Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Games to Watch: Clint Dempsey's MLS debut, Ligue 1, U.S. national team

Paris Saint-Germain at Montpellier

Games to Watch: Clint Dempsey's MLS debut, Ligue 1, U.S. national team

Paris Saint-Germain at Montpellier

2:15 p.m. Friday (beIN Sport) 

The French Ligue 1 season kicks off with the reigning champions in the spotlight. PSG spent big again this past offseason, bringing in Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani and Brazilian defender Marquinhos. 

There's also a new manager, legendary former French national team defender Laurent Blanc. All he has to do is win right away with a locker room full of big talent – and equally big egos. 

Seattle Sounders at Toronto FC 

7:00 p.m. Saturday (Univision Deportes) 

You'll have to have DirecTV or Dish Network to watch the game in the Philadelphia region, but if you do, this is the game of the weekend in Major League Soccer. It's likely that Clint Dempsey will make his Sounders debut, after Seattle and MLS teamed up to bring the U.S. national team star home. 

The league as a whole sparked a furor among fans of rival teams by paying the $9 million transfer fee. The Sounders will pay what's expected to be the highest salary in MLS. 

All in all, though, there's no question that having Dempsey – a true American soccer superstar – is good for MLS. The buzz will only grow from now until Dempsey's first home game, on August 25 against Portland. Seattle has already sold out the full capacity of CenturyLink Field, with nearly 70,000 fans expected to be on hand. 

Big numbers like that will help pay back the big investment MLS and the Sounders have made in American soccer's present and future. 

Monterrey at Tigres UANL

8:00 p.m. Saturday (UniMás)

Two local rivals face off in a prime time Mexican league showdown. Americans Jonathan Bornstein and José Francisco Torres lead Tigres. Monterrey's star-studded squad includes big-money forward Hunberto Suazo and former Celtic defender Efrain Juárez. 

Manchester United vs. Wigan

8:45 a.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel)

Last year's Premier League and FA Cup winners face off in the Community Shield game at Wembley Stadium. 

New Manchester United manager David Moyes will be in the spotlight as he leads the Red Devils for the first time on British soil. Wigan also has a new boss in Owen Coyle. He replaced Roberto Martinez, who moved to Everton to replace Moyes. 

On the field, all eyes will be on United star Wayne Rooney. Chelsea is bidding big money to buy the English national team star, but Moyes and United refuse to let him go. We'll see if Rooney's play suffers with his club future unresolved. 

Leeds United at Leicester City 

11:25 a.m. Sunday (beIN Sport) 

England's second-tier Championship is full of famous old teams with dreams of getting back to the Premier League. Leicester hasn't been in the top tier since 2001, and Leeds since 2004. 

If you've been following English soccer for a while, you know that both teams have rich histories. If you're new to the sport, check this matchup out for a little taste of how things used to be. 

Los Angeles Galaxy at FC Dallas

8:00 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2) 

FC Dallas started out the season as the hottest team in MLS. But they've faded in recent weeks, and have fallen out of the playoff spots. Star striker Blas Pérez and former MLS MVP David Ferreira will have to step up as Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane lead the two-time reigning champs into town. 

After the game, ESPN2 will air the debut edition of “ESPN FC on TV,” a new soccer highlights show. It will run six days a week, airing at 5:30 p.m. weekdays and (after this weekend) midnight Eastern. The weekday show will be 30 minutes and the Sunday show will be 60 minutes. 

United States at Bosnia 

2:25 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN2)

The U.S. national team plays its last friendly game before World Cup qualifying resumes next month. Jurgen Klinsmann will likely take the opportunity to call in some Europe-based prospects, including two buzz-worthy young forwards: 1860 Munich's Bobby Wood and AZ Alkmaar's Aron Jóhannsson.

Jóhannsson's inclusion is a big deal. He has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Iceland, having been born in the former and raised in the latter. The Alabama native provoked quite a furor in Reykjavik by choosing to play for Jurgen Klinsmann. This game won't cap-tie him, but it's still a good sign. 

Another dual-national who's likely to get a call from Klinsmann is Hertha Berlin defender John Anthony Brooks. He's 6-foot-5 and just 20 years old, and turned down a chance to play for Germany's under-21 team. Brooks could anchor the U.S. defense for a long time to come. 

About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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