Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Seven hot matches

I'm sure it won't surprise you that two of American soccer's most famous mohawks feature prominently in this week's list of the top games to watch over the next few days.

Seven hot matches

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I'm sure it won't surprise you that two of American soccer's most famous mohawks feature prominently in this week's list of the top games to watch over the next few days.

Blackpool vs. West Ham United

10:00 a.m. Saturday (Fox Soccer Channel)

The UEFA Champions League final is the most prestigious single game in European soccer, but the English Championship playoff final might just be the most lucrative. Whichever team wins this game gets not just promotion to the Premier League, but up to $100 million in revenue from television rights and other deals. 

West Ham is favored to win, in part because they don’t have to leave London to play at famed Wembley Stadium. Expect a rousing rendition of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” from the fans of one of England’s most historic clubs.

Chelsea at Bayern Munich

2:00 p.m. Saturday (Fox)

For the first time ever, there’s a home team in the Champions League final. When Munich was selected as the host city two years ago, there was always a possibility that perennial German powerhouse Bayern might make it to European soccer’s biggest stage. They have, and now a fifth European Cup trophy is within reach.

Chelsea has more at stake. The Blues must win this game to reach next year’s tournament. If they do, they’ll knock the fourth-place team in this season’s Premier League - London rival Tottenham Hotspur - out of the competition.  

Los Angeles Galaxy at Chivas USA

10:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2/ESPN3.com)

Former Union captain Danny Califf could make his Chivas debut as Major League Soccer’s only intra-city rivalry is renewed for the first time in 2012. David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane will provide a stiff test for Califf and Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who has been one of MLS’ best netminders this year.

Napoli vs. Juventus

2:45 p.m. Sunday (GolTV/ESPN3.com)

After winning the Serie A title with an undefeated record, Juventus tries to make it a double in the final of the Coppa Italia at Rome’sOlympic Stadium. Napoli finished fifth, but Edinson Cavani was tied for third-best scorer in Serie A this season with 23 goals.  

Chicago Fire at Portland Timbers

7:00 p.m. Sunday (Galavisión)

Both of these teams have gone against preseason predictions so far. Portland was expected to be a playoff contender, but sits at the bottom of the Western Conference. Chicago lacked buzz early in the year, but has quietly emerged as one of the Eastern Conference’s most consistent teams.

Paris Saint-Germain at Lorient

2:45 p.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel)

On the last weekend of the French Ligue 1 season, the only top-division team in France’s capital looks to end an 18-year title drought. PSG needs to win this game and hope that first-place Montpellier somehow loses at last-place Auxerre in order to claim the championship.

Chivas USA at New York Red Bulls

7:00 p.m. Wednesday (Univision Sports Network)

Danny Califf wasn’t the only big acquisition that Chivas landed this week. The Goats also picked up one of American Soccer's young rising stars, New York forward Juan Agudelo, in exchange for defender Heath Pearce. Coincidentally, Chivas and the Red Bulls will meet next week at Red Bull Arena. Expect quite a scene if Agudelo takes the field against his former club.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.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.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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