Waiting for the Weekend (World Cup Edition)

First things first: the excellent movie “The Damned United” opens today in Los Angeles.

The studio and producers face an uphill battle persuading American soccer fans in general (most of whom have probably not heard of late English manager Brian Clough, who is the film’s subject) let alone general movie-goers to see this film, but both constituencies will enjoy this film that I highly recommend. Read (and watch) more about it here.

Not everyone agrees with my assessment of the movie though.

Incidentally, Michael Sheen, the actor playing Brian Clough, will appear at the 7:20 p.m. showing at the The Landmark in Los Angeles.

For those who prefer actual competitive football, there’s plenty to choose from this weekend.

The Galaxy are off this weekend and there’s an abbreviated MLS schedule due to World Cup qualifying, but Chivas USA take on Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Home Depot Center (delayed at 8 p.m. on Prime) with a playoff spot on the line. The Goats reach the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year with a win over the Wizards coupled with a San Jose Earthquakes victory or draw Saturday against Toronto FC.

Of course, the U.S. game against Honduras is not on broadcast television, but there are at least two closed circuit television English-language locations locally including one across the street from the HDC. Read more about those here. A complete list of viewing locations is here.

WCQ got under way at 8:30 a.m. today with New Zealand-Bahrain on Fox Soccer Channel, while both the Ukraine-England game Saturday (England have already qualified) and Sunday’s Bolivia-Brazil game are on pay-per-view.

For a complete list of games on TV click the link to the right, but here are the ones I recommend in addition to those already mentioned:

3 p.m. Saturday KVEA Mexico-El Salvador
4:30 p.m. Saturday FSC New England Revolution-Columbus Crew
5:30 p.m. Saturday Tecos-CD Guadalajara
6:30 p.m. Saturday Vancouver-Montreal (USL final, first leg)

Turning to college soccer, Pepperdine (5-1) beat Cal State Bakersfield 1-0 Thursday in Malibu with freshman Michelle Manning (Agoura High) notching the winner over a team winless in last six outings. The Waves host Loyola Marymount (8-3-1) in the annual multi-sport PCH Challenge (trivia of the week – the schools are 19.1 miles apart) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Tari Frahm Rokus Field.

And in a couple of Wednesday games I managed to overlook, the Cal State Northridge men (6-4-1) lost 2-1 against Cal State Fullerton (5-1-1) with the winner coming with just 33 seconds left in the first OT, while the Long Beach State women (5-6-1) tied San Diego the same day at George Allen Field.

The Cal State Northridge men open Big West play at 3 p.m. Saturday against UC Irvine at Matador Field, while the 49ers host Cal State Bakersfield at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Other local college games this weekend include:
*The Pac-10 opener for the No. 3-ranked UCLA women (9-1-1) against Arizona (3-7-1) is at 7 o’clock tonight at Drake Stadium with a limited number of team posters to be given away to fans. The Bruins also meet No. 20-ranked Arizona State (7-1-2) at 1:00 p.m. Sunday at home.

*The No. 14-ranked USC women (8-3) also open conference play at home hosting Arizona State at 3 p.m. today at McAlister Field and Arizona Sunday at 1 p.m.

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