‘What to Watch this Weekend’ is a new, regular series by John Rosch, who gives us the lowdown on the best matches to watch in MLS and beyond.
The 2017 Major League Soccer season is just a couple days away (thank goodness) and that lends itself to a pretty exciting weekend. And although I enjoy the English Premier League, there is no substitute for MLS First Kick and seeing the Burgundy Boys take the pitch.
But is that the only soccer that is available? Hardly, and there are a few things that I am looking forward to over the first full weekend of March.
Major League Soccer
Colorado Rapids vs New England Revolution—Saturday, 4:00 PM MST
Let’s be honest here: the first game of the regular season could have been much, much worse. But seeing the Revs travel 2,000 miles and play at altitude… I’ll take that. And this is a big game for the Rapids. Many people are writing the Rapids off (including the “experts” at MLS). Play well (and more specifically play attractive and goal-scoring soccer) and people will maybe get off the Rapids’ back. But struggle, or worse yet, lose to a non-playoff team, and some of that doubt will creep back.
Portland Timbers vs Minnesota United FC—Friday, 7:30 PM MST
I will be very honest with you: I couldn’t give two craps about the other expansion team. An expansion team who bullied their way into a market with money (Sorry Silverbacks, I still love you). But when it comes to the Loons, I am all on board that train and while I think they will end up struggling this year and miss the playoffs, this still should be a fun team to watch. And there is something terrific about seeing a team that everyone is writing off going for it in the best atmosphere in MLS at Providence Park. (Sorry, Seattle—that is not you, but thanks for inventing soccer for us all.)
Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC—Saturday, 2:30 PM MST
I have no love for those on the wrong side of the Rockies, but they draw a very interesting test in Round One of MLS. Toronto FC should have won MLS last season except they forgot about the fundamental thing in football: scoring more goals than your opponent usually leads to wins. And for RSL, this is a massive season for them. Many of their *stars* are getting older and this may be the last ride for a team that once defined free-flowing soccer. Last year was a turd sandwich watching them play but the moves they made this season gives them hope. If only Jeff Cassar can get out of his own way, RSL has a chance to finish outside of the playoffs.
United States WNT vs England—Saturday, 3:00 PM MST
How to Watch
Interested in seeing a senior US soccer team that wins games? Then Saturday at 3 PM is for you. Certainly this is nothing but a glorified friendly, but it is a friendly in a tournament that features top shelf competition. This is not the USMNT playing some lower level International Team - the USWNT will take on England, German and France. Yikes. And this edition of the SheBelieves Cup is another changing of the guard and features Brianna Pinto—who is just 16. So if you are in the parking lot at DSGP, enjoying a cold beverage, turn this game on (providing your phone actually works out there—I have T-Mobile which is against goodness and streaming at the Dick) and give it a go.
English Premier League
Liverpool vs Arsenal—Saturday, 10:30 AM MST
Look, Arsenal sucks. It’s a fact of life. Much like the sun rising in the East, Arsenal is in line for that fourth place trophy that looks so dang stellar in their trophy case. All joking aside (Arsenal still sucks though), this is a massive match for both clubs. The Reds are coming off a drubbing that left them in 5th, just a point behind the Gunners. But lurking behind both teams is Manchester United and the Red Devils will finish in the top four, which leaves either Arsenal or Liverpool outside looking in for a Champions League place next year.
Huddersfield Town vs Newcastle United—Saturday, 10:30 AM MST
But the sneaky, crazy good match of the weekend has to be Huddersfield vs Newcastle. The Championship is regularly considered the hardest division in English football, and this year is no different. Newcastle is first in the table but Huddersfield is the surprise of the division and is third in the table, just six points (with a game in hand) on the second automatic promotion spot. AND if Huddersfield is promoted it will set the English media off because they are managed by an American. Somewhere, Bob Bradley would smile. (OK, probably not, but it would be fun to have an American in the Prem.)
Those are just a few of the games that I am looking forward to. And no matter what team you follow, this is a hell of a time to be a soccer fan. What about you? Are you a Liga MX fan (Leon vs. America looks great) or maybe the Bundesliga is your thing.
Hit us up in the comments and let us know what you will be watching.