Canada at United States women
9:00 p.m. Friday (Fox Sports 1)
The U.S. women’s national team kicks off the road to World Cup qualifying with a game against its biggest rival. Abby Wambach and Delran native Carli Lloyd lead a star-studded American squad into Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath are out injured, but Tom Sermanni's squad still has plenty of big names. Canada is led by stellar forward Christine Sinclair and Princeton product Diana Matheson.
Sunderland at Newcastle United
7:45 a.m. Saturday (NBCSN)
U.S. national team forward Jozy Altidore continues to struggle at Sunderland, his lack of goals is coming under ever more scrutiny. This weekend, the spotlight will be as hot as it gets. The Black Cats need to beat their biggest rival in their quest to avoid relegation - and Altidore desperately needs to score to get his confidence back.
Manchester United at Stoke City
10:00 a.m. Saturday (NBCSN)
Buoyed by the signing of Juan Mata, United pays a visit to U.S. national team defender Geoff Cameron and Stoke. Cameron’s strong play this season has helped him lock down the starting right back spot for the Potters. That could pay big dividends at the World Cup this summer.
South Korea at United States
5:00 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2, UniMás)
Although the current squad doesn’t have the big European stars, the U.S. national team’s annual winter training camp came with some big benefits. It gave veterans like Graham Zusi and Landon Donovan vital time with Jurgen Klinsmann, and gave prospects like Mike Magee and DeAndre Yedlin a chance to impress. There was also a two-week trip to Brazil to scout the venues the team will see at the World Cup. The winter gathering concludes with a friendly match at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Crystal Palace at Arsenal
11:00 a.m. Sunday (NBCSN)
Arsenal’s tie at Southampton on Tuesday knocked the Gunners out of first place in the Premier League, and had skeptics crowing that their title hopes are toast. A home game against lowly Palace, led by ex-Arsenal forward Marouane Chamakh, should help the Gunners get back on track.
Inter Milan at Juventus
2:40 p.m. Sunday (beIN Sport)
This is one of Italy’s signature rivalries, but it threatens to be a Juve blowout. led by Carlos Tévez and Arturo Vidal, the reigning Serie A champs are six points clear in first place. Inter are in a respectable fifth, but they’re 23 points back of the bianconeri. Beating Juve on their home turf would be a massive upset.
Chelsea at Manchester City
3:00 p.m. Monday (NBCSN)
It’s simply the Premier League’s biggest game of the season to date. City are undefeated at home, and average almost four goals scored per game. Chelsea has England’s stingiest defense. A City win would put them six points clear of the Blues, and confirm their status favorites to win the title.
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United
3:30 p.m. Wednesday (MLSSoccer.com)
These teams made some of the biggest splashes in the MLS offseason. They’ll kick off their preseason schedules with a matchup at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
You know that Toronto signed Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley, and D.C. traded for Eddie Johnson. Though Defoe won’t join the Reds until later in February, Bradley and Johnson could make their debuts in this game. Even though it’s just the preseason, it will be nice to see the two U.S. national team stalwarts on the same field.
Officially, the first MLS preseason game is tonight at IMG, as the New England Revolution take on Swedish club Malmö FF. That game will be shown live on IMG’s website.
Last season, I was able to stream a lot of MLS preseason games here on the blog. I’m hoping to do so again this year, including for this game. Stay tuned. For now, there’s a complete schedule of preseason online streams via the league’s website here. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Union games on the slate as of now, but hopefully that will change.