We have another stacked soccer weekend ahead of us. The Under-21 European Championship has reached the semifinal stage, the Copa America quarterfinals are under way, and on Sunday there’s two red-hot rivalry games in the MLS. Here are the games to keep an extra eye on this weekend.
Portugal – Germany (U-21 Euros Semifinals):
After a thrilling group stage, we are now in the semifinals of the Under-21 European Championship. Portugal won Group B after beating England 1-0 in the opening game, followed by draws against Italy (0-0) and Sweden (1-1). Bernardo Silva is called Portugal’s Lionel Messi, and the 20-year-old AS Monaco player will have to be on his game if the Portuguese are going to get by Germany.
The Germans were the favorites heading into the tournament, but they only ended up in second in Group A. They drew the opening game against Serbia 1-1, before beating Denmark 3-0. In the last group game they played another 1-1 draw, this time against the host nation the Czech Republic.
Denmark – Sweden (U-21 Euros Semifinals):
In the other semifinal, it’s the battle of Scandinavia as neighbors Denmark and Sweden clash. It’s always a heated affair when these two nations go up against each other, no matter if it is Under-21 or senior national team. Denmark won Group A ahead of Germany after two wins and one loss in the group stage. They beat the Czech Republic in the opening game of the tournament, before falling 3-0 to Germany. In the last group stage game against Serbia, the Danes won 2-0 after goals by Rasmus Falk and Viktor Fischer.
Sweden was the underdog in Group B, going up against England, Italy and Portugal. The Swedes won 2-1 over Italy despite going down to 10 men and being down 1-0. But after goals by John Guidetti and Isaac Kiese Thelin the Swedes turn the game around. They lost the second game against England 1-0 after a late winner by Jesse Lingard.
Sweden needed at least one point in the final group game against Portugal, and it looked like they were gonna fall just short when Goncalo Paciencia scored in the 82nd minute. But the Swedes never-say-die attitude prevailed once more as Simon Tibbling scored in the 89th minute to get a point for Sweden.
Brazil – Paraguay (Copa America Quarterfinals):
Brazil will be without its biggest star Neymar as he’s suspended for the rest of the tournament after getting sent off after the final whistle against Colombia. Neymar was handed a four-game ban for his sending off, and has left the Brazil camp. Brazil didn’t impress in the group stage. They won the opening game against Peru 2-1 after a late winner by Douglas Costa in the 94th minute. They lost the second game against Colombia 1-0, before beating Venezuela 2-1 in the final game. Captain Thiago Silva, and soon to be Liverpool player Roberto Firmino scored for the Brazilians.
New York City FC – NY Red Bulls (MLS):
A New York City derby is just one of the two brilliant MLS games on Sunday. Yankee Stadium will be popping as the NYCFC seeks revenge on the Red Bulls who won the last meeting 2-1 after two goals by Bradley Wright-Phillips. Frank Lampard will not be in the game as his NYCFC debut won’t come until mid-July, but there’s still plenty of interesting players for fans to watch. David Villa has scored six goals so far for NYCFC and he’s still a top-class player.
Bradley Wright-Phillips is another accomplished scorer, as he’s the Red Bulls leading scorer with five goals on the season. NYFC are second to last in the Eastern Conference, but they are only three points behind the Red Bulls that are sitting in the last playoffs spot.
Portland Timbers – Seattle Sounders (MLS):
Portland and Seattle has one of the, if not the, biggest rivalries in the league and sparks will fly on Sunday when these two get together. Both teams are at the top of the Western Conference, with the Sounders in first with 29 points and Portland in third with 25 points.
The teams met not too long ago in the US Open Cup, a game that resulted in three red cards for the Sounders and a 3-1 victory for the Timbers. Hopefully all 22 players will stay on the pitch this time around, and that the focus will stay on soccer.
Seattle is looking to break a three-game losing streak, whereas the Timbers has four wins in the last five games.