My goodness, if you like soccer, there will be a bonanza of games from all angles and parts of the world going on — including a few notable games here in the ‘Burgh mixed in. Here’s your mini-guide to the soccer weekend here in Pittsburgh — and around the globe.
FRIDAY, JUNE 5
It’s a double dip of United States Men’s Soccer action.
**UPDATE** Yes – this one already happened – while you were likely asleep…
Men’s U20 World Cup – Ukraine 3 United States 0
In the final game in group play in the Men’s U-20 World Cup being held in New Zealand the U.S. Men’s team had a bit of a reality check. The U-20 team has already clinched a berth in the knockout round with wins over Myanmar (2-1), and the hosts, New Zealand (4-0).
The 4-0 win over the All-Whites, was marked by the much anticipated debut of Gedion Zelalem, who is just 17 years of age. Zelalem had an assist — along with a few highlight reel plays that included a nutmeg and a rabona which someone made a YouTube video with most of his touches.
My favorite thing that I’ve seen that he does is to see how smoothly he can change direction and still have complete control of the ball and his body. But let’s not get carried away now – he is after all – just 17.
And earlier today, in their first real test against the formidable, organized Ukraine, the U.S. attack wasn’t able to mount many scoring chances — with the exception of drawing a questionable penalty kick — which was turned away. Zelalem was pretty ordinary. We will await to find out the U.S.’s knockout round fate shortly as it appears now as the second place team in their group they will play the second-place Group C team –Colombia, Portugal or Senegal — in the round of 16 on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad are in Europe with a bit of an inexperienced roster — and so the US will be experiementing and giving some younger players to get some valuable time as they take on two of the best teams in the Netherlands (Friday), and then Germany early next week. The U.S. Men are preparing for Gold Cup competition later in July — in the first non-friendly competition since last year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Fort Pitt Regiment vs Lansing United – 7 p.m.
After an opening weekend trip which they went 0-1-1, the Fort Pitt Regiment of the NPSL are still seeking their first win of the year in all competitions. They will kick off a busy weekend, as they will take on the Lansing United in East Lansing
SATURDAY, JUNE 6
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs St. Louis F.C. – 1 p.m. – Highmark Stadium (Live Stream – Riverhounds.com)
We’ll be previewing this one in more detail in our Week 11 Edition of “Breaking Down the Hounds” on Saturday morning. The Riverhounds moved the start of this game up an hour (an Noon kickoff time in St. Louis) — to accommodate soccer fans for the next game on this list. The Riverhounds kept their winning streak intact with a remarkable come-from behind win better known as the “Miracle on the Mon”.
UEFA Champions League Final – 2:45 p.m. – Barcelona F.C. vs Juventus F.C. – FOX
If you are attending the Pittsburgh Riverhounds game, the Champions League Final will be shown in the sports pub immediately following the final whistle.It’s the Spanish Champions (Barcelona) vs the Italian Champions (Juventus). Most eyes will be on Lionel Messi, who’s scored over 4oo goals for Barca.
It will be a battle of contrasting teams and styles as the strong defensive unit from Juventus will look to contain Lionel Messi, who’s been doing things like this, on his way to leading his team to La Liga and Copa del Ray titles. Messi has a nice supporting cast in the attack as well — as Luis Suarez and Neymar have been having solid seasons as well. Juventus has legendary goal keeper Gianluigi Buffon who has won a World Cup — and was fantastic in helping keep Real Madrid in check in the Semifinal. There will be many big names on the field — and great match ups. Should be a fun Champions League Final.
Steel City F.C. vs Syracuse Lady Knights – 3 p.m. (TBA)
Yes – we have a female team here in Pittsburgh! The semi pro team that competes in a league started off their season last week with a 4-0 win over Tkaronto Justice – and will look to stay unbeaten against Syracuse Lady Knights.
They will play all home games as Ellis School throughout the season.
For more information about Steel City F.C. you can follow them on twitter @SteelCityFC or on their website http://www.steelcityfc.com
Women’s World Cup – Opening Match – Canada vs China – 6 p.m. – FOX Sports 1
The host Canadians are expected to be one of the favorites in the tournament — as they host the former 2003 World Cup Champions. The U.S. Women will open play on Monday, in Winnipeg against Australia, with at 7:30 p.m. We’ll be previewing this on Pittsburgh Soccer Report on Monday.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds U23 vs Michigan Bucks – 7:30 p.m.
Another Pittsburgh team travels to Michigan this weekend, as the Riverhounds PDL squad will take on the defending Great Lakes Division Champions Michigan Bucks. The Riverhounds PDL squad, coached by senior team assistant, Josh Rife, has started off the season 0-2 after losses to KW United and Southern WV.
SUNDAY, JUNE 7
HOME OPENER – Fort Pitt Regiment vs Michigan Stars – 2 p.m. Upper St. Clair High School
After playing in Michigan on Friday night, the Regiment will return to Pittsburgh for their first home match on Sunday. This year they will be playing home games at Upper St. Clair High School Stadium.
In addition, there will be a host of men’s international friendlies on Sunday — maybe with one of the most intriguing being England vs Ireland and Mexico vs Brazil.
Here’s a list of the some of the key Sunday games and their broadcast carriers…
ESPN2 International Friendly IRELAND-ENGLAND (live) 8 am.
FOX Women’s World Cup NORWAY-THAILAND (live) 1 pm. Women’s World Cup GERMANY-IVORY COAST (live) 4 pm.
FOX SPORTS 1 MLS SAN JOSE-DALLAS (live) 7 pm.
FOX SPORTS 2 FIFA Women’s World Cup BRAZIL-KOREA DPR (live) 1 am.
ESPN NEWS MLS SALT LAKE-COLORADO (live) 5 pm.