With Champions League and Europa League action starting in earnest this week, we bring you a special mid-week edition of the USMNT viewing guide and open thread. We’ll do our best to put together a midweek post every week that the tournaments are in action to give the community a place to gather and discuss what they’re seeing.
Club Brugge v Borussia Dortmund - 3p on Univision Deportes En Vivo
Christian Pulisic returned to training Saturday ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s Tuesday match up against Club Brugge in their Champions League opener. Pulisic missed BVB’s past two games as well as the international break (surprised we didn’t hear anything about that) but reportedly will return to the lineup for Tuesday’s important opener in what looks like a tough Group A.
[NOTICIA] Christian Pulisic vuelve a los entrenamientos. La estrella estadounidense realiza varios minutos de futbol reducido en Brackel. Entrará en la convocatoria para el partido del martes ante Brujas por la Liga de Campeones.— BVB Español (@BVB_Espanol) September 15, 2018
Ethan Horvath has made the initial 21 for Club Brugge but will likely be the backup keeper for a team that seems unlikely to make it out of the group but would be happy to play the role of spoiler.
Schalke 04 v Porto - 3p on Univision Deportes En Vivo
Another American who’s been kept out recently due to injury is Weston McKennie, who is suffering from a knee bruise. His return is unknown at this point and there has been no indication that he’ll play on Tuesday. The good news for Schalke is that they are in one of the more manageable groups that could be a real toss up. The bad news for Schalke is that they are still looking for their first result on the young season, having lost their first three league games.
Tim Weah has been left out of the initial 21 for Paris Saint-Germain, who play Liverpool at 3pm Tuesday on Univision.
Toronto FC v Tigres UANL - Campeones Cup - 8:30p on ESPN2
It’s not Champions League, but it’s for a trophy! It’s the inaugural Campeones Cup, pitting reigning MLS Champions Toronto FC against the Campeon de Campeones (lit. Champion of Champions) Tigres UANL! Just squint a bit so you don’t notice that Toronto has fallen off and this season is in 19th place in the Supporters Shield standings. Tigres, for their part, are in 7th place in Liga MX. It kind of begs the question regarding the timing of this Champions Cup game. Regardless, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Marky Delgado and Alex Bono are all likely to take part for Toronto as they look to salvage a trophy from an otherwise lost 2018 season.
San Jose Earthquakes v Atlanta United - 11p on Univision Deportes
Anything can happen in soccer, but this one could get ugly as San Jose sits dead last in the league standings with a -15 goal differential, just fired their coach, and are going up against an Atlanta side that leads the league in points, goals and goal differential and is getting healthy at the right time as well. Darlington Nagbe returned from injury Saturday as Atlanta cruised by the Colorado Rapids. Nagbe was joined by Brad Guzan and Michael Parkhurst as well as a late substitute appearance by Andrew Carleton.
There are three Europa League games on Thursday, all of which will be available via B/R Live (as are the above Champions League games). B/R Live is yet another stand-alone service and allows for single game purchases at $2.99 per game, monthly subscriptions at $9.99 or annual subscriptions for $79.99. Having not used the service yet, we can’t speak to its quality, and it’s getting a little annoying having so many different stand-alone services, but at least it’s an option? B/R Live has also added an option for “spoiler-free mode,” which hides the scores of games and automatically starts them from the beginning if you join after the start. Anyway, here are the three games featuring United States internationals you can catch if you’re willing to fork over the necessary money:
Stade Rennes v FK Jablonec - 12:55p on B/R Live
Theoson Siebatcheu (who may or may not have interest in representing the USMNT but is eligible) and Stade Rennes take on FK Jablonec on Thursday. Jablonec sit in 9th in the Czech First League and qualified for Europa League play by finishing third in the 2017/18 season. Rennes also currently sit in 9th in league play and they qualified for Europa League play by virtue of their 5th place finish last season.
Genk v Malmo F.F. - 12:55p on B/R Live
Romain Gall has had a fairly regular place in the squad for Malmo with nine goals in eighteen appearances this season though he was left on the bench for their most recent game Saturday. Malmo sit in 4th in the Swedish league and take on a Genk team that finished fifth last season in the Belgian Pro League and currently sits in second. (Brief aside: Every team in the league that isn’t relegated qualifies for either Champions League playoffs or Europa League playoffs? What sort of system is this with practically every team making the playoffs? MLS?!?).
FC Spartka Trnava v RSC Anderlecht - 3p on B/R Live
Kenny Saief has returned from injury just in time to join fourth place Anderlecht for their Europa League playoff against Spartka Trnava, who are in 8th in the Slovak Super League. Saief went just 26 minutes in a substitute appearance on Saturday as he’s likely still returning to form given that it was his first minutes of the season.