10 things to watch:Yedlin to Old Trafford, DC United's climb, & more
This weekend features several Americans who will be playing against each other - and others who will be looking to get momentum heading into the international window. In the United States, several games are going to impact key playoff races.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedTHIS WEEKEND does not have the compelling MLS matchups that last weekend had but there are still plenty races to follow. In Europe, there is plenty of interesting games and several where two American players will face each other.
October 05, 2018
October 05, 2018
Yedlin goes to Old TraffordSaturday 12:30pm EST
DeAndre Yedlin and winless Newcastle United will travel to Old Trafford and take on Manchester United on Saturday. Fortunately for Yedlin, the bottom of the Premier League table is jammed and a single win could move it a few spots into safety.
Regardless of Manchester United’s tough start to the season, this will be a tough game for Newcastle United. Yedlin will arrive in camp next week for the U.S. national team and this will be an opportunity to give the right back some confidence heading into Florida.
Green vs. GeorgeSaturday 7am EST
Two German-American players will face off on Saturday when thirdplace Greuther Furth hosts sixth place Jahn Regensburg on Saturday
Jann George, 26, is expected to get the start at right wing for Jahn Regensburg and he has been among his team’s best players with three goals and an assist in eight appearances. He has been playing especially well as of late with two goals and an assist in his last three – all wins for his club.
Julian Green, meanwhile, is regular contributor for a Furth team that has enjoyed quite a turnaround from last year where it escaped relegation on the final day of the season. His progress has seen him break back into the U.S. national team and perform well.
DC United vs. Chicago FireSunday 1:00pm EST
This game is going to be fun for DC United fans, American-fans, and neutrals.
DC United is in a massive push for the playoffs right now. It has the upper hand but still has work to do. It technically sits in seventh place, two points behind Montreal, but it has played two fewer games. For DC United supporters, this playoff chance has been fun because the club is playing extremely well right now and has all the momentum when chasing Montreal – which it defeated 5-0 last week.
DC United is giving fans plenty of reasons to turn up at its new Audi Field and/or watch on television. Luciano Acosta was deservedly named the MLS player of the month and Wayne Rooney has lived up to the high expectations that were placed on him.
For American fans, DC United is also a treat. Chris Durkin is expected to be a big part of the equation for the U.S. U-20 team. Meanwhile Paul Arriola and Bill Hamid were likely not included on the new U.S. national team roster because DC United has multiple games during the international window. Russell Canouse has also been one of the league’s best breakout players in recent months since returning from injury.
It’s been a bad season for the Chicago Fire. After making the playoffs last season, it sits in 10th place in the 11 team Eastern Conference. It’s coming off a nice win, however, against LAFC last weekend and American teenager Djordje Mihailovic, 19, is one to keep an eye on. He’s made a strong return from ACL surgery and scored the best goal in the league last weekend.
Morales hosts McKennieSaturday 9:30am EST
It is the tale of two American central midfielders when Alfredo Morales, 28, and Fortuna Dusseldorf hosts Schalke and Weston McKennie.
The two players have interesting and different pasts. Morales is almost one of the forgotten American players – despite playing in the Bundesliga. He was called up regularly to the U.S. national team under Jurgen Klinsmann but was never able to fit into the team.
McKennie, 20, meanwhile is on a fast track into the team and has seemingly fit well into the squad. Of course he will arrive in the U.S. national team camp with a world of momentum following his Champions League winning goal against Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday.
Combined with last week’s win over Mainz, things are starting to look upwards for Schalke. The dreadful start to the season, however, still has in second to last place with just three points from six games. Fortuna Dusseldorf is in 15th place and should be a winnable game for Schalke, even on the road.
Hobro hosts Amon & NordsjaellandSunday 6:00am EST
It isn’t clear if the injured Emmanuel Sabbi will return in time to face Nordsjaelland on Sunday but Jonathan Amon will take part for the guests.
Amon, 19, was recently called-up by Dave Sarachan for his first U.S. national team call-up and the South Carolina native is playing exceptional soccer for Nordsjaelland at left wing where he is creating or scoring goals nearly every week.
