The American weekend preview

Several young U.S. prospects, uncapped at the senior level, will be on display with their clubs in the Netherlands and Mexico.

Soccer on TV: Weekend Viewing


•  Seattle Sounders vs. Al Ahly (FIFA Club World Cup, 12 noon. ET, FS2, Fox Deportes)

The Sounders will become the first MLS team to compete in FIFA's club version of the World Cup when it plays Egypt's Al Ahly in Tangier, Morocco. The reward for the winner: a date with Real Madrid in the semifinals. And the loser? A ticket back home after one game.

The Sounders are expected to field the same team that started in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League final but they will be underdog, playing their first competitive game in almost four months. Al Ahly is coming off a 3-0 win over Auckland City in the opening round and was third in the last two club world championships. The Cairo giant finished third in the Egyptian league last season, its lowest finish in two decades, but it is back on top this season, unbeaten under a new coach, Swiss Marcel Koller, after 15 games.

Preview from SA's Ben Wiley.

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• FC Utrecht vs. Heerenveen (Eredivisie, 2 p.m. ET)

Taylor Booth, 21, left Bayern Munich for free when it became clear he had no future at his favored attacking midfield position and would be limited to being a backup at right back.

He got off to a slow start at FC Utrecht but has emerged as one of the best players in the Eredivisie and will earn Utrecht a big transfer fee if he moves over the summer. Already teams in the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A are reportedly showing interest in him.

He didn't score in Utrecht's 5-5 tie at second-place AZ last weekend, but he stole the show with his pace, power and technique, continually breaking free of his defenders on the right side and creating his team's first four goals.

Booth, who played for the USA at the 2017 U-17 World Cup, attended one senior U.S. camp but is also eligible to play for Italy.

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• Leon vs Pachuca (Liga MX, 6 pm. ET, Univision, TUDN)

The success of Alejandro Zendejas, who made his U.S. senior debut last week, has brought renewed focus on Mexican-American talent in Liga MX.

North Carolina Mauricio Isais won the 2022 Clausura with Pachuca and the the 21-year-old has emerged as one of the most exciting left backs in Liga MX, showing off his shooting ability with a golazo against FC Juarez two weeks ago.

Isais was one of the young players brought in to serve as sparring partners for Mexico's World Cup-bound team last fall, but he is eligible to play for Mexico or the USA, which he says has not contacted him.


•  Nottingham Forest vs. Leeds United (Premier League, 9 am. ET, USA Network)

Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams joined Leeds United under American manager Jesse Marsch in the summer. This week, Weston McKennie, Adams' teammate going back to their days in the Bradenton residency academy, has arrived at Elland Road.

Marsch showed confidence in McKennie, who spent two and a half seasons at Juventus while often rumored to be on his way out, but the pressure will be on them after Marsch reportedly passed on Azzedine Ounahi, one of the young stars of Morocco's World Cup team.

McKennie's transfer from Leeds is structured so that one of the conditions for the loan deal to become permanent is if Leeds stays up in the Premier league. It was a relegation fight that went down to the last day in 2022 and might do the same in 2023 for Leeds.

Leeds sits in 15th place, just one point out of the drop zone, three points from the bottom but with a game in hand.

Taylor Booth (vs. AZ) Photo: IMAGO / Pro Shots

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