With the likes of Lionel Messi playing in the U.S., MLS was always going to take a back seat this weekend even if the season has just started (and Seattle faces Houston at 6:30 p.m. Friday on Fox Soccer channel in the first of the season’s Friday night games).
Saturday’s Galaxy-Real Salt Lake game, for instance, isn’t quite the marquee match-up envisioned even though David Beckham will actually play in Utah (gasp) for the first time in his five years in MLS.
A full list of international games on TV and on line are available by clicking to the top right.
My best bets:
*Spain-Czech Republic, 2 p.m. Friday, ESPN2
*Euro 2012 Qualifier: Wales-England, 8 a.m. Saturday, ESPN2
*Mexico-Uruguay 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Univision
*U.S.-Argentina 4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2, Univision
*Scotland-Brazil 6 a.m. Sunday, ESPN2
*Associated Press Sports Writer Joedy McCready tells us more about the pair of German-Americans (there are three in all on the roster along with Jermaine Jones) who could their make debuts for the U.S. this weekend:
CARY, N.C. (AP) — They’re called the “Double Deutsche” of the U.S. national soccer team.
Defender Timmy Chandler and goalkeeper David Yelldell, right, are two of the Americans’ newest team members, and they have plenty in common: Both were raised in Germany as the sons of American servicemen and German mothers, and now they’re fitting in with the veteran members of the U.S. team.
“The guys are making it easy for me and the new guys to come in,” Yelldell said Thursday. “I only saw them on TV until (this week), but they’re all nice guys.”
The Americans wrapped up four days of practice in North Carolina on Thursday before their exhibition game Saturday against Argentina in New Jersey, marking the red, white and blue debut for Yelldell and Chandler.
Chandler a 20-year-old native of Frankfurt and defender for FC Nuremberg, could have played internationally for Germany but said he has always preferred to represent the U.S.
“It comes from my head and my heart,” Chandler said.
Having a pair of teammates with similar German backgrounds — Yelldell and midfielder Jermaine Jones — has made things easier for Chandler, left, because he said they can speak German and help with some unfamiliar English phrases.
Yelldell, a 29-year-old who was born in Stuttgart, Germany, took a longer path to the U.S. team.
He was on the Americans’ radar for their Olympic team in 2004, but they failed to qualify for the Athens Games. Yelldell, who played in England and moved to MSV Duisburg in Germany’s second division, was added to the U.S. team last week.
“It’s very hard to go to the (German) national team because I played second division in Germany, so when I heard about the call-up for this training camp, I was very excited and very happy to be here,” Yelldell said.
Their new teammates insisted they’ve already proven they belong with a U.S. team that will follow its game against Argentina with one three days later against Paraguay in Nashville, Tenn.
“They show that they deserve to be here,” defender Jay Demerit said, adding that coach Bob Bradley has always done a good job of bringing in new faces and trying to add to the group. “They seem to fit in really well, which I think has a lot to do with the way we all are as a group, and we welcome new players in.
“As long as they’re doing the right things, then that’s fantastic for this squad. That’s what it’s all about, and they’ve done that.”
Yelldell is an acrobatic shot-blocker who teams with 32-year-old Tim Howard and 38-year-old Marcus Hahnemann as goalkeepers on the roster.
“The first time I’m here, I just want to show what I can do and make myself better and fit in with the team,” Yelldell said. “And the rest, time will tell.”
Now it’s up to Bradley to figure out how to best use them. Bradley says Chandler has more responsibilities at his defensive position than he did with his German club.
“Timmy, physically, is a talented young player (and) we get a good sense, just having him in a camp like this, of just where he fits in,” Bradley said. “He’s starting to get more
comfortable every day. Defensively, we do things a little bit differently than Nuremberg, so there’s a little more that he has to keep track of. Just having a chance to talk to him about some of those things, it’s been good.
“David … as a goalkeeper, often times, you also need to see guys play in games,” he added. “He’s athletic, a good shot-blocker and now, we’ll look to, at some point, see where that all fits in.”