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USMNT Mar 29-31 viewing guide and open thread

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Easing our way back from the international break

Chivas v New York RB - CONCACAF Champions League 2018 Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

With the international break coming to a close one would hope for a return to some solid club action but a relatively light schedule further impacted by a slew of injuries means we’ll likely have a pretty light slate this weekend but there are still some opportunities, including a likely Tyler Adams start on Saturday when Leipzig face Hertha Berlin. That game and more will be what we’re watching this weekend.

Friday

Atlas v Santos Laguna - 11p on Univision Deportes

Omar Gonzalez isn’t exactly a favorite in the Stars and Stripes FC forums but the centerback started and went the full 90 in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against 13th ranked Chile, a game which Chile largely dominated but also failed to produce many good scoring opportunities. Omar will have a quick turn around this week as his Atlas team faces Santos Laguna Friday night. Atlas are losers of six straight and have fallen to fifteenth in Liga MX. Omar was left out of the clubs last game, the weekend prior to the international break, but had previously started every game for the team this season. This weekend Atlas with be facing tenth place Santos Laguna who are coming off a 2-1 loss to Ventura Alvarado and Necaxa.

Saturday

Fulham v Manchester City - 8:30a on NBCSN

Tim Ream was the only US player to go the full 90 in each of the teams games over the international break so the 31 year old could possibly use a bit of rest this weekend and perhaps he’ll get it with his Fulham team all but guaranteed to head back to the Championship at the end of the season as they sit firmly in the relegation zone. Fulham have just 17 points through 31 games and are a full 13 points out of safety with just 7 games to play.

This weekend Fulham will face a Manchester City side that are two points out of first place but with a game in hand and will certainly be looking to take advantage of a favorable matchup against lowly Fulham.

RB Leipzig v Hertha BSC - 1:30p on FS2

The highlight of the weekend for USMTN fans will likely be Saturday afternoon when Tyler Adams should take the field for RB Leipzig as they look to maintain their top four position in the Bundesliga and qualify for Champions league play next season. RB Leipzig currently sit in 3rd place but are just three points ahead of 5th place Eintracht Frankfurt. Leipzig have yet to lose a game since Tyler Adams started playing for the team and the young dynamo left the international break early to rejoin his club team in their push for Champions League position so one would hope that they have a key role for him this game as well as down the stretch.

On Saturday Leipzig will be facing 10th place Hertha Berlin, who themselves have an outside shot of a Europa qualifying position as they are seven points back of sixth place Bayer Leverkusen with eight games to play. The team has lost their past two games and will be looking to get things turned around and back on track against Leipzig this weekend.

Other Notes:

  • Ventura Alvarado is back to starting, and captaining, his Necaxa team after having missed a couple of games due to injury. Necaxa is in 6th place and their only three losses this season came when Alvarado was not on the field. This weekend the team will play 17th place Veracruz who are still looking for their first win on the season. The match will be at 11p on Univision Deportes.

Sunday

Hannover 96 v Schalke 04 - 9:30a on FS1

Perhaps we should have just bypassed this game all together as it’s a bit of a downer. A game that several weeks ago looked like it would feature American’s going head to head now might not feature either and is simply a battle of two Bundesliga teams trying to avoid relegation. Bobby Wood has fallen on hard times as he’s been completely left out of the 18 for Hannover for their past two matches and was also left off the call up list for Gregg Berhalter. While it seems unlikely that Bobby Wood will see the field it’s a certainty that Weston McKennie will be unavailable as he’s been all but ruled out for the remainder of the club season due to the ankle injury that he picked up while away on international duty.

Hannover currently sit in second to last with just 14 points but a win could pull them within six points of a Schalke team that sit in 15th place with 23 points. Likewise a win for Schalke would be huge as it would send them 12 points ahead of the relegation spots, though the relegation playoffs would remain in play.

Other Notes:

  • It has been recently reported that Timothy Chandler has suffered a setback in training and is unlikely to make a return this season meaning the 29 year old (Happy Birthday!) will have missed the entire season for Eintracht Frankfurt. The team is in fifth place, just one point behind Borussia Monchengladbach for Champions League play, and face Stuttgart on Sunday at Noon. The game can be seen on FS2.
  • Orlando City are coming off a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls during the International Break with Dom Dwyer assisting Sacha Kljestan on the games lone goal. This weekend they will be going up against a D.C. United team that is in first place in the East and coming off a dominating 5-0 win over Real Salt Lake. Paul Arriola will be back from the break and with the team, joining Bill Hamid, Steve Birnbaum, and Russell Canouse. The game airs at 6:30p on FS1.
  • Out in the Western Conference the Los Angeles Football Club are in first place thanks to a late Walker Zimmerman goal providing a win over RSL. Christian Ramirez will also be back with the team following the break and should be well rested given that he didn’t see the field. LAFC faces a Portland Timbers side still looking for their first win this season and coming off a 3-0 loss to league new comers FC Cincinnati. The teams will play at 9p on ESPN2.

Let us know what you’re seeing and what other action you’re tracking in the comments below.