THE WEEK IN SOCCER
Sunderland at Manchester United
10 a.m. Saturday (NBC-SN)
Thanks in part to striker Connor Wickham (five goals in his last three games), Sunderland has pulled itself out of the English Premier League relegation zone. Unfortunately, the Black Cats have done so just in time for a matchup with powerhouse Manchester United (though ailing Wayne Rooney is a doubt). It's a must-win for both teams, as the Red Devils cling to fading hopes of reaching next season's Europa League.
Manchester City at Everton
12:30 p.m. Saturday (CNBC, mun2)
Liverpool's loss at home to Chelsea last weekend has put City back in the lead to win the Premier League. If Yaya Touré and company can win their last three games, they'll take the title. Everton won't go down easily, though, and not just because of U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard. Young midfielder Ross Barkley is a rising star for England, and Romelu Lukaku is a bulldozing forward.
Indy Eleven at Minnesota United
8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3.com)
When the Union let Kléberson go last year, you might have expected him to go back to Europe or return to his native Brazil. He chose to stay in the United States, though, and signed on with Indianapolis' expansion team in the second-tier North American Soccer League. This weekend, he'll face a league-leading Minnesota team that includes former Union teammate Greg Jordan.
Columbus Crew at Sporting Kansas City
4 p.m. Sunday (NBC-SN)
Columbus has been the biggest surprise in Major League Soccer this season. New coach Gregg Berhalter, a former U.S. national team defender, has breathed new life into one of MLS' original teams. Crew midfielder Will Trapp has been especially impressive. The man of the present, meanwhile, is Kansas City's Graham Zusi. He plays a vital creative role for his club and may do the same for the United States in next month's World Cup.
Liverpool at Crystal Palace
3 p.m. Monday (NBC-SN)
Palace stunned Chelsea earlier this month, and now can derail Liverpool's title dreams. Keep an eye on midfielder Jason Puncheon, the team's top goal-scorer, with seven. As for Steven Gerrard and his teammates, so close to finally lifting the Premier League trophy, the pressure has skyrocketed. Every game is a must-win for the Reds now.
United States women at Canada
7:50 p.m. Thursday (ESPN3.com)
Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, and Delran's Carli Lloyd lead the U.S. women to Winnipeg to face their perennial archrivals. Christine Sinclair and Princeton product Diana Matheson are the headline names for Canada, which will host next year's Women's World Cup. The United States is still without a full-time coach, so longtime assistant Jill Ellis, serving a second term as interim, will be in charge for this game.
- Jonathan Tannenwald