America’s invasion of England’s women’s league takes center stage this weekend as three of the U.S. national team’s biggest stars are set to debut with their new clubs. And yes, this column said last weekend that Alex Morgan might make her Tottenham debut then. This time, there are signs that it will really happen. There are also big games in the Premier League, MLS, the NWSL, France, Germany and Italy.
Here’s your guide to the top action to watch.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Angers
Friday, 3 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
Take a good look at France’s Ligue 1 table right now because PSG won’t be in seventh place for long. In fact, the reigning champs are tied on points with Angers through five games of the season. But Kylian Mbappé has a goal and three assists in his last two games, and Neymar is at full strength after overcoming a calf injury. The Parisians are getting back on track, and once they’re rolling they’re likely to charge up to first place.
VfB Stuttgart vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. (ESPN+)
At first glance, this might not seem the most appealing of the five Bundesliga games at this hour (all on ESPN+). You could watch Josh Sargent’s Werder Bremen hosting Arminia Bielefeld, or Gio Reyna’s Borussia Dortmund hosting Freiburg.
But give this game a shot. Stuttgart manager Pellegrino Matarazzo is a Wayne, N.J., native who played college soccer at Columbia (against Jesse Marsch’s Princeton, coincidentally), then went on to play for 10 years for German lower-league teams. After hanging up his cleats in 2010, he started his way up the coaching ladder, rising to assistant at Hoffenheim in 2018. In his two years there, he worked with colleagues including former Union assistant Dick Schreuder and current Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann.
Matarazzo took the Stuttgart helm at the start of this year, and took one of Germany’s most famous clubs back into the Bundesliga after a year in the second division. Last weekend, he became the second American manager to win a Bundesliga game, 4-1 over Mainz. Leverkusen, led by Jamaican winger Leon Bailey and Czech forward Patrick Schick, will pose a tough test.
Leeds United vs. Manchester City
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (NBC10, Universo)
The coaching matchup between Leeds' Marcelo Bielsa and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola will have the world’s attention, especially after City got routed, 5-2, at home by Leicester last weekend. We’ll only be able to imagine how electric the atmosphere would be at Elland Road if fans were allowed in the stands. Alas, they won’t be for some time to come as the coronavirus' spread in England shows only hints of slowing.
Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (Twitch)
Sky Blue plays a home game for the first time all year, albeit behind closed doors at Montclair State University instead of at Red Bull Arena. Mallory Pugh and Margaret Purce hope to repeat the form that led them to a 2-1 win at Washington in the teams' last meeting.
Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. (Fox29, Fox Deportes)
Union fans will want to watch this game because Orlando sits just two points back of Philadelphia and Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference standings. Nani and Chris Mueller have the Lions on an eight-game unbeaten streak. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, have won their last two games by 4-1 scores — first over Miami, then Montreal.
Utah Royals vs. Portland Thorns
Saturday, 10 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
The Royals are in some turmoil. On top of owner Dell Loy Hansen’s racism scandal, manager Craig Harrington is on leave amid an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment toward team staff. But rookie forward Tziarra King, born in Sicklerville, N.J., has been a bright light, scoring goals on the field and leading a vocal anti-racism campaign off it.
Portland, meanwhile, is coming off a 4-1 rout of rival OL Reign that featured a Christine Sinclair hat trick.
Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Sunday, 7 a.m. (The FA Player)
Get the strong coffee ready for an early wake-up call to watch what is likely to be Christen Press and Tobin Heath’s United debut, starting just over seven hours after their respective NWSL teams finish playing each other. The two American stars will see familiar faces across the field: Denise O’Sullivan is on loan to Brighton from North Carolina, and Rebekah Stott played for the Seattle Reign and Sky Blue FC.
Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The stage is set for Alex Morgan’s Tottenham debut. And even better, it could come against Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle, who ousted Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinals, 2-1, on Thursday. Mewis scored the winning goal, and Lavelle played the last 25 minutes.
Juventus vs. Napoli
Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (ESPN+)
Italy’s Serie A serves up another star-studded clash this weekend, and another big test for Juventus' American midfielder Weston McKennie. Napoli has a loaded attack led by forwards Dries Mertens, Fernando Llorente, and 21-year-old Nigerian Victor Osimhen, signed from France’s Lille this summer for $82 million.