Thursday, July 30, 2015

Games to Watch: MLS conference finals, EPL returns, UEFA Champions League

Liverpool at Everton

Games to Watch: MLS conference finals, EPL returns, UEFA Champions League

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Liverpool at Everton

7:45 a.m. Saturday (NBCSN, mun2)

U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard will be in the spotlight as the latest chapter is written in one of England's signature rivalries. The two teams' stadiums are separated by just under a mile of park land in a soccer-mad metropolis. Howard will be tasked with stopping a dynamic Liverpool attack led by forwards Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suárez.

Southampton at Arsenal

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10:00 a.m. Saturday (NBCSN)

Though Arsenal is a perennial English power, few observers expected the Gunners to be atop the Premier League in late November. Even more surprising is Southampton's lofty perch in third place. Long one of English soccer's afterthoughts, the Saints have a roster full of promising youngsters. Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana made their England national team debuts this past week.

Houston Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City

7:30 p.m. Saturday (NBCSN, Univision Deportes)

In most two-leg playoff series, the team that hosts the second game would gladly come home with a scoreless tie. That's the situation Sporting Kansas City finds itself in as Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference finals come to the heartland. But Sporting has been knocked out of the playoffs by Houston in each of the last two years, and will have to overcome the Dynamo's mental edge. The game could come down to a pair of of U.S. national team stalwarts: Kansas City's Graham Zusi and Houston's Brad Davis.

Real Salt Lake at Portland Timbers

9:00 p.m. Sunday (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

The stage is set for a thrilling finale to the Western Conference finals. MLS' most entertaining teams will face off in prime time at JELD-WEN Field, the league's most raucous and telegenic atmosphere. Portland must overcome a 4-2 aggregate deficit at home. Although Real has more playoff experience, the Timbers have plenty of firepower in Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe. An early goal past Salt Lake veteran Nick Rimando would set up a night of high drama.

AS Roma vs. Cagliari

2:30 p.m. Monday (beIN Sport)

The Serie A season is over a third of the way done, and Roma still hasn't lost yet. American midfielder Michael Bradley hasn't played as much as he had hoped to, but he's been on the field in the team's last four games. Cagliari are in 13th place, and just four points out of the relegation places. That should give Bradley a chance to step up after a a rare sub-par week with the U.S. national team.

Chelsea at FC Basel

2:30 p.m. Tuesday (Fox Sports 1)

Basel caused one of the upsets of the season in the UEFA Champions League when the Swiss champions won at Chelsea in September. Frank Lampard, Oscar and the rest of José Mourinho's Blues head to Switzerland looking for revenge. A win would seal a berth in the knockout rounds. Basel, led by rising Egyptian star Mohamed Salah, needs another upset to keep its qualification hopes alive.

Manchester United at Bayer Leverkusen

2:30 p.m. Wednesday (Fox Sports 1)

David Moyes may be in his first year at Manchester United, but he's gotten the hang of the Champions League pretty fast. The Red Devils are undefeated through four group stage games, including resolute draws at Shaktar Donetsk and Real Sociedad. If Wayne Rooney and company can get another road result, they'll be on course for the knockout round. But Germany has England's number, both in national team and club soccer. Bayer's Sidney Sam is a rising star who will relish the spotlight of Europe's biggest stage.

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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.

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