Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Games to Watch: FIFA Under-20s, Confederations Cup, NWSL, MLS

UPDATE: ESPN decided on Friday to change the channel assignments for Saturday's Confederations Cup games. Brazil-Italy is now on ESPN and Mexico-Japan is on ESPN2.

Games to Watch: FIFA Under-20s, Confederations Cup, NWSL, MLS

UPDATE: ESPN decided on Friday to change the channel assignments for Saturday's Confederations Cup games. Brazil-Italy is now on ESPN and Mexico-Japan is on ESPN2.

United States Under-20 Men vs. Spain

1:45 p.m. Friday (ESPN2) 

The American team for the FIFA Under-20 World Championship in Turkey is full of promising young talent, including Los Angeles’ Jose Villareal and Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gil. But the U.S. faces a daunting task just to get out of the group stage, with games against Spain, Ghana and France. 

The hardest game comes up first. Spain’s squad includes Real Madrid’s Jese Rodriguez and Barcelona’s Gerard Delofeu. At the very least, it will be a lesson for the U.S. A draw or win would be a big upset, and an even bigger statement about American soccer’s future. 

UD Almeria vs. Girona FC

1:55 p.m. Saturday (beIN Sport)

Just about every European league is on summer vacation at this point, but the Spanish second division has one game left. One of these two teams will get promoted to the top tier after the second leg of the Segunda División playoff final. 

Almeria won the first leg on the road, 1-0, thanks to a goal by one-name star Charles. Now they’re 90 minutes from facing Barcelona and Real Madrid next season.

Italy vs. Brazil 

2:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN, UniMás) 

Two of world soccer’s superpowers clash in the group stage finale at the FIFA Confederations Cup. Neymar has scored spectacular goals in each of Brazil’s games so far. Italy’s Andrea Pirlo has shown that he ages as well as his country’s best wines.

The winner of this game is likely to get a big prize: avoiding Spain in the semifinals. 

Portland Thorns at Sky Blue FC 

7:00 p.m. Saturday (YouTube.com/NWSL) 

The National Women’s Soccer League hasn’t got much of a national TV deal, but it does streams most of its games live and free on YouTube. This weekend, the star-laden Thorns make the cross-country trip to Rutgers University’s Yurcak Field.

Portland’s roster includes U.S. national team dynamos Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath, as well as Canada’s Christine Sinclair. It will be up to Sky Blue goalkeeper Jill Loyden, a Vineland native, to keep them from scoring.

Colorado Rapids at Portland Timbers 

7:00 p.m. Sunday (NBC Sports Network) 

Portland has been one of MLS’ most stylish teams this year. Led by playmakers Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe, the Timbers sit just two points out of first place in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference. That has given the Timbers Army fan club - MLS’ best TV spectacle – lots of reasons to cheer. 

Colorado is right on the edge of a playoff spot, thanks to rookies Deshorn Brown and Dillon Powers. A win at JELD-WEN Field would be a big statement about what they can do this year. 

Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy 

9:00 p.m. Sunday (UniMás) 

MLS’ only intra-city rivalry is renewed in the shadow of Hollywood. The star-laden Galaxy have Landon Donovan hitting his stride alongside Robbie Keane and Robbie Rogers. 

Chivas USA, meanwhile, has been a box office flop. The Goats fired coach José Luis Sanchez Sola and traded top forward Juan Agudelo, alienating much of the fan base. Now the front office is openly admitting that the MLS club has become a minor-league squad for its Mexican parent.

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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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