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5 to Watch This Weekend

World Cup Roster Spots and Relegation Come into Focus

Can Jose Torres and Michael Orozco fight their way into contention for a World Cup roster spot? Can Alejandro Bedoya help Nantes stave off relegation? There's plenty of soccer worth watching this weekend.
BY Christopher McCollum Posted
March 14, 2014
5:48 PM


Everton vs. Cardiff City
11:00a.m. (all times Eastern)
NBC Sports Live Extra

Tim Howard and the Toffees are looking to get back into European contention, and a win over lackluster Cardiff City could help their cause. As it stands now, Everton is in seventh place—just behind Manchester United due to goal differential—and out of Europe. With 11 games left in the season, however, there’s still plenty of time to make up the points. That said, Everton can’t afford anything other than a win against the relegation-bound Welsh squad.

Lille vs. Nantes
11:30 a.m.
beIN Sports USA

Nantes is basically doomed. Handed an incoming transfer ban until the summer of 2015 and sliding toward relegation, Alejandro Bedoya needs to start looking for a lifeboat sooner rather than later. Until then, the U.S. international will have his hands full trying to help Nantes from bouncimng back down to the French second division. Standing in the club's way is third-place Lille, which appears to be on its way to Champions League qualifying with 10 games to go.

Aston Villa vs. Chelsea
1:30 p.m.
NBC Sports Live Extra

Brad Guzan and Aston Villa remain in the same bubble as before—in the middle the table, protected by six points from relegation while being 22 points from the top five. Facing an on-fire Chelsea will be a tough task, especially when you consider that the London-based club has secured 13 points from its last five games and hasn’t lost a game since December 7. bWith Eden Hazard lighting up the world and Villa not having a player who can stop him, it might be a long day for Guzan.

Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC
4:30 p.m.
NBC Sports Live Extra

Their availability for Toronto’s opener was in doubt, but now it appears that Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe will be ready to go for the new and (very likely) improved Toronto FC. The other marquee player in the match, Clint Dempsey, appears to have his feet back under him and looks ready to make an impact this season.


Puebla vs. Tigres
2:00 p.m.
ESPN Deportes

DaMarcus Beasley has been enjoying another strong season in Mexico, and must be smiling to himself at the left back situation for the U.S. national team. (Given his experience and track record, is there any way hedoesn't make the World Cup roster?) Alongside Beasley in the Puebla back line is Michael Orozco, a long shot for a plane ticket to Brazil, but somebody who knows he needs to stand out if he wants a shot at glory. On the other half of the field, Jose Torres scored his first goal of the season last week against Cruz Azul and will need to continue on this trajectory if he hopes to break into a crowded U.S. midfield.

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.

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