Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

MalagaSociedad (Getty)

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

Real Sociedad and Malaga’s battle for fourth place in La Liga headlines a Saturday packed with action from the world’s top leagues.

After defending their home turf from Borussia Dortmund in Champions League action on Wednesday, Malaga are now focused on qualifying for next season’s edition of the competition in a trip to face Sociedad. Real Sociedad’s only loss of 2013 was against Real Madrid, and the club has gone on an 11-match unbeaten streak to take over the prized fourth position in La Liga. With a trip to Germany in the near future, how will Manuel Pellegrini’s side play in a league match it cannot afford to lose?

This Soccer Saturday will kick off with a match between two clubs fighting to keep their place in the Premier League next season. Although Southampton are winners of back-to-back matches against storied clubs Liverpool and Chelsea, the 12th-place Saints are still in danger of relegation. A loss to last-place Reading on Saturday could drop them as far as 17th-place, the last spot above the drop zone in the league table. Reading have lost six straight matches in the Premier League, but there is still hope for former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins’s new squad to stay in the league. A win over the club Adkins started the season with would do wonders for the Royals’ push to stay afloat.

Another morning match to keep your eye on will be Bayern Munich’s visit to Eintracht Frankfurt. Bayern are probably the most in-form team on the planet right now, coming off of a 2-0 victory over Italian leaders Juventus and a 9-2 win over European hopeful Hamburg. If Bayern wins their 11th straight league match on Saturday, they will clinch the Bundesliga title. Eintracht, Bayern’s nearest rivals in this season’s edition of the Bundesliga, are neck-and-neck with Schalke 04 for Germany’s last spot in the Champions League. A positive result against the dominant league-leaders would do more than just extend the Bundesliga race another week—it could push newly promoted Eintracht into the world’s biggest club competition.

Barcelona and Real Madrid will most likely elect to rest some starters in their La Liga matches on Saturday as they prepare for the return legs of their respective Champions League quarterfinals. However, many around the world will tune in to Barcelona’s home match with Mallorca to see how the club plays without superstar forward Lionel Messi. Some say that Barcelona relies too much on Messi, who was injured in Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Paris Saint-Germain. With Messi’s status for next Wednesday’s return leg still in doubt, a match against relegation favorite Mallorca could give the Catalans a chance to prove their worth without Messi.

Tijuana vs. Santos Laguna will be the key matchup in a busy Saturday night in Liga MX. Santos are coming off a 1-0 road leg victory over the Seattle Sounders in CONCACAF Champions League action. But before they can return home for the second leg against the Sounders, Los Guerreros visit a Xolos squad looking to put a winless March behind them.  Tijuana will not be able to repeat their title-winning performance from the Apertura portion of 2012-13, but they can still make some noise in the title race by holding off Santos on Saturday night.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):

7:45am – ESPN2 – Reading vs. Southampton

9:30am – GolTV – Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Bayern Munich

10am – FoxSoccer2Go – Norwich City vs. Swansea City

10am – FoxSoccer2Go – Stoke City vs. Aston Villa

10am – Fox Soccer Channel – West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal

10am – beIN Sport en Español – Real Sociedad vs. Málaga

12pm – beIN Sport en Español – Juventus vs. Pescara

12pm – beIN Sport – Real Madrid vs. Levante

12:30pm – GolTV – Hamburger SV vs. Freiburg 

4pm – beIN Sport – Barcelona vs. Mallorca

7pm – UniMás – América vs. Puebla

7pm – Univision Deportes – Querétaro vs. Cruz Azul

9pm – Univision Deportes – Pachuca vs. Pumas UNAM

9pm – UniMás – Tigres UANL vs. León

11pm – Univision Deportes – Atlas vs. Morelia

11:55pm – Galavision – Tijuana vs. Santos Laguna

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48 Responses to Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

  1. biff says:

    Joe Gyau a surprise starter for St. Pauli against Dresden at right wing after last week getting an early yellow and being pulled at half-time. Today is Gyau’s first start for St. Pauli teamed up with A-team players. Gyau is looking very good and confident and he is a pill for the Dresden defense. If he can keep this sort of form we might be seeing him in the Gold Cup this summer. Previous starts for St. Pauli he was usually teamed up with the younger b-team players and usually would be a bit sloppy.

    Now half-time with game tied 0-0. A highly entertaining game.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      gyau with a great run and assist to make it 2-0. actually haven’t been all that impressed with him so far. he’s got skill and confidence, but he loses the ball too often. kinda reminds me of josh gatt: he’s going to be good, but isn’t yet polished enough for prime time.

      i think, if we had an extra slot, the gold cup would be a great time to continue integrating him.

      • Joe says:

        He is playing in Germany so I am pretty sure Jurgen will give him a chance.
        Just kidding, I’m not trying to start this discussion again.

      • Vic says:

        I”m surprised by that. From the times of seen Gyau, he had amazing skill. Gatt on the other hand seems to turn the ball over alot.

        • Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

          Last time I saw dude play was in Olympic qualifiers and he was a beast on the ride side. He should be a Gold Cup shoe-in.

      • biff says:

        yeah, that was was a nice run by Gyau on the counter-attack and an excellent through pass assist to Daniel Ginczeck for the goal. Gyau almost had a goal today, hit the bar early in the first half. Gyau looked very good and it seemed to me that the older St. Pauli guys were happy to be playing with him. Unfortunately, after going up 2-0, St. Pauli defense fell apart to a very inspired Dresden team desperately needing a win to keep above the relegation zone. And Dresden came back to win 3-2.

