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USMNT weekend viewing guide: Playoffs

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We’re talking about playoffs?!

Jim Mora

The MLS playoffs kick off this weekend, which gives us some win or go home soccer action in addition to the games you can catch kicking off throughout Europe all weekend as players return from international action. It all starts on Friday, when our two-time Man of the Match gets things started.

Friday

Monaco v Lille - 3p on beIN Sports

Timothy Weah was unstoppable over the international break, picking up a goal and an assist in the USMNT’s win over Mexico and their draw in Jamaica and earning SSFC Man of the Match honors for both fixtures. Interestingly enough Weah did not come into the break particularly hot, he has just two assists in fourteen matches this season and came off the bench in the clubs last two league matches which sandwiched a start in the teams 2-1 win over Sevilla in Champions League play. Lille has been scuffling in their title defense this season and currently sit in twelfth place, they are eighteen points out of first place and eight points out of Champions League qualifying position.

Lille’s opponent this weekend are Monaco, who sit just above them in the table in eleventh place with eighteen points. It’s a crowded table from 2nd all the way down to 13th in the Ligue 1 table for teams hoping to make it into the Champions League, with just 9 points separating the 12 clubs, so every point is going to matter.

Saturday

Leicester City v Chelsea FC - 7:30a on NBCSN

Christian Pulisic is returning to health, as he picked up spot minutes in Chelsea’s two matches heading into the break and saw roughly 30 minutes off the bench in each of the USMNT’s matches, scoring the first goal against Mexico and making Guillermo Ochoa not want to see a mirror again. This weekend, his club will look to maintain their hold on 1st place in the EPL when they face 12th place Leicester. Chelsea have a 3 point lead in the standings over Manchester City, thanks primarily to their stout defense which has given up just 4 goals through 11 games. Leicester have been scuffling a bit and will be looking for their first win in five matches across all competitions.

Other notes:

  • Matt Miazga and Deportivo Alavés will face Sevilla at 10:15a in a match that can be seen on ESPN Deportes.
  • The Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls will kick off the MLS playoffs at 2:30p on TUDN. Caden Clark and Paxten Aaronson will go from teammates on the recent U-20 squad to facing off in an elimination match.
  • Sporting Kansas City will face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second playoff matchup of the day at 5p on TUDN.

Streaming overseas:

  • Chris Richards and Tyler Adams will face off when Hoffenheim face RB Leipzig at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • John Brooks will look to continue his personal redemption as Wolfsburg face Arminia Bielefeld at 9:30a on ESPN+. Wolfsburg currently sit one point ahead of Leipzig for fourth place and the final Champions League spot.
  • Giovanni Reyna remains out, though reports have him returning to training within the next couple of weeks. His Borussia Dortmund side will take on Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Stuttgart at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • Joe Scally was called into camp, but didn’t see the field for the USMNT. So, he should be fresh as his Borussia Mönchengladbach side face Gruether Fürth and Julian Green, who can’t seem to get a call at all. The match will be at 9:30a on ESPN+.
  • Josh Sargent and Norwich City face Southampton at 10a on Peacock. Sargent was a sub and saw just 12 minutes in Norwich’s last match, which was also their first win of the season.
  • Weston McKennie and Juventus will take on Lazio at Noon on Paramount+. Juventus currently sit in eighth place, four points back of Champions League qualification.
  • Sergiño Dest’s FC Barcelona will face Espanyol at 3p on on ESPN+. Dest has been out with a back injury.

Sunday

New York City FC v Atlanta United - 3p on ABC

Miles Robinson, George Bello, and Atlanta United will kick off their playoff push against NYCFC in primetime on Sunday afternoon. Robinson should be rested as his red card against Mexico had him sitting on the sideline in Jamaica. They will be facing a NYCFC side that includes James Sands and Sean Johnson. Johnson was brought into USMNT camp as the third keeper, but did not dress for either match, while James Sands was brought in as a replacement for the suspended Robinson and saw the bench in Jamaica but did not make the field. The two teams finished the regular season in 4th and 5th place tied with 51 points, though NYCFC had a significant goal differential advantage.

Other notes:

  • The Portland Timbers and Minnesota United finish off the weekend at 5:30p on ESPN. With Eryk Williamson out due to injury, there is not much USMNT presence on either team, though Minnesota’s Hassani Dotson did play for the U-23 MNT during Olympic qualifying.

Streaming overseas:

  • Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessmann look to continue Venezia’s push up the table when they face Bologna at 9a on Paramount+. Venezia currently sit in 15th place, three points out of relegation.
  • Timothy Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt face Freiburg at 9:30a on ESPN+. Chandler was a late sub in Frankfurt’s 2-1 win over Gruether Furth heading into the break.
  • Konrad de la Fuente and Olympique Marseille face Olympique Lyonnais at 2:45p on beIN Sports. Konrad’s playing time has been a bit up and down recently. He came off the bench for 25 minutes most recently in his teams scoreless draw with Metz.
  • Yunus Musah and Valencia face Real Sociedad at 3p on ESPN+. Musah saw 25 minutes in the teams 3-3 draw with Atletico Madrid heading into international break and is looking for his first start since early October.

Let us know what you’re excited to see this weekend in the comments section below and follow along with the community throughout the weekend.