The monumental matchups around the world this weekend kick off as early as Friday with loads of league fixtures and exciting cup competitions.
There’s even a potential for a pair of Republic FC players to lace up their boots for international play. Goalkeeper Rafael Diaz got the call-up to represent the Dominican Republic National Team while defender Shannon Gomez is with the Trinidad and Tobago squad. Keep an eye out on Monday to see if Rafa gets the nod for the 23-man squad against Serbia.
While the offseason for clubs is very much underway in the United States, there was still plenty of soccer-related action taking place this week during Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft. The draft will be one of the first events Sacramento will partake in when the Indomitable City prepares for its first season in MLS in a few short years.
Expansion club Austin FC took Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira with the top pick while forward Calvin Harris from Wake Forest went second to FC Cincinnati and Clemson midfielder Calvin Harris was selected third by Colorado Rapids. The first five selections were all ACC schools while the powerhouse conference saw a record total of 25 players taken including a dozen in the opening round.
It was only a few short days ago that the U.S. Women’s National Team triumphed 4-0 over Colombia in an international friendly. The two teams will meet once again this Friday at 4 p.m. PT and the match will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
In the first meeting, Sam Mewis bagged a hat trick while her sister Kristie Mewis etched her name on the score sheet as well. The three-goal game was the first of Sam’s career while defender Becky Sauerbrunn was handed the captain’s armband for the first time since donning the honor in 2016 and 2017 when she shared it with Carli Lloyd.
Friday’s fixture will be the final tune-up for the USWNT before clashing with Canada on February 18 in the opening group stage match of the SheBelieves Cup.
Before the USWNT takes the pitch for the second time this week, it was a glorious David versus Goliath matchup in the FA Cup when Wolverhampton Wanderers visited sixth-tier Chorley. The giant-slayers' dreams of a trip to the fifth round of the competition were cut short by Wolves, as the visitors took the win with a single goal from Vitor Ferreira.
Chorley – a club that have adopted Adele’s song Someone Like You as its inspirational anthem – is in the fourth round for the first time in its 138-year existence and is coached part-time by a primary school teacher.
The FA Cup continues throughout the weekend with Saturday’s slate including a bout between Premier League clubs Southampton playing host to Arsenal while Sunday sees Burnley visiting Fulham. But some of the big clubs have tricky trips to lower division sides including Manchester City traveling to Cheltenham Town and Leicester City heads to Brentford.
But of all the FA Cup clashes to look forward to, the mother of all matchups is on Sunday when Liverpool visit Old Trafford to take on heated rivals Manchester United. The two teams met on Sunday during league play but the highly anticipated fixtured finished nil-nil at Anfield.
League play across Europe includes no shortage of mouthwatering matchups and the big games began today with the Borussen Derby in Germany’s Bundesliga. Borussia Monchengladbach took a come from behind 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund, which meant USMNT starlet Gio Reyna’s Dortmund dropped to fifth on the standings and two points behind Gladbach.
Germany’s topflight features a scintillating showdown on Saturday when Leverkusen can climb as high as second in the standings with a victory but will need to do so against a solid Wolfsburg team that is currently in fifth place.
In Italy’s Serie A, top of the table AC Milan will look to keep its three-point advantage at the summit intact but will need a positive result at home against a sturdy sixth place Atalanta side.
Ligue 1 in France includes two massive matchups with the first taking place on Saturday when fourth place AS Monaco host sixth place Marseille. But the Derby Rhône-Alpes is the famous French fixture all eyes will be on when Olympique Lyon clash with Saint-Etienne. This fiercely contested derby is one of the most historic in the country as Lyon is more aristocratic and white-collar city while Saint-Etienne is a blue-collar working city. Few fixtures in the world can be as bitter as this bout.
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