The weekend will be starting out a little slow with the only possibility for action an unlikely Shaq Moore sighting for Levante on Univision Friday afternoon so let’s jump right in to the Saturday action.
Fulham (Tim Ream) v Queens Park Rangers - 8:30a on ESPN3
Fulham have been on fire recently and are making a push for one of the two automatic promotion spots in the Championship. They haven’t lost a League game since mid December, a span that includes 12 wins and 3 draws, including wins over the three teams above them in the league standings. Tim Ream has been a big part of the push as a sure fire, 90-minute starter. His efforts have also seen him be named Man of the Match, score the winning goal against 2nd place Cardiff City, be named to the EFL Team of the Week, and be one of four players nominated for the February Player of the Month.
There aren’t many opportunities to catch USMNT players in Championship games but you can watch Ream and Fulham this weekend on ESPN3 as they take on middle of the table QPR.
Eintracht Frankfurt (Timothy Chandler) v Mainz 05 - 10:30a on FS2
After Eintracht Frankfurt’s loss to Dortmund last weekend they’ll need to turn things around quickly this weekend to maintain the American dream of seeing three Bundesliga clubs featuring USMNT players in the Champions League. The loss saw Frankfurt drop below Bayer Leverkusen to fifth in the standings. While they are separated by only 2 points Leverkusen play bottom of the table FC Cologne this week and with only 8 match days remaining every point will be crucial, dropping points to lowly Mainz can’t be an option.
Wolfsburg v FC Schalke (Weston McKennie) - 1:30p on Fox Deportes
The potential of seeing a US v US match-up in the Bundesliga is ruined this weekend by John Brooks’ glass <insert body part here>. Fortunately Weston McKennie started and saw 90 minutes last weekend and looks to be a driving factor for Schalke in their push for a top four spot down the stretch. Much like Frankfurt, Schalke can’t afford to stumble this weekend; while they sit in 2nd place they’re only 4 points clear of 5th and their opponent is also dwelling near the bottom of the table, though Schalke do have the additional difficulty of playing their match-up on the road.
NYCFC v Orlando City - 3:30p on Univision
Jonathan Spector, Sacha Kljestan, and Dom Dwyer are all USMNT players who see the field for Orlando City, they also have a combined age of 91. Yes that’s a joke, but it’s a true joke. If you want to see some guys who have donned the shirt in the past you’ve come to the right spot, if you want to see some players who might wear the shirt in the future you should probably keep looking. Cameron Lindley is a 20 year old who started the first two games for Orlando and has some experience with the YNT’s in the past but hasn’t been called up in the last several years.
On the NYCFC side you can check out Sean Johnson who at 28 is still a reasonable age for a keeper and will likely get some call-ups down the line.
Real Salt Lake v New York Red Bulls - 9p on MLS Live
Since there don’t seem to be any ESPN or Fox nationally broadcast MLS games this weekend we decided to highlight one of the games that can be streamed nationally (out of market) via the still free MLS Live*. To reward NYRB for playing their youngsters and for playing exciting, winning soccer their game has been selected. Trust me, they care.
Last weekend the Red Bulls played a heavily rotated squad due to their mid-week Concacaf Champions League match-up against Club Tijuana. The rotated squad, with eight Red Bull Academy or USL players, proceeded to stomp the Portland Timbers 4-0, a scoreline that was kicked off by Ben Mines. In the event that you didn’t catch the news about Mines, he’s a 17 year old, wearing #17, who scored precisely 17 minutes and 16 seconds into his first game with the Red Bulls. Couldn’t have waited one more second Ben?
Given that the Red Bulls played the second leg of their CCL match-up this week, which they won thanks in large part to 19 year old Tyler Adams, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them again bring out a fresh lineup. If you missed it last week this could be your second chance to catch Ben Mines, as well as Kyle Duncan. Adams also came on as a sub last week and saw roughly 25 minutes.
On the other side of the ball things haven’t started quite so smoothly for Real Salt Lake. After opening the season by drawing with FC Dallas on the road they were thrashed 5-1 in front of their home crowd last Saturday. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for 21 year old CB Justin Glad or his older counterparts Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman. Brooks Lennon and Sebastian Saucedo also saw the field in the losing effort.
* MLS Live will be free until the launch of the new ESPN Plus streaming service. The latest timing being communicated by ESPN is “late March/early April”. Once released the service will cost $5 a month.
Liga MX Saturday Evening
Saturday Evening there are a couple Liga MX games that can be caught on ESPN Deportes including Leon with William Yarboroguh and a potential Landon Donovan sighting (9:06p) or Necaxa v Pachuca with Ventura Alvarado, Omar Gonzalez, and Kekuta Manneh potentially seeing the field (neither Omar nor Kekuta played for Pachuca last week, the game starts at 11p)
Borussia Dortmund (Christian Pulisic) v Hannover 96 - 8:30a on FS1
Typically with Christian Pulisic not starting the mid week game it could be assumed that he would be starting the weekend game as that’s been the recent pattern (start one, sub one). However, given that he was held out of the 18 on Thursday due to the flu and with no indication at the time of writing regarding it’s severity or recovery time, it’s uncertain if we’ll see him Sunday.
Borussia Dortmund sit in 3rd heading into their game with Hannover Sunday. Coming off a big league win against Frankfurt last weekend they’ll look to continue their momentum and hope they’ve found their goal scoring prowess again as well. Prior to last weekend they had only scored a single goal in each of their past five games.
On Thursday Dortmund were eliminated from the Europa League when they failed to score at RB Salzburg. With the related reduction in number of matches moving forward it’s yet to be seen how Pulisic’s opportunities will be impacted though it seems a good bet that he’ll get better than 50% of available minutes moving forward.
It’s been reported that a little later in the day Sunday the roster will be released for the March camp leading up to the friendly against Paraguay on the 27th. Many are hoping that we’ll get a chance to look at some of the younger American’s, including some of the European players who weren’t included in the January camp but it remains to be seen who American Manager Dave Sarachan will call in. Stars and Stripes will have coverage of the roster when it is released.