Southern California gears up for start of World Cup as Barclays Premier League reaches fateful final weeks

sunilworldcupU.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, left, and San Fernando Valley Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge unveiled the World Cup trophy at LAX Friday, the final stop on its 92,000-mile, 90-country world tour before heading south to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Staff Photographer Brad Graverson).

Meanwhile, the EPL season is heading toward its climax.

The pick of the games this weekend sees fifth-placed Everton face seventh-place Manchester United at 8 a.m. Easter Sunday on NBCSN.

A full preview of every EPL game this weekend in all its stat-laden glory is here.

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Three more signs today that U.S. interest in soccer continues to grow: MLS expansion, Spanish football and EPL

For every news story like this one that indicate Americans still do not give a damn about soccer, there are other heartening signs that seem to contradict that.

Here are three today:

  • Land online here at 2 p.m. to find out what Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry are talking about in the above video and share in the open secret that MLS will formally announce an expansion in Atlanta.
  • Of course, some of you may be busy then. Look who is televising live at 12:30 p.m. the Spanish cup final between Barcelona and Real Madrid: ESPN.
  • Finally, NBC today unveiled what it described as the “most extensive and comprehensive championship Sunday (English Premier League) programming plans ever in the U.S.” with 10 games on 10 different channels as the season concludes May 11. Notwithstanding the fact that if memory serves Fox did almost exactly the same thing when it held rights to the EPL, that sounds like a fun day   When was the last time you saw a soccer game on cable channels like SyFy and Oxygen anyway? To find out what games are on what NBC channels for any weekend, click here.
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Week 34: Barclays Premier League Preview

EPLlogoIf watching relegation-threatened Norwich City’s last chance to win a game this season against relatively modest opposition (Fulham) at 7 a.m. Saturday on NBCSN beforefacing a bevy of class opponents in their last four games doesn’t turn your crank, then try Wigan-Arsenal in the semifinals of the FA Cup live at 9 a.m. on Fox Sports 2.

Of course, the EPL game of the weekend has table-topping Liverpool attempting to fend off third place Manchester City at 5:30 a.m. Sunday on NBCSN, while the not Hull City Tigers play not EPL club Sheffied United for the chance to play at Wembley in the other F.A. Cup semifinal at 8 a.m. Sunday on Fox Sports 1.

Want all the facts and figures in one handy guide? Click here.

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Manchester United return to Southern California in July to play the LA Galaxy in Pasadena

The Galaxy will face England’s most storied club, Manchester United, at 7:30 p.m. July 23 at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl for the first time ever in the club’s inaugural game of its U.S. tour, the club’s announced today.

“The club has been visiting Los Angeles since 1950 and this match provides a great opportunity for us to engage with our fans in this region,” said Manchester United Group Managing Director Richard Arnold. “The popularity of soccer in the US continues to strengthen and Major League Soccer and LA Galaxy have been fundamental to this.”

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. April 22.

United last visited the LA area in 2003 (was it really that long ago?) when two goals by Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan and another by Ruud van Nistelrooy was enough to see off Club America 3-1 at the Coliseum.

The club will also play Roma July 26 in Denver, Inter Milan July 29 in Washington D.C. and Real Madrid Aug. 2 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Galaxy haven’t played at their old home since 2010 when they played Real Madrid.

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Week 33 English Premier League Preview: Arsenal play Everton Sunday on NBCSN in battle of top 5 teams

EPLlogoRecommended viewing: 7 a.m. Saturday Newcastle United-Manchester United; 9:30 a.m. Saturday NBC Chelsea-Stoke City; 5:30 a.m. Sunday NBCSN Everton-Arsenal.

Bonus: the latter game Saturday is the lead-in for the Pacific Northwest derby at noon on NBCSN between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders.

A complete guide to every weekend game in the Barclays Premier League is here.

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English Premier League setting viewing records on NBCSN

EPLlogoLast Sunday’s Manchester-United clash was the fifth most-watched EPL game ever on cable, according to NBCSN.

The sports network announced that an average of 779,000 viewers watched Liverpool dismantle once-mighty United 3-0.

NBCSN has had four of the top five most-watched EPL games in cable history in the two years since it began broadcasting.

The game was part of a doubleheader with the north London Arsenal-Spurs derby and an average of 725,000 viewers watched both games, making it the top-viewed cable doubleheader in EPL history.

To put all these figures in perspective, consider that the 37 MLS games on NBCSN in 2013 averaged a puny 112,000 viewers, according to Wikipedia.

And, just to get you ready early for the upcoming slate of games this coming weekend in the EPL, which includes a match between first-place Chelsea and third-place-Arsenal Saturday, check out the comprehensive, stat-packed preview to all the games here.

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English Premier League Weekend Preview

EPLlogoWith the FA Cup under way there’s an abbreviated EPL schedule this weekend with the pick of the games being Chelsea-Spurs at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on NBCSN.

A full preview of all the EPL games is here. Find your game here.

As for the FA Cup, at 4:30 a.m. Saturday there’s Arsenal-Everton on Fox Sports 1, while at 9 a.m. Sunday the Manchester City-Wigan Athletic clash is on Fox Sports 2.

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Weekend Preview: LA Galaxy, EPL, Ontario Fury & more

Three things to know this weekend:

  • The Galaxy play their first preseason game at 6 p.m. Saturday at StubHub Center against reigning Armenian champions FC Shirak. Tickets start t $17, while parking is free. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable Deportes.
  • The indoor Ontario Fury wrap up their season Sunday against the Las Vegas Legends.
  • If the EPL is your thing, note that fourth-place Liverpool hosts first-place Arsenal at 4:45 a.m. Saturday on the USA Network because the Winter Olympics is hogging the airtime over at NBCSN. Click here to find your EPL game this weekend. And click here for a comprehensive preview of all the weekend games.
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