Games to Watch: MLS conference finals conclude
Before I get started, a quick note. Due to changes in my real-job work (which is organizing Philly.com's sports pages online and running our social media), Games to Watch will be discontinued after next week. So this is the next-to-last edition. It might come back at some point, but I have no idea when. Thanks to all of you for reading this column on the blog and in the Inquirer over the years.
W3. Portland Timbers at W1. FC Dallas
5:00 p.m. Sunday
The scene shifts from Cascadia to Texas in Major League Soccer's Western Conference final. Portland brings a 3-1 lead south from the first leg, and will get key midfielders Diego Valeri and Rodney Wallace back from suspension. But Dallas has plenty of firepower to overcome that deficit, led by playmaker Mauro Díaz and wing wizard Fabían Castillo. And because road goals are the first tiebreaker, a 2-0 win would give Dallas the series.
E2. Columbus Crew at E1. New York Red Bulls
7:30 p.m. Sunday
Fox Sports 1 and TSN Go: John Strong and Alexi Lalas call the game; Julie Stewart-Binks reports from the sideline; Rob Stone hosts on-site studio coverage with Brad Friedel
Fox Deportes: Troy Santiago and Claudio Suárez call the game; Jaime Motta reportes from the sideline
Second-seeded Columbus upended No. 1 New York 2-0 in the first leg of the Eastern Conference final. As with Dallas out west, that isn't a huge margin for the Red Bulls to overcome. To do it, they must get a better performance from the midfield triangle of Dax McCarty, Sacha Kljestan and Felipe Martins. Defender Matt Miazga must also keep Crew star striker Kei Kamara quiet.
Manchester United at Leicester City
12:30 p.m. Saturday (NBC, NBC Universo)
Pop quiz: Which of these two teams is currently in first place in the Premier League? Did you guess Manchester United? You're wrong. Thanks to striker Jamie Vardy's 13 goals in 13 games this season - including 10 in the last 10 - it's Leicester City.
The Red Devils are just one point behind them, though, and will aim to make a statement this weekend. Can they do it with top forwards Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial injured? Manager Louis van Gaal has his work cut out for him.
Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur
7:00 a.m. Sunday (USA Network, Telemundo)
Yes, you'll have to wake up really early on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, but this game is a erasonably big one.
Chelsea's 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday was the Blues' second straight win in all competitions, making for their first winning streak since late September. Yet Eden Hazard and company are still stuck in 15th place in the Premier League. Tottenham, meanwhile, is in fifth place thanks to Harry Kane's eight goals this season, including two against West Ham last weekend
Inter Milan at Napoli
2:55 p.m. Sunday (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
If you haven't been paying attention to Italy's Serie A this season, you might be surprised to learn that these are the top two leagues. Expect a wild atmosphere in Naples for a showdown of two Argentine strikers. Napoli veteran Gonzalo Higuaín leads the first-place home side against Inter's 22-year-old Mauro Icardi.
Hertha Berlin at Bayern Munich
9:30 a.m. Saturday (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes)
U.S. national team defender John Brooks was stuck on Hertha's bench for much of the season, but went all 90 minutes in each of the last two games. This weekend could put him in a huge spotlight. If he plays, he'll be matched up with red-hot Bayern scorer Robert Lewandowski. He has 22 goals in 19 games across all competitions this season.