Sabbi, meanwhile, hasn’t played since September 16. He has five goals in nine appearances but Hobro has had a disastrous start to the season with just six points from 11 games. It sits in last place and is six points behind the next worst team.
Bordeaux hosts Miazga and NantesSunday 9:00am EST
Matt Miazga, 23, is an emerging leader on the U.S. national team. In his career, he has an impressive reputation of winning everywhere he goes. But at Nantes, he needs to help his club turn around a tough start and make a climb towards midtable.
Last week Nantes and Miazga earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Lyon on the road. Bordeaux will be a tough competitor sitting in ninth place but still a winnable game. Miazga is playing well on an individual level but now he has to hope lift his team and start getting wins against tough opponents.
Red Bulls – San Jose EarthquakesSaturday 10:30pm EST
The Red Bulls are trying to continue to put the heat on Atlanta for the Supporters Shield. It trails Atlanta by one point and both teams have favorable schedules the rest of the way. The Red Bulls will have to hope Atlanta drops points at home against New England earlier in the night.
On paper, the Red Bulls are a lot better than San Jose but the Bay Area has never been kind to the Red Bulls or the Metrostars.
The Red Bulls will be without U.S. international Tyler Adams who missed last weekend’s win over Atlanta with a bad back. That same injury also saw Adams pulled from the latest U.S. national team roster.
The Red Bulls will be getting Bradley Wright-Phillips back from his suspension and will be anchored by a top-flight backline which includes Aaron Long (who is on the current U.S. roster), Tim Parker (who was on the previous U.S. roster), Kemar Lawrence, and Michael Murillo.
Novakovich and Fortuna Sittard visit EmmenSunday 6:15am EST
For newly promoted Fortuna Sittard, so much of its hopes of surviving in the Eredivisie rest on American forward Andrija Novakovich who is the team’s biggest scoring threat. It’s a lot of responsibility for the Wisconsin native.
Novakovich, 22, has done well this year with four goals in seven appearances but so much will rest on the ability of his teammates to get him the ball in dangerous positions. He is unlikely to create goals for himself but he can finish opportunities.
Emmen is an opponent that sits just one point ahead of Fortuna Sittard but has been outmatch by most of its opponents this year. If Fortuna Sittard want to stay up, these are the games it has to win – which it can do by getting Novakovich the ball in dangerous areas.
Sporting Kansas City host LA GalaxySaturday: 8:30pm EST
This game could make the Western Conference playoffs very interesting. The Galaxy has looked great in its last two games with a pair of convincing wins. But both of those wins came at home. Now it has to travel and face 2nd place Sporting Kansas City which sits in second place but is winless in its last two.
How important is this game? The Galaxy sit in seventh place. A win could put it into a playoff position. A loss and a Real Salt Lake win could essentially make its playoff chances hopeless.
For Sporting Kansas City, a win and an FC Dallas loss could move it into first place in the Western Conference. A loss and an LAFC win, however, could see it drop out of the top two – which is needed for a first round playoff bye.
The Galaxy isn’t necessarily a good team but it is essentially riding Zlatan Ibrahimovic as far as he’ll take them. Given the make-up of its thin roster, that’s not the worst strategy but it shouldn’t mask how much work is needed on the team this offseason.
Real Salt Lake vs. PortlandSaturday 9:30pm EST
For most of the year, it looked like Real Salt Lake was going to make the playoffs. Lately, however, it looks like it could be another anonymous victim at the hands of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is lifting the Galaxy upwards in the standings – against all odds.
A win on Saturday would do wonders. Not only would it put breathing room between itself and the Galaxy but it would also see it pass perhaps two teams – its opponent Portland as well as the Seattle Sounders.
Real Salt Lake has not won in three but its most recent two games have come on the road – a loss at Atlanta and a draw at Kansas City. Both of those games were among its hardest of the season. Portland at home is winnable.
Giovani Savarese’s Timbers team has played well during stretches but has struggled on the road as of late. If it loses on Saturday, it could find itself in race against the Galaxy.