Watching a few of your favorite Yanks play for their clubs might distract you from the U.S. national team's shoddy showing in the Hex opener in Honduras. Here's a guide to the games.
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February 08, 2013
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by snow somewhere, it’s a great weekend to hunker down with your favorite beverage (perhaps an Irish coffee or, as Robbie Keane calls it, coffee) and enjoy some soccer. If you’re not in that region, it’s still a pretty great weekend to hunker down and enjoy some soccer. What should you watch? We’ve got a guide for the discerning U.S. national team fan.
Stoke City v. Reading
10 a.m. (all times Eastern)
Streaming on Fox Soccer 2 Go, tape delayed at 5 on Fox Soccer Plus
This match certainly doesn't feature two Premier League glamour teams, but it should be an exciting contest. Reading is one of the hottest squads in the league, having lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with a series of comeback draws and victories. They’ll head to Stoke-on-Trent to play a side that should include Geoff Cameron at right back, seeking to bounce back after a tough time with the U.S. in Honduras. It also could be the EPL debut of Brek Shea, the Potters’ new signing.
Bayern Munich v. Schalke 12:30 p.m.
No rest for the weary, though Jermaine Jones could be fresher for Schalke since Jurgen Klinsmann took him out of the qualifier in Honduras. Jones had one of the better performances for the Americans, assisting Clint Dempsey’s goal, and he didn’t even get booked in the process. His Schalke team plays away against the Bundesliga top dog, Bayern Munich, which has just one home defeat this season.
Tijuana v. Club América 8 p.m.
Last time Edgar Castillo was called up to the national team, he saw minutes in the match, played just days later for Tijuana, and ended up picking up an injury. No such worries there, as Castillo didn’t make the pitch for the Americans in Honduras. (Countryman Joe Corona was left off the roster completely.) It should work out well for Tijuana, which salvaged a draw to stay level at the top of Liga MX and now welcome the third-place side to Estadio Caliente, where the crummy turf and vocal crowd have made for a formidable home-field advantage. Xolos haven’t lost a regular season league match there since January of 2012.
Manchester United v. Everton 11 a.m.
Manchester United sit atop the Premier League table, but Everton aren’t doing half bad this season either. The Toffees are sitting fifth, in the guaranteed Europa League spot. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard will have his hands full but he’ll no doubt be hoping to keep a clean sheet against the Red Devils—the club that brought him to England. Maybe we’ll even get a preview of the March 26 Hexagonal contest, and Howard will stonewall Chicharito.
Sampdoria v. Roma 11 a.m.
Michael Bradley returns to the club scene after a decent showing in Central America. Last time he was in Florida, for Roma’s winter break trip to the state, Roma went on a skid and crashed down to the middle of the table. That’s still where they sit, but they have a chance to get all three points against a struggling Sampdoria team. If not, Bradley might try to re-route his flight through a location other than Miami for the next qualifier.
BEST OF THE REST
Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v. Newcastle
(7:30 a.m., Saturday, ESPN2)— Clint Dempsey scored for the United States during the qualifier. He’ll try to do the same with his club to shore up his starting status with new arrival Lewis Holtby in wait.
Liga MX: Santos v. Pachuca
(4 p.m., Sunday, Univision)— With Oribe Peralta out injured, Santos will be depending on Herc Gomez to score more often. He hasn’t tallied for Santos since the Liga MX curtain-raiser.
NO U.S. ANGLE BUT...
African Cup of Nations Final: Nigeria v. Burkina Faso
(12:50 p.m., Sunday, ESPN3)— Burkina Faso have the feel that Zambia had last time around, but the Super Eagles have performed much better than they have in previous tournaments. The winner gets a spot in the Confederations Cup.
Serie A: Juventus v. Fiorentina
(10 a.m., Saturday, beIN Sport)— The top team in Serie A are taking on a club sitting only one place out of the European positions in this Saturday matinee.
So what are you watching this weekend? Which matches did we miss that we should tune in for?
Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and ASN’s CONCACAF correspondent.