Cruz Medina, who signed a pro contract with the San Jose Earthquakes last summer, will lead the USA in its quest for a berth at the 2023 U-17 World Cup in Peru. He opened play at the Concacaf Under-17 Men's Championship with a hat trick in the USA's 5-0 win over Barbados. Photo: Concacaf.com.
The U.S. women's national team and U.S. under-17 men's national team are both in action this weekend. Several Americans face key tests for teams battling to earn spots in Europe next season.
Soccer on TV: Weekend Viewing
• Wolfsburg vs. RB Leipzig (Bundesliga, 9:20 am. ET, ESPN+)
After resuming play in January with 6-0 and 5-0 wins, Wolfsburg is winless in its last three Bundesliga games and needs a win over fifth-place RB Leipzig to stay within striking distance of the top six. Kevin Paredes, 19, has been one of the few young Americans in the last year who has settled in following a move to Europe. He has played in all six Bundesliga games since play resumed four weeks ago, justifying the record transfer fee of $7.35 million D.C. United received from Wolfsburg for him in 2022. He has an excellent left foot, and his versatility has allowed him to fit in as left back, midfielder and winger.
• Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Fulham (Premier League, 10 a.m. ET, Peacock)
Brighton and promoted Fulham are the Premier League's two surprise teams, sitting in sixth and seventh place, tied with 35 points, though Brighton has two games in hand. The Cottagers have recorded back-to-back shutouts and only allowed two goals in six games since Christmas with Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson as the pairing on the left side of their backline. They will be tested against Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton, which has proven to be one of the most entertaining teams in the Premier League.
• Luton Town vs. Burnley (League Championship, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN+)
Loan moves have proved beneficiary for both Zack Steffen (Manchester City to Middlesbrough) and Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest to Luton Town) even if they have taken them down a level. Both got what they needed badly — regular playing time. Third-place Middlesbrough and Luton Town, four points behind in fourth place, are firmly in position to enter the promotion playoffs. Horvath, tied for second among Championship keepers in shutouts with 12, will face one of his toughest tests in leader Burnley, which leads the Championship by eight points and is averaging a league-high 2.0 goals a game.
• USA vs. Dominican Republic (Concacaf Under-17 Men's Championship, 5 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus, ViX+)
The USA beat the Dominican Republic, 6-0, in last summer's Concacaf Under-20 Men's Championship final. They meet at the Concacaf Under-17 Men's Championship, but his time in the round of 16. The USA advanced to the knockout stage with wins over Barbados (5-0), Trinidad & Tobago (3-1) and Canada (1-0). The Dominican Republic arrived in Guatemala as one of four qualifiers from a pre-tournament competition for U-17 teams ranked below Concacaf's top 16 teams. The key match will be Wednesday's quarterfinal game against the winner of Guatemala-Jamaica for a berth at the 2023 U-17 World Cup in Peru.
* Paris St. Germain vs. Lille (Ligue 1, 7 a.m. ET, BeIN Sports, BeIN Sports en Espanol)
Tim Weah returns to the Parc des Princes to face PSG, where he started his pro career. He has finally begun to get regular playing time this season but at left back in place of injured Ismaily. His performances have been largely positive as Lille has climbed into fifth place with a recent surge. With Ismaily out until the beginning of April, Weah should get plenty more starts. He says he is getting used to the new position and enjoying it. "I want to get better," he said after last week's 2-0 win over Strasbourg.
USA vs. Japan (SheBelieves Cup, 3:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Universo, Peacock)
The USA and Japan, which met in both the 2011 and 2015 Women's World Cup finals, face off in the opening game of a doubleheader at Geodis Park in Nashville. The USWNT, which opened play with a 2-0 win over Canada, holds a 29-1-8 series advantage against Japan, which fell to Brazil, 1-0, on Thursday night in Orlando. The loss was Japan's third straight shutout defeat. It fell to England (4-0) and Spain (1-0) in November. “Not even getting a point from this game is pathetic,” said veteran Saki Kumagai, the lone holdover from the 2011 World Cup, where her penalty kick clinched Japan's shootout win over the USA in the final.