5 to Watch This Weekend
Dempsey, Howard, Bradley Highlight TV Offerings
Tim Howard and company can still overtake Arsenal for the final Champions League spot, and on this side of the Atlantic there are some key MLS and Liga MX matches worth watching.
April 19, 2014
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Aston Villa vs. Southampton
10:00 a.m. (all times Eastern)
NBC Sports Live Extra
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa have lost four games in a row, conceding 11 goals during that span. Not really in any particular danger of relegation, though still only four points clear, the Villans are going up against Southampton, who have lost three of their last four and sit in eighth place.
Dallas vs. Toronto
At first blush, FC Dallas has had a strong start to the 2014 season. But several of its results have come against poor performing teams this season, including victories over winless Montreal and Portland. Though Dallas had an early season tie against Sporting KC, Toronto will provide the stiffest test so far for potential future national teamers Matt Hedges and Zach Loyd. Michael Bradley has turned MLS into his personal playground, and has been deadly in the offensive half of the field.
Chivas USA vs. Seattle Sounders
Clint Dempsey has been on fire this season, leading the league with six goals in five games. Any doubts about his current form should have been put to rest by now, and at the best-possible time with Brazil looming ahead. Seattle’s other World Cup hopeful, Brad Evans, is back from injury and needs every possible opportunity to impress Jurgen Klinsmann over the next few weeks. Chivas USA, meanwhile, is performing fairly well despite the standings. Of particular interest: 21-year old Erick Torres has scored five goals in six games and sits just behind Dempsey among the league leaders. Might we be watching the Mexican U-23 player blossom into a star destined to haunt the U.S. for years to come?
Everton vs. Manchester United
NBC Sports Live Extra
Everton may have sealed its fate to play in the Europa League by losing 3-2 to lowly Crystal Palace in midweek action, missing out on the opportunity to keep pace with Arsenal for fourth place. Sunday's match against Manchester United is massive, a must-win game for the Toffees if they want to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Arsenal is playing Hull City, which has a top-six defense and could pull off a surprise result.
Atlante vs. Tijuana
Jonathan Bornstein and Atlante are staring down the barrel of relegation, and TijuanAmerica is still hanging onto the final playoff spot by goal differential. There are four teams that could potentially overtake Tijuana this week. If the results fall the Xolos' way, the club could leap as high as third place. Paul Arriola, after enjoying a strong start to the Dallas Cup with the U.S. U-20s, has been recalled to Tijuana for its upcoming slate of games, while Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, and Herculez Gomez are all battling for playing time as the club targets the playoffs.
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.