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Marsch vs. Man City, Nashville’s new stadium, CCV in the Old Frim, & more



ASN’s Brian Sciaretta previews a busy weekend ahead in American Soccer as Jesse Marsch and Leeds host Manchester City, Nashville SC opens Geodis Park, Brenden Aaronson is set for the Austrian Cup final, and much, much more


Brian Sciaretta


April 29, 2022

10:30 AM

WITH THE EUROPEAN and MLS seasons overlapping at the moment, there are going to be a lot of Americans in action this weekend. Of course, with MLS still in the early season and Europe towards the end, not all of it is completely enticing or meaningful.

Here is a look at what I am following in the days ahead


Leeds United vs. Manchester City


Jesse Marsch has done a great job since taking control of Leeds United. Since he has been hired, Leeds United has now five points clear of the relegation zone. But Saturday marks the start of his toughest stretch since taking over – home against Manchester City followed by away at Arsenal, and home against Chelsea. If Marsch can manage a result or two over those three games, then it will be a huge accomplishment that will probably secure survival.


Coventry vs. Huddersfield


Duane Holmes hasn’t quite been a regular starter for Huddersfield but he was strong last weekend in a 2-1 home win over Barnsley. Sitting in fourth place with two games remaining, Huddersfield looks set to take part in the promotional playoffs. If they can win the remaining two, there is a shot at automatic promotion. But Holmes most likely is building his case to be a starter in the playoffs. That starts on Saturday with a visit to 11th place Coventry.


Nashville SC vs Philadelphia Union


The top game in MLS this weekend will come on Sunday when Nashville hosts the Philadelphia Union. It will be a matchup of two of the best teams in the league and it will take place in the league’s latest gem of a facility – Geodis Park in Nashville.

Nashville opened up the season with eight road games as their new home was built. The escaped that run with a respectable 11 points – good enough for eighth place in the West. The club is also set to announce that U.S. national team defender Walker Zimmerman has been signed to a designated player deal.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia sits atop the Eastern Conference with 17 points from eight games. Jim Curtin is one of the best American managers in the game, but his team has occasionally lost its offensive spark and lately has one point from its last two games. He starts a number of Americans including defensive midfielder Leon Flach, 21, and right back Nathian Harriel, 20 but it will be telling when and how he introduces four players who are key to the U.S. U-20 team in Paxten Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn, and Brandon Craig. Aaronson could soon push Daniel Gazdag, who hasn’t been great the past three games, and Quinn Sullivan who can play a number of offensive positions. 


Bundesliga relegation battles


The most intense race for Americans right now is in the Bundesliga relegation battle since it affects a number of Americans, and it is still exceptionally close. Julian Green and Greuther Furth have already been relegated but probably at least one more American will join him. Ricardo Pepi hasn’t contributed much to Augsburg’s successful climb in recent weeks, but they now sit seven points clear of the relegation playoff zone and Saturday’s game vs. 1.Klon could secure their fate.

The real race for survival involves Americans Pellegrino Matarazzo, the head coach of Stuttgart and George Bello, the national team left back at Arminia Bielefeld. Currently Stuttgart sits in the relegation playoff position, four points behind Hertha BSC (which occupies the last survival place). Arminia Bielefeld is two points behind Stuttart and is in the automatic relegation zone.

On Saturday, Bello and Arminia Bielefeld host vs. Hertha BSC while Matarazzo and Stuttgart host Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg could feature John Brooks – who has been starting for Wolfsburg but will leave the club this summer. Also, U.S. U-20 winger Kevin Paredes will hope to make his third Bundesliga appearance off the bench in this one.

The pressure, however, is on Matarazzo to find a way to earn a result and at least force its way into the playoffs. But to close the gap on automatic survival will require a result from the team chasing them, Armimina Bielefeld, who visits Hertha.

This weekend is going to scramble the relegation race in some form or another.


Valencia vs. Levante


When a young player suffers a setback, it is often quite telling to see how he responds. Yunus Musah missed the decisive shootout penalty in the Copa del Rey final against Real Betis last weekend. On Saturday, Valencia will host Levante in its La Liga campaign with five games remaining. Musah has made 24 appearances this season for 1152 minutes.


New England Revolution. Vs. Inter Miami


Two teams heading in opposite directions will meet on Saturday in Massachusetts as the skidding New England Revolution host the surprisingly surging Inter Miami team. This pits a team that won the Supporters Shield in record fashion last year against a team that has struggled in embarrassing fashion since its inception.

The Revs have lost four of five in MLS and were bounced from the CONCACAF Champions League following a three-goal collapse against Pumas. The intensity the club is playing with is gone and everything is out of synch. Top players like Carles Gil and Adam Buksa just aren’t producing.

New England could receive a big boost with the return of U.S. national team goalkeeper Matt Turner and Gustavo Bou.

Inter Miami has won three in a row and in addition to the wins, they’ve been fun to watch. American citizen but Ecuadorian international Lenardo Campana has scored or assisted in Miami’s last seven goals (five goals, two assists) while DeAndre Yedlin has been in strong form since arriving.


Porto vs. Vizela


Alex Mendez has been in an out of the Vizela lineup this season with 1189 minutes over 24 appearances. He is still looking for his first goal or assist in Portugal’s top-flight. Vizela looks in very good shape for survival sitting six points above the relegation playoff zone with three games remaining. On Saturday, Mendez could get a chance against Portuguese leaders FC Porto – who could clinch the title with a win and Sporting CP failing to win.


Trabzonspor vs. Antalyaspor


Haji Wright, 24, is the most in-form American striker right now in any league with six goals in his last six Super Lig games for Antalyaspor. On Saturday, Antalyaspor will visit first-place Trabzonspor who could clinch the Turkish title with a win. Wright is in a messy club situation as his contract is owned by a SonderjyskE team which publicly fought with Wright before agreeing to loan him to Antalyaspor. Combined with SonderjyskE’s pending relegation in Denmark, they will have to sell Wright and will probably do so to the highest bidder.

After struggling in Holland and Germany, the top teams in Turkey seem like the likely landing spots for him. Getting a chance to Trabzonspor gives him quite an audition.

On top of that, Wright is going to continue to try to force Gregg Berhalter’s hand for his first USMNT call-up.


Austrian Cup final: Salzburg vs. Ried


Brenden Aaronson’s stock has never been higher – and all he does is win. In 2020 he won the Supporters Shield with Philadelphia. Then immediately after joining Salzburg, he won the Austrian Bundesliga and the Austrian Cup in 2021. In the fall, he helped Salzburg to advance out of the group stages of the Champions League. On Sunday, he will look to keep his Austrian record perfect in winning another Austrian Cup. Salzburg is heavily favored against Ried.

Aaronson will likely be transferred this summer, but he will look to leave Salzburg with a stellar record.


Everton vs. Chelsea


Christian Pulisic is heading into a summer with a lot of questions with his role at Chelsea, but things have been far better for him this past spring than they were in the fall. He has five goals in 1023 Premier League minutes this season. He has two goals in 328 Champions League minutes. His production numbers have bee quite solid.

Chelsea is leading a race for a third-place finish in the Premier League but in this game, it could sink Everton deeper into the relegation hole.


Troyes vs. Lille


Erik Palmer-Brown has consistently been one of Troyes’best players since the New Year. The recent loss to a then last-place Clermont Foot, however, put them in a dangerous spot in the relegation zone. At one point their survival chances looked strong but that lost hurt them ahead of the toughest stretch of the season. Now after a loss to Nantes, Troyes host a beatable but tough Lille team. Troyes is sitting just two points ahead of the relegation zone with four games remaining. After this game, they face PSG, Lens, and Lorient. A tough stretch.

Meanwhile, U.S. national team winger Tim Weah could see action for Lille in this game. Weah has eclipsed the 1000 minute mark in a season for the first time in his career but is still looking for the first goal of the season (he has four assists).


Celtic vs. Rangers


The Old Firm derby will take place on Sunday at Celtic Park, and it is the last stand for Rangers to must a chance to win the title. With four games remaining, Celtic have a six-point lead on Rangers. If Rangers win, Celtic’s lead is reduced to three points with three remaining. The title race becomes competitive. If Celtic win, however, Celtic has a nine-point lead with three remaining (along with a huge goal differential). A Celtic win can’t mathematically clinch a title, but Rangers would have no chance.

Cameron Carter-Vickers has been named to the team of the season for Celtic and he has been exceptional. The two remaining questions for him is whether Celtic can force a full transfer from Tottenham, who owns his contract, and whether he can get a call-up this summer to the national team.

Even if CCV doesn’t make the 2022 World Cup team for the United States, he has a great chance of being part of the 2026 cycle with John Brooks, Walker Zimmerman, Tim Ream, and Aaron Long likely aging out at some point.

Meanwhile, James Sands continues to get occasional minutes with Rangers this season as part of his 18-month loan from NYCFC. He is looking to make his first appearance in an Old Firm game.


Chicago Fire vs. The New York Red Bulls


Two Eastern Conference teams will face each other on Saturday night at Soldier Field in Chicago when the Chicago Fire host the New York Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls have won all four of their road games this season, only to struggle at home. Fortunately for Gerhard Struber’s team, this game is on the road against a Chicago team that conceded three goals last weekend in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota.

Chicago’s season has seen the team improve almost entirely due to its defense and goalkeeping. Through eight games, the team has scored just five goals and conceded just five (three of those in the last game). The Red Bulls frantic press will try to unlock those doors.

The Red Bulls sit in second place and could climb into first with a win and a Philadelphia loss. American players have been big contributors to the team’s success. Frankie Amaya, 21, has been a very impressive midfielder and Omar Fernandez has two goals and an assist. John Tolkin also continues to be a promising left back and an Olympic hopeful in 2024. The biggest story for the club on an American front has been the return of U.S. national team central defender Aaron Long who has continued to play like his former self before his Achilles injury in early 2021.

For Chicago, the top American story has been Gaga Slonina. The U.S. U-20 goalkeeper is considered a top prospect but his allegiance to the U.S. program is in doubt after a recent meeting with the Polish national team coach in Chicago. Head coach Ezra Hendrickson has done a good job defensively, but he is going to have to improve the offense and get more out of Xherdan Shaqiri. Chicago Is heading back towards respectability in the league but is it moving quick enough?


Royal Antwerp vs. Union SG


In Belgium’s top-flight, Royal Antwerp host league leading Union Saint Gilloise on Sunday. Union SG is looking for an improbable Belgian title after it secured promotion just last year. It has a three-point lead on second place Club Brugge.

Sam Vines has been trying to grow into a starting role at Royal Antwerp and has occasionally looked the part. The former Colorado Rapid homegrown has five games left in this season and a strong finish could propel Antwerp into third place and perhaps give him a chance to compete for the backup left back position on the national team – which is still up for grabs.


LAFC – Minnesota United


LAFC will host Minnesota United on Sunday night in a matchup of two teams I think can compete in the West (in the absence of a Seattle team distracted by the CONCACAF Champions League). Minnesota’s Emmanuel Reynoso is one of the most talented players in the league and his form dictates the form of Minnesota United. But Minnesota is fun to watch when firing on all cylinders – which is what they’re doing have two comfortable wins over Colorado and Chicago.

LAFC, meanwhile, is also coming into the game having won two in a row. Head coach Steve Cherundolo has done an impressive job in his first job leading a first team. The former U.S. World Cup right back has impressed in Los Angeles and has the team with the most points in the league. This, however, will be his best test.

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PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati seek fifth-straight win, return home to host the New England Revolution




FC Cincinnati will get a second crack at the defending MLS Supporters’ Shield holders, a rematch of the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 contest on Wednesday, May 11th in Foxborough, Massachusetts. On that day, the hosts came out on top, 5-1, the fourth-straight win by New England in the head-to-head series with FCC across all competitions. 

The Orange and Blue saw on that evening first hand how dangerous New England’s top offensive threats (Carles Gil and Adam Buksa) can be. Gil secured a hat trick, and Buksa scored a brace to combine for all five New England goals. In MLS action this season, Buksa has scored in five consecutive games, the longest active streak in MLS. 

Gil is one of the league’s craftiest midfielders. He led MLS last season in assists and creating chances, and he is right on the heels of the Orange and Blue’s Luciano Acosta this season in key passes and shot-creating actions.

The Orange and Blue did not have to face Matt Turner, one of the best goalkeepers in the league last Wednesday. The USMNT netminder returned from injury and made his season debut in late April, and has one clean sheet in three appearances this season. Turner is expected to join English Premier League side Arsenal in June, making Saturday perhaps the last time FCC will try to put shots past the 27-year-old standout.

The Revs are unbeaten in their last four games across all competitions. Bruce Arena’s squad are coming off a 2-2 tie last Sunday at Atlanta United FC.

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