What To Watch Fri. 7/3 – Sun. 7/5


All times are Pacific.

Friday July 3rd

SF Giants at Washington Nationals – 3pm ESPN: A rematch of last years NLCS. The Nationals Bryce Harper is having an MVP season and this is a chance to see him in action.

USMNT v Guatamala (Friendly) -4pm FS1: The final tuneup for both teams as they head into the Gold Cup.

Calgary Stampeders at Montreal Alouettes – 4:30pm ESPN2: Question in this game is the quarterback play. The Stamps Bo Levi Mitchell threw three INT’s last week in the Stamps come from behind win and the Al’s played three QB’s in week one.

Seattle Sounders vs DC United – 8pm UNIMAS: The Sounders look to get back on track against the top team in the Eastern Conference.

 

Saturday July 4th

Tour De France – 4am NBCSN: Cycling’s premier event gets underway in Utrecht, Netherlands of all places. GoPro Video.

Biking

Tampa Bay Rays at NY Yankees – 10am FS1: Toughest division in baseball. Good series to see who is really going to be there in September.

Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers – 10am MLB.TV: Two teams fighting for relevancy in their respective divisions. It’s also a battle of pitchers from middle Tennessee as R.A. Dickey (Nashville) takes on David Price (Murfreesboro).

Copa America Final – 1pm BeIN: Yes it’s the 4th of July but it’s Argentina vs Chilie.

NY Mets at LA Dodgers – 4:15pm Fox: The Mets send over hyped Matt Harvey to the mound against Zack Greinke. Not bad for a Saturday.

LA Galaxy vs Toronto FC – 4:30pm MLS LIVE: While some stars will be missing such as Michael Bradley, LA’s newest signing, Steven Gerrard,  will make an appearance.

 

Sunday July 5th

Tour De France – 4am NBCSN: Stage two gets underway.

Toronto Argonauts at Saskatchewan Roughriders – 12:30pm ESPN3: The Riders lost starting QB Darian Durant for the year after only a half of football last week. The Argos on their backup too. It’s should be a good one in Riderville.

FIFA Women’s World Cup Final – 2pm FOX: USA meets Japan in a rematch of the 2011 World Cup Final.

NASCAR Coke Zero 400 – 4:45pm NBC: NBC has Nascar now….probably why we have to wait until almost 8pm EST to watch a race on a Sunday night at the end of a Holiday weekend. #Fail.

SF Giants at Washington Nationals – 5pm ESPN: Not a bad way to cap off a long Holiday weekend.

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MLS 2014 Preview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The 19th season of MLS kicks off this weekend. Sporting KC will attempt to defend their title against a serious pack of challengers. From perennial favorites like LA, Houston and Salt Lake to the upstarts in Portland and the dark horse in Toronto.

MLS 2014 KICK OFF

Can SKC Do It Again?

Sporting KC may have the most dynamic roster in all of MLS. From Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber in the middle, Matt Besler and Aurelien Colin in the back and multiple attacking options up top. Most of the team remains intact minus Keeper Jimmy Nielsen. It’s up to manager Peter Vermes to keep this team motivated. They way he screams, it shouldn’t be a problem.

NYRB 4 REAL?

The New York Red Bulls finally won a trophy of some kind last season when they walked away with the Supporters Shield. With that monkey off their back it’s time for them to take home and MLS Cup or a US Open Cup.

Like usual, there have been front office and player changes this off season. However, Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill still anchor the Red Bull attack and that means that Jonny Steele and Jamison Olave should get plenty of chances like they did last season.

New York finally found a goalkeeper they can rely on in Luis Robles. If he has a season similar to last year then he could be looking at an All-Star spot.

One interesting addition is Bobby Convey. He can do everything when on and healthy. If he can find a role then his service could lead to even more goals.

Sigi’s Last Stand?

Sigi Schmidt is in the last year of his contract. They previous times this has happened to him he has won an MLS Cup. First in LA then in Columbus. Seattle needs more playoff success but what they really need is an MLS Cup Final appearance.

Seattle cleaned house to an extent but they still have Clint Dempsey, Osvaldo Alonso, and Brad Evans. The added Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper up top and brought in Chad Marshall to provide leadership and stability in the back. The have all the ingredients to win the cup now they just have to prove it.

The New and Improved TFC

If you’re an MLS fan you may have noticed that Toronto FC made some big money moves this offseason. Enter US National Team Captain Michael Bradley, England National Team striker Jermain DaFoe, Brazilian striker Gilberto and multi-MLS MVP Dewayne De Rosario.

One of the bigger additions might very well be defender Justin Morrow. He’s young but with a lot of MLS experience. Look for him to shut down any counterattacks that come his way.

Let’s face facts, TFC has to get into the playoffs…and win. Missing the playoffs would be a disaster. Getting in and not winning a game would hurt but it’s a foundation to build on.

Porter-ball Round 2

The Portland Timbers last season were something that their avid fan support could be proud off. The won the western conference and went deep into the MLS Cup playoffs knocking off arch rival Seattle in the process.

Now they have to do better.

Portland is loaded with attacking options but everything hinges on Diego Valeri and WIll Johnson. If Valeri can stay on the pitch then watch out. If he can’t and Johnson does not repeat the MVP caliber performance that he had last year then it could be a long season in the Rose City.

Portland has proven that they can withstand key injuries but with manager Caleb Porter’s style of play, injuries are always a concern.

The Heat Is On

DC United had, with all due respect, a horrendous year last year. Manager Ben Olsen is back for another go round and has been given a great tool to succeed with in US National Team forward Eddie Johnson.

Johnson needs to be a rock start. DC has hedged their bets though with the addition of striker Fabian Espindola. Add these two with new addition Davy Arnaud and Sean Franklin and they should make a nice nucleus when you add in existing players Chris Pontius and Nick DeLeon.

Now all that’s left is a winning season and a soccer specific stadium to get DC back amongst the elite teams in MLS.

There are a lot of interesting questions to be answered over the next several months and that’s if there are no big player movements. So let’s get this started already!

Big Day in the North

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Leiweke, Dafoe, Bradley, Nelson, Bezbatchenko
Leiweke, Dafoe, Bradley, Nelson, Bezbatchenko

To say it was a big day for Toronto FC would be an understatement. In one press conference they showed off two of the biggest designated player signings in franchise history in Jermaine Dafoe and Michael Bradley.

What makes these two signings so great?

Leiweke, Dafoe & Bradley

Defoe still has legs. He’s 31, wants to win trophies and knows that he’ll be judged on his production. Bradley is the bigger fish here though. He’s only 26, a main stay of the US National team and has experience in Germany, Italy and England.

The reason Bradley’s signing is more important. Not only for Toronto but also for MLS.  He’s played in the league before and he’s only 26. His signing shows the ongoing shift in the perception of MLS. Once seen as a league to kind of walk off into the sunset in while making a lot of money, Bradley is signing shows that this is a league is competitive enough for players in their prime to play in.

Not to say that Dafoe is out of his prime but if all goes well TFC fans could expect Bradley to be the cornerstone of their team for the next decade while they may only get four or five years max out of Dafoe.

Yes, it is a good day for Toronto FC and MLS.

See the presser highlights here.

Get full coverage from Neil Davidson here