Top 5 must-see soccer games: May 20, 2016

man-united-crystal-palace

The final selection of games this season is arguably the very best of the lot, as the domestic cup finals across Europe bring the curtain down on the campaign.

In England, Germany, Italy and Spain we’ll see two teams going all out looking to add a late silver lining to 2015-16. It’s a chance for underperforming outfits to salvage something after a difficult term or for those who have already enjoyed success to add some gloss to their efforts.

If cup finals aren’t your thing, there is also a massive derby match in Major League Soccer, with one team surprise leaders of the Eastern Conference and one looking to make their mark.

All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games! This feature will be back when the action gets underway in Europe again for the 2016-17 season.

 

Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace

Saturday, May 21, 12:30PM, FOX, FOX Deportes and FOX Soccer 2GO

fa-cup-final

One team who will be seeking to cap off a disappointing term with a flourish is Manchester United, who have a chance to clinch the FA Cup at Wembley against Crystal Palace.

You sense it’s a huge game for manager Louis van Gaal. While the Dutchman seems convinced that he’ll be in the Old Trafford dugout again next season, that’s not a decision that’ll be popular among the supporters. Even a trophy wouldn’t be enough to offset the side’s fifth place finish for some, meaning no Champions League football at the club again next season.

There’s no guarantee they’ll be triumphant under the arch either. Crystal Palace may not have had a prosperous Premier League season, although they have performed well in this competition. Alan Pardew will be hoping that on the vast playing surface his dangerous wingers—most notably Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie—can cause chaos.

Neither side has been particularly free-scoring this term, meaning we could be served up a cagey final. However, the atmosphere conjured by both sets of supporters was exceptional in the semi-finals and given what’s at stake, the climax of this wonderfully traditional competition is not a contest to be missed.

 

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

Saturday, May 21, 2:00PM, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 and Sling Latino (free 7-day trial)

dfb-pokal-final

Almost perfectly scheduled, following on from the FA Cup final you can switch straight over to the German equivalent, as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund add another chapter to their absorbing rivalry.

Having clinched the title despite a late rally from BVB, the Bayern players will be desperate to send manager Pep Guardiola off to Manchester City with another major honor to show for his stint in Bavaria. They’ve been outstanding in this competition so far and while they will be disappointed not to be looking forward to a Champions League final next weekend, a double is not to be sniffed at.

Dortmund are well capable of playing the role of party poopers, though. They may not have had quite enough in the tank to get the better of Bayern over the course of a 34-game season, but they have the firepower to beat any side in Europe on any given afternoon. For manager Thomas Tuchel, the DFB Pokal would be a tremendous way to end his first term at the helm.

It’s rarely a dull occasion when these two meet, especially when it comes to the finals of major competitions. The Olympiastadion in Berlin will be packed to the rafters too, with the raucous fanbases of both sides set to provide a stellar backdrop to this hotly anticipated occasion.

 

Milan vs. Juventus

Saturday, May 21, 2:45PM, GolTV and fuboTV (free 24-hour trial)

coppa-italia-final

If the tactical tussles in Italian football capture your attention more than the ferocious tempo of the German game, this Coppa Italia clash between rivals Milan and Juventus will be a splendid way to spend Saturday evening.

As you’d expect, Juventus are the big favorites for this one, having won the cup last season and waltzed away with the Scudetto again in 2016. However, it’s worth remembering this tournament was one of the few times this season the Bianconeri have shown some vulnerability; they needed penalties to overcome Inter Milan in the semis, throwing away a 3-0 first leg advantage.

Cristian Brocchi will take charge of Milan here, with Sinisa Mihajlovic sacked by the club last month with their league form deemed not good enough. The Rossoneri’s run to the final has been pretty straightforward, with a 6-0 aggregate win over third-tier Alessandria in the final four. In Serie A, they’ve been extremely inconsistent too.

Juventus have beaten Milan in their last four outings and Massimiliano Allegri’s side are well versed in getting over the line in these massive games. It’s going to take a very surprising turn of events for the trophy not to have black and white ribbons on it for the second time in as many years.

 

New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls

Saturday, May 21, 3:00PM, FOX, FOX Deportes and FOX Soccer 2GO

nycfc-rbny

If Major League Soccer is your preferred delicacy, there’s an extra special New York derby this weekend, with City leading the way in the Eastern Conference ahead of a host of sides, including the Red Bulls.

It’s been something of a reversal for these two local rivals. Last year the Red Bulls were the strongest team in MLS over the course of the regular season, while NYCFC struggled for consistency. However, Patrick Vieira has done brilliant work at Yankee Stadium and this franchise is beginning to look like the real deal.

They’re a side that’s hard to beat as well. While City’s 1-1 draw with Toronto FC ended their three-game winning sequence, in some respects it was the side’s most impressive recent result. In 2015 a brittle NYCFC defence wold have crumbled after being pegged back, but they dug in and got out of a very tough venue with a point.

Despite their steady improvement, the leaders are only four points ahead of their rivals who have had their own testing beginning to the campaign. A win here would push the Red Bulls right back into the playoff picture and serve as a reminder to the new kids on the block who the established side is in the city.

 

Barcelona vs. Sevilla

Sunday, May 22, 3:30PM, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and Sling TV (free 7-day trial)

copa-del-rey-final

With trophies in the cabinet already for both Barcelona and Sevilla this season, Sunday’s Copa del Rey clash should be an absorbing contest between two sides going all out for glory.

Sevilla should be bursting with confidence too. Their performance in the second half against Liverpool in the Europa League final saw them secure a 3-1 win, their spot in the Champions League for next season and success in the competition for the third time in as many seasons. This side has its flaws, although manager Unai Emery knows how to win finals.

The trophy is arguably more important for Barcelona, who need another piece of silverware to supplement their league title following their early exit from the Champions League. Since elimination from Europe Luis Enrique’s side have been excellent and inspired by Luis Suarez, finished the La Liga season by winning their last five games by an aggregate score of 24-0.

These two met in the Super Cup final in the early days of the campaign, producing a stunning game that Barcelona won 5-4 after extra time. A similar kind of contest would be a brilliant way to cap off what should be a pulsating weekend of football across the globe.

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9 Comments

  1. Lawrence Dockery May 20, 2016
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    • Christopher Harris May 20, 2016
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