Games to Watch: CONCACAF Gold Cup, MLS, NWSL

Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney has been called up to the U.S. national team for next month's CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

A belated but necessary correction: Costa Rica would face the United States in the semfinals, not Mexico. Panama would face Mexico, assuming things go according to seed.

Honduras vs. El Salvador 

9:30 p.m. Friday (Fox Soccer/UniMás) 

It's always a big deal when these Central American next-door neigbhors meet up. They briefly fought a war with each other in 1969 that took place at the same time as a World Cup qualifying game. The rivalry has cooled down since then, but there should be sparks on the field at this Gold Cup meeting in Miami. 

France vs. Uruguay 

1:45 p.m. Saturday (ESPN/Univision Deportes) 

The championship game of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup is a David vs. Goliath clash. Uruguay pulled off upsets of Spain and Nigeria on the road to the title game. Now La Celeste will face France, led by Juventus' Paul Pogba. 

United States vs. Cuba 

3:30 p.m. Saturday (Fox/Univision)

After a 6-1 rout of Belize in its Gold Cup opener, the U.S. heads to Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah for its next group stage game. It should be an easy win, as Cuba's roster is made entirely of domestic players. But you can't take Gold Cup games for granted. Just ask Canada, which was upset by tiny Martinique last Sunday. 

That said, the U.S. has usually been able to handle Cuba easily at home. If Jurgen Klinsmann's has a big lead to work with before he runs out of substitutes, we might see Jack McInerney make his national team debut.

Los Angeles Galaxy at Portland Timbers 

11:00 p.m. Saturday (NBC Sports Network) 

Two of the best teams in the Western Conference face off in the weekend's only nationally-televised Major League Soccer game. Portland's Darlington Nagbe and Los Angeles' Jose Villareal are young stars worth staying up to watch. If nothing else, the always-raucous Timbers fans will keep you awake. 

Canada vs. Panama 

3:30 p.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer/Univision) 

Even though Canada lost to Martinique and Mexico in its first two group games, the young Maple Leafs can still reach the knockout round with a win over Panama. The Canaleros still have a lot to play for, as a win would give them first place in the group over El Tri

Washington Spirit at Seattle Reign 

8:30 p.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer)

The National Women's Soccer League gets its first nationally-televised game of the year this weekend. Princeton product Diana Matheson leads the Spirit across the country to face Seattle stars Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo. 

United States vs. Costa Rica 

8:00 p.m. Tuesday (Fox Soccer/UniMás) 

The U.S.' Gold Cup group stage finale takes place at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. First place will likely be at stake, as these are by far the top two teams in the group. Although neither team has its top squad, Costa Rica's attack has familiar faces: Real Salt Lake's Álvaro Saborîo, Columbus' Jairo Arrieta and Portland's Rodney Wallace. They bring plenty of firepower, so this will be a good test for Jurgen Klinsmann's team.

It will not be overlooked that this is the first U.S.-Costa Rica game since last March's snow-covered World Cup qualifier in Denver. There will probably be talk of revenge, though September's World Cup qualifier in San José is more worthy of the hype.

A better storyline for now is the possibility that these two teams could meet in the Gold Cup title game. Mexico might be back on track after beating Canada, but the Ticos are a better team and I'd favor them in a Costa Rica-Mexico semifinal.

A better storyline for now is the possibility that these two teams could meet again in the Gold Cup semifinals. That would make Tuesday's game the second of potentially four overall this year, and would give an already-simmering rivalry some real spice.