Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Games to Watch: MLS Cup playoffs, UEFA Champions League

Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution

Games to Watch: MLS Cup playoffs, UEFA Champions League

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Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution

8:00 p.m. Saturday at New England (NBCSN)
9:00 p.m. Wednesday at Kansas City (MLSSoccer.com)

This Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series will be a coming out party for two of Major League Soccer’s brightest young stars, New England’s Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe. Kansas City has a team of tested veterans, but they’ve repeatedly flamed out in the postseason. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler need to step it up this year.

Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders

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10:00 p.m. Saturday at Seattle (NBCSN)
11:00 p.m. Wednesday at Portland (NBCSN, Univision Deportes)

MLS’ best rivalry reaches new heights as Portland and Seattle meet in the Western Conference semifinals. Seattle stars Clint Dempsey and Edddie aim to finally take the big-spending Sounders to a MLS Cup title. Standing in their way is a Timbers team led by two dynamic playmakers, Darlington Nagabe and MVP candidate Diego Valeri.

New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo

3:30 p.m. Sunday at Houston or Montréal (NBC, Univision Deportes)
8:00 p.m. Wednesday at New York (Univision Deportes, MLSSoccer.com)

After 18 years of heartbreak, New York finally won its first ever MLS trophy by claiming the Supporters’ Shield. Now the team with MLS’ best regular-season record has to prove it in the playoffs. If they’re to win it all, stars Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry must lead the way.

Houston are MLS’ equivalent of the St. Louis Cardinals: unassuming in the regular season but almost unbeatable in the playoffs. Midfielder Brad Davis and goalkeeper Tally Hall bring just the kind of veteran experience needed to thrive in the clutch. This series will be a classic test of sizzle vs. steak.

Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

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

Major League Soccer’s most consistently attractive team plays in its smallest market. That may be why Real Salt Lake, led by Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman, doesn’t get the attention they deserve. The spotlight will come in the Western Conference semifinals. RSL faces the two-time reigning MLS champions, led by superstars Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.

No team in MLS history has ever won three straight titles, and no team has won five MLS Cups overall. Keane, Donovan and company have a chance to write two chapters of history at once. Would you bet against them doing so?

Manchester United at Real Sociedad

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

Although United has struggled in the Premier League, new manager David Moyes has done well in the Champions League. Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie can help the Red Devils take a big step towards the knockout rounds with a win in Spain.

AC Milan at Barcelona

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

Milan held Barcelona to a 1-1 tie at the San Siro last month. Now the scene shifts to the Camp Nou. It’s a safe bet that Lionel Messi and Neymar will be out for revenge on home turf.

Philly.com
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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 Philly.com
Lauren Green Inquirer Staff Writer
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