The Week in Soccer
2014 World Cup draw
11 a.m. Friday (Univision, UnivisionFutbol.com, ESPN3.com)
11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
The United States and 31 other national teams will find out their group stage opponents and game schedule for next year's World Cup in Brazil. The Americans are likely to be drawn in their four-team group with some combination of a South American team, an African team and one or two European teams.
A worst-case draw for the U.S. would be one with Argentina, Italy, and Portugal. Or perhaps one with host Brazil, longtime nemesis Ghana (the Black Stars eliminated the U.S. in both 2006 and 2010), and the Netherlands. There are many equally scary scenarios, along with a few "easy" ones. The best possible draw? One with Switzerland, Algeria, and Greece.
Manchester City at Southampton
10 a.m. Saturday (NBC-SN)
Southampton has been the most surprising team in the English Premier League this season, riding young stars such as Jay Rodriguez to eighth place. Manchester City has charged into second place thanks to red-hot striker Sergio Aguëro. But while City is undefeated at home, it has lost four of seven road games.
Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City
4 p.m. Saturday (ESPN, UniMás)
This year's MLS Cup Final will disappoint those who would like to see superstar-laden teams with big names in the championship game. There's no way around it. But Real and Sporting are the two best-run organizations in Major League Soccer, and Union fans should pay attention.
Both teams have the right mix of young energy and veteran leadership. They also have U.S. national team players in key roles: Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman for Salt Lake and Matt Besler and Graham Zusi in Kansas City. An electric atmosphere at sold-out Sporting Park will serve as a perfect backdrop for the climax to the season.
Everton at Arsenal
11 a.m. Sunday (NBC-SN)
On Wednesday, Everton beat Manchester United on the road at Old Trafford for the first time in 21 years. Now U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard leads the Toffees into London to face Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey, and the first-place Gunners.
Toluca at Club América
6 p.m. Sunday (Univision)
The Mexican League playoff semifinals come to legendary Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, where the second leg of this series will settle who advances to the final. Big-spending América is led by Mexican national team star forward Raúl Jiménez. Toluca counters with Pablo Velásquez, who scored 13 goals in the autumn season.
Arsenal at Napoli
2:30 p.m. Wednesday (Fox Sports 1)
The biggest Champions League drama is in Group F, where three teams are fighting for two knockout-round berths. First-place Arsenal could finish third - if they lose by four goals and Borussia Dortmund wins at Marseille. Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has found his range again and will be aiming to take out the Gunners.
- Jonathan Tannenwald