Welcome to what is arguably the most significant weekend in the history of USNT players in club action abroad, and there’s just one club game being played in Europe this weekend. Of course, that’s because the Champions League Final will be played on Saturday and one way or another an American will be lifting the trophy. Let’s jump right to it.
Manchester City v Chelsea FC - 3p on CBS
There will be USMNT players on both sides of this one, but let’s start with Chelsea and Christian Pulisic ,as the attacker is the more likely of the two players to actually see the field. After a smashing start to the Thomas Tuchel era, the team stumbled a bit down the stretch, losing two of their last three league matches. Still, they backed into next year’s Champions League thanks to Leicester City’s loss on the final day. Pulisic started the last four league matches for Chelsea and nine of their last ten, the exception being the club’s 2-0 win over Fulham that was sandwiched by their semifinal matchups with Real Madrid in Champions League play.
Speaking of which, Pulisic started the first leg and scored the club’s only goal as they drew in the first leg, and then he came on as a sub in the second leg and provided the assist that put the dagger in Real Madrid’s Champions League hopes. Let’s repeat that because it will never get old: Christian Pulisic tallied a goal and an assist in the Champions League semifinals as Chelsea put away Real Madrid.
Chelsea have defeated Manchester City in two of three games this season, including a semifinal win in the FA Cup in April, and most recently a 2-1 win in Manchester. But, it is City that come into the match as heavy favorites, which is not surprising given their dominance of the EPL table this season. City have lost two of their last four, including that match with Chelsea, but were already running away with the league title that they ended up taking by 12 points.
The Champions League trophy would be the third trophy for Man City this season, as they captured the league title and the EFL Cup with American Zack Steffen starting throughout. Clearly, something drastic would have to happen for Steffen to see time in the match on Saturday, but his presence on the sideline guarantees that you should be able to stick around for the post game festivities to see an American hoisting the most coveted club trophy.
- Bob Bradley and LAFC face NYCFC with James Sands and Keaton Parks at 5:08p on Unimas and TUDN in an East Coast v West Coast battle of the letters.
- Julian Araujo has been looking good for the LA Galaxy, who take on Cade Cowell and the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:03p on Unimas and TUDN.
- Jane Campbell and the Houston Dash take on Alyssa Naeher’s Chicago Red Stars at 7:30p on CBSSN in a battle between USWNT keepers. Chicago’s Tierna Davidson and Houston’s Kristien Mewis were also included in Vlatko Andonovski’s most recently roster.
Looking through the paywall:
- The New York Red Bulls and Caden Clark will look to bounce back from two straight defeats by seeing if they have better chances when they play with a full side, as they have had players sent off two weeks in a row. They will be taking on Orlando City side that is coming off a 1-0 win over Toronto FC, a match which Chris Mueller started and played 70 minutes. This weekend’s match between the clubs will be at 1:08p on ESPN+.
- Brian Gutierrez started and went 60 minutes for the Chicago Fire last weekend in a 1-0 win, and Djordje Mihailovic picked up a goal for CF Montreal in their 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati. The two teams meet this weekend at 1:08p on ESPN+.
- Geoff Cameron has jumped right into a starting role for FC Cincinnati and picked up an assist for the club last weekend. They will now take on Matt Turner and Eastern Conference leading New England Revolution at 3:08p on ESPN+.
- Gyasi Zardes and the Columbus Crew are coming off a 2-1 win over NYCFC and will face a Toronto side that has reportedly told Jozy Altidore to go train on his own after a run in with Chris Armas. Altidore’s absence could mean a larger role for Ayo Akinola, and Michael Bradley continues to play a significant role for Toronto. The match will be at 3:08p on ESPN+.
- Atlanta United have been struggling to score this season, but picked up a goal and got a point in Seattle last weekend with Miles Robinson, George Bello, Emerson Hyndman and Brooks Lennon all getting the start. This weekend at 3:38p on ESPN+ they’ll face a Nashville SC side that has one of the league’s stingiest defenses, thanks to the work being put in by a back line that includes Walker Zimmerman and Daniel Lovitz.
- D.C. United has struggled to see results this season but continue to give time to young Moses Neyman, they’ll look to pickup some points against an Inter Miami CF side that has also struggled early this year when the teams kick off at 8:08p on ESPN+.
- Sporting Kansas City face Memo Rodriguez and the Houston Dynamo at 8:38p on ESPN+. Gianluca Busio has played all but 18 minutes through seven games for SKC, and Jaylin Lindsey picked up his first goal last weekend.
- Cole Bassett, Sam Vines, and the Colorado Rapids take on FC Dallas and Tanner Tessman, Ricardo Pepi, Paxton Pomykal, et al 9:08p on ESPN+.
- There seems to be a nice little rivalry brewing between David Ochoa’s Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United who play again at 9:38p on ESPN+.
Philadelphia Union v Portland Timbers - 7:08p on FS1
SSFC will have dedicated coverage of the USMNT-Switzerland match at 2p on ESPN on Sunday, so instead let’s turn our focus on club soccer as Union host the Portland Timbers. Philadelphia hasn’t missed too much of a beat with the departures of Mark McKenzie and Brendon Aaronson. The team has found some playing time for their next round of developing players, but it’s actually the arrival of Leon Flach from Germany that has had the larger impact this season. The 20-year-old dual national has played a large number of minutes for the club in the midfield and is looking like a strong presence.
Jeremy Ebobisse missed Portland's first two games due to injury, but has been upping his minutes every week for the past four matches and played nearly the full match last weekend in the Timbers’ 3-0 win over the LA Galaxy. It was the second straight win for Portland, who are now in sixth place in the Western Conference. Eryk Williamson has gone the full 90 in the past three matches for the Timbers and already has a goal and two assists this season.
- Cristian Roldan and the Seattle Sounders face Austin FC at 9:38p on FS1. Roldan has had a solid start to the season and seems like a Gold Cup candidate. Danny Leyva has also appeared in five of the clubs six matches this season.
Looking through the paywall:
- Midge Purce and Carli Lloyd lead NJ/NY Gotham FC against Sophia Smith, Becky Sauerbrunn and the Portland Thorns FC at 3p on Paramount+.
- The Orlando Pride with Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Sydney Leroux take on Kansas City NWSL at 6p on Paramount+.
- Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe and the OL Reign face Emily Sonnett, Kelly O’Hara, Andi Sullivan, and the Washington Spirit at 7p on Paramount+.
Join us in the comments section as we track the big Champions League final and throughout the weekend with all the action.