Soccer Wednesday: A Look Ahead

RooneyMessi (Getty Images)

The U.S. Open Cup final is Wednesday's marquee match for U.S. soccer fans, but it's far from the only match during the day that carries some serious appeal.

Barcelona face Manchester United and Real Madrid meet AC Milan in preseason friendlies, and the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League field will be a narrowed down a bit more after the second legs of the third play-in round will send 12 more teams onto the final qualifying round.

The day will be capped off by the Open Cup final at Livestrong Sporting Park, as either the Seattle Sounders or Sporting Kansas City will lift the trophy and clinch a place in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.

Here is a closer look at the action around the world on Wednesday:

MANCHESTER UNITED vs. BARCELONA

TV: Fox Soccer Channel, 2 p.m.

The finalists of the 2009 and 2011 UEFA Champions League tournaments will meet in a preseason friendly in Gothenburg, Sweden, as both gear up for another run at titles on multiple fronts.

The starpower is the obvious draw for both sides, but for Barcelona, the match could mark the return of striker David Villa to the field eight months after he broke his leg in the FIFA Club World Cup. He is included on Barcelona's roster for this leg of the club's preseason.

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIERS

Sacha Kljestan's Anderlecht and Josh Gatt's Molde are two of the clubs vying for places in the next qualifying round. 

Anderlecht are sitting pretty after a 5-0 thrashing of Lithuanian club Ekranas in their opening leg, but Molde have some work to do after falling 1-0 to FC Basel in the home leg of their tie. Gatt missed the first leg with an injury.

Anderlecht's match is slated for 1 p.m (ET), while Molde plays at 2. Among the other teams in action are Scottish champions Celtic, who nurse a 2-1 lead over Finnish side HJK.

REAL MADRID vs. AC MILAN

TV: ESPN2/ESPN3.com, 8 p.m.

At Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, Real Madrid go for their third win in the World Football Challenge after dispatching the Los Angeles Galaxy and Santos Laguna in the last week. The Spanish champions have looked quite sharp considering they are in preseason mode, and they'll look to keep fine-tuning things against the Italian power, which is still adjusting to life without the host of veterans who departed the club in the offseason.

AC Milan topped Chelsea 1-0 in Miami on July 28 in their only other WFC match, getting a goal from winger Urby Emanuelson.

U.S. OPEN CUP FINAL

TV: GOLTV, 9 p.m.

Seattle goes for an unprecedented fourth Open Cup crown in a row, while Sporting KC looks for its second Open Cup title and first trophy since winning the tournament in 2004. 

Seattle's first-choice players are healthier, but Sporting KC has the home-field advantage between two clubs who have a penchant for playing games that go down to the wire. In their only meeting this season, the two clubs played to a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field, with Jacob Peterson's 8th-minute goal being cancelled out by Patrick Ianni's sideways scissor kick volley in the 15th minute to account for all the scoring.

In their two meetings last year, Seattle won both at the death, with Jeff Parke scoring a game-winner deep in stoppage time for a 1-0 win in Seattle and Mauro Rosales and Lamar Neagle scoring in the 90th and 92nd minutes at Livestrong Sporting Park to cap a stunning come-from-behind, 2-1 victory. 

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6 Responses to Soccer Wednesday: A Look Ahead

  1. xman says:

    any news on Clint dempsey? what about brek SheA? is he finally leaving MLS

  2. away goals says:

    Rest assured when there’s news on a dempsey transfer, it will get its very own article.

  3. The way he has been playing this year, why would ANYONE want Brek Shea. He’s been bad, bordering on outright awful.

  4. RLW2020 says:

    buy low… if Dallas was looking to move him id jump at the opportunity. however i bet they still want 2011 performance $$$

  5. steve-0 says:

    no good games for a few days and now 3 – I’m going to be busy watching tonight

  6. Dos says:

    IVES – Are you going to be @ Yankee Stadium tonight?