[THIS WEEK IN SOCCER: April 21-27] All eyes will be on Madrid, where both first legs of the UEFA Champions League semifinals will take place. Saturday will be a
chance for payback for three MLS teams as they face the teams that eliminated them in the 2013 conference playoffs for the first time in 2014. The week ends with Liverpool-Chelsea at Anfield.
TUESDAY, April 22:
-- The UEFA Champions League moves into the semifinals with the first leg of the series between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea (Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET). You have to go back 40 years to 1974 when Atletico made its last appearance in the final four of the European Cup, while this is the seventh semifinal appearance in 11 seasons for Chelsea, the 2012 champion.
-- The 30 for 30: Soccer Stories continues with “Maradona ’86” followed by “The Opposition” on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. ET. "Maradona ’86," directed by Sam Blair, portrays Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title. "The Opposition." directed by Ezra Edelman and Jeffrey Plunkett, examines the aftermath of the 1973 military coup in Chile when American-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet transformed Santiago’s National Stadium into a concentration camp where political opponents were tortured and assassinated. The National Stadium was to be the site of the Chile-USSR playoff the Soviets boycotted.
WEDNESDAY, April 23:
-- The UEFA Champions League moves from the Estadio Vicente Calderon to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg of the second semifinal: Real Madrid-Bayern Munich (Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET). Real Madrid has won a record nine European Cups but none since 2002. Bayern, the defending champion, won its fifth title in 2013.
-- The sixth edition of the Concacaf Champions League concludes with the crowning of a sixth Mexican champion (Fox Sports 1 and Univision Deportes at 8 p.m. ET). Toluca hosts Cruz Azul at the Estadio Nemesio Diez, better known as the Bombonera, in the second leg. They played to a 0-0 tie in the first leg.
-- The seventh annual Amway Canadian Championship -- Canadian qualifying for the Concacaf Champions League -- gets underway with the first leg of the preliminary round between the two NASL entrants: the expansion Ottawa Fury and FC Edmonton. The three MLS teams -- Toronto FC, winner in 2009-12, Montreal, 2008 and 2012 champion, and Vancouver -- will enter in the semifinal phase next month.
-- The New York Red Bulls look for revenge against the visiting Houston Dynamo, which pulled out a 2-1 overtime win at Red Bull Arena a year ago to knock off the Supporters’ Shield champions in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
SATURDAY, April 26:
-- Two more rematches of 2013 playoff games highlight MLS's Week 8. The Colorado Rapids return to CenturyLink Field to face the Seattle Sounders, who won their play-in, 2-0. Defending champion Sporting Kansas City travels to Gillette Stadium, where it fell to New England, 2-1, in the first game of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
-- The defending champion Portland Thorns open their NWSL home season as Providence Park against FC Kansas City, which they eliminated in the 2013 semifinals. The Thorns lead the NWSL after Week 2 with four points, while FC Kansas City is still looking for its first win.
SUNDAY, April 27:
-- Liverpool can all but clinch its first English league title since 1990 with a win over second-place Chelsea at Anfield. The Blues' 2-1 loss at home to Sunderland dropped them five points behind the Reds with three games to play.
-- The UEFA Women's Champions League continues with the second leg of the semifinals. Sweden's Tyreso, with Americans Christen Press, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg, returns home after tying Birmingham City Ladies, 0-0, in the first leg. The first leg of the other semifinal pitting German clubs Turbine Potsdam and Wolfsburg against each other also ended scoreless.