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U.S. weekend viewing guide: playoffs and final gasps

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MLS is Back with playoffs, while the EPL season comes to a conclusion

Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Phil Noble/Pool via Getty Images

The MLS is Back tournament has reached the knockout stage and the NWSL Challenge Cup is down to its final match, so there isn’t the same depth of games this weekend as there has been recently. Still, there are some very significant matches, including Chelsea’s opportunity to clinch a Champions League berth. Most of the action is on Sunday, but first there are a couple matches on Saturday, so let’s get to it.

Saturday

Philadelphia Union v New England Revolution - 10:30p on ESPN2

The Philadelphia Union have a number of current or potential United States Men’s National Team players who will be taking the field Saturday night when the team faces the New England Revolution in the MLS is Back Round of 16. Brenden Aaronson, Alejandro Bedoya, and Mark McKenzie are all likely to start for the team that was undefeated in group play but took second place due to the goal differential tiebreaker with Orlando City, who also finished with seven points.

The Revolution also finished in second place in their group, with a win and two draws resulting in five points for the team. The most recognizable name for the team will be the man walking the sideline but I don’t really feel like going there this weekend so, meh.

Other Notes:

  • Orlando City and the Montreal Impact will meet at 8p on ESPN2 in the first MLS Round of 16 of the weekend. Orlando City beat out Philadelphia for first in their group thanks in large part to Chris Mueller, who scored three goals for the team in the round robin phase.
  • Tyler Boyd has started three straight and picked up his first goal and first assist of the season for Besiktas in the past three games. The team will play at 2p on beIN Sports.

Sunday

Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers - 11a on USA Network

Christian Pulisic came on as a sub midweek and picked up a goal and an assist in a loosing effort as Chelsea fell to Liverpool midweek. The loss leaves Chelsea with work to do on the final match day in order to clinch a Champions League spot. Currently, the team sits in fourth place with 63 points, tied with Manchester United on points but well back in goal differential, while they are one point ahead of Leicester City. Chelsea have a tough opponent this weekend in Wolverhampton who are in sixth place, though the Wolves have less to play for given that they trail Leicester by three points and a 15 goal differential.

There are two bits of good news for Chelsea. First, they still control their own destiny. Second, Manchester United and Leicester play each other this weekend, which means that a win or a draw for Chelsea would be enough to keep them in at least fourth place. The doomsday scenario for Chelsea would be a loss combined with a Leicester win or draw that would see them jump Chelsea into fourth place.

Houston Dash v Chicago Red Stars - 12:30p on CBS

Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, and the Chicago Red Stars will face off with the Houston Dash in the NWSL final on CBS Sunday afternoon. The Red Stars defeated Sky Blue FC 3-2 in the semifinals on Wednesday, while the Dash defeated Meghan Klingenberg and Portland Thorns FC 1-0 in their semifinal.

Other Notes:

  • Toronto FC and New York City FC meet at 8:30p on FS1 in a quarterfinal matchup. Ayo Akinola, Michael Bradley, and Omar Gonzalez are likely to start for Toronto, while James Sands will start for New York and Keaton Parks could see minutes off the bench
  • Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver Whitecaps play in the nightcap at 11p on FS1. Gianluca Busio (who is reportedly drawing interest from Europe) started for SKC in their most recent match along with Graham Zusi.