With the Bundesliga season having come to a close and MLS yet to restart it’s an interesting weekend without a ton of action, particularly on the big networks, but with America’s favorite son in action Saturday, some fringe action through the weekend, and a major match on Monday when Werder Bremen look to avoid relegation in the second leg of their relegation / promotion playoff battle with Heidenheim. There are no televised matches on Friday so let’s jump to Saturday’s action.
Chelsea v Watford - 3p on NBCSN
Chelsea was dealt a surprising 3-2 defeat by relegation threatened West Ham on Wednesday but maintain a two point lead over Manchester United and Wolverhampton for fourth place and Christian Pulisic drew the fouls that lead to both Chelsea goals on the day. Willian would score both goals, one from the spot and one from a free kick, but it was Pulisic drawing the fouls in both occassions so it is more than fair to say that he played a direct role in both of the goals that Chelsea scored on the day.
Given the tight race for Champions League qualification the team cannot afford another slip up when they face a Watford team that is also relegation threatened. With the quick turnaround it would not be shocking to see Pulisic play reduced minutes but can manager Frank Lampard afford to sit such a pivotal piece in his attack?
- Sebastian Saucedo and Pumas UNAM resume their season Saturday against Cruz Azul at 7:30p on Univision. Saucedo had only been receiving occasional stars for Pumas but was seeing the field regularly prior to the interruption of play.
Looking through the paywall:
- Duane Holmes and Derby County face Nottingham Forest at 7:30a on ESPN+ in a game with major promotion implications. Currently Derby County are in 7th place, just one point back of the promotion playoffs while Nottingham Forest sit in fourth place, six points ahead of them.
- Kelly O’Hara and the Utah Royals face Sky Blue FC who are without Carly Lloyd and Mal Pugh. The game is at 12:30p on CBS All Access.
Newcastle United v West Ham United - 9:15a on NBCSN
DeAndre Yedlin has not seen much of the field for Newcastle since the return and may in fact need to look for a better long term situation now that Newcastle have signed Javier Manquillo to a contract through 2024 but there aren’t many options on major networks Sunday and Newcastle represents one of the few. The team is coming off a 4-1 win over AFC Bournemouth and currently sit in 13th place. 15 points ahead of the relegation zone they don’t seem to have much to play for as the season wraps up. This weekend they will be facing the aforementioned West Ham United who are in the thick of a relegation battle but coming off a 3-2 win over Chelsea that will have instilled some confidence.
- Indiana Vassilev has made the bench for every Aston Villa fixture since the restart but has yet to see the field. The team faces league champions Liverpool who are coming off a rough 4-0 loss to Manchester City and may be looking to take out some frustrations on relegation threatened Villa. The teams meet at 11:30a on NBCSN Sunday.
Looking through the paywall:
- The North Carolina Courage face the Chicago Red Stars at 12:30p on CBS All Access. The Courage feature Abby Dhalkemper, Sam Mewis, and Crystal Dunn but the Red Stars feature Julie Ertz, Morgan Brian, Alyssa Naeher, and some of the sweetest kits in soccer (that’s right, no conditions).
- The nightcap is the Portland Thorns with Meghan Klingenberg, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Lindesy Horan meeting Rose Lavelle and the Washington Spirit at 10p on CBS All Access.
Heidenheim v Werder Bremen - 2:30p on FS2
The fates of Heidenheim and Werder Bremen will be determined Monday afternoon in the second leg of their two match relegation playoff battle. The two teams played to a scoreless draw on Thursday so things remain as tight as possible. Josh Sargent was on the bench to start the match and came in as a substitute with just a handful of minutes to play. Werder Bremen should have the advantage but will also have much of the pressure as they face the possibility of being relegated for the first time in 40 years.