Two of the top American stars in Europe go head-to-head on Saturday morning, but it won't be available to most on the big screen. Friday night's Tijuana may be your best bet for U.S. action.
SOME LEAGUES REMAIN
January 10, 2014
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on winter break, but there are plenty of Americans back in action on TV this weekend. In fact, with Clint Dempsey's return to Craven Cottage in time to host Jozy Altidore and Sunderland, along with Tijuana back in action, we'll see six or seven Americans take the field in just two games this weekend.
While we wait for the Bundesliga and Eredivisie to come back, we can bide our time by watching a battle for the top spot in Spain. No Americans there yet, but it's only a matter of time, right? Or maybe MLS is the new destination of choice....
Tijuana vs. America
The Clausura is off and running, and Tijuana still has the same five Americans seeing regular playing time. In last week's opener against Atlas Greg Garza started in defense and Joe Corona got the nod in midfield, coming off for countrymen Edgar Castillo in the second half. Herculez Gomez and strike partner Javier Guemez both went 90 minutes so Paul Arriola did not see the field, but the youngster hasn't been buried in the depth chart. He will get his minutes, as he did in the Apertura.
Fulham vs. Sunderland
10:00 a.m. (all times Eastern)
NBC Sports Live Extra
Clint Dempsey is back with Fulham, in a game at Craven Cottage—the stadium where he established himself as a hero and then infuriated supporters after his abrupt departure from the squad. This weekend Jozy Altidore and Sunderland are in town, creating a fun matchup for American soccer fans looking to keep tabs on these Top 5 players
. So NBC Sports will be all over this one, right? It's the spotlight match at 10am on NBC Sports Channel, in all its HD glory, right? Wrong. Inexplicably, the network is showing Tottenham—Cardiff City instead. Don't believe us? Check right here
. What a howler! Prepare to fire up your laptops, sports fans.
Everton vs. Norwich City
NBC Sports Live Extra
While the clash of American strikers goes on at Craven Cottage, Tim Howard will be trying to drive Everton back into Champions League standing in Goodison Park. After a draw in its last game against Stoke, Everton slipped down to fifth place and are now only one point ahead of Tottenham, who have been surging since dumping Andre Villas-Boa. Howard has been rock-solid this season despite receiving a red card against Sunderland, and it would be hard to ask for a better matchup, as Norwich has one of the weakest offenses in the league.
Stoke City vs. Liverpool
Geoff Cameron gets to take on Luis Suarez and company as the Reds continue its pursuit of the top three. Cameron's solid season has been well documented so far, and even though the side is in a lot of injury trouble, the state of affairs gives him even more opportunity to prove his worth as a versatile player.
Aston Villa vs. Arsenal
Wins these days have been few and far between for Aston Villa, but Brad Guzan is still showing as one of the top keepers in the league. On paper, taking on Arsenal seems like an insurmountable challenge for Villa, especially since the team has just one win and one tie in its last seven league contests. That said, Villa has shown that it can pull off some surprise results, evidenced by its late September win over Manchester City. With the game at the boisterous Villa Park, inspiration might strike once more.
NO U.S. ANGLE, BUT...
Spain: Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona
(2:00 p.m., Saturday, beIN Sports)— It's not often that Barcelona and a team from Madrid that doesn't begin with Real square off to see who will take over the top spot in La Liga, but that's the scenario this weekend as Barca visits Atletico. Both teams sit on 49 points with one draw and one loss apiece. Lionel Messi is back and on fire, complete with a creepy zombie-baby tattoo on his leg. Diego Costa has revealed himself as a top-tier striker, scoring nine goals in his last 10 league games, and 23 in all competitions this season. With no significant injuries on either side, this game is set to be the best on TV this weekend. And it comes at a time when no Americans playing, so you have no excuse not to tune in.
So what are you watching this week? Let us know in comments section below.
Christopher McCollum is a New York City based writer and an ASN contributor.