5 to Watch This Weekend
Duane Holmes, John Brooks On U.S. TV This Weekend
Saturday is jam packed with enough games to hopefully cure you of the international break hangover, highlighted by the Merseyside Derby and culminating in the MLS Conference Finals.
November 22, 2013
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Sheffield Wednesday vs. Huddersfield Town
7:15 a.m. (all times Eastern)
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Duane Holmes didn't get a surprise call up to the National team during the break, but he's on the radar now. This could be American supporters' first chance to see him play on TV. He's been consistently on the bench lately, but playing a bad Sheffield Wednesday team could see the young midfielder get some action.
Everton vs. Liverpool
It's the first installment of this season's Merseyside Derby, and only three points separate the two teams after 11 games. Tim Howard has been strong in goal, and this Liverpool lineup is full of potential World Cup opponents. Howard has six clean sheets so far this season, but it's hard to imagine he'll be able to keep Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge off the board.
Hertha Berlin vs. Bayer Leverkusen
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin are showing well this season, currently only one spot out of Europe after being in the 2.Bundesliga last year. With Brooks back to full health, expect him to return to his spot in the lineup against third place Leverkusen. Hertha has the fifth best defense in the Bundesliga, while Leverkusen has the fourth best offense. Something has to give in this game. Maybe we'll even get to see the long-lost David Yelldell on Leverkusen's bench.
Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo
It's winner take all in Kansas City after the first leg of the Eastern Conference final finished in a 0-0 tie. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler have the opportunity this post season to truly vindicate their choices to stay in MLS instead of exploring options elsewhere, but for the third year in a row, Brad Davis and Co. stand in the way of KC's first title appearance since 2004.
Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake
Kyle Beckerman and Real Salt Lake appear to be cruising to their second MLS Cup appearance. You'll remember the first appearance ending in a shootout victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy, when Beckerman and Landon Donovan famously missed back-to-back penalties. Portland doesn't sport much in the way of national team players, but for RSL, here's a good chance to see a few U.S. internationals get another meaningful game.
NO U.S. ANGLE BUT...
Germany: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund
(12:30 p.m., Saturday, GolTV USA)— It's Der Klassiker. The two best teams in Germany, and last year's two best teams in Europe, square off with enough firepower between them to get the French to re-arm the Maginot Line. Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger are out of the game with injury, which leaves the door a little more open for Borussia Dortmund's similarly injury-depleted side to get a win in the cauldron that is the Westfalenstadion.
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.