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USMNT weekend viewing guide: Gearing up for international work

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Last weekend before the “real” matches start.

Lille OSC v RB Salzburg: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

It’s the last weekend prior to the international break, the USMNT roster should be released shortly, and there are a good number of games to keep an eye on this weekend for players who are being called in, as well as some of those who might be on the fringes. Here’s what the weekend has in store:

Friday

Watford v Norwich City - 3p on USA

Josh Sargent and Norwich City will look to build on their win over Everton last weekend in a relegation battle with Watford on Friday afternoon. With the win, Norwich moved up from last place to 18th and sit one point behind Watford for safety. t’s another five points from there up to Everton, but if Norwich could somehow put together a string of results, it would be massive in their attempt to remain in the EPL and momentum can be a funny thing (or not a thing at all if you ask stats folks). However, Norwich’s -35 goal differential - thanks to the leagues worst defense and worst offense - would suggest that they need to figure out something more than a magical win or two. Sargent is still looking for his first goal of his EPL career, but Watford have a bottom five defense so there should be opportunities on Friday.

Other notes:

  • Timothy Chandler has started three straight matches for Eintracht Frankfurt who will be facing Arminia Bielefeld Friday afternoon at 2:30p on ESPN+.

Saturday

Brest v Lille - 11a on beIN Sports

The best news of the week for the USMNT might have been the return of Tim Weah to the field on Wednesday. Weah saw 22 minutes as a sub off the bench in his first action in six weeks. His return to the field was a welcome sight for fans of the USMNT heading into the upcoming matches. Weah has been a key contributor for the team recently, including scoring the team’s only goal against Jamaica and picking up the assist in the opening goal for the team’s 2-0 win over Mexico. Weah was being used heavily by his club prior to injury and while it looks like they are taking the prudent approach of easing him back in, their transfer activity would seem to indicate that they have plans for him to fill a significant role.

Other notes:

  • Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Stuttgart are in a tight relegation battle, with just five points separating their current 17th place position (and automatic relegation) and 11th place Bochum. This weekend at 9:30a on ESPN+, they will face 6th place Freiburg, who are coming off a 4-1 win over Hoffenheim.
  • Julian Green and Greuther Fürth are in serious relegation trouble, though they have drawn three straight matches to jump from four to seven points. This weekend, they face Mainz, who are solidly mid-table with 27 points. The match will be played at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • Ricardo Pepi picked up his first start last weekend and while it wasn’t exactly what he would’ve hoped, Augsburg did pick up a point against Frankfurt. The task gets a bit tougher against third place Bayer Leverkusen at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • Indications are that Borussia Dortmund plan to hold Gio Reyna out through the international window, but Chris Richards has started five of the past six matches for Hoffenheim. The two teams face off at 9:30a on EPSN+.
  • Joe Scally has returned for Borussia Mönchengladbach, who are themselves dangerously close to the relegation zone and gave up three goals as they were eliminated from the DFB-Pokal by Hannover on Wednesday. ‘Gladbach now face a Union Berlin side that has a top four finish in their sights. This match will also be on ESPN+ at 9:30a.
  • Matthew Hoppe has a handful of minutes from Mallorca’s past two matches amidst rumors that the club would like to send him out on loan to get more playing time, but they apparently are having trouble finding a taker in the Spanish second tier. Mallorca face Villarreal at 10:15 on ESPN+.
  • Tanner Tessmann and Gianluca Busio have done a bit of a switch, with Tessmann now seeing more minutes as Busio’s have been reduced. Venezia face Inter Milan at noon on Paramount+.
  • Konrad de la Fuente’s Olympique de Marseille side face Lens at 3p on beIN sports. Konrad missed the clubs last match with a “knock” and his return is unknown.
  • Yunus Musah has seen an uptick in minutes recently with four straight starts across all competitions. Valencia face Atletico Madrid at 3p on ESPN+.

Sunday

RB Leipzig v Wolfsburg - 9:30a on ESPN+

Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig face off against John Brooks and Wolfsburg in a matchup that features two Americans and perhaps the two most disappointing Bundesliga sides this season. Wolfsburg came into the season off a 2020-21 campaign that saw them qualify for Champions League action, but have stumbled mightily. They fired their manager in late October and replaced him with Florian Kohfeldt. Shockingly, Kohfeldt hasn’t seemed to be the answer either. Wolfsburg won their first two fixtures after he replaced Mark van Bommel, but haven’t won a match since and they currently sit dangerously close to the relegation zone. The club snapped a six-game losing streak when they drew with Hertha Berlin last weekend, but failed to find the back of the net yet again in the scoreless draw. They have scored just three goals in their past seven matches.

While Wolfsburg’s season has been bad, it’s possible that Leipzig’s has been even more disappointing. The club had dreams of challenging Bayern Munich for the league title, but halfway through the year that dream is over, and they now must work themselves back into a Champions League qualifying position. The team has won their past two league matches and currently sit in seventh place, three points back of Hoffenheim for that final Champions League spot.

Other notes:

  • Richy Ledezma and PSV take on Ajax at 8:30a on ESPN+ in some top of the table Eredivisie action Sunday morning. Currently, PSV hold a one point lead in the standings.
  • Nicholas Gioacchini and Montpellier face Monaco at 11:05 on beIN Sports. Gioacchini continues to see substitute minutes on a regular basis for his club.
  • Chelsea FC have seen their dreams of a league title disappear with their loss to Manchester City last weekend, but can put some ground between themselves and Tottenham for Champions League positioning when the two clubs meet in a top five matchup at 11:30a on Peacock. Christian Pulisic was an unused sub in the team’s 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday and should be fresh and ready to go against Spurs.
  • Weston McKennie remains the most in form US player, and his Juventus side have a crucial matchup with second place AC Milan on Sunday at 2:45p on ESPN+. Currently, Juventus trail Atalanta by a point for fourth place.
  • There is the opportunity for a US v US matchup in La Liga on Sunday afternoon when Deportivo Alavés face FC Barcelona at 3p on ESPN+. However, Matt Miazga could be in trouble after his awful gift to Real Betis on Tuesday, and Sergiño Dest needed Barcelona to go into extra time before he was able to see the field as a left winger.