MLS returns in earnest with a rivalry weekend, which should lead to some entertaining matchups. Ligue 1 kicks off their 2020-21 season as well this weekend, which could lead to the long awaited return of Timothy Weah to the field with Lille. Here’s what you can catch this weekend:
Given the amount of MLS teams with at least one potential USMNT connection following all the games behind the paywall (literally every MLS game that’s not on network TV) is a bit more than we can bite off, so we won’t be regularly running down all these games. However, since all of Friday’s action is on ESPN+ (free trial here if you need it), here’s a quick look (all times Eastern):
Looking through the paywall:
- FC Cincinnati v D.C. United at 7:30p on ESPN+. Bill Hamid is the most likely USMNT candidate in the short term playing for either team, but D.C. United’s Ben Olson has indicated that he may rely a bit more on young players such as Moses Neyman and Griffin Yow this season.
- Minnesota United v Sporting Kansas City at 7:30p on ESPN+. Gianluca Busio saw some minutes in the MLS is Back tournament for Sporting Kansas City, while Chase Gasper was a surprise at LB for Minnesota and Mason Toye also saw some time.
- Houston Dynamo v FC Dallas at 8p on ESPN+. FC Dallas have quite the group of potential USMNT players to watch, including Reggie Cannon, Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira, Ricardo Pepi, Tanner Tessman, and Edwin Cerrillo, but the team is off to a slow start with a loss and a scoreless draw against Nashville in their opening two matches.
- Toronto FC v Vancouver Whitecaps at 8p on ESPN+. Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Marky Delgado started Toronto’s midweek 3-0 win over Vancouver. Ayo Akinola who was a bright spot in the tournament missed the match with a hamstring injury.
Lille v Rennes - 3p on beIN Sports
Timothy Weah, who had a nightmare start to his time with Lille, is reportedly nearing his long-awaited return, though there are still questions about what role, if any, he will play this weekend. Weah suffered an injury just two matches into the 2019-2020 season and attempted a return in February, only to again be taken down by a hamstring injury just ten minutes into his time on the field. It’s been a hard year for Weah, but he appears to have maintained a positive attitude and a hunger to get back out on the field.
Lille will be facing a Rennes side that finished the abbreviated season in fourth place. Theoson Jordan Siebatcheu, who remains eligible to play for the United States (though there have been no real signs of bringing him in), played just 65 minutes for Rennes in their last 13 matches of the season.
- Ajax play a friendly against Red Bull Salzburg at 10a on ESPN Deportes. Sergiño Dest remains with the club and will likely see roughly 45 minutes.
- PSV Eindhoven and Eintracht Frankfurt also have a friendly scheduled at noon on ESPN Deportes. Timothy Chandler may see the field for Frankfurt, while Richie Ledezma and Chris Gloster have yet to break through for PSV.
- Los Angeles Football Club and the LA Galaxy meet in the latest edition of El Tráfico at 6p on Fox. The Galaxy will be looking to avoid a repeat of their embarrassing 6-2 loss to LAFC in the MLS is Back tournament. 19-year-old Julian Araujo is the most interesting player to keep an eye on, though Sebastian Lletget is probably closer to a USMNT call-up.
- Sebastian Saucedo and Pumas UNAM face Tigres UANL at 8p on ESPN Deportes. Saucedo started Pumas UNAM’s most recent match, a scoreless draw with Mazatlan.
Portland Timbers v Seattle Sounders - 10p on FS1
MLS is Back champions Portland Timbers face the Sounders late on Sunday in what should be an entertaining match. Jeremy Ebobisse and Eryk Williamson were key players for Portland throughout the tournament, with Ebobisse scoring four goals to pair with an assist and Williamson seemingly popping up all over the place. The Sounders were easily handled by LAFC in the first round of elimination games, but Jordan Morris did pickup a goal and two assists in the group stages.
- Ventura Alvarado has seen substantial minutes for Atlético San Luis in their past two matches, though he still needs to work himself into the starting lineup. The club face Cruz Azul at 8:30p on TUDN.
That’s what we have for the weekend so let us know what you’re watching in the comments section below.