Sunday, November 29, 2015

Games to watch: FA Cup, CONCACAF Under-20 tournament, UEFA Champions League

Parma at AC Milan

Games to watch: FA Cup, CONCACAF Under-20 tournament, UEFA Champions League


Parma at AC Milan 

2:30 p.m. Friday (beIN Sport) 

It hasn't taken long for Mario Balotelli to settle in at AC Milan. The Italian national team forward – who grew up a diehard Milan fan – has scored three goals in his first two games since moving from Manchester City to the rossoneri. A win over Parma would extend Milan's Serie A unbeaten streak to seven games. 

Everton at Oldham Athletic

12:00 p.m. Saturday (Fox Soccer Channel) 

After knocking out Liverpool in the last round of the FA Cup, Oldham – which plays two leagues below Everton – gets to host Tim Howard and company. Oldham's Matt Smith scored two goals against the Reds, and a repeat performance could lead to another upset. 

Santos Laguna at Tigres UANL 

7:30 p.m. Saturday (Uni Más) 

Two Mexican teams with U.S. national team players meet in a prime time Liga MX showdown. Santos' Herculez Gómez and Tigres' José Francisco Torres have become regulars on Jurgen Klinsmann's squad – though they were surprising omissions from the team that lost at Honduras earlier this month. 

Brentford at Chelsea 

7:00 a.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel) 

Third-division Brentford held Premier League superpower Chelsea to a 2-2 tie in their FA Cup fourth round game a few weeks ago. That meant the teams would have to contest a replay at Chelsea's stadium, as FA Cup games don't go to overtime. 

It would be an even bigger shock if Brentford wins at Stamford Bridge, but given Chelsea's recent struggles, anything is possible.

United States Under-20 men vs. Haiti

6:30 p.m. Monday (Fox Soccer Channel)

The CONCACAF qualifying tournament for this summer's FIFA World Championship kicks off in Puebla, Mexico. Former U.S. national team star Tab Ramos coaches a team that includes goalkeeper Zackary Steffen, a Downingtown native and Philadelphia Union academy prospect. 

Other players to watch includes Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Jose Villareal; Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil; Chivas Guadalajara defender Juan Pablo Ocegueda; Santos Laguna forward Daniel Cuevas; and FC Kaiserslautern forward Mario Rodriguez. 

In all, 12 of the 20 players on Ramos' roster play for professional teams in the U.S. or abroad. That's a pretty big deal – and it increases the pressure on Ramos to win in this tournament. 

The top two teams in each of four three-team groups (Costa Rica is also in the U.S.' group) reach the quarterfinals, and the four semifinalists will qualify for the world championship. If the U.S. reaches the knockout rounds, it will meet Canada, Cuba or Nicaragua in its quarterfinal matchup.

Bayern Munich at Arsenal

2:30 p.m. Tuesday (Fox Soccer Channel)

After losing in the final of last season's Champions League, Bayern is intent on going one step farther this year. They've certainly looked the part in the Bundesliga: Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Müller and Franck Ribéry have helped give the Bavarians a 15-point lead in first place.

Arsenal's hopes lie with playmaker Santi Cazorla and forward Olivier Giroud. The Gunners can score, but their fragile defense is likely to prove their undoing.

Gus Johnson will be back on the mic for Fox Soccer in this game, by the way.

Barcelona at AC Milan

2:30 p.m. Wednesday (Fox Soccer Channel)

Barcelona's dominance in Spain and across Europe has made the blaugrana the favorites to win the Champions League. Their opponents in the Round of 16 knows Lionel Messi and company very well, as the two teams met in the group stage and the quarterfinals last season. Milan isn't the powerhouse it once was, but young striker Stephen El Shaarawy is a rising star.
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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
Lauren Green Inquirer Staff Writer
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