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USMNT Oct 26-28 viewing guide and open thread

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Which matches should be on your must-watch list this week?

Borussia Dortmund v Benfica - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

It’s not one of the fullest weeks for the viewing guide but there are several opportunities to watch USMNT players in action. Which matches should be on your TV this weekend?

Friday

Freiburg v Borussia Monchengladbach - 2:30p on FS2

Fabian Johnson has not made the field the last three games for Borussia Mönchengladbach, including being left out of the game day squad entirely three weeks ago against Bayern Munich. So, it seems unlikely he’ll see meaningful minutes on Friday, but the game represents the lone opportunity to watch a USMNT player in action on a major network for the day, so it’s getting a brief mention anyway. Recent Freiburg signee Alex Mendez is away on U-20 international duty, but there was zero chance that he would feature in this match so quickly after his signing.

Gladbach currently sit in second in the Bundesliga, having won five of eight early in the season and played to a tie on two other occasions. Freiburg sit in 11th place with just two wins through their first eight and a negative goal differential.

Saturday

Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin - 9:30a on Univision Deportes

Borussia Dortmund, currently atop the Bundesliga table, are coming off a decisive 4-0 midweek Champions League victory over Atlético Madrid in which Christian Pulisic got the start and played the first 80 minutes. Dortmund have a wealth of talent on the wings, so it will be intriguing to see how they elect to utilize all the talent, Pulisic included, moving forward. Head coach Lucien Favre seems to view Pulisic and Jadon Sancho as interchangeable parts and Sancho has looked very impressive including scoring a goal just after coming on Wednesday so it appears that Pulisic will continue to be pushed which might ultimately be for his benefit as he continues to develop and grow as a player.

Dortmund are undefeated early in the season with six wins, two draws and a massive +19 goal differential through their first eight. They’ll be taking on a Hertha Berlin team that sits in sixth place with 4 wins, 3 draws and just 1 loss. Hertha have been playing some stingy defense as well, tied for the league lead in goals allowed.

Other Notes:

  • Ventura Alvarado and Necaxa take on Atlas and their top goal scorer Omar Gonzalez at 7p on ESPN Deportes.
  • Michael Orozco and Lobos BUAP face Tigres UANL at 9p on ESPN Deportes. Orozco has been a regular 90 minute presence for Lobos.
  • Joe Corona hasn’t seen the field in the last nine games for league leading Club América. They play second-place Cruz Azul at 10p on Univision Deportes. Currently, Club América lead the standings by a single point, so Cruz Azul could bypass them with a victory on Saturday.
  • Rubio Rubin saw seventeen minutes off the bench last week for Club Tijuana, just his fifth appearance in thirteen matches for the team this season. The team plays Pumas UNAM at 10:06p on FS2 in the event that he is able to see additional minutes this week.

Sunday

RB Leipzig v Schalke 04 - 10:30a on FS2

Schalke are coming off a 0-0 draw with Galatasaray in their midweek Champions League matchup. Schalke have really struggled to score this season, with just two goals in their three Champions League matches and five goals through eight Bundesliga games. As a result, the Champions League side sits in sixteenth place in the Bundesliga table and will need to find a way to score some goals if they’re going to move up the table.

Weston McKennie came back from injury and played 90 minutes in last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Werder Bremen and was an 82nd minute substitute in the Champions League match. He figures to see substantial playing time again on Sunday and hopefully will be able to help the team create some opportunities to get things turned around.

Schalke play fifth place RB Leipzig who are coming of a 2-0 Europa League win over Celtic and a 0-0 draw last weekend against Augsburg in their most recent Bundesliga match. The team has been a bit up and down but has only allowed 2 goals in their last six matches (Europa League and Bundesliga combined) so Schalke will have their work cut out for them in breaking their scoring drought.

Sporting Kansas City v Los Angeles Football Club - 4:30p on FS1

Sporting Kansas City has a number of USMNT players, including Graham Zusi, Ike Opara and Matt Besler. The most exciting of the group though is probably 16-year-old Gianluca Busio, who has been seeing sporadic minutes off the bench and scored his first MLS goal in a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on the 17th. He was, of course, rewarded for the performance by being an unused sub in their next game.

Kansas City have clinched a playoff spot and have a two-point lead for the top spot in the Western Conference, but the top spot will come down to the final weekend as they host second place LAFC in their final regular season match of the year. A win or a draw will clinch the top spot for SKC while LAFC will need to push for a win to overtake them.

LAFC will push for the win, and first place in the Western Conference, with a lineup that includes Americans Walker Zimmerman, Benny Feilhaber and Lee Nguyen.

Other Notes:

  • William Yarbrough received his first league start of the season last weekend in a 2-0 win over Necaxa. Until that point Yarbrough had only appeared in Cup games for León. Unfortunately, the team lost in the Copa MX Semifinals on penalties Thursday so any appearances moving forward would need to be in League games. León play Puebla at 9p on Univision Deportes this Sunday.