Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United highlights Major League Soccer's 2013 opening weekend. But that's only the beginning of a big weekend of U.S.-flavored soccer on TV. Our recommendations below.
IT'S A BIG WEEKEND
March 01, 2013
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for American soccer. MLS is back (but you already knew that). Here are the matches—MLS or otherwise—you’ll want to watch this weekend.
Stoke City v. West Ham
Streaming on Fox Soccer 2 Go, tape delayed on Fox Soccer at 4:30
It’s good times for the Americans at Stoke City. Brek Shea showed well as a sub on the wing in his debut appearance for the club. Geoff Cameron could be in line to get some time at center back before the upcoming national team qualifiers. The good news for the Yanks makes us smile here, but the Potters actual team has been up and down lately. A home match against a struggling West Brom might be just what it needs.
Houston Dynamo v. D.C. United
NBC Sports Network
The marquee match-up from MLS’ opening weekend is a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference championship. In that series, the Dynamo leveraged a big home win in the first leg to advance 4-2 on aggregate. It’s the first full year for the Dynamo in BBVA Compass Stadium. They’ll try to repeat that feat against a United team without Dwayne De Rosario because of suspension.
Atlas v. Tijuana
Fresh off a rollicking victory in Copa Libertadores, Tijuana travels to Atlas, the second-place team in Liga MX. Xolos sit fourth and would leap Atlas with a victory. Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both scored in the midweek win and could both start in the league, depending on how much rest manager Antonio Mohamed wants to give his starters before a visit from the champions of the world, Corinthians next week.
Hoffenheim v. Bayern Munich
This match could be a really amazing upset, with Hoffenheim riding Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, and the rest of the team to a shocking victory against the hottest team in the world in front of an adoring crowd. It could also go really poorly for the American duo, whose club has lost three straight and is 11 points away from escaping relegation.
Roma v. Genoa
Genoa is just outside the Serie A relegation zone, giving Michael Bradley and Roma a good chance to pick up points and boost its European chances. Bradley had a match in which he didn’t start but looks to have his starting spot back once again. Can The General make a strong impression against Genoa?
BEST OF THE REST
MLS: Philadelphia Union v. Sporting Kansas City
(4 p.m., Saturday, MLS Live)— It’s back. Major League Soccer’s opening match has a strong Sporting KC team heading to the northeast to take on a Union team hoping its 2013 season goes better than the 2012 campaign.
Liga MX: Leon v. Puebla
(9 a.m., Saturday, Telemundo)— DaMarcus Beasley faces off with everyone’s favorite defender, Rafa Marquez. Michael Orozco Fiscal sits because of a suspension.
Premier League: Tottenham v. Arsenal
(11 a.m., Sunday, Fox Soccer)— Sadly, the north London derby won’t feature Clint Dempsey, who is missing with a calf strain. It likely won’t feature Brad Friedel either, with the American keeper backing up Hugo Llrois. But it should still be an enjoyable derby match.
NO U.S. ANGLE BUT...
La Liga: Real Madrid v. Barcelona
(10 a.m.., Saturday, beIN Sport)— El Clásico. Do I need to say more?
Eredivisie: Twente v. Ajax
(2:45 p.m.., Saturday, ESPN3)— As we continue our foray into the Dutch league, you can tune in for this match for more of the best title race in Europe. Ajax sit two points behind PSV. Twente, while in fifth, is only six off the pace.
So what are you watching this weekend? Which matches did we miss that we should tune in for? How excited are you to have MLS back on your screen? Let us know in the comments below.
Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and ASN’s CONCACAF correspondent.