It should be a solid weekend of USMNT action ahead of the March friendly roster being announced, so which players will take advantage of the chance to make a last minute impression? Here are some of the nationally broadcast games you can catch to follow along and see what Coach Berhalter might be impressed with.
Werder Bremen v Schalke 04 - 2:30p on FS2
The weekend could start off with some American v American action if both Josh Sargent and Weston McKennie make the field on Friday afternoon. Sargent was an unused substitute last week, one week after getting his first start for Werder Bremen. It was just the second time in 11 matches since joining the senior side that Sargent failed to make at least a token appearance so it seems likely that he will see some playing time Friday. On the other side things are a little more uncertain, Weston McKennie has missed the past two games due to injury though he has returned to training and may be available.
Schalke could use all the help they can get, they’ve lost their past two, four of their past five and haven’t won since mid January. At this point Schalke sit just four points ahead of the relegation playoff spot with ten games to play, a precipitous drop-off from their second place finish last season. They will have a Champions League match on Tuesday which could also impact McKennie’s availability but at this point the team should probably prioritize maintaining the Bundesliga spot over trying to turn around a 3-2 deficit on the road to Manchester City.
Werder Bremen are in a much better position, sitting tenth in the Bundesliga table. The team hasn’t lost since prior to the winter break but have also picked up just two wins over that stretch, drawing the other five matches. Werder are comfortably out of the relegation muck and would surely like to make up the six point gap that separates them from European competition but will need to jump four teams to pull that off.
- Omar Gonazlez and Atlas face Cruz Azul at 10p on Univision Deportes. Atlas have lost four straight but Gonzalez continues to be a regular fixture for the team.
Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg - 9:30a on FS1
Saturday morning action starts off with two teams with a ton to play for and John Brooks sure to be in the mix. Bayern Munich are tied on points for first place in the Bundesliga, just behind Dortmund in goal differential. They’ve been coming on strong as Dortmund have been crumbling lately and at this point it would seem surprising if they don’t pass them for first place. Wolfsburg also have a lot to play for, currently tied on points and goal differential for 6th place, and the final Europa League position, with Bayer Leverkusen.
John Brooks will certainly be involved for Wolfsburg, the centerback has played the full 90 in all but one game this season, the one miss being due to yellow card suspension. Brooks also scored his second goal of the season last week. Clearly his defensive abilities will be more important for both club and country as the centerback looks to anchor the back line for years to come but the offensive contributions don’t hurt either.
Borussia Dortmund v Stuttgart - 9:30a on FS2
Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart will be kicking things off simultaneously on FS2. BVB should have an easier time of things, looking to stay atop the table against 16th place Stuttagart but this is a team that has recently lost to 15th place Augsburg and failed to put away a dreadful Nurnberg team. There was good news for USMNT fans on Tuesday as Christian Pulisic returned from injury and was available off the bench, playing the last 30’. Unfortunately the team lost and has been eliminated from the Champions League. Combined with their exit from the dfb Pokal it will mean greatly reduced opportunities moving forward and it will be interesting to see what sort of playing time he receives ahead of his summer move to Chelsea. Clearly the team won’t sit him out of spite at the expense of a run at the top of the Bundesliga, but they also aren’t likely to give him opportunities to develop or work through issues on the field. He’ll have to show well in practice and make the most of his opportunities if he’s going to get much time down the stretch.
All the action will be happening Saturday morning as just 30 minutes after the Bundesliga double feature kicks off DeAndre Yedlin’s Newcastle team will take the field against Everton. Unfortunately Yedlin has found himself in an unusual position, left on the bench for the teams last two matches after having missed just two of the previous twenty-seven. According to manager Rafa Benetez the decision has not been injury based but due to performances by Javier Manquillo in training.
Newcastle currently sit in 14th place, but just six points out of the relegation spots as they look to maintain their Premier League position.
- Fabian Johnson has only seen limited minutes for Borussia Monchengladbach recently, including 14’ off the bench in their 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich last weekend. His team will be looking to turn things around against Mainz to maintain their fourth place position and a spot in the Champions League for next season.
- FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy will kick off at 3:30p on Univision Deportes. The Play Your Youth movement continues for Dallas while a small handful of older USMNT players could see the field for the Galaxy.
Atlanta United v F.C. Cincinnati - 5p on ESPN
Atlanta United will be looking to bounce back from an opening weekend defeat to D.C. United and a midweek loss at Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions League as they take on newcomers F.C. Cincinnati Sunday evening. Atlanta will have the services of Michael Parkhurst, Brad Guzan, and Darlington Nagbe and potentially George Bello as well, though he has been displaced by Brek Shea in the lineup for the past three games after starting Atlanta’s first CCL game.
Cincinnati and newcomer Kenny Saief will be looking for their first points in the MLS after allowing four unanswered goals and loosing to Seattle last weekend 4-1. Saief joins Caleb Stanko and Greg Garza in Cincinnati though only Stanko saw any minutes last weekend and even those were limited.
- Michael Orozco and Lobos BUAP will face William Yarbrough’s Leon at 6p on Univision Deportes.
- LAFC will take on the Portland Timbers at 7:30p in the nightcap. Walker Zimmerman went the full 90’ for LAFC in their 2-1 win over Sporting K.C. while Jorge Vilafana and Jeremy Ebobisse both started the 3-3 snowglobe draw in Denver.
What are you seeing in these games and others? Let us know in the comments below.