There’s a bit of a slow start to the weekend for USMNT club action, so let’s not get distracted by Friday. We jump straight to Saturday, where Liverpool and Chelsea FC will meet in a Cup final for the second time this season.
Chelsea v Liverpool - 10:45a on ESPN+
Christian Pulisic and Chelsea get a second chance to claim a trophy against Liverpool this weekend in the FA Cup final. It’s the 4th matchup between the two sides this season. All of the matches have been closely contested, with the two league matches ending in a draw and Liverpool lifting the EFL Cup in February following a scoreless draw that was decided when Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had come off the bench for the shootout, was the first player to miss. This weekend’s match should be another entertaining one between the sides. Of course it remains to be seen what role Christian Pulisic might play this weekend. He has started Chelsea’s last two games and has a goal and an assist, so his productivity shouldn’t be a question. Still, with as many tools as Tuchel has at his disposal, actual usage is never a given.
- This weekend’s Univision and Twitter matchup will be between the Colorado Rapids and their old friend Kellyn Acosta, who is now with league leading LAFC. The match start time is listed as 3:30p.
- Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Stuttgart will be headed for the relegation playoff unless they can pick up a win against Köln at 9:30a on ESPN+ and get some help from Borussia Dortmund, who face Hertha Berlin. Hertha are three points ahead of Stuttgart for straight safety, so a draw would be good enough to secure safety. Stuttgart do hold a three point advantage and seven goal differential advantage over Arminia Bielefeld for straight relegation.
- Arminia Bielefeld needs to pick up a win against RB Leipzig and make up a seven goal disadvantage against Stuttgart to make the relegation playoff or they, along with American George Bello, will be headed to the 2. Bundesliga for next season. Meanwhile, RB Leipzig have yet to secure their Champions League qualification for next season, as they lead SC Freiburg by two points for the fourth and final spot. They do hold a +20 goal differential advantage, so a draw would be good enough to secure their passage. This match is at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Ricardo Pepi and Augsburg have secured safety, so perhaps January’s big transfer will see some extended minutes against relegated side Greuther Fürth when the teams meet at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- John Brooks will take the field with Wolfsburg one last time as they face Bayern Munich in their final match of the season at 9:30a on ESPN+. Technically, neither team has much to play for, as Bayern already has the title locked up and Wolfsburg are clear of the relegation zone.
- Joe Scally and Borussia Mönchengladbach face Hoffenheim at 9:30a on ESPN+. Hoffenheim have tailed off at end of the season and are no longer in contention for Europa competition, while ‘Gladbach sit solidly in the middle of the table.
- Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt face Mainz at 9:30a on ESPN+ in another match that is relatively inconsequential.
- Yunus Musah and Valencia face Espanyol at 12:30p on ESPN+. Valencia are comfortably in the middle of the La Liga table.
- With two matches to play, Venezia haven’t been mathematically relegated yet, but they sit dead last in the Serie A table. A loss or win by any of the three teams in front of them would relegate them to Serie B. They face a Roma side that currently sits in 6th place, tied with two other teams at 59 points. This match will be played at 2:45p on Paramount+.
- Timothy Weah is seeing a nice run of starts for Lille to close out the season. The team face Nice at 3p on beIN Sports
MLS mashup (all matches on ESPN+):
- New York City FC (Tayvon Gray, Keaton Parks, Chris Gloster) take on the Columbus Crew (Morris) at 7p.
- The Vancouver Whitecaps host the San Jose Earthquakes (Cade Cowell, Jeremy Ebobisse) at 7p.
- Charlotte FC and CF Montreal (Djordje Mihailovic) also kick off at 7p.
- The Philadelphia Union (Leon Flach, Paxten Aaronson, Jack McGlynn) take on the New York Red Bulls (Aaron Long, John Tolkin) at 7:30p.
- The Chicago Fire (Gaga Slonina) host Cincinnati FC at 8p.
- Inter Miami (DeAndre Yedlin) face DC United (Griffin Yow) at 8p.
- The Houston Dynamo take on Nashville SC (Walker Zimmerman) at 8:30p.
- Real Salt Lake and Austin FC kick off at 9:30p.
- The Portland Timbers host Sporting Kansas City at 10p.
- The LA Galaxy and FC Dallas (Jesus Ferreira, Paxton Pomykal, Paul Arriola, et al) close out the night when they kick off at 10:30p.
Seattle Sounders v Minnesota United - 4p on ESPN
The Seattle Sounders have taken a very pragmatic approach to the start of the season, with their veteran players seeing high usage in Concacaf Champions League play and younger players getting a run in some MLS matches and US Open Cup action. Now that they have won the CCL title and been bounced from the Open Cup, it seems likely that they will begin turning more attention to the MLS regular season matches where they have a bit of a hole to climb out of, currently sitting in 13th place (out of 14 Western Conference teams). Currently, the side has 7 points, 14 points back of Minnesota United for the final playoff spot. With a renewed focus on the regular season, expect to see Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan see increased minutes. Additionally, 16-year-old Obed Vargas did not start the CCL Final, but was an early sub and has performed well for such a unseasoned player.
- Atlanta United will have to make due without the services of Miles Robinson for the remainder of the season, as the steady centerback has torn his Achilles and will be out an extended period of time. This weekend, the team will face Matt Turner and the New England Revolution at 1:30p on ESPN.
- Matthew Hoppe and Mallorca have two games remaining in their season and must close a two point gap with Cadiz to secure safety. Their opponent this weekend is 12th place Rayo Vallencano, and the match will be played at 12:30p on ESPN+.
- Matt Miazga hasn’t started a match for Deportivo Alavés since February, but the club has won three of their last six. However, they still sit four points back of safety. They face basement dwellers Levante at 12:30p on ESPN+.