Soccer on TV: Premier League season kicks off, Rose Lavelle’s Manchester City debut, NWSL on CBS
The spotlight shines brightest on England this weekend, but there are also good games in France, Germany and here in the U.S. Here’s your viewer’s guide to the top action to watch.
The spotlight shines brightest on England this weekend, but there are also good games in France, Germany and here in the U.S.
Here’s your viewer’s guide to the top action to watch.
Fulham vs. Arsenal
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. (NBCSN, Universo)
The new English Premier League season begins with a London derby, featuring Fulham’s return to the top flight after a year in the second division. U.S. national team defender Tim Ream will have his hands full with Arsenal’s attacking trio of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and new arrival Willian.
1. FC Nürnberg vs. RB Leipzig
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. (ESPN3, ESPN Deportes)
Germany’s soccer season kicks off with the first round of the DFB Pokal, the German Cup. Any excuse to watch Leipzig’s American midfield star Tyler Adams is a good one.
Liverpool vs. Leeds United
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (NBC10, Telemundo)
Leeds is one of England’s most famous in England, but most American fans wouldn’t know it. The anchor of Yorkshire has spent 16 long years in lower divisions after a financial scandal wrecked a team that reached the Champions League semifinals in 2001. Finally back in the big time, the team added Spanish forward Rodrigo to a squad that includes former New York City FC college draft pick Jack Harrison — who’s done pretty well over there.
Of course, the big day comes with a trip to the league’s reigning champions. Liverpool haven’t made any big summer additions yet, though there’s still plenty of firepower in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino.
Expect the TV cameras to be turned toward the benches a lot, because Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Leeds' Marcelo Bielsa are two of soccer’s most charismatic managers.
Click here for the full weekend Premier League schedule.
North Carolina Courage vs. Houston Dash
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (CBS3)
The last two trophy winners in the NWSL meet in this weekend’s Fall Series showcase. CBS was originally going to broadcast Portland Thorns-OL Reign, but the game was postponed to Sept. 15 because of the wildfire smoke consuming the Pacific Northwest.
Houston returns to action after winning this summer’s Challenge Cup. Star forward Rachel Daly is on a short-term loan in her native England (more on that in a moment), so the Dash will look to midfielder Kristie Mewis and forward Shea Groom to lead the attack.
North Carolina, last year’s champion, will look vastly different than the perennial powerhouse we’ve known. Crystal Dunn, Jessica McDonald, Abby Erceg, Jaelene Daniels and Kristen Hamilton have opted out, while veteran forward Denise O’Sullivan and major prospect Hailie Mace are on loan overseas. But the Courage still have centerback Abby Dahlkemper, striker Lynn Williams, and midfield playmaker Debinha — all among the best at their positions in the league.
Manchester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Sunday, 9 a.m. (The FA Player)
Rose Lavelle’s quarantine time upon arriving in England is over, so she’s now eligible to make her Manchester City debut alongside Samantha Mewis. They’ll see familiar faces across the field in Rebekah Stott, formerly of the Seattle Reign, and the Courage’s O’Sullivan.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Olympique Marseille
Sunday, 3 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
France’s signature rivalry game will be missing many of the PSG stars who are out after testing positive for coronavirus, led by Kylian Mbappé. And of course, the venerable Parc des Princes stadium will be missing a full house — just 5,000 fans will be allowed inside.
Paris still has the better players, even though the players who took the field at just-promoted Lens on Thursday were upset, 1-0. Marseille’s Kevin Strootman, Dimitri Payet and Darío Benedetto are all 30 or older. (At least Florian Thauvin is 27.)
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea
Monday, 3:15 p.m. (Peacock)
Not long after Christian Pulisic was given Chelsea’s sacred No. 10 jersey — the one worn by Peter Osgood, Ray Wilkins, Joe Cole and Eden Hazard — the Hershey native was cleared to train for the first time since a hamstring injury six weeks ago.
It’s not a certainty that Pulisic will start in the Blues' season opener, or even make the bench. But the odds have become good enough that NBC might regret kicking this game from NBCSN to Peacock, the network’s subscription streaming platform. Yes, it’s just $4.99 per month, or $49.99 per year, and it’s free if you’re a Comcast cable subscriber. But it’s still a lesser platform than the TV channel.