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Action gets serious in UCL and MLS preseason
by Paul Kennedy, February 17th, 2014 4:08PM

TAGS:  mls, nasl, uefa champions league


[THIS WEEK IN SOCCER: Feb. 17-23] The UEFA Champions League moves into the knockout phase with Manchester City-Barcelona on Tuesday and Arsenal-Bayern Munich Wednesday, while MLS teams get serious about preseason with the start of four tournaments across the country.

TUESDAY, February 18:
-- Manchester City-Barcelona (live on Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET) jumpstarts the UEFA Champions League, which resumes with two games each Tuesday and Wednesday. UEFA has again spread out the second round of the Champions League with four games each week for the two legs of the round of 16. Also: Bayer Leverkusen-Paris Saint-Germain (live on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Soccer Plus at 2:30 p.m. ET)

-- Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown and NASL commissioner Bill Peterson will be on hand for the Jacksonville NASL team unveiling of its official name and logo at the Jacksonville Landing at 10 a.m. ET. The name will be selected from a shortlist of the six of names, among more than 1,500 suggestions submitted by fans.

WEDNESDAY, February 19:
-- Arsenal-Bayern Munich (live on Fox Sports 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET) is a repeat of last year's round-of-16 matchup in the UEFA Champions League. The Gunners have advanced to the knockout stage for the each of the past 14 seasons but are still looking for their first title. They lost to Bayern, 3-1, at home last year, but their 2-0 win in Munich in the second leg was the only game Bayern didn't win in seven games in the knockout phase. Also: AC Milan vs. Atletico Madrid (live on Fox Soccer Plus at 2:30 p.m. ET)

-- Play begins at the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup (three games) in Tucson, Ariz., and Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic (four games) in Kissimmee, Fla. The top games on the first day of play feature Real Salt Lake and New England, two of MLS's top young teams, in action at the Kino Sports Complex and Sporting Kansas City against New York, a "super cup" matchup of last year's MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield champions, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Play will continue at both venues on Saturday.

MLS: 2014 Preseason Schedule

THURSDAY, February 20:
Aron Johannsson is the lone American in action as the Europa League resumes with the round of 32 featuring the top two teams from the competition's 12 groups and the third-place teams from the eight UEFA Champions League groups. Johannsson will look to add to his season club tally of 22 goals as Dutch club AZ travels to Czech club Sloven Liberec in the first leg.

FRIDAY, February 21:
The three-day ECNL Texas, the third of five ECNL national events, features 116 teams at the Rolling Hills Soccer Complex in Ft. Worth, Texas. The marquee match takes place on the first day as GSA (14-0-0 in conference play) faces McLean Youth (10-0-0 in its conference) in U-17 action.

SATURDAY, February 22:
-- English Premier League coverage resumes on NBCSN with Chelsea-Everton at 7:45 a.m. ET, immediately following live coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games from Sochi. The Blues will enter the game in first place and host sixth-place Everton featuring U.S. national team goalkeeper (and NBCSN analyst) Tim Howard

-- Play gets underway at the Carolina Challenge Cup, hosted again by the USL PRO's Charleston Battery. The Seattle Sounders, who face the Battery in the nightcap, are making their first trip to Charleston for the preseason tournament.

-- The free LA Galaxy's White vs. Blue Preseason Game featuring the Galaxy against Galaxy II at StubHub Center follows “Legends Night,” an LA Galaxy Foundation fundraiser (tickets) at Champions League to unveil the LA Galaxy II era.

SUNDAY, February 23:
-- The Rose City Invitational begins at the Timbers' renamed Providence Park in Portland. The Timbers take on San Jose while Vancouver opens against Jamaican club Portmore United.

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