Week of July 24
It’s the last week of MLS action before the All-Star game against Chelsea so we’ve picked out a couple Eastern Conference match-ups that will determine where teams end up at the halfway mark (all trailing the red-hot D.C. United, of course). Earlier in the week, we’ve got a tribute to one of the all-time Dutch greats on Monday and an intriguing MLS vs. EPL match on hump day, before closing up the weekend with a border battle as the U.S. Women take on Canada.
July 23, 2006
MONDAY, JULY 24
What: Dennis Bergkamp Invitational – Arsenal vs. Ajax
Station: Gol TV
When: 4 p.m. ET
Why: This is your chance to see the tribute to one of Europe’s all-time great footballers, Dennis Bergkamp. The match (which was played on Saturday) pitted two of Bergkamp’s former teams - Ajax and Arsenal (he also played at Internazionale, but only for two years). We won’t ruin it by telling who won, but if you want to catch the man of the hour make sure to watch the first half, while the second half contains the game-winner. Oh, and if you need another reason to tune in, the match provides you with your first look at Arsenal’s new Emirates Stadium.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 26
What: Columbus Crew vs. Everton
When: 7 p.m. ET
Why: The top of the English Premier League is coming to town in a week-and-a-half for the MLS All-Star game, but before then you can check out Everton when they take on the Crew in Columbus. Everton finished 11th in the EPL last year, but their no slouch, and during their U.S. preseason tour they’ll be looking to get back to their 2004-05 campaign when they finished fourth in the 20-team league. Manchester United loaned Tim Howard to Everton earlier this year, which will provide U.S. fans the chance to see the seldom used ‘keeper as he looks to regain a No. 1 spot.
SATURDAY, JULY 29
What: Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew
Station: HD Net
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Why: In their last game before the All-Star break, the Crew and Fire will be playing for the Eastern Conference cellar. Well, not so much for, as against the cellar - as in ending up in the cellar. The Crew is the bottom-feeder now, but with a win they’d leapfrog the Fire and head into the break with a bit more confidence. Either team has the chance to turn things around in the second half of the season, but this game could go a long way in determining whether that transformation begins earlier than later.
What: Kansas City Wizards vs. New England Revolution
Station: MLS Direct Kick
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Why: Besides D.C. United, the rest of the Eastern Conference is wide open. Like the Crew and Fire, the Wizards will be fighting to make sure they don’t end up last at the break. The Revs aren’t in danger of the cellar, but staying in second place is a good place to be as they begin the second part of the season.
SUNDAY, JULY 30
What: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Station: ESPN2 or Telemundo
When: 1 p.m. ET
Why: Since taking over the U.S. Women’s National Team, head coach Greg Ryan is a 16-0-4. Not a single loss in 20 games, which is pretty remarkable. That record goes on the line Sunday though as the WNT takes on northern rival Canada - always a tough match - in their final match of July. The U.S. won’t be in action again until Aug. 27 against China at the brand new Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., so get your fill of Wambach, Mitts and Whitehill now.