        I’m not sure what you mean, Nate Dollars, about Gyau losing the ball a lot. I watch St. Pauli regularly and have not seen that as a problem. But, yeah, he still has plenty of room to improve his general ball-handling skills.

        As for Gold Cup, Gyau has six more games to make his case for Klinsmann for a call up. I hope the kid focuses 24-7 from now until May on soccer. Well, maybe he could spare a few minutes now and then chasing after those pretty girls in Hamburg…

    • atd says:

      Assisted on the second goal. Not sure if he was implicated in St. Pauli’s second-half meltdown.

  2. Waterlewd says:

    MLS is playing too!

    • Mig says:

      There will be a separate post and comment thread for MLS later.

      Cheers,

    • MemRook says:

      The new thing SBI is doing this season is providing a separate MLS match day thread with all the television info and a commentary with coveritlive. In other words,
      MLS gets the special treatment.

  3. xmen says:

    Please tell me Gooch is starting

  4. MemRook says:

    Stu starting this morning.

    • MemRook says:

      Cameron starting. Shea not even in the 18. Guzan in goal (duh). Lichaj on the bench.

    • malkin says:

      I wish BeIn was showing either Sheffield or Bolton, but instead it’s Brighton and Hove v Leicester (which are actually the two teams Bolton is looking to catch up to in the promotion race)

      • malkin says:

        and with Bolton up 2-0 already, if this Brighton & Hove v Leicester game ends in a tie, Bolton are only 2 points out of the promotion playoff.

  5. MemRook says:

    And for the MLS fans out there, kei kamara starting today for Norwich.

  6. john says:

    wats up with shea? does he still have pain in his foot?
    also is there anyway to watch the Sheffield game online?

    • malkin says:

      While he did get a very quick look early on, Stoke always made it clear he was a “for the future” guy and that they weren’t intending on throwing him into the mix immediately. Couple that with the injury, and it’s not surprising he hasn’t been on the bench. I don’t think it should be disheartening/worrisome that he’s not getting the time right now. Stoke was a great move for him and he’ll have his chance to prove himself and hone his skills all of next season leading up to Brazil.

      • Brett says:

        In what way is moving to Stoke “great” for Brek Shea? Sure, he’s going to see better competition there, but as far as developing his skill and attacking movements I don’t see how playing for a team that opts for route 1 99 out of 100 possessions will help him.

    • ChiTown says:

      Stoke said from the get-go that Shea would not be playing much of anything this season.

  7. jones says:

    With all the boom and run, I don’t think anyone should be surprised about the lack of goals at Stoke.

    I’m glad Villa is at least making this watchable right now so I don’t have to switch matches (yet).

  8. EvertonBrian says:

    If anyone is watching Stu today please throw us an update or two on how he looks.

    • ChiTown says:

      Have been following along on the SWFC live commentary–haven’t heard his name mentioned much, which I think as a CM when you’re winning 2-1 is a good thing. No big mistakes.

    • ChiTown says:

      Stu was just subbed in 60th.

  9. jones says:

    Cameron now at LB…

  10. ChiTown says:

    For what it’s worth, Blackburn has started to grab hold of possession since Stu was taken off. Correlation is not causation, but I don’t believe in coincidences.

  11. jones says:

    Guzan looking great as usual

    • jones says:

      Not much he could have done about that one though. Poor defending from Villa

    • drew11 says:

      Getting pretty close to 1A and 1B at GK for the NT. Timmy is going to have to work to keep his spot.

      • Citronomics says:

        And that’s a good thing. With the US NATS, glad that we continue to produce excellent keepers, and think we’ll be in good hands (no pun intended) when Guzan fully assumes the first 11 role.

    • biff says:

      +1 I will just go ahead and say it. Guzan’s goalkeeping skills are already better than Tim Howard’s. The intangibles, though, leadership and experience, Howard is still the chief. But, I gotta say, Guzan in Mexico City was a true defensive boss out there. He was in total control of his defense and I liked his style, barking orders and communicating with the young back line (DMB exluded). And there was the one play where he had to leave the box to clear a ball before a Mexican forward reached it and no way would Howard have been able to do that.

      • Brett says:

        Most regard the GK and two CB spots as one position because communication is so vital to the success of a defense, particularly closest to the goal. With that in mind, Guzan – Besler – Gonzo is now our #1.

  12. jones says:

    3-1 Villa. And Stoke have Man U next.

    Honestly, poor management at Stoke overall – both in the type of player on the roster to begin with and the ones fielded. ( I mean, defenders regularly used in the midfield??) Nothing wrong with a defensive-minded team, but this team lacks composure and ideas.

    • JoeSchmoe says:

      Seems like they’re dart boarding player positions.

      • biff says:

        yeah, that is the way it is starting to appear to me as well, with Cameron being moved around all the time. I would not be surprised to see Pulis fired within the next 48 hours. Team is sitting on thin relegation ice right now.

  13. vik says:

    Matthew Lowton with a heckuva strike to put Villa back in front. Benteke rounds the last defender and scores on a counter to seal the win for Villa.

  14. jones says:

    The Lowton strike was crazy good!

    • petedx says:

      It was pretty amazing. Followed by a 4 on goalie breakaway which I haven’t seen since AYSO soccer.

  15. drew11 says:

    Gatt dropped to the bench this week.

  16. John says:

    Back to back starts for Bocanegra