We’re about a week away from the next roster announcement and less than two weeks from the USMNT’s next competitive match, in Mexico City no less, and things are... interesting in terms of player availability. Weston McKennie is done for the season, Chris Richards hasn’t appeared since his injury with the USMNT in early February, Zack Steffen and Matt Turner are both dealing with injuries that are keeping them from playing, Giovanni Reyna may be close to returning but has missed significant time, and Christian Pulisic missed Thursday’s match due to “illness”. On top of all that other key contributors such as Tyler Adams and Timothy Weah have found playing time a bit sparse recently. Which leads us right into Friday’s action when Weah’s Lille will kick things off for the weekend.
Lille v Saint Etienne - 3p on beIN Sports
Timothy Weah did not make it off the bench on Sunday and has started just one of Lille’s past five matches. While he has been a key contributor for the USMNT over the past six months he has not see the type of impact his team would like in terms of goal scoring and creating opportunities with just four assists this season and yet to find the back of the net himself. Despite this Weah will continue to play a primary role for the US so it would be great if he could get some conditioning time in when they face 17th place Saint-Etienne on Friday afternoon, though without getting injured please. Lille have won 3 of their past four matches and currently sit in seventh place, four points behind Stade Rennais for Europa League play and five points back of Marseille for Champions League qualifying.
Freiburg v Wolfsburg - 9:30a on ESPN+
Reports out of Germany are that John Brooks and Wolfsburg have mutually agreed that this will be his last season with the club. Brooks is out of contract at the end of the year and the two sides are not pursuing a new contract. In the meantime however it seems that Brooks will maintain his role for the club, he has started nine straight matches including last weekends 1-0 win over Union Berlin. Wolfsburg seem to be finding their form a bit with seven points from their past five matches, which broke a nine game winless streak. The team is sitting on 31 points, nowhere near their Champions League qualifying finish last season, and easing their way out of the relegation threatened zone.
It will certainly be interesting to see where Brooks lands next Fall and what role he takes on with his new team. At 29 he’s no spring chick but there should be some wear left on those wheels and his game is not dependent on some ridiculous level of athleticism. Whether he will be called in for the USMNT also remains to be seen as he has been left out of the last few cycles, which would have seemed unfathomable nine months ago but seems at least survivable now with the performances of Miles Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, and Chris Richards.
- Inter Miami and DeAndre Yedlin are off to a rough start to their 2022 campaign, playing to a scoreless draw the opening weekend and getting thumped by Austin FC 5-1 last weekend. They will face LAFC who won their opener 3-0 and then played Portland to a 1-1 draw last weekend. The match will be played at 1:30p on Univision and streamed on Twitter.
- Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris and the Seattle Sounders are also off to a slow start in MLS with their failure to score resulting in a pair of 1-0 losses to Nashville and Real Salt Lake. They’ll look to open their scoring against the LA Galaxy who have won their two openers by the same score line. The match will be on Fox at 3:30p.
- The Augsburg v Mainz match Saturday morning has been postponed so Ricardo Pepi will get a bit more rest this weekend.
- Pellegrino Matarazzo and Stuttgart face Union Berlin at 9:30a on ESPN+ needing points to get out of the relegation zone, they are a point back of Hertha Berlin.
- Chris Richards remains out for Hoffenheim who face his parent club Bayern Munich at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Joe Scally picked up his first start since December last weekend in Borussia Monchengladbach’s 3-2 loss to Stuttgart. The club will face Hertha Berlin in another crucial relegation battle at 12:30p on ESPN+. Gladbach currently sit in 13th place, just four points ahead of Hertha who are in the relegation playoff position.
- Yunus Musah will be serving a yellow card suspension Saturday after picking up his fifth yellow of the season last weekend. His team will face Getafe at 3p on ESPN+.
MLS streams (all matches on ESPN+):
- Gyasi Zardes started on the bench again last weekend but did come in and pick up a goal for the Columbus Crew as they played San Jose to a 3-3 draw. This weekend Columbus will face Toronto FC and Michael Bradley at 1:30p.
