Weekend preview

Big weekend: MLS Cup, McKennie in the Revierderby, Sargent, & more

It could be a huge weekend ahead for American fans as MLS Cup should be a good finale to the season, a huge rivalry game in Germany, and a possible big debut looms. Brian Sciaretta breaks it down
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 06, 2018
8:00 PM
WHAT A WEEKEND it is going to be for American soccer fans. MLS Cup in Atlanta is going to be a terrific spectacle, two of the best national team players could meet in the Revierderby, and Josh Sargent might make his debut. And that’s just the start.

The past few months have been tough for Americans abroad but perhaps the next few days will offer a positive turn. Domestically, it’s been a great MLS season and a packed house in Atlanta is a great way to cap it off.


Saturday, 8:00pm ET

Last year, MLS got some of what it wanted in Toronto where it saw a Canadian team finally become champions of the league at home. But the last three MLS Cups have been played in brutal cold.

This year, MLS Cup will be played in room temperature in front of a rabid crowd of 75,000. That should increase the chances for a better game.

Atlanta clearly deserve to be the favorites but in the playoffs, Portland has prevailed on the road in tough places to play – such as Seattle and Kansas City.

There are so many good storylines in the game. It is the final Atlanta game of Tata Martino who will likely depart for the Mexican national team job next week. Will this be the last game for Miguel Almiron and what is his value going to be in the offseason?

For Portland, the team has had a special core together for years and Diego Valeri has been one of the best players in the history of the league. A win on Saturday would add to his status. Then there is the stunning first season of Giovani Savarese and how he is a product of the early days of the league as a player and now is the thriving in the modern era of the league as a head coach. Then there is young American forward Jeremey Ebobisse who has become an important part of the team’s success.

The odds are that Atlanta wins this but Portland has shown it is capable to hang in against favored opponents and get goals against the run of play – sometime through special goals that require a high level of individual talent.

McKennie in the Revierderby

Saturday: 9:30am ET

The Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke is always special and is always intense. This year it will probably feature Weston McKennie (although there is the possibility that Haji Wright stays with Schalke’s first team after a tough outing last week).

But this year, the Revierderby is also highlighted but the surprising season both clubs have had – for the better and for the worse. Borussia Dortmund sits at the top of the Bundesliga table by a staggering seven points. Schalke, meanwhile, were runners up last season but have disappointed so far this year and are in 12th place.

Sargent’s debut possible

Friday: 2:30pm ET

On Thursday, it was announced that Josh Sargent would be in the matchday squad for Werder Bremen for the first time the season when the club hosts last-place Fortuna Dusseldorf (which might feature American midfielder Alfredo Morales, who has been coming off the bench in recent weeks).

This is huge news for the St. Louis native who has thrived this season since joining the German club and has scored goals at rapid pace for Werder’s youth teams. There are not many top-tier American forward prospects (either abroad or domestic) but Sargent is clearly one. His development is as important as it is exciting.

Hines-Ike to take on Belgium leaders

Saturday: 12:00pm ET

Colorado native Brendan Hines-Ike, 24, has done well since joining Kortrijk in Belgium this summer. The small top-flight club has been safely in midtable and the American has been a consistent presence in the backline.

On Saturday, Hines-Ike will have one of his best tests so far in his career when Kortrijk visits Belgian leaders KRC Genk. Genk is having a great season and it leads the league by four points over second place Brugge and has the best goal differential. It’ll be a huge challenge for Hines-Ike and the rest of the Kortrijk backline but it is also a huge opportunity.

Yedlin & Newcastle look to climb

Sunday: 11:00 ET

After a brutal start to the Premier League season which saw Newcastle United firmly in last place, the club has gradually climbed itself to approaching midtable in 14th place. Sunday at home against 12th place Wolverhampton presents a very winnable game.

DeAndre Yedlin has been a steady presence for Newcastle this year at right back and is once against slated to take part. The Seattle native is the only consistently American player in the Premier League this year.

Post a comment