Get a sneak peek at upcoming match-ups with our weekly previews! We’re sharing behind-the-scenes insights for each game this weekend, September 16-17, at:
- Ramp Playground (3300-40 Solly Ave)
- South Philly Supersite (11th & Bigler St)
- Gratz Supersite (Germantown & Hunting Park Ave)
- 48th & Spruce
- Germantown Supersite (Sedgwick & Lowber St)
Ukraine vs. Ghana – Saturday, 2pm
This is a huge game with a tremendous impact on what happens in Group L. Ukraine is coming off that crushing defeat against Brazil, while Ghana made short work of Panama. Ukraine is the more desperate team here. A loss means one of last year’s semi-finalists will be absent from the knockout round this year. This could be the must-see match of the weekend!
India vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina – Saturday, 4pm
India is playing this year’s tournament a little short-handed, as their top scorer from a year ago is on the sidelines with a torn ACL that occurred in the off-season. Their lack of scoring showed up in their loss to Argentina last week. On the other hand, Bosnia had no issue scoring as they put nine goals up against a tough Sudanese squad. For India, it all comes down to defense. If they can remain solid on the back line, they’ll make a game of this and possibly pull off the upset.
Brazil vs. Panama – Saturday, 6pm
Brazil came into the tournament as one of the favorites to advance deep, and maybe even take home the cup. Friday night didn’t disappoint as they knocked off Ukraine 3-1. Panama comes in desperately needing to regroup after Ghana shut them out this past Sunday. A Brazil victory puts them in prime position not only for a Group L first place finish, but a possible top seed come knock out time, and would in all likelihood put Panama in the position of playing out the string in week 3.
South Korea vs. Ireland – Saturday, 8pm
On paper this is a lopsided match-up. Ireland easily defeated Cameroon last weekend, while South Korea struggled to get anything going in their loss to Mexico. If South Korea has any chance of pulling this out, they will have to jump on Ireland early and play defense to survive. Ireland, with a win, would control their destiny for first place in Group K.
Venezuela vs. Serbia – Sunday, 2pm
Serbia pulled off the shocker of the first weekend when they upset last year’s runner-up Liberia 4-3. Venezuela battled with South Africa in what proved to be one of the top matches of the weekend, only to come up short. With Liberia out of the way, Serbia can really put a stranglehold on Group E with a win this weekend, while Venezuela will be looking to avoid knockout round elimination by pulling off the upset.
Mexico vs. Cameroon – Sunday, 4pm
The new look Mexican team appeared to be world beaters this past weekend as they easily defeated South Korea, and with a prime time match-up on the horizon with Ireland next weekend, they will try to avoid a letdown against a Cameroonian team trying to keep their knock-out round hopes alive. Cameroon battled to an almost draw in the second half vs. Ireland, so they have the manpower to hang with Mexico; the question is, for how long?
Mongolia vs. Belarus – Sunday, 6pm
Group B saw a total of six goals and two matches end in draws last weekend, so for all four teams it is a complete group reset. This means each game over the next two weeks is crucial if any of them want to move on. Both Mongolia and Belarus struggled to score in their match, and if it wasn’t for some late Jamaican heroics, Mongolia would be in control of Group B. Nevertheless, the tough defense showed by both these clubs will be on display in one of the matches of the weekend. Don’t be surprised to see another draw!
Germany vs. Iraq – Sunday, 8pm
A true tale of two teams here. Germany couldn’t stop scoring against Bhutan, and Iraq couldn’t find the back of the net versus Ethiopia. If Iraq has any chance of winning this match-up, they must first find a way to stop the German scoring machine, and second find the back of the net. The good news for both teams is that a loss doesn’t eliminate them from knock-out round contention, as having the tie in Group F opens a world of possibilities for week 3 of group stage matches.
SOUTH PHILLY SUPERSITE
USA vs. Togo – Sunday, 11am
A true desperation match for both teams, although with USA finishing in a draw with Myanmar, the real pressure falls on Togo here. A Togolese loss, and they will be eliminated from knockout round competition. The USA can take a loss, but it would make their task that much more difficult come week 3 when they match-up with Honduras, who currently controls Group D.
Thailand vs. Italy – Sunday, 1pm
This Group C match proves to be one of the more intriguing matches of the weekend. Yes, Italy did look strong after going down early to the Refugee Team, and yes, Thailand did end up losing their match to Guatemala, but these two teams are very evenly matched. The key here for both teams is to set the tone early for how they want the match play dictated. An Italian win puts them in prime position to take Group C; a Thai win would put a lot of emphasis on Group C for the week 3 matches.
Puerto Rico vs. Morocco – Sunday, 3pm
Puerto Rico was tasked with kicking off Unity Cup 2017 last Friday night, and they didn’t disappoint by putting on a show against Indonesia. They’ll look to continue that momentum into Sunday as they match-up with a Moroccan team that, although they fell short to Greece, will give Puerto Rico all they can handle.
Guatemala vs. Refugee Team – Sunday, 5pm
One of the highlights of week 1 was when the Refugee Team scored early to take the lead over Italy, basically calming all the nerves and anxious feelings leading up to game time from their organizers. The lead did not last, and they eventually lost, but the message was sent – do not underestimate us! Guatemala should be on alert; they had a tough time with the Thai team and now enter into a game where they are the favorite, all with Italy looming in week 3. If Guatemala can avoid looking ahead and survive the emotional surge from the Refugee Team they will likely face Italy for Group C next Sunday back in South Philly.