- Griffin Yow, Moses Nyeman and DC United have won their first two matches of the season though the victories came against Charlotte and Cincinnati so things should be a bit tougher this weekend against the Chicago Fire at 7:30p. With injuries to the USMNT’s first two choices at keeper the Fire’s Gaga Sloninia could see himself getting close to some action in the March window.
- Sebastian Lletget has two goals in three matches across all competitions to start the season for New England who defeated FC Dallas 1-0 last weekend and are coming off a 3-0 win over Liga MX side Pumas on Wednesday. Real Salt Lake are coming off a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders thanks to a Bobby Wood goal. New England and RSL matchup at 7:30p.
- The Philadelphia Union and San Jose Earthquakes also kickoff at 7:30p. San Jose has given up three goals in each of their first two matches and Philadelphia is coming off a 2-1 win over Montreal. Both teams have some interesting younger players though Cowell (San Jose) and Sullivan (Philadelphia) both came off the bench while Aaronson and McGlynn were both unused substitutes for Philly.
- The MLS match of the weekend from a USMNT perspective is probably the FC Dallas v Nashville SC match with Ferreira, Arriola and Zimmerman the USMNT likely callups who will start along with Dallas’ midfield trio of Pomykal, Cerrillo, and Servania. This match will kick off at 8:30p.
Barcelona v Osasuna - 4p on ESPN+
Sergino Dest and Barcelona seem to have found their form under Xavi and have worked their way into third place in the la Liga standings on the back of an undefeated streak stretching 11 games that includes winning five of their past six matches. Dest was on the bench and came on as a late substitute in the teams 2-1 win over Elche last weekend and he started and went the full 90’ in their scoreless draw midweek with Galatasaray in Europa League action. He had also started the clubs three previous league matches prior to last weekend so while he may not be a sure fire starter every week he does seem to have found a regular role with the side. Their opponent this weekend, Osasuna, is pretty comfortably middle of the table, eleven points out of relegation, eleven points back of Europa League, and of course in eleventh place. They are coming off a 1-0 win over Villarreal last weekend.
- Miles Robinson and Atlanta United will face Charlotte FC at 4:30p on FS1. Charlotte are looking for their first points of the young season while Atlanta won their opener 3-1 over Sporting Kansas City but came crashing back to earth last weekend in a 3-0 loss to Colorado.
- Christian Pulisic missed Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Norwich City on Thursday due to illness but will hopefully be available on Sunday as the club take on Newcastle United at 10a on Peacock.
- I’m not sure who needs a win more Leeds United and their new American manager who have lost their first two matches since he took over or Josh Sargent and Norwich City who sit bottom of the table. This relegation derby is quite the match for US fans, it will be played at 10a on Peacock as well.
- Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt face Bochum at 12:30p on ESPN+. Chandler was a late substitute last weekend in the teams 4-1 win over Hertha.
- In some rare positive injury news Giovanni Reyna is reportedly ready to return to the field and should be available for Borussia Dortmund this weekend when they face George Bello and Arminia Bielefeld at 12:30p on ESPN+. Look for Reyna to get some substitute minutes in the second half.
- Real Sociedad take on Deportivo Alaves and Matt Miazga at 1:30p on ESPN+. Miazga looks to be back to the bench since his start three weeks ago against Real Madrid.
- Timothy Tillman, Julian Green and Greuther Furth face Tyler Adams’ RB Leipzig at 2:30p on ESPN+. Like Weah, Adams has found playing time a bit difficult to come by lately though also like Weah he seems like a sure fire starter for the USMNT regardless of his status with his club side.
- Konrad de la Fuente has been the source of some unflattering reporting out of France recently, hopefully the young man is able to turn things around beginning on Sunday afternoon when Olympique Marseille face Brest at 3:45p on beIN Sports.
MLS streams (all matches on ESPN+):
- The New York Red Bulls and Minnesota United close out the weekend with a 7p kickoff. NYRB have won their first two matches 3-1 and 4-1 while Minnesota have played a pair of 1-1 draws.
Bonus Monday content:
- Tanner Tessman, Gianluca Busio and Venezia have a Monday match against Lazio at 3:45p on ESPN+. Venezia have lost their last two matches and fallen into 18th place, three points from safety.
Hit the comments section below to let us know what your watching, what you hope to see, or who you’re pulling for in the Leeds / Norwich City relegation battle.