New Mexico vs. Notre Dame
5:00 p.m. Friday (ESPNU)
All four of this year’s College Cup semifinalists have histories of sending players to the pros. This weekend, PPL Park hosts the next generation of talent.
New Mexico’s latest prospects are defender Kyle Ventner and midfielder Michael Calderon. Notre Dame counters with defender Grant van de Casteele and all-around playmaker Harrison Shipp.
The winner advances to Sunday’s championship game (3:00 p.m., ESPNU).
Maryland vs. Virginia
7:30 p.m. Friday (ESPNU)
The curtain falls on one of college soccer’s most famous rivalries, as Maryland gets set to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten. Their shared tradition of producing U.S. national team players goes back more than 20 years, from Claudio Reyna at Virginia to Graham Zusi at Maryland.
Union fans will want to pay particular attention to this matchup, as it features two products of the team’s academy. Expect Maryland goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Virginia forward Darius Madison to be back at PPL Park sooner rather than later.
Maryland's best attackers are forwards Schillo Tshuma and Patrick Mullins. The latter is a top candidate to win the MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s version of the Heisman. Mullins is also among the favorites to be the No. 1 overall selection in next month’s MLS SuperDraft, which will be held here in Philadelphia.
Arsenal at Manchester City
7:45 a.m. Saturday (NBCSN, mun2)
Arsenal faces its biggest test yet as the first place team in the Premier League. City have scored 29 goals in seven home games, with striker Sergio Agüero leading the way. If Mesut Özil and the Gunners win this game, there will be no doubt that they’re true title contenders.
Manchester United at Aston Villa
8:30 a.m. Sunday (NBCSN)
U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan will be in the spotlight as the reigning Premier League champions visit Britain’s Midlands. United are in ninth place and 13 points behind Arsenal, which has manager David Moyes on the hot seat. But a midweek win in the Champions League should have calmed nerves for soccer’s equivalent of the Yankees.
Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur
11:00 a.m. Sunday (NBCSN, Telemundo)
Liverpool striker Luis Suárez has scored six goals in his last two games. He brings his red-hot form to London as second-place Liverpool face a Tottenham squad that sits in sixth place. For all of Spurs’ big summer spending, stars such as Roberto Soldado and Paulinho haven’t yet shown that they can play as a true team.
Inter Milan at Napoli
2:40 p.m. Sunday (beIN Sport)
After getting dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday, Gonzalo Higuaín and Napoli turn their full attention to Serie A. This weekend, Higuaín will face an Inter team stacked with fellow Argentines. The biggest star among them is midfielder Ricardo Álvarez, who’s likely to join Higuaín on the albiceleste World Cup squad next summer.
León at Club América
7:00 p.m. Sunday (Univision)
The autumn half of the Mexican league season wraps up with the second leg of the playoff final. Defending champion América, led by top scorer Raúl Jiménez, comes home facing a 2-0 deficit. The man tasked with keeping León's lead intact will be defender Rafael Márquez, a Mexican national team veteran.
U.S. fans know Márquez well. He spent seven years with FC Barcelona and has featured for El Tri since 1997. And of course, there’s the three years he spent with the New York Red Bulls as one of the most expensive players - and biggest superstar busts - in Major League Soccer history.