Argentina vs. Sudan – Sunday, 11am
Argentina looked dominant in their dismantling of India this past Saturday. Sudan struggled to defend their end versus Bosnia, but showed some glimpses on offense. This is another one of those situations where a Sudanese loss means elimination from knockout play while giving Group I control to Argentina. Should Sudan pull the upset, then each of the Group I games next weekend have meaning.
Myanmar vs. Honduras – Sunday, 1pm
To put things in perspective, Myanmar went 0-3 in last year’s tournament with a goal differential of minus-16. They did some heavy lifting in the off-season and came out last week with one thing on their mind: upsetting USA. They fell short of victory, but are satisfied with the draw. They are fast and relentless, and if Honduras isn’t careful they will be caught off guard. As for Honduras, they have to be happy with the result of their first match over Togo. They’ll be looking to avoid Myanmar’s upset bid so they can have full control of Group D.
Indonesia vs. Greece – Sunday, 3pm
There is no skirting around the reality of this one: Indonesia is in trouble. They had a very difficult time hanging with Puerto Rico, and the task gets even more challenging playing a Greek team that had an easy victory in game 1. The good news is that Greece plays a slower, more deliberate game that Puerto Rico, so Indonesia may keep it close early, but in the end the more talented team will win out, and we’ll be looking at a likely Puerto Rico-Greece match-up next Sunday back at Gratz to take Group J.
Colombia vs. France – Sunday, 5pm
France came into the tournament with the highest of expectations, only to see Senegal snuff them out with a week 1 defeat. France will definitely need to regroup as Colombia will come at them in waves and will likely not let up. France does have some hope that Colombia will have Senegal on the mind as they’ll know the result of that match before they take the field Sunday.
48TH & SPRUCE
DR Congo vs. Senegal – Sunday, 11am
One of the biggest shockers of the first weekend was the performance of DR Congo in their game against Colombia. As a team that participated in the round of 16 a year ago, it was expected to be a more competitive match-up. On the flip side, there was nothing competitive between Senegal and France, as Senegal controlled the game from first to last whistle. A win by Congo gives them a ton of confidence to move on as they finish Group H play with France while Senegal will battle with Colombia.
Sierra Leone vs. Israel – Sunday, 1pm
Israel had a tough go of it last week against Haiti – not only losing the game, but losing their goalie to a red card in the first half, having them play a man down rest of the game, and leaving them to their backup goaltender when they play Sierra Leone. Don’t forget, Sierra Leone was a quarterfinalist last year before getting knocked out by eventual champ Ivory Coast. They are reloaded and out to make a statement; unfortunately, that may come at the expense of Israel this weekend.
Liberia vs. South Africa – Sunday, 3pm
Panic hasn’t quite set in yet for Liberia, but if they go down early to South Africa you may start to see the players and coaches tense up a bit, knowing a loss combined with a Serbian win will eliminate last year’s runner-up from this year’s knockout round. South Africa has the opportunity to grab Group E by pulling off what would be an incredible upset.
Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria – Sunday, 5pm
Ivory Coast looked the part of defending champ as they easily handled Vietnam this past weekend. Nigeria will look to give their West African neighbor their first loss in over a year. The best part of this match-up is that it takes place in both team’s backyard in West Philly. Both teams can survive with a loss, but it would be more costly for Nigeria since they only managed a draw in week 1 against Lithuania.
Cambodia vs. Haiti – Sunday, 11am
Cambodia showed glimpses versus a much-improved Sierra Leone team, but in the end Sierra Leone proved too much for Cambodia to contain. They’ll look to rebound against another strong opponent in Haiti. Haiti is a tough match-up for anyone: a perfect combination of speed up front and toughness on the backline, which will limit Cambodia’s opportunities to score.
Vietnam vs. Lithuania – Sunday, 1pm
Vietnam got perhaps the worst draw of the entire tournament when they not only saw Ivory Coast in their group, but also were slated to play them in week 1. Lithuania came into 2017 looking to improve on their disappointing 2016 showing. Lithuania was somewhat successful coming out of week 1 with a draw against Nigeria. Both teams in this match-up will look to keep their knockout hopes alive as a win by either team puts them in prime position to take the #2 spot in Group G, and maybe even win the group if Ivory Coast falters.
Jamaica vs. Algeria – Sunday, 3pm
The other match-up in the reset Group B features very similar styles. Both Algeria and Jamaica enjoy getting up and down the field, providing their offense with numerous scoring chances and pressuring the other team’s defense. These teams both managed to salvage a draw in week 1 with late heroics to tie their respective matches. Much like the other Group B matches, the winning team here will separate themselves from the rest of the group… that is, if there is a winner!
Ethiopia vs. Bhutan – Sunday, 5pm
Bhutan is another team that fell victim to the luck of the draw in their first game. Bhutan opened with a match against semi-finalist Germany in week 1. The result was not pretty for Bhutan, but keep in mind they played a tough 2016 tournament and now they face an Ethiopian team that couldn’t muster a goal against Iraq this past weekend. In all likelihood a single goal may win this game!