Here we go! The action is in full swing now as La Liga and Serie A sides begin their season this weekend, joining the other European leagues who kicked things off last weekend and leading to a full slate of action. There are already some injury concerns impacting our watch schedule, as well as transfer rumors suggesting some individuals could be on the move, but at least for now here’s what we’ll be watching:
SC Freiburg v Borussia Dortmund - 2:30p on ESPN+
Gio Reyna made last weekend’s matchday squad for Borussia Dortmund but was an unused substitute in the team’s 1-0 win over 10-man Bayer Leverkusen. It is not surprising the club would continue their cautious approach with Reyna, who barely saw playing time during the preseason. Marco Reus scored 10 minutes into Dortmund’s opener, and the team would hang on to win 1-0 in what was an important, if unconvincing, victory over a Leverkusen side that seems likely to be a competitor for Champions League qualification by season’s end.
This weekend, Dortmund will take on a Freiburg side that finished last season in 6th place and opened their new campaign with a 4-0 thumping of Augsburg. Their match was scoreless through the first half, but Freiburg scored twice within the first three minutes of the second half kickoff and coasted to victory through a balanced attack that saw four different players find the back of the net.
- Timothy Weah missed Lille’s opener last weekend (a 4-1 win over Auxerre) due to yellow card accumulation and now looks like he will miss a couple weeks due to a foot injury. Lille face Nantes at 3p on beIN Sports.
Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano - 3p on ABC
Sergiño Dest could be on the move yet this month as Barcelona has reportedly made him available, and it seems that he is third in the pecking order at the right back spot, having seen limited playing time during the preseason. It’s no secret that Barcelona have wage and money issues, but it’s also no secret that they don’t operate in typical fashion so it remains to be seen whether they are seeking to move Dest to recoup some money and register some of the numerous players they have already added this summer or if they are trying to replace him with yet another signing.
For now, Dest remains with Barcelona as the team kicks off their season against Rayo Vallecano Saturday afternoon on ABC. Barcelona finished a distant second place to Real Madrid last season and, as we mentioned above, has brought in a number of reinforcements (Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen, and Raphinha, to name a few) in an attempt to close the gap. However, it isn’t without a high degree of risk. In fact, it has been argued that unless Barcelona are able to close the gap on Real Madrid in both La Liga and Champions League and reap the financial rewards, then president Joan Laporta’s summer strategy could send the club into an unrecoverable financial tailspin. They will be dealing with a different kind of pressure this season as they look to make good. They will start their campaign on Saturday against a Rayo Vallecano side that finished 12th place in La Liga last season, just four points out safe from relegation.
- Ricardo Pepi came off the bench last weekend in Augsburg’s 4-0 loss to Freiburg. This weekend, the team face Bayer Leverkusen at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Timothy Chandler was an unused substitute for Eintracht Frankfurt last Friday as they were smashed by Bayern Munich 6-1. Things should get easier this weekend as they face a Hertha Berlin side that needed to win the relegation playoff to escape being dropped to the 2. Bundesliga. This match will also be played at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson, and Jesse Marsch look to build on last weekend’s season opening win over Wolves when they face Southampton at 10a on Peacock. Southampton opened the season with a 4-1 loss to Tottenham.
- Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson and Fulham were involved in the shock result of last weekend as the newly promoted club drew with title contending Liverpool 2-2. Fulham take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at 10a on Peacock.
- Luca de la Torre could make his LaLiga debut as his new club Celta Vigo open their season against Espanyol at 11a on ESPN+.
- Joe Scally got the start for Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend in the team’s 3-1 win over Hoffenheim. ‘Gladbach look to build some momentum as they face a newly promoted Schalke side that lost to Köln 3-1. The match will be played at 12:30p on ESPN+.
MLS mashup (all matches on ESPN+):
- Aaron Long and the New York Red Bulls take on Orlando City at 6p.
- The New England Revolution host DC United at 7:30p.
- Brandon Vasquez looks to continue his scoring ways as FC Cincinnati take on Atlanta United at 7:30p.
- Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union and their young quartet host Gaga Slonina and the Chicago Fire at 7:30p.
- Toronto FC and the Bradleys host the Portland Timbers at 7:30p. Eryk Williamson saw 30 minutes off the bench for Portland last weekend.
- DeAndre Yedlin and Inter Miami host NYCFC and Sean Johnson at 8p.
- Gyasi Zardes looks for a little payback as the Colorado Rapids take on his former team, the Columbus Crew, at 9p.
- FC Dallas and Jesus Ferreira, et al. take on the San Jose Earthquakes and Cade Cowell at 9p.
- The Houston Dynamo host Djordje Mihailovic and CF Montreal at 9p.
- Kellyn Acosta and league leading LAFC host Charlotte FC at 10:30p.
Mainz v Union Berlin - 9:30a on ESPN+
Jordan Pefok got his Bundesliga career off to the perfect start last weekend, scoring the opening goal for Union Berlin in the team’s 3-1 Berlin Derby win over Hertha Berlin. Pefok redirected a cross in with a header from a sharp angle in the 30th minute and his side were off and running, getting out to a 3-0 lead before conceding a consolation goal in the 85th minute. It was a dream debut for Pefok, who joined Union Berlin over the summer following a prolific year for Switzerland’s BSC Young Boys, with 27 goals across all competitions. It would be unreasonable to expect Pefok to maintain such a high scoring rate with the jump in leagues, but if he is able to continue slotting home goals with some regularity for Union Berlin, it should help keep the attention on USMNT fans and, more importantly, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter.
- Christian Pulisic saw 25 minutes off the bench for Chelsea FC last weekend in the club’s rather mundane 1-0 win over Everton. They now face a Spurs side that looked rather explosive last weekend in putting four goals past Southampton. The match will be played at 11:30a on USA Network.
- Yunus Musah has been playing regularly in the middle of the pitch for Valencia during the preseason, which is a welcome development for USMNT fans. His side open their 2022-23 campaign against Girona at 1:30p in a match that can be seen on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.
- Walker Zimmerman and Nashville SC host Minnesota United at 9p on FS1. Nashville sit just a point ahead of the Seattle Sounders in the playoff race.
- Erik Palmer-Brown and Troyes got their season off to a rough start last weekend suffering a 3-2 loss to Montpellier. They’ll look to rebound this weekend as they face Toulouse at 9a on beIN Sports.
- Real Sociedad start their season with a trip to Cadiz at 11:30a on Sunday in a match that can be seen on ESPN+. Jonathan Gomez reportedly will get some opportunities with the first team this season, though it remains to be seen in what capacity. It would take a flurry of activity to grab the attention of Gregg Berhalter ahead of November’s World Cup.
MLS Mashup (all matches on ESPN+):
- Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan and the Seattle Sounders host Diego Luna and Real Salt Lake at 10p.
Bonus Monday action:
- Weston McKennie remains sidelined for Juventus, who begin their Serie A campaign as they take on Sassuolo at 2:45p on Paramount+.
- Chris Richards was an unused substitute for Crystal Palace last weekend. The side now face Liverpool at 3p on USA Network.
Let us know what you’re eager to keep an eye on this weekend and what other action you see in the comments section below.