Friday, July 3, 2015

Games to Watch: La Liga, MLS, EPL, UEFA and CONCACAF Champions Leagues

Elche at Atlético Madrid

Games to Watch: La Liga, MLS, EPL, UEFA and CONCACAF Champions Leagues


Elche at Atlético Madrid

2:25 p.m. Friday (beIN Sport)

Another ride on the Spanish league’s roller coaster begins with La Liga’s leaders. Atlético leads rival Real Madrid by three points and Barcelona by four. They’ll need everything they can get out of star striker Diego Costa, who’s expected to be healthy after gashing his leg on a goalpost last weekend.

New England Revolution at Chicago Fire

4:00 p.m. Saturday (NBCSN)

New England’s attack is loaded with young talent. Playmakers Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez back up a forward line led by Teal Bunbury, Jerry Bengston and Council Rock North product Steve Neumann. Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson, a one-time U.S. national team prospect, has his work cut out for him.

Manchester United at Everton

11:00 a.m. Sunday (NBCSN)

United’s struggles in the Premier League have made global headlines all season. But the Red Devils’ critics overlook the fact that they have the Premier League’s best road record - 10 wins, three draws and four losses.

This game will be a big test of that resolve, as manager David Moyes returns to Goodison Park for the first time since leaving Everton last summer. Toffees striker Romelu Lukaku has been one of the EPL’s best players this season.

Cruz Azul at Toluca

8:00 p.m. Wednesday (Fox Sports 2, UniMás, Univision Deportes)

The CONCACAF Champions League final is an all-Mexican affair. After a scoreless draw in the first leg on Cruz Azul’s home turf, Toluca is favored to win the title. But Cruz Azul has one of Mexico’s most dynamic attackers in Marco Fabián, and an old national team warhorse in midfielder Gerardo Torrado.

And if you look a ways down the bench, you’ll see former Union midfielder Michael Farfan. He scored his first goal since leaving Philadelphia earlier this month. Toluca’s squad includes Isaac Brizuela, a midfielder who grew up in San Jose, California but committed last year to Mexico’s national team.

Chelsea at Atlético Madrid

2:45 p.m. Tuesday (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes)

The first UEFA Champions League semifinal pits players on each side against teams they used to call home. Chelsea forward Fernando Torres first rose to stardom in Madrid, scoring 82 goals for Atlético from 2001 through 2007. The goalkeeper he’ll be trying to score on in this game, Thibault Courtois, is on loan from Chelsea to Atlético.

There was a brief controversy about whether Courtois’ contract would allow him to play in the game, unless Atlético paid a multi-million dollar penalty. But Chelsea gave him the all-clear - perhaps with a bit of a nudge from UEFA headquarters.

Bayern Munich at Real Madrid

2:45 p.m. Wednesday (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes)

Two of the most decorated clubs in Europe clash in a Champions League rivalry that goes back decades. The two teams have combined to win 14 European Cups - nine for Real and five for defending champion Bayern. No team has ever won back-to-back Champions League titles, but Arjen Robben and Bayern look strong enough to do it. Cristiano Ronaldo and company will pose their toughest test yet.

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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, the National Women's Soccer League, the U.S. men's and women'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
Lauren Green Inquirer Staff Writer
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