Perhaps we’re jaded after a rough week for the United States Men’s National Team, or perhaps it’s being worn down after years of pain and seeing no real progress. Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but this weekend’s schedule seems specially tailored to bring pain to USMNT fans in what has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
Typically, we look to keep the viewing guide positive: leading into club games feels like a unique opportunity to be positive about the past, present, and future USMNT players taking the field, to see how they are progressing and be excited about their contributions. We’re just not feeling it this week, so here’s your viewing guide with a slightly different tone to it.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayer Leverkusen - 2:30p on FS2
Everybody’s favorite German-American whipping boy likely won’t ever see the field for the USMNT again. Maybe he doesn’t even want to be on the team. But, you know who would be an upgrade over Daniel Lovitz on the left even if he was wearing a “meh, America” shirt and we made him fly transatlantic on a Cessna Turboprop and step off the plane and directly on to the pitch? Timothy stinking Chandler that’s who.
Timothy Chandler has appeared in half of Eintracht Frankfurt’s games this year, though with just one start through ten games (including league and cup competitions). Currently, Eintracht Frankfurt is in 9th place and they are coming off a 2-2 draw with Werder Bremen. Bayer Leverkusen are in 7th place and coming off a 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig. The match is a relatively important early season match-up with Europa League implications as the season progresses.
RB Leipzig v Wolfsburg - 9:30a on FS2
The matchup of what could have been, what one day could still be.... but it still ain’t happening, not yet at least. If they were both healthy, Tyler Adams’ RB Leipzig and John Brooks’ Wolfsburg facing off in a matchup of Top 4 Bundesliga teams would be the match of the weekend for USMNT fans. Tyler Adams has been called by some the most important piece for the USMNT, and they have said he would actually fill the defensive requirements of the defensive midfield role for the US. Those looking for a light at the end of the tunnel might point to his return as reason for hope. But, that’s not what we’re here for today. And frankly, it seems a bit of a stretch, excuse making perhaps even, to say that a single player could have such a significant impact, particularly when said player has seen only one game under the current coach and that game was played as a right back.
Adam’s is reportedly nearing a return and will join full training following this weekend’s matchup with Wolfsburg, and he should be back in the fold shortly for the fourth place team. Meanwhile, Brooks has returned to training for second place Wolfsburg, who are coming off a 1-0 win over Union Berlin that pushed them into second place.
It seems unlikely either will be playing this weekend, so go ahead and flip on the game, see the USMNT void on the field, feel the void in your heart.
- Fabian Johnson has also been out with injury and is unlikely to appear for first place Borussia Mönchengladbach but the club will be playing Borussia Dortmund at 12:30p on FS2 so you can still flip the match on and remember fonder times when the Wonder Boy Christian Pulisic was actually playing for his club.
- Tune in to watch Cristian Roldan pass the ball to players who should have been called in to the USMNT ahead of him (never mind that they play for the other team...it’s apparently his thing) when the Seattle Sounders face FC Dallas in the first round of the MLS playoffs at 3:30p on FS2 Saturday. Brandon Servania, Edwin Cerrillo, and Paxton Pomykal? We’ll take any of em. Jordan Morris (Seattle), Reggie Cannon and Jesse Gonzalez (Dallas) will also play major roles.
- Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers play at 1p on ESPN Deportes. Real Salt Lake’s Corey Baird wasn’t a part of the on field mess in Canada, though he has become a rallying cry for those confused by Gregg Berhalter’s call ups and apparent unwillingness to expand “The Group” (which I believe has been trademarked by Scuffed). Semi-serious question mostly designed to poke a whole lot of people: Would you take Portland’s Jorge Villafana at left back over Lovitz? It doesn’t seem like it should be a question, as we have better options, but this article isn’t about better options, it’s about pain.
- The US player pool currently includes the captain of Liga MX first place team Necaxa but even with injuries to John Brooks, Ventura Alvarado hasn’t been able to get a sniff of USMNT action. He’ll keep trucking along south of the border when Necaxa face America at 10p on Univision.
Hoffenheim v Schalke 04 - Noon on FS2
If you were looking for a bit of sunshine this weekend, this would probably be your best opportunity. Hat trick hero Weston McKennie has been playing a significant and consistent role this season for Schalke as they currently sit in sixth place but are tied on points for 3rd in a very crowded top half of the Bundesliga table. However, if you were a USMNT fan in the throes of depression, you would then remember that it was Cuba and even including that game, current manager Gregg Berhalter hasn’t seemed to find any consistency for McKennie or the rest of his midfield.
Not enough despair? Then put yourselves in the shoes of a Schalke fan. Sure the team is in second place, but they had a golden opportunity to grab a share of first place when they faced lowly FC Köln ahead of the break. Cologne had just three points through six games, but Schalke gave up a stoppage time goal, managed just a 1-1 draw and dropped points that will surely be significant as the season moves on.
- The Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls face off at 3p on FS1. Catch the first ten minutes of the game and see more of Brenden Aaronson then you did in the September friendlies.
- Minnesota United and the LA Galaxy play at 8:30p on ESPN. Sebastian Lletget should be well rested given that he didn’t see the field Tuesday. Apparently RB Nick Lima brings more to the table when you’re chasing a goal so that’s neat.
Let us know what you’re hate watching this weekend in the comments section below.