North Carolina FC at Miami FC – 7:30 PM EST Saturday April 22, 2017
NCFC got things back on track last weekend with the dismantling of the Eddies of FC Edmonton. Lance Laing did what he does best and put his free kick in the top corner in the fourth minute. Twenty minutes later, captain Nazmi Albadawi decided that Albert Watson needed some new ankles and then took the shot near post from outside the box. Matt Fondy, who got fouled to set up Laing’s goal, wanted to join in on the fun and added the third by getting on the end of a Steven Miller cross. His performance earned a NASL Player of the Week award. Tomi Ameobi scored, but who cares?
This is the NCFC I have been waiting to see: ruthless in attack, yet strong and organized in the midfield and defense. I was impressed with James Marcelin’s shift in the defensive midfield, and you know I loved Connor “Turbo” Tobin’s defensive work.
NCFC travels down to Miami to play the “Fusion” on Saturday, and Miami FC tied NCFC in the first contest of the season. It was a fiery affair as well all know, so I think both teams will be coming out the gate and looking for a win. In the games since, Miami beat the Cosmos 3-0 in New York and then lost to the Cosmos 2-0 at home. So who knows which Miami team will show up.
Players to watch
Gabriel Farfán, Miami: I was going to talk about Poku or Dylan Mares, but I think we all know we will be watching Mr. Farfán. He has been suspended since the NCFC game for his elbow to Laing, so I’m sure in that time period he has been devising a dastardly plan for his return. Will he ditch the aggression and play more conservatively? Maybe. Will he probably sit on the bench for the entire game? Most likely.
Nazmi Albadawi, NCFC: RCS favorite Nazmi Albadawi has not recorded an assist this season, but I think that is going to change very soon. Last game against Edmonton, he created seven chances. Seven! I won’t complain if he keeps scoring goals like he did last Saturday, though.
Predicted Outcome: 2-0 NCFC
North Carolina Courage vs Portland Thorns – 7:30 PM EST Saturday April 15, 2017
Last weekend, the Courage took down the Southern Maryland Spirit 1-0 courtesy of a McCall Zerboni goal to start out the season and franchise with a big away win. On Saturday, they host the Portland Thorns, who they beat in extra time last year in the playoff’s semi-finals. The Thorns will be without Tobin Heath, but with Christine Sinclair and Amandine Henry they are still dangerous.
After checking out last weekend’s game, I was pretty impressed with Debinha in the midfield. She should’ve scored early in the second half but hit it straight to the Spirit goalkeeper. But I mean, check out the last highlight in this package. She had four players around her, and still managed to get a shot off outside the box that hit the crossbar.
Song of the Week
Beer of the Week
I know that the choice for the Song of the Week doesn’t help my case, but before you call me a hipster hear me out. For years, Mike has always been a PBR consumer – I even have a picture from ten years ago to prove it. Last weekend, I met up with Mike in the parking lot of WakeMed to tailgate before NCFC destroyed Edmonton. We drank PBRs in the back of his truck, and it was quite refreshing. So for that, I salute PBR this week.
Question of the Week
How would you rank the Rocky franchise? If you don’t put Rocky 4 at #1 then you are an idiot.– Kevin
This is a lot harder than it seems since I can’t remember the last time I saw a Rocky movie. I’m actually not going to Wikipedia each movie to remember the plot, but instead go from my own memory. Don’t get mad at me, Kevin.
7. Rocky V – This is an awful movie through and through. All I can remember about it is that there was no actual boxing in the movie and it was mostly street fighting and some guy named Tommy Gun. It effectively killed the franchise.
6. Rocky Balboa – The only thing I can remember about this was there was a video game reenactment of the guy fighting Rocky, and that Rocky owned a restaurant? Why did the guy want to fight old Rocky?
5. Rocky III – Rocky fought Mr. T and his trainer died. I also will never forget the amazing beach training montage he has with Apollo Creed. Plus Hulk Hogan shows up as a wrestler named “Thunderlips”.
4. Rocky II
3. Rocky IV – I know that Rocky II should be ranked higher than IV, but my heart won’t allow it. Maybe because it’s on fire (I had to). Ivan Drago is the best opponent in the series. Plus, a third of the film’s runtime consists of musical numbers/montages.
2. Creed – I think this is a totally underrated film. Michael B. Jordan is fantastic in it, and Sylvester Stallone was rightly nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Most of the boxing sequences are filmed in one take and look way more realistic than Rocky and Drago’s slug fest in IV.
1. Rocky – It doesn’t have the bells and whistles like the sequels do, but it really is a great film. Very small and understated.
Sorry to Kevin, Clubber Lang, Tommy Gun, and anyone else I’ve offended with my rankings.
You can find JP on Twitter at @jp_rcs. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org