This weekend's major soccer events on TV fall into three distinct categories: MLS Cup Playoffs, World Cup Qualifiers and International Friendlies. Depending on what your cup of tea (or pint) is, we have a cheat sheet for all the great action to come this weekend.
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS
LA Galaxy v. Houston Dynamo (Friday, LIVE on ESPN2 @ 9PM MT) - The Western Conference Final of the MLS Cup playoffs kicks off this (mostly) international weekend of great soccer coverage on TV. We encourage all fans to come down to any one of the Rapids Partner Bars for this great playoff contest to watch it live.
Real Salt Lake v. Chicago Fire (Saturday, LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 6PM MT) - The Eastern Conference Final features a Real Salt Lake side trying to make their first ever MLS Cup Final. Please join us in rooting for Chicago at any of the Rapids Partner Bars. You should know why...
If you are looking to watch your respective national teams as they begin figuring out which players they will take to the World Cup this summer, then maybe these games are more your style:
USA v. Slovakia (Saturday, LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision @ 8AM MT) - A solid test for the Red, White and Blue as they take on fellow World Cup 2010 participants Slovakia in a friendly. Bob Bradley has many questions about his squad due to the rash of injuries to key players as of late. Be sure to cheer on Colorado's own Conor Casey as he will be suiting up in Bratislava!
Brazil v. England (Saturday, LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 10AM MT) - One of the marquee friendlies of the weekend features perennial World Cup favorites Brazil and the always hopeful Three Lions. England will be without David Beckham as he will be either celebrating a trip to his first MLS Cup Final or he will be already on his way to Milan. Either way he won't be playing against Brazil.
Italy v. Netherlands (Saturday, LIVE on GolTV @ 12:45PM MT) - Another excellent friendly with the reigning World Cup Champions, The Azzurri, taking on a highly talented Dutch team. You know that both sides will want to have a say in who lifts the World Cup this year and both sides have the talent to be there.
Spain v. Argentina (Saturday, LIVE on ESPN Deportes @ 2PM MT) - In the third of our marquee friendlies, we have reigning European Champions Spain facing the nearly-didn't-qualify Argentina side coached by legendary midfielder Diego Maradona. Everyone thinks Argentina was just "playing dead" in qualification, but they will want to prove themselves when they take on Spain this weekend.
WORLD CUP QUALIFIER PLAYOFFS
Now, for those of us that want some seriously intense soccer this weekend, there are a few massive WC Qualifier Playoffs going on as well.
Russia v. Slovenia (Saturday, LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 9AM MT) - Russia finished third in Euro 2008, but now they are struggling to qualify for their third World Cup. Slovenia are hoping to make their second World Cup, having qualified previously in 2002.
Greece v. Ukraine (Saturday, LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 11AM MT) - Greece are looking to book their second World Cup appearance, while Ukraine are hoping to reach their second World Cup. Both teams have done surprisingly well in the few major tournaments they have appeared in. Greece won the 2004 Euro Cup as massive long shots, while Ukraine made the quarterfinals of their only World Cup in 2006.
France v. Ireland (Saturday, LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 1PM MT)- If you want to know how important this is for the Irish, just check out this excerpt from the Fado Irish Pub website:
"It has been nearly 20 years since the glory days of Jack Charlton and Italia '90. The country went soccer mad for the World Cup in Italy. Now it is time for that passion to return to the spirits and voices of the Irish soccer fans. Be part of the come back at Fado this Saturday as the Boys In Green take on Les Bleus at the mighty Croke Park."Fado is the spot for this one, and unless you're French, be sure to wear your green!
U-17 WORLD CUP
U-17 World Cup Final (Sunday, LIVE on ESPN2 and Galavision @ 11AM MT) - Watch the future stars of world football compete for the coveted U-17 World Cup Championship. Nigeria beat Spain 3-1, while Switzerland defeated Colombia 4-0 on Thursday to reach the Final. Host country Nigeria have won this competition a record three times (tied with Brazil) and look for their fourth title this weekend in Abuja, Nigeria.
If you are looking for a great place to watch any of these games live in a great atmosphere with other soccer fans, please check out the Rapids Partner Bars for your weekend soccer viewing party planning schedule!
Where/what matches will you be watching? Post your comments below........