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USMNT weekend viewing guide: Pokal semifinals, MLS heating up and Europe coming down the stretch

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Lot’s to watch for across Europe this busy weekend

VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Focke Strangmann - Pool/Getty Images

It’s a fantastically busy and important weekend as we have American’s withthree of the four dfb Pokal semi-final participants, a la Liga title race that is coming down to the wire, and qualification and relegation races across Europe that are coming down to the wire. All this plus a heavy dose of MLS where some established contributors and young guns are getting their opportunities. Here we go:

Friday

Werder Bremen v RB Leipzig - 1:30p on ESPN Deportes and ESPN News

Get your weekend started early and on the right foot by watching a couple of American’s go head-to-head in the dfb Pokal semifinals on Friday afternoon. Josh Sargent and suddenly relegation threatened Werder Bremen have managed to make the semifinals thanks to wins over Jahn Regensburg and Greuther Furth. Werder have lost seven straight league games and are just one point out of the relegation playoff, four points ahead of a Hertha Berlin team that has three games in hand for what would be straight relegation. They should probably be putting as much focus as possible on staying up but the potential to make the cup final might be too much temptation to pass up.

Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig on the other hand have fallen seven points back of Bayern Munich for the league title with just three games to play so might as well focus on lifting the cup trophy this season. Leipzig dispatched Wolfsburg 2-0 in the quarter finals and will look to handle Werder as well.

Saturday

Borussia Dortmund v Holstein Kiel - 2:30p on ESPN Deportes and ESPN News

The second Pokal semi-final of the weekend pits Borussia Dortmund and second tier Holstein Kiel. Similar to Werder Bremen, Giovanni Reyna and BVB would seem to have bigger fish to fry as they have pulled within a point of Eintracht Frankfurt for fourth place and Champions League qualification, and similar to RB Leipzig it would seem they come into the match as heavy favorites over the 2. Bundesliga side. However, Holstein Kiel did defeat Bayern Munich back in January in the same cup competition so Dortmund could be looking at a similar embarrassing result if they take Holstein Kiel too lightly.

Other notes:

  • Christian Pulisic and Chelsea face Antonee Robinson at 12:30p on NBC. Robinson’s Fulham look headed for relegation, they are seven points back of safety with five matches to play, while Pulisic and Chelsea look to hold off West Ham United and Liverpool for the final Champions League position.

Looking through the paywall:

  • The New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire will play at 1p on ESPN+. The Red Bulls have some things to figure out but it looks like Caden Clark will continue to get some opportunities and Aaron Long holds down a role in central defense.
  • David Ochoa and Real Salt Lake face Sporting Kansas City and Gianlucca Busio at 2p on ESPN+. Ochoa is already making some waves this season and it is good to see the young keeper getting starts already. Busio has started two straight in the forward position and seems to have found a new role with the club.
  • The Columbus Crew look to bounce back from a rough draw with Monterrey when they meet Montreal at 3p on ESPN+. Aiden Morris is out with an injury so keep an eye on Aboubacar Keita and Gyasi Zardes if you’re watching this one from a USMNT perspective. Djordje Mihailovic will likely start for Montreal.
  • Timothy Weah missed last weeks Lille match and it is uncertain at this time whether he will be available this weekend when Lille face Nice at 3p on Fanatiz USA and beIN Sport.
  • The New England Revolution and Atlanta United will meet at 7p pon ESPN+. For New England keep an eye on Matt Turner, for Atlanta it continues to be the Bello and Robinson show.
  • The Philadelphia Union look like a team in transition but keep an eye out for some of their young players making a move. They face NYCFC will Keaton Parks and James Sands at 7:30p on ESPN+.
  • Ricardo Pepi was a late sub for FC Dallas last week but picked up his teams only goal in just over 10’ of play, Tanner Tessmann got the start while Paxton Pomykal also came off the bench in the 3-1 loss to San Jose. This week they face the Portland Timbers and Eryk Williamson at 8p on ESPN+.
  • Hassani Dotson was used as a substitute for Minnesota United last weekend and the team face Austin FC FC this weekend at 8p on ESPN+. Outside of Dotson it’s mostly a list of angst generating names on these two teams (Lima, Agudelo, Trapp, Gasper, etc.).
  • Cade Cowell picked up a goal and assist last weekend for San Jose in their 3-1 win over Dallas. This weekend they will face DC United and their own 17-year-old Moses Nyeman who made a substitute appearance last weekend. The match will be at 11p on ESPN+.

Sunday

Udinese v Juventus - Noon on ESPN+

Third through fifth place in Serie A is a dead heat with five games to play and the three clubs tied with 66 points. Juventus is currently right in the middle of that mix, in fourth place thanks to their +16 goal differential over fifth place AC Milan. Maintaining that fourth place (or better) position will be crucial of course as it carries the Champions League birth for next season. Juventus have a difficult remaining schedule with league matches still to be played against AC Milan (currently in fifth) and league leading Inter Milan as well as a cup game against second place Atalanta. With such a difficult schedule remaining this weekend’s match essentially becomes a must win for Juventus. Weston McKennie started on the bench last weekend but came on for the final 20’ as Juventus searched for the game winning goal but had to settle for the 1-1 draw with Fiorentina.

Other Notes:

  • Nashville SC and Inter Miami will play on ESPN at 1p on Sunday afternoon. However, from a USMNT perspective the viewing is essentially limited to Walker Zimmerman who is somewhere in the morass that is the pool of players who could play along side John Brooks.
  • The Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy meeting in a west coast clash at 9p on FS1. Josh Atencio has been very solid for Seattle in their first two matches and Cristian Roldan continues to be a key cog for the club. Meanwhile it’s Chicarito getting all the headlines in LA but Sebastian Lletget is of more interest from our standpoint and the Galaxy have a trio of American youngsters who have been getting minutes as well in Julian Araujo, Cameron Dunbar, and Adam Saldana.
  • The nightcap on Sunday sees Pumas UNAM taking on Club America at 10:05p on Univision and TUDN. Sebastian Saucedo has started three straight matches for Pumas.

Looking through the paywall:

  • Bryan Reynolds and Roma will face Sampdoria at 2:45p on ESPN+. Roma lost 6-2 in Europa League action to Manchester United on Thursday and the quick turnaround could mean minutes for Reynolds on Sunday.
  • American’s facing off in La Liga action? Sign us up! Yunus Musah and Valencia face Sergino Dest and Barcelona on Sunday afternoon at 3p on Fanatiz USA and beIN Sport. Musah has seen an uptick in his minutes for Valencia recently, with three straight starts while Sergino Dest was an unused substituted in Barcelona’s dissapointing 2-1 loss to Granada on Thursday.
  • The Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids meet at 10p on ESPN+. Kellyn Acosta played LB last weekend as Colorado lost 3-1 to Austin FC.