A packed MLS weekend – one featuring a Seattle-RSL showdown I’ll detail later – and the kickoff of the English Premier League season make this as good a time to any to debut a new regular feature on the blog.
Here are five matches to watch this weekend from leagues around the world:
Manchester United v. Swansea City, English Premier League, Saturday at 4:45 a.m. – Set multiple alarms, because this one is worth waking up for: Louis van Gaal makes his league debut as United manager against a Swans team that can play with anybody on their day.
Sporting Kansas City v. Toronto FC, Major League Soccer, Saturday at 5:30 p.m. – While the European leagues are just firing up, the MLS races are already congealing. SKC has had a firm grip on the Eastern Conference lead all year long, one that will only tighten will another victory over a fellow challenger.
Marseille v. Montpellier, Ligue 1, Sunday at 8:00 a.m. – Consider this your dark-horse pick of the weekend: An intriguing matchup between Marcelo Bielsa’s new-look Marseille and a Montpellier team just two seasons removed from an unlikely league title.
Newcastle United v. Manchester City, English Premier League, Sunday at 8:00 a.m. – Defending champions City don’t have to wait very long to be tested: Newcastle’s form has been inconsistent in recent campaigns, but St. James’ Park is always an intimidating place to play.
AZ Alkmaar v. Ajax Amsterdam, Dutch Eredivisie, Sunday at 3:30 p.m. – U.S. men’s national team striker Aron Johannsson gets to test himself against the Dutch juggernaut and you don’t even need to put on an extra pot of coffee to enjoy it.