5 to Watch This Weekend
Your TV Hit List: Dempsey, Altidore, Howard, and More
Relax. Take a seat. And get ready for a weekend full of soccer on TV. Blake Thomsen's curated guide to the best U.S. national team-centric matches will help you sort through your viewing priorities.
September 13, 2013
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Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake
10:00 p.m. (all times Eastern)
NBC Sports Network
With CenturyLink Field sure to be rocking, the two best teams in MLS (at least in terms of points) square off in a battle for first place in the Western Conference. Midweek hero Eddie Johnson will look to continue his red hot scoring form—he’s scored in seven of his last 10 appearances for club and country—while Clint Dempsey seeks his first Sounders goal. A Seattle win won’t come easy against fellow national teamers Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, though. No MLS team has picked up more points on the road than Real Salt Lake.
Sunderland vs. Arsenal
NBC Sports Network
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland begin a daunting stretch of home games as they welcome Arsenal and record signing Mesut Ozil to the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats will be looking to improve upon a very poor start to the season, but it won’t be easy against the in-form Gunners. With the fit-again Steven Fletcher likely taking one striker spot, U.S. fans will be hoping there is room for Altidore alongside Fletcher in Sunderland’s 4-4-2. Newly signed Liverpool loanee Fabio Borini will be pushing for the start as well.
Everton vs. Chelsea
Tim Howard will hope to build off an excellent showing in midweek against Mexico—as well as two straight clean sheets for Everton. He won’t find himself with easy opposition, however. No Premier League team scored more goals against Howard than Chelsea last year, who accounted for four of his 39 goals conceded a season ago. But if Howard plays like he did on Tuesday in Columbus, Chelsea will need to produce something special to beat him.
Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo
It’s a battle with major playoff implications featuring a pair of misfiring strikers ranked in the top 50 of the ASN 100. The Union’s Jack McInerney hasn’t scored since June 1st—an incredible drought considering he scored 10 goals in his first 14 games—and the Dynamo’s Will Bruin has only two goals since May 12th. Whichever striker rises to the occasion may decide this battle between the Eastern Conference’s 4th and 6th placed teams.
Liga MX: Chivas Guadalajara vs. Tijuana
(6:00 p.m., Sunday, UniMas)—Tijuana and its American contingent meet Chivas on the heels of a 3-0 win last weekend over Veracruz. With the raucous postgame celebrations, Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo got a taste of the World Cup on Tuesday—but with fierce internal competition, neither is a lock for the 23-man roster that will head to Brazil. Both are on the bubble and both will be looking to impress after not playing a minute in the recent Hex matches.
BEST OF THE REST
Stoke City vs. Manchester City
NBC Sports Live Extra
After some disappointing Hex performances from Michael Orozco and Fabian Johnson at right back, Geoff Cameron will get a chance to showcase his credentials—even if Jurgen Klinsmann thinks it’s his third-best position. Stoke is notoriously tough to break down at the Britannia Stadium, but the likes of Sergio Aguero, Jesus Navas, and David Silva will pose as tough a test as the Potters will face all season. It should be an entertaining match—and definitely worth watching if Altidore isn’t starting for Sunderland.
NO U.S. ANGLE BUT...
La Liga: Villareal vs. Real Madrid
(4:00 p.m., Saturday, beIN Sport Play)—World record transfer signing Gareth Bale will likely make his debut for the new Galacticos. Bale and former record signing Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to outshine La Liga’s other superstar duo, Neymar and Messi, who play Sevilla at 2:00 p.m.
So what are you watching this weekend? Let us know in the comments section below.
Blake Thomsen is an ASN contributor and freelance writer.