Teams: Armenian NT, NY Rangers, USMNT, NYCFC
Armenia in UEL 2018/19
Two APL teams, Alashkert and Pyunik (Gandzasar was SO close to pulling off the upset/comeback over Lech Poznan), move on to the second round of Europa League qualifying.
Let's give Pyunik some praise and credit. They faced a club that made the UEL group stages just a season ago, beating Malmo and Fenerbahce to get there. Even though this year's Vardar side had a terrible/limited squad (sorry Tigran), Pyunik still kept two clean sheets and won 3-0 on aggregate. That is something to cheer for. Congrats to coach Andrey Talalaev and the squad, they are making progress.
Pyunik will next face Tobol Kostanay, Vardan Minasyan's old club, who defeated a Georgian side 3-0 on total aggregate in round one. Tobol definitely has more competitive matches under their belt, sitting in third place of the KPL after 18 matches. Tobol has two upcoming league matches on July 22nd and 29th, with the 1st leg vs. Pyunik next Thursday the 26th. Three matches in seven days for them may be an advantage for Pyunik, maybe it won't. Regardless, I think Pyunik has somewhat of a decent chance to advance to the THIRD round, something an APL team has failed to do in Europe am I wrong?
Now on to Alashkert. Yeah they played a pretty damn good Celtic side in UCL qualifying, but I am still VERY disappointed in the way they played. They drop down to Europa League and will face a Montenegran side in the second round. I don't even see them advancing. I am very suspect of Varuzhan Sukiasyan's coaching ability, and of the makeup of this Alashkert squad. The foreign players are no good, and BOY if I see Artak Yedigaryan and Taron Voskanyan get called up to the national team again I will throw a fit. Artur Yedigaryan did alright over the two legs, but the only bright spot to this Alashkert team is their Serbian keeper Cancarevic.