Welcome to a lovely winter weekend, where there is limited action on Friday. However, there is a full day Saturday, including the MLS Cup Final and American vs. American action in Italy in addition to our usual slate of Bundesliga games and a smattering of matches from Spain and England. Let’s get it started by jumping in to that Saturday action.
Portland Timbers v New York City FC - 3p on ABC
The Portland Timbers will represent the Western Conference in the MLS Cup Final on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, they have no USMNT representation to speak of, so let’s jump straight over to NYCFC, who represent the Eastern Conference and also have a smattering of USMNT players in their midst. The third keeper at the last couple of USMNT camps has been NYCFC’s starting goaltender Sean Johnson, who gave up one goal and had three saves against the Philadelphia Union’s second squad in the Eastern Conference Final. James Sands also started the match and played the full 90. Digging a little deeper, 19-year-old right back Tayvon Gray went the full 90 as well.
- Josh Sargent also gets the broadcast network treatment when Norwich City take on Manchester United at 12:30p on NBC. Sargent will of course be facing off against new Manchester United assistant....Chris Armas?!?
- Chris Richards got his first start in five matches in Hoffenheim’s 3-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend. This weekend, his club will face Freiburg at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Gio Reyna remains out while his Borussia Dortmund side face Bochum at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Your American head-to-head Bundesliga matchup of the weekend sees Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig facing Joe Scally and Borussia Mönchengladbach at 9:30a on ESPN+. It will be Leipzig’s first league match since replacing Jesse Marsch.
- Christian Pulisic came on as a sub and picked up an assist midweek in Chelsea’s disappointing 3-3 draw with Zenit Saint Petersburg. The club will be looking to bounce back from two straight disappointing matches, including their loss to West Ham last weekend, when they face Leeds United at 10a on Peacock.
- Matt Miazga will be looking for his first start in seven matches when Deportivo Alavés face Getafe at 10:15a on ESPN+.
- Germany isn’t the only country getting a taste of Americans vs. Americans this weekend, Italy also gets in on the action as Weston McKennie’s Juventus face Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann, and Venezia at Noon on Paramount+.
- John Brooks was yanked at the half in Wolfsburg’s 3-0 loss to Mainz last weekend and did not start the team’s Champions League loss at the hands of Lille. His club will face Stuttgart and the remaining American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo at 12:30p on ESPN+.
Osasuna v FC Barcelona - 10:15a on ESPN+
It looks like Sunday could be a relatively quiet day but Sergiño Dest and Barcelona will take on Osasuna mid-morning. Dest’s role with the club has become fairly uncertainly unfortunately. The right back was a halftime sub amid rumors that club and player would both be open to a move. Barcelona suffered a 1-0 loss to Real Betis last weekend and a 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in Champions League play, crashing out of the competition without making it to the knockout rounds. They now sit in seventh place, six points back of qualifying for next season’s edition of the competition.
- It seems that Timothy Weah is injured again and will be out for the remainder of 2021. His club face OIympique Lyonnais at 7a on beIN Sports.
- Julian Green and Greuther Fürth face Union Berlin at 9:30a on EPSN+. Fürth are on pace for a historically bad Bundesliga campaign so check this one out if you like watching train wrecks.
- Timothy Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt face Bayer Leverkusen at 11:30a on ESPN+. Chandler has started five straight matches for Frankfurt across all competitions.
- After a year off, Richie Ledezma made his return from injury to appear for Jong PSV last weekend. He then was included in the squad for the senior team’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad, though he did not make it off the bench. PSV face NEC at 2p on ESPN+.