another round robin tournament… If Real Estelí wins the Clausura they will qualify for the Champions League. If they don’t win, they will face off in a two-leg playoff for the spot with the Clausura 2009 champion.

Canada

Like Belize and Nicaragua, Canada only gets one spot.  Unlike Belize and Nicaragua, Canada doesn’t actually have a National League that amounts to anything.  The teams in Canada’s Soccer Legue (the Canadian Soccer League) don’t even get a chance to qualify, it’s just not possible.  Instead, Canada runs a tournament involving three clubs (Toronto FC of MLS, Montreal Impact of USL-1, and Vancouver Whitecaps of USL-1).  All teams will play each other home and away, and the winner of the tournament will represent Canada in the Champions League.  The Montreal Impact won the first Canadian Championship last year.  Things start off on May 6th when Toronto hosts Vancouver, and ends on June 17th when Montreal hosts Toronto.

Caribbean Football Union

The Caribbean clubs get 3 spots, which they determine via the CFU Club Championship. So 12 teams qualified for the 2009 Championship.  How did you qualify?  You signed up.  That’s right, you basically just signed up.  2 Teams withdrew the day before the draw, and many countries just didn’t bother to sign up.  Interesting. 1 team got a buy into the 2nd round (San Juan Jabloteh) and one team got a buy into the 3rd round (Puerto Rico Islanders of USL-1 who are still alive in the 2008-2009 Champions League!).  In Round 1, 2 matchups are complete. W Connection or Trinidad and Tabago defeating Centre Bath Estate of Dominica 17-1 on aggregate… yikes.  Apparently Centre Bath Estate might have wanted to withdraw before the tournament. Inter Moengotapoe of Suriname defeated CSD Barber of Netherlands Antilles 3-2 on aggregate.  Moengotapoe won 3-1 on the road before losing 1-0 at home.  Inter Moengotapoe will face San Juan Jabloteh in the 2nd round.  In other first round matchups, Hoppers of Antigua and Barbuda and Sevilla Bayamón of Puerto Rico tied 3-3 in Puerto Rico.  They will play their 2nd leg today.  Hoppers will probably advance in a tie, so Sevilla will need to outscore them on the road to advance.  They could also tie 3-3 to send it to PKs or tie 4-4 to advance. Tempête of Haiti anda Alpha United of Guyana tied 1-1 in Guyana.  They play today in Haiti. Alpha United must score or they will be eliminated. They will advance with a win or a tie of 2-2 or greater.  If they tie 1-1 they will go to PKs, while a 0-0 tie will advance Tempête.  The winner of these last two matchups will meet in round two.  In the final first round matchup Britannia of Aruba will host AS Cavaly of Haiti on Monday.  AS Cavaly won 5-0 at home, so they should be good to advance.  Britannia would need to win by atleast 6 goals (7 if Cavaly scores) to move on.  A 5-0 Britannia win would bring us PKs though! The winner of this matchup will face W Connection in the 2nd round.  The 2nd round matches will be played on April 13th and 20th. The 3 3rd round winners will join Puerto Rico Islanders in the 3rd round, playing single elimination games on May 15th in Trinidad.  The two winners will advance to the Champions League and meet for the Championship on the 17th.  The two losers will also face off on the 17th for the final Champions League Spot.

So that’s it.  Lots of football to go, but things are getting clearer every week.  We’ll have to wait until May to finalize the qualifiers, but we’re getting a better picture of who might be getting these spots.

August 7, 2008

USA – Japan Olympic Soccer Postgame Thoughts

Filed under: Soccer — Jon Green @ 11:07 am

I know I don’t usually talk much about USA Soccer on here, but deal with it.  It’s a big passion of mine.

Just gone done watching the first Olympic match and yikes… I must say, even though the USA won 1-0, they can only be described as lucky.  Japan should have won this game.  Chance after chance Japan barely missed.  Several missed penalties in the box (Maurice Edu is a lucky man).  The ref was not great both ways in my opinion.  Freddy Adu had a tough time getting any calls and Michael Bradley picked up a yellow that made NO sense to me.  But the USA got lucky.  Brian McBride played a lot better, but the solo placing of him up top with Adu behind doesn’t seem to work well.  I’d like to see Jozy Altidore up there with McBride next game.  Sacha Klejstan did not impresse me this morning and I’d purpose to take him out of the lineup and replace him with Altidore up top.  I’d like to see a 4-4-2.  Wynne – Edu – Parkhurst – Orozco in the back.  Michael Bradley as a defensive mid (It worked for him today) with Holden on the Left and Rogers on the Right.. Adu in the front… then Jozy playing with McBride up top.  (Ussoccer.com does have Adu as a F in their match tracker… so maybe this was technically a 4-4-2)… either way I like my lineup better.

Major probs to Robbie Rogers and Marvel Wynne for impressive performances today in my mind.

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