This weekend has a tense feel to it, whether it’s apprehension about injuries heading into the international break, a dread about next week’s match with Canada that Gregg Berhalter essentially agreed is a referendum on his tenure (yet failed to make any significant changes since the last match-up), or the general downward trajectory of interest in the USMNT which has reportedly sold just 8,000 tickets for Friday’s match against Canada in Orlando, things aren’t seeming great. With that rosy start to things let’s see where you can catch USMNT players in action this weekend.
Schalke 04 v Fortuna Dusseldorf - 9:30a on FS2
There are no games of note on Friday so we’re jumping right into a full slate on Saturday beginning with an American match-up in the Bundesliga. Unfortunately even this game is dampened as it seems likely that the same injury keeping Zack Steffen from USMNT camp will keep him from appearing with his club this weekend. The only way this could get worse is if Weston McKennie and Alfredo Morales collide, knocking each other out of the game and USMNT matches. That can’t happen right? Someone knock on all the wood.
Meanwhile, for their club match this weekend David Wagner has confirmed that Weston McKennie is likely to start at centerback after the team lost Salif Sane last weekend and is now in a bit of an injury crises at the position. McKennie will need to fill in well as it’s largely been the defense this season that has the team currently sitting in 6th place and tied for points for third. Schalke are coming off a 3-2 win over Augsburg.
Fortuna Dusseldorf for their part are coming off a crucial 2-0 win over FC Cologne in a battle of teams fighting for the necessary points to avoid relegation. Dusseldorf now have 10 points through 10 games and are three points clear of the relegation zone. Alfredo Morales started the game and provided the assist on the opening goal. Morales has appeared in every game that he’s been available for the club this season though he has missed several due to injury.
- Christian Pulisic and Chelsea face Crystal Pallace at 7:30a on NBCSN. Pulisic has started four straight games, and provided the game winning assist in the fifth, across all competitions since being removed from the USMNT game against Canada. Not a bad bounce back from the flu.
- We don’t typically dive into streaming options but Duane Holmes and Derby County will be playing Nottingham Forest at 7:30a on ESPN+ Saturday morning. Holmes has been listed by many as the biggest snub from “The Group” Gregg Berhalter has put together and seems unwilling to adapt and Saturday morning will be one of the rare chances to see what we’re missing out on.
- Still no Tyler Adams for RB Leipzig as they face Hertha Berlin on FS1 at 9:30a. Third place Leipzig are doing well without Adams but all accounts are that the team is anxious to see him return and plan to slot him back in at the 6 when he’s healthy.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Werder Bremen - 7:30a on FS1
Another potential match-up of American’s this weekend is ruined as Borussia Monchengladbach’s Fabian Johnson remains out with injury. Prior to to his back and hamstring troubles Johnson had started two of three and appeared off the bench in the third but it remains to be seen what role he will have, if any, moving forward with club and country. Johnson’s club is on a tear winning six of seven Bundesliga matches and currently they sit atop the table, three points ahead of Borussia Dortmund. Meanwhile, Johnson has publicly expressed interest in returning to the USMNT but there’s been no indication of whether he’s on Berhalter’s radar or has any chance to break into the aforementioned Group.
Gladbach will be facing a 12th place Werder Bremen side that has somehow managed to draw five straight matches. Josh Sargent came off the bench for Werder last weekend, breaking a streak of five straight starts in which he had two assists and one goal. The five straight starts and subsequent return to the bench coincided with Yuya Osako’s injury and return to health so it would seem that Sargent is going to have to be content with a substitute role moving forward or perhaps some rotation at best.
- Another streaming option for you Sunday morning as Sergino Dest and Ajax face Utrecht at 6:15a on ESPN+. Dest was an unused substitute for Ajax last weekend and again midweek in the bonkers 4-4 Champions League draw with Chelsea.
- John Anthony Brooks was not in the 18 for Wolfsburg in their midweek loss to Gent in Europa League play. The good news for USMNT fans is that Brooks wasn’t ruled out due to injury, the bad news is that he was ruled out due to poor form.
- Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt play SC Freiburg at Noon on FS2. Chandler has seen just a handful of minutes off the bench for seventh place Frankfurt this season.
- The Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC face off in the MLS Cup on Sunday at 2p on ABC. Seattle’s Jordan Morris has been one of the most in-form American’s over the past couple of months but perhaps the most interesting tidbit from this game is that Michael Bradley will have a $6.5M option kick in if Toronto wins the Cup.
Let us know what else your checking out this weekend in the comments below.