Get a sneak peek at upcoming match-ups with our weekly previews! We’re sharing behind-the-scenes insights for each game this weekend, October 7 and 8, at Ramp Playground (3300-40 Solly Ave, 19136).
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7
#17 Colombia vs. #16 Argentina – 4pm
Both these teams come off a very difficult outing in their final group stage match where they both fell short by a goal. The major question in this match will be whether or not Argentina can match the team speed of Colombia. The match may stay close early, but expect Colombia to wear Argentina down in the second half to pull this one out.
#18 Ukraine vs. #15 Haiti – 6pm
Two very physical teams match up in the second game of the day. It is no secret that Ukraine plays a physical style, but not many expect Haiti to play that way (just ask Sierra Leone). This match will be a game of attrition, with both teams feeling each other out early, and not taking too many chances. The winner will be determined late in this one, most likely by the team that capitalizes on one of their opponent’s mistakes.
#22 USA vs. #11 Ireland – 8pm
A huge rematch from last year’s kick-off night, although these teams don’t look anything like they did last year. As has been mentioned before, it’s a completely new look for the USA team, and Ireland revamped their roster after the defeat to Liberia a year ago. This has all the makings of a classic, since both teams are familiar with each other and play a familiar style. In the end, Ireland has a bit more firepower and has the revenge factor on their side to overcome Team USA.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8
#21 Guatemala vs. #12 Senegal – 12pm
These teams were on opposite ends of the spectrum in their final group match. Guatemala couldn’t put home a penalty kick late in the game, which cost them the group to Italy, while Senegal made a crazy second-half rush to knock off Colombia. These two teams are very similar in how they play. The factor in this one will be an intangible one – which team can keep their cool the longest. One of these teams will let their emotions get the best of them, which may cost them a card or two and the game!
#23 Lithuania vs. #10 Germany – 2pm
A battle of tactical teams is what this shapes up to be. Strategy will play a key role in this one. Will Germany look to use their speed to outrun the more mature Lithuanian team, or will Lithuania continue their run of fantastic defense and capitalize on their opportunities (something they failed to do against Ivory Coast)? Expect a well-played, disciplined match but for youth to prevail in the end with a German victory.
#20 Greece vs. #13 Jamaica – 4pm
Greece came into week 3 of the group stage looking to finish undefeated and get a much-needed week off. Unfortunately, being short-handed and playing Puerto Rico’s speed wasn’t a good combination, and they dropped. Jamaica did what they needed to do, and that was win out after a week 1 tie. Jamaica has the athletes and stamina to blow the doors off this one, but if Greece is at full strength and can play their usual disciplined style, they can keep it close and perhaps pull the upset.
#19 Liberia vs. #14 Mexico – 6pm
Next to the Ireland-USA matchup, this is the most anticipated of the weekend. Liberia has not looked like the team that went to the championship a year ago. Mexico, on the other hand, has looked unstoppable at times with their high tempo style of play. The difference in this one comes down to experience – Liberia has been here before and they will likely respond as the team they were last year. Mexico can score with Liberia, but can their defense hold out? Expect Liberia to win in a shoot-out.
#24 Ethiopia vs. #9 Ivory Coast – 8pm
The war for SW supremacy will be played as the last game of the weekend. Both these teams make their home in SW Philly and have been known to practice on the same fields down at Finnegan and Myers, so they know each other well. Ethiopia is the young upstart, Ivory Coast the seasoned vet. If Ivory Coast cannot put them away early, and Ethiopia keeps believing they can pull off a monumental upset then watch out! The more likely scenario is the former … Ivory Coast takes a lead early and coasts in the second half to victory.