Another weekend, another two days filled with some top notch soccer. We’ve reached the finals of both the Copa America and the Women’s World Cup and the MLS season is well under way. Here’s a couple of game to keep an extra eye this July 4th weekend.
Chile – Argentina (Copa America Final):
Chile is the first host nation to make it to the final since Colombia back in 2001 when they won the tournament. The Chileans will hope that they can keep Lionel Messi & Co. at bay and bring home their first Copa America title ever. They have been runners up at a couple of occasion (last time they were in the final was back in 1987) but Alexis Sanchez and his teammates are looking to win the trophy in front of the home fans in Santiago, Chile.
Messi is looking for his first big trophy with the national team since the Olympic Gold back in 2008 in Beijing. After the 6-1 thrashing Argentina put on Paraguay in the semifinals, the confidence level will be high in the Argentinian camp.
Germany – England (Women’s World Cup Bronze Game):
No one wants to play in this game, since it means you lost out in the semifinals, but it is a chance to at least go home with a medal. Germany lost to the team USA 2-0 after letting in two goals by Carli Lloyd (penalty) and Kelley O’Hara in the second half. The Germans were dominated in this game and only had one shot on target.
England and Laura Bassett suffered a heartbreaking loss in their semifinal against Japan. It was 1-1 at halftime after each side had scored from the penalty spot. It looked like the game was heading into overtime, but in the 92nd minute Bassett scored an own goal and sent Japan to the final.
The team that can find the motivation and get over the loss in the semifinal usually comes out with the win.
LA Galaxy – Toronto FC (MLS):
LA Galaxy play host to Toronto FC on Saturday at StubHub Center in Carson, CA. The Galaxy has been playing well at home and has a +14 goal difference when playing in front of their fans, but Toronto has 14 road goals so far this season. Toronto sits in third in the Eastern Conference with 23 points after 15 games. Los Angeles is fourth in the Western Conference with 28 points in 20 games.
Steven Gerrard won’t make his MLS debut until July 11 when the Galaxy takes on America de Mexico in the International Champions Cup, but they still have several players that Toronto need to keep an extra eye on, including Robbie Keane and U.S. international Gyasi Zardes. Toronto also has a very good attacking duo in Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco.
USA – Japan (Women’s World Cup Final):
A rematch of the 2011 final, team USA is out for revenge on Japan on Sunday in the Women’s World Cup Final at BC Place in Vancouver. Japan won the 2011 final on penalties, and the US will sure look to finish this one in regulation. Hope Solo has five straight clean sheets in net for team USA after letting in one goal in the opening game against Australia.
Japan has won all six games in the tournament, all by a one-goal margin. It might very well turn out to be a defensive battle on Sunday.
Portland Timbers – San Jose Earthquakes (MLS):
Heading into the weekend’s action in the MLS, Portland is third in the Western Conference with 28 points in 18 games. San Jose is on the outside of the playoffs looking in as they sit in seventh with 25 points in 16 games. Both teams averages just above one goal per game, but Portland is a strong home team with a fanatic fanbase at Providence Park.
Fanendo Adi leads the Timbers with 8 goals so far this season, and has been a good pick-up since coming over from Copenhagen in 2014. For San Jose it’s Chris Wondolowski leading the way with 9 goals so far this season. The 32-year-old veteran is only two goals away from 100 goals in the Earthquakes jersey. He just recently scored his 100th MLS goal in a game against Orlando in late May.