July 4th soccer extravaganza: Back-to-back MLS games live on NBCSN


Happy July 4th everyone.

If watching back-to-back World Cup quarterfinals isn’t enough soccer for your Independence Day celebrations, don’t worry, there are two more matches coming your way on NBCSN.

On Friday we will air a double-header from Major League Soccer as first the Houston Dynamo host New York Red Bulls at 8:30 p.m. ET and then Portland travel to the LA Galaxy at 11 p.m. ET.

WATCH LIVE: Houston vs. New York | LA vs. Portland

You can watch both games live on NBCSN, or alternatively you go watch them online via NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking here.

Here’s a quick look at both games and what to expect from them.

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:30 p.m. ET, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston

Coming into this game Houston have lost five on the spin, a club record, as Dom Kinnear’s men have struggled and have gone almost seven hours without a goal. New York haven’t fared much better this season, as they have five wins to Houston’s four. However, Mike Petke’s men did beat the Dynamo 4-0 this season at Red Bull Arena and will look to follow up their 2-2 draw on the road vs. Toronto with a win. Both teams need the three points. Big time.

LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers, 11 p.m. ET, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.

This one is a monster clash between giants of the Western Conference. LA are in good form and are unbeaten in five following their 1-0 win over San Jose last time out. Despite that good run, Bruce Arena’s boys are still hovering just outside the playoff spot and are tied on points with the Timbers. Portland lost 1-0 to Sporting KC last week, although they did defeat SKC in the Open Cup just three days before that. Looking up at the Seattle Sounders, both LA and Portland will be hoping to kick on towards the playoff spots with a win on Independence Day. Landon Donovan will be looking to bang in a few goals for LA, as his opinions on the U.S. national team continue to be sought after off the pitch.

Why PSG’s Alexis, Neymar pursuit fits in a (relatively) smart space

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Paris Saint-Germain’s run of four Ligue 1 titles ended last season, a campaign which also saw exciting league-winners Monaco go two rounds further into the UEFA Champions League.

Monaco looks set for a step back this season, with Bernardo Silva off to Man City and Tiemoue Bakayoko signing for Chelsea. Kylian Mbappe could join Monaco’s list of departures, and reports say Man City had a bid accepted for Benjamin Mendy.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

While Monaco is loading up on young talent again, PSG clearly sees its chance to surge back into the title seat and Les Parisiens may just make themselves European favorites as well if they can pry Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and Neymar from Barcelona.

That would be a South American trident nearly as potent as the one Neymar current shares with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and the Brazilian would not be second or third fiddle.

PSG has so far been relatively quiet this summer, with the addition of Dani Alves the lone new buy. Aside from money, how was Alves lured to Paris over Man City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola? The idea of a