There are a few months remaining in the European calendar as the battles heat up at both ends of the table. American players are on the hunt for championships, but some are trying to avoid relegation. In addition, Major League Soccer kicks off its second week, with slightly less star power on display in the nationally televised contests.
Querétaro vs Toluca – 8:00 p.m. on TUDN USA
Liga MX is halfway through the 2020 Torneo Clausura. Querétaro is in seventh place with 13 points from eight matches, but Los Gallos Blancos could easily precipitously drop down the table. A player to watch is Jonathan Suárez. The dual-national midfielder has made seven appearances across all competitions this season, most recently on February 24th against San Luis. Suárez recently signed a three-year contract extension with the Central Mexican club. He made one appearance with the United States under-20 national team in 2016. Now 23, he needs regular playing time at the club level, but it appears he might be nearing a breakthrough.
Toluca, currently in 14th, has been one of the worst teams in Mexico over the past season, but managed to qualify for the Copa MX semifinal. The Red Devils are coming off a 2-0 victory over Liguilla Apertura champions Monterrey. Despite the bad season, Toluca is very far away from disaster now or in the near future as there will be no teams relegated from Liga MX in 2020 (due to Veracruz being disaffiliated).
Looking through the paywall:
- Tyler Boyd’s Beşiktaş takes on Ankaragücü at 12:00 p.m. on beIN Sports USA. The Black Eagles are currently in fifth place in the Turkish Süper Lig, which puts them outside of qualifying for the Champions and Europa Leagues. Boyd has two goals in 19 appearances across all competitions this season. After a few months of mostly cup matches, the 25-year-old attacker is receiving regular playing time and started in last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Alanyaspor.
RB Leipzig v Wolfsburg – 9:30 a.m. on Fox Sports 1
It’s a big match for European qualification, as RB Leipzig travels to the Volkswagen Arena to play Wolfsburg. With less than three months remaining in the Bundesliga season, both clubs are looking to make moves up the table and not lose any more ground.
Leipzig is chasing its first championship, but is three points behind league leaders Bayern Munich. Julian Nagelsmann’s squad was atop the table for several weeks, but stumbled with only two wins in its last six matches. It’s possible that Tyler Adams will be included in the lineup because he is “back in full training.” He’s made five appearances this season and, as noted by MLSSoccer.com, hasn’t played for the national team since March of 2019. However, he recently signed a contract extension lasting through 2025.
Wolfsburg is currently on the outside looking in with regards to Europa League qualification. Oliver Glasner’s side is in seventh place with 35 points, one away from sixth place Schalke. Die Wölfe are enjoying a five-match unbeaten streak in the league, but have a tough upcoming schedule with fixtures against Dortmund and Leverkusen. National team fan favorite John Brooks remains one of the most consistent performers and will likely earn the start at center back.
- Weston McKennie started in Schalke 04’s midweek DFB Cup loss to Bayern Munich, but it wouldn’t be the first time he’s played three matches in a week. His club hosts Hoffenheim at 9:30 a.m. on Fox Sports 2 and TUDN USA.
- Bill Hamid and D.C. United take on Inter Miami CF in a battle of teams that stumbled out the gate on opening weekend. The capital club will be without attacker Paul Arriola who reportedly tore his right ACL and is expected to miss the entire season. Wil Trapp started at holding midfielder for the Floridian expansion side and put in a decent shift in a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles Football Club. This match can be viewed on Univision/TUDN or Twitter beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Looking through the paywall:
- Fulham is looking to bounce back up to the Premier League but is currently in third place behind West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United. An increasingly distant five points away from promotion makes a spot in the EFL Championship play-offs look likely. Bristol City is reeling, winless in its last four matches, but only two points out of competing for a promotion spot. Tim Ream is in his fifth season at Fulham and has made 34 league appearances this season, all at center back. The match kicks off at 7:30 a.m. on ESPN+.
- As expected, Timmy Chandler has scored four goals in his past six matches. Tune in to see if he’ll score again, as Eintracht Frankfurt faces off again Bayer Leverkusen at 9:30 a.m. on Fox Soccer Plus.
- Giovanni Reyna, one of the Bundesliga’s most exciting young players, has made nine straight substitute appearances for Borussia Dortmund. Number ten could come against visiting Borussia Mönchengladbach in this match between the third and fourth place teams. Don’t expect an appearance from Fabian Johnson who has struggled with injuries and hasn’t played in the past three matches. Fox Soccer Plus is the channel; 12:30 p.m. is the time.
- After being knocked out of the Champions League, Europa League, and KNVB CUP, Ajax is now focused on capturing the Eredivisie. The Amsterdam club is currently tied atop the table with AZ Alkmaar with 53 points apiece, but has been struggling with four wins in its past eight matches after starting the season on a 15-match unbeaten streak. Sergiño Dest continues to own the right back position and has reportedly garnered interest from Bayern Munich. Check out Ajax against Heerenveen at 2:45 p.m. on ESPN+.
Mainz 05 vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf – 1:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 2
Two teams desperate to avoid relegation match-up in Sunday afternoon Bundesliga action. Mainz is just outside the drop zone with 25 points from 24 matches. Düsseldorf is currently headed to the relegation playoffs, but there’s enough time to make a move up the table.
However, the Eastern German club is currently without the services of USMNT number one Zack Steffen, who has been injured with a knee injury since the winter break. He recently returned to parent club Manchester City to undergo testing, but has yet to return to the squad. Despite current struggles, Steffen is reportedly being considered for the backup spot at the Premier League club next season.
American fans might still be interested in watching Alfredo Morales, who also plays for Düsseldorf. He’s made 19 league appearances this season, but might not feature in this match due to a 120-minute shift in a midweek DFB Cup loss to Saarbrücken. The 29-year-old midfielder made his return to the national team last fall and may continue to provide a veteran presence moving forward.
- Christian Pulisic is still “out indefinitely” according to manager Frank Lampard. On the off chance he isn’t, Chelsea plays Everton at 10:00 a.m. on NBCSN.
- In one of three nationally televised MLS matches this weekend, the Portland Timbers and Nashville SC go head-to-head at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN. Striker Jeremy Ebobisse recently signed a contract extension with the Timbers. The 23-year-old made his national team debut in 2019. Nashville’s defense is built around Walker Zimmerman, who has earned 12 senior caps.
- Ventura Alvarado hasn’t appeared with the national team since playing 13 times for Jurgen Klinsmann in 2015. Gregg Berhalter recently watched the Necaxa defender and captain. The Rayos also feature former youth national team midfielder Fernando Arce Jr. who has been a regular starter during the Clausura. They host a struggling Morelia side at 7:00 p.m. on TUDN USA.
- There are two young national team prospects for the Philadelphia Union who made their first appearance at January camp. Defender Mark McKenzie and midfielder Brenden Aaronson dropped their season opener to FC Dallas, 2-0. This week, the Union faces off against offensive juggernaut LAFC at 10:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
Looking through the paywall:
- Nordsjælland, fifth place, looks to jump Brøndby, fourth place, in this Danish Superliga match-up at 1:00 p.m. on ESPN+. Winger Jonathan Amon is working his way back from injury and recently appeared for FCN’s reserve side.