It’s the last weekend of matches before the USMNT write the next chapter in their rivalry with Mexico, so let’s get right to it with some action on Friday.
Mainz v Borussia Mönchengladbach - 3:30p on ESPN+
Cut out of the office a little early, grab a pint, and get your weekend started right with Joe Scally and Borussia Mönchengladbach kicking off on Friday afternoon. Scally has played all but nine league minutes for ‘Gladbach this season, as the club has had their ups and downs and currently sit in 10th place. The club is coming off a 2-1 win over Bochum and a 5-0 thumping of a mostly first team Bayern Munich side in the DFB-Pokal. Scally will get his first taste of USMNT camp following the match on Friday ,and while it would be unusual to throw a first timer into the mix against Mexico, there may be a door open for Scally with Sergiño Dest missing the camp due to injury.
Chelsea FC v Burnley - 11a on Peacock
Christian Pulisic has finally returned from injury, as he appeared for the first time since August in Chelsea’s 1-0 midweek win over Malmö FF in Champions League group stage action. Between his early season COVID quarantine and the ankle injury he picked up with the USMNT during the September window, Pulisic has just one league appearance for Chelsea this season, though he did pick up a goal in that match. It would be surprising to see Pulisic start this weekend, as it seems likely the team will work him up to full match fitness with some substitute appearances. Still, as long as he is healthy, he should be seeing some time for the club. Please Christian, just stay healthy.
- Zack Steffen should get a nice view of the Manchester rivalry from the bench as Manchester United and Manchester City face off at 8:30a on NBCSN.
- Chris Richards and Hoffenheim face Bochum at 10:30a on ESPN+. Richards continues to be a regular, steady presence for Hoffenheim.
- John Brooks seems to have handled his absence from the November window as professionally as one could hope and will make his case against further exclusions starting Saturday for Wolfsburg against Augsburg at 10:30a on ESPN+.
- Josh Sargent and Norwich City face Brentford at 11a on Peacock, with both club and player needing to find some way to get on track.
- Sergiño Dest is out injured so FC Barcelona will have to look to start another winger when they face Celta de Vigo at 11:15a on ESPN+.
- Timothy Weah and Lille face Angers at Noon on beIN Sports. Weah saw just 11 minutes off the bench in Lille’s loss to PSG last weekend, but started midweek in the club’s 2-1 win over Sevilla FC in Champions League group play.
- Weston McKennie has two goals in Juventus’ last two league matches, but unfortunately the club has lost both and currently sit in 9th place. They will face 7th place Fiorentina at 1p on Paramount+.
- Tyler Adams, Jesse Marsch and RB Leipzig will take on a Borussia Dortmund side that is really struggling with injuries, including the absence of Gio Reyna, who the club has recently said they hope to see return yet this year. The match will be on ESPN+ at 1:30p.
- Matt Miazga appears to have lost his starting position at Deportivo Alavés, having been on the bench the past two matches. The club face Levante at 1:30p on ESPN+.
Venezia v Roma - 6:30a on Paramount+
If you’re struggling to sleep in Sunday morning with the time change (how have we not fixed the abomination that is time changes yet), feel free to get up and check out Gianluca Busio and Venezia. You may even be treated to a Tanner Tessmann sighting as well, Tessmann received his first start for Venezia last weekend as the club played to a scoreless draw with Genoa. While you’re at it, you can check out Roma as well and curse out Jose Mourinho, who seems to have quite the beef with Bryan Reynolds. Hopefully Reynolds will be moving on in January to a club more interested in developing players.
- Nashville SC and the New York Red Bulls kick off MLS Decision Day at 3:30p on ESPN. Nashville have locked up a spot in the playoffs, so Walker Zimmerman could get a rest, but NYRB need a win to guarantee their place.
- The LA Galaxy take on Minnesota United at 6p on FS1 with both teams needing a win to clinch their playoff spot. Currently the Galaxy sit in 7th, the final playoff spot, two points ahead of LAFC and Real Salt Lake. Meanwhile Minnesota United are in 5th place but with just one more point than the Galaxy. The club is three points ahead of RSL and LAFC but could lose a tiebreaker to either club.
- Konrad de la Fuente and Olympique de Marseille face Metz at 7a on beIN Sports. Konrad started and played the first 60 minutes last weekend, picking up a yellow card.
- Yunus Musah and Valencia face Atletico Madrid at 10:15a on ESPN+. Musah did not make it off the bench last weekend in the teams 2-0 victory over Villarreal.
- Nicholas Gioachinni has had spot minutes in every match for Montpellier since joining the club but has yet to see anything meaningful. The club face Nice at 11a on beIN Sports.
- Matthew Hoppe’s Mallorca side face Elche at 12:30p on ESPN+. Hoppe has not seen any minutes recently and there may be some injury concern.
- Julian Green’s Greuther Fürth take on Timothy Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt at 1:30p on ESPN+. Both seem pretty far from Berhalter’s call up list at this point.
MLS Mashup (all games on ESPN+):
- Toronto FC has been eliminated from the playoffs but could play spoiler to Paul Arriola and DC United, who haven’t been eliminated but would need help in the form of NYRB and Montreal losses. The match will kick off at 3:30p.
- Matt Turner and the New England Revolution have wrapped up the Supporters Shield, so they don’t have much to play for on Sunday at 3:30p. On the flip side, their opponent, Inter Miami, have been eliminated from playoff contention.
- A win or a draw for Miles Robinson, George Bello and Atlanta United over FC Cincinnati at 3:30p will be enough for a playoff birth. Cincinnati have already clinched the league’s worst record.
- Gyasi Zardes and the Columbus Crew would need a win and a whole bunch of help (including three other teams losing and making up a -7 goal differential with NYRB) to make the playoffs one season removed from their league title. They face the Chicago Fire at 3:30p.
- CF Montreal and Orlando City face off at 3:30p, with Montreal needing a win while Orlando City and Daryl Dike can seal their fate with a win or a draw.
- James Sands and NYCFC would need a win or draw to clinch their first round bye, while Paxten Aaronson and the Philadelphia Union have already sealed their spot. Like all the other Eastern Conference matches, this one will kick off at 3:30p.
- The Western Conference matches will all start at 6p, including Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira, and eliminated FC Dallas facing Cade Cowell and the San Jose Earthquakes.
- Likewise, neither the Portland Timbers (already clinched a bye) nor Austin FC (eliminated) will have much to play for on “Decision Day.”
- Sporting Kansas City can clinch the top spot in the Western Conference with a win and a Seattle Sounders loss. SKC face Real Salt Lake, who are looking to sneak into the playoffs with a win and some help.
- Kellyn Acosta and the Colorado Rapids could also claim the top spot in the Western Conference with a win and some help. Their first order of business will be taking care of LAFC, who have not been eliminated but need some help themselves.
- Finally, while the top of the conference is crowded, it’s Cristian Roldan, recently returned Jordan Morris, and the Seattle Sounders, who control their own fate and can clinch that top spot with a win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.