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Soccer on TV: U.S. and Mexico national team stars get ready for World Cup qualifying

Plus rivalry games in MLS, star-studded clashes in the NWSL, and the start of a new French women’s league season.

Leipzig's Tyler Adams faces fellow American star John Brooks this weekend before they head to the U.S. national team for World Cup qualifying.
Leipzig's Tyler Adams faces fellow American star John Brooks this weekend before they head to the U.S. national team for World Cup qualifying.Read moreLukas Schulze / Bundesliga / DFL / Getty Images

Lyon vs. Reims

Friday, 12:30 p.m. (,

After losing its French league and UEFA Champions League crowns last season, Lyon made some big signings this summer to try to get back to the top: goalkeeper Christiane Endler and defender Perle Morroni from rival Paris Saint-Germain, and marquee playmaker Daniëlle van de Donk from Arsenal.

They join returning veteran stars Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry and Delphine Cascarino, and big-time young prospects Melvine Malard and American Catarina Macario. U.S. fans got to see them all in last week’s International Champions Cup, where Lyon beat reigning European champ Barcelona and lost to the NWSL’s Portland Thorns.

Reims has two U.S. natives on its squad: French-American midfielder Rachel Corboz and El Paso-born Mexican national team goalkeeper Emily Alvarado.

» READ MORE: Catarina Macario is on her way to becoming the USWNT’s next big star

CF Montréal vs. Toronto FC

Friday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

It’s a weekend of rivalry games in MLS, including three Friday night. The best of them is the one that won’t be in ESPN’s TV doubleheader (Columbus-Cincinnati and Orlando-Miami, starting at 6:30 p.m.), because it has the least interest in the U.S. But it’s likely to be the best contest.

Thanks to smart signings, including winger Joaquin Torres, Montreal is quietly sitting in sixth in the Eastern Conference. Toronto is loudly in last, despite the star power of attackers Jeferson Soteldo and Jozy Altidore.

» READ MORE: The Union needed a late goal to tie Montreal, 1-1, last Saturday

Liverpool vs. Chelsea

Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (NBC10, Telemundo 62)

Both teams have started the Premier League season with two wins, and Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku has looked sharp. His duels with Liverpool star centerback Virgil van Dijk should be great theater.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Premier League schedule

Marseille vs. Saint-Étienne

Saturday, 3 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)

Marseille’s American winger Konrad de la Fuente, a 20-year-old from Miami, has played some terrific soccer for the club since joining from Barcelona this summer. U.S. national team manager Gregg Berhalter has noticed, calling Konrad into next month’s World Cup qualifying roster.

» READ MORE: Christian Pulisic cleared for U.S. men’s soccer team’s September World Cup qualifying roster after COVID-19 case

Real Betis vs. Real Madrid

Saturday, 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

Betis’ Mexican duo of Diego Lainez and Andrés Guardado will be in the spotlight as they host La Liga’s giants. Real Madrid is coming off a wild 3-3 tie at lowly Levante.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's La Liga schedule

Los Angeles FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

Saturday, 7 p.m. (Fox29, Fox Deportes)

After missing this week’s All-Star Game festivities, LAFC’s Carlos Vela and the Galaxy’s Javier Hernández won’t play in the latest edition of the Los Angeles derby. So it will be up to Diego Rossi to lead LAFC in a game it needs to win, sitting ninth in the west and three points out of the last playoff spot.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's MLS schedule

Rangers vs Celtic

Sunday, 7 a.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Scotland’s signature Old Firm rivalry returns to mainstream U.S. TV for the first time in a few years.

VfL Wolfsburg vs. RB Leipzig

Sunday, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN+)

Leipzig’s Tyler Adams and Wolfsburg’s John Brooks face off before heading to the U.S. national team. Wolfsburg is the only team in the Bundesliga that’s started the season with two wins in two games.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Bundesliga schedule

Reims vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)

This is expected to be Lionel Messi’s PSG debut, but he might not play with fellow star Kylian Mbappé for long. Real Madrid is in hot pursuit of the French winger, he wants to go, and PSG is willing to sell if the price is right. PSG rejected Real’s initial offer of $188 million, but might say yes to the latest bid of $211 million.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Ligue 1 schedule

Gotham FC vs. Orlando Pride

Sunday, 5:30 p.m. (Paramount+)

Freya Coombe’s last game as Gotham manager before leaving for Angel City FC will be the first home game since the Olympics for Carli Lloyd and Canadian gold medalists Kailen Sheridan and Évelyne Viens. Alex Morgan likely won’t play for Orlando due to a calf injury suffered in the bronze medal game, but the Pride should have stars Marta, Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris.

» READ MORE: USWNT star Carli Lloyd will retire this fall after a 16-year career

Santos Laguna vs. Juárez

Sunday, 7 p.m. (Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes)

Santos’ Santiago Muñoz, a 19-year-old Mexican-American winger from El Paso, is reportedly being watched closely by Newcastle United. Muñoz grew up playing in the Alianza de Fútbol program, which was bought last December by a company run by Union part-owner Richie Graham.

» READ MORE: Alianza de Futbol is bringing its youth soccer showcase to the Philadelphia area on Labor Day weekend

OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns

Sunday, 7 p.m. (Paramount+)

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers

Sunday, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

Seattle-area soccer fans have waited years to see the Reign return to Lumen Field, the home of the Sounders and NFL’s Seahawks. It will finally happen this weekend, and in big-time style: a doubleheader with both home teams hosting their arch-rivals from the Rose City.

There will be a Philly flavor in the action thanks to Reign forward Tziarra King, a Sicklerville, N.J. native who celebrated her 23rd birthday on Tuesday. And there will be big names all over the field: the Reign’s Megan Rapinoe and Dzsenifer Marozsán, the Thorns’ Crystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn, the Sounders’ Raúl Ruidíaz and Nicolás Lodeiro, and the Timbers’ Sebastían Blanco and Eryk Williamson.

Expect a scene in the stands too, even amid the resurgent pandemic. The Sounders’ supporters’ clubs should have plenty to say about the 6-2 rout their team delivered in Portland on Aug. 15.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's NWSL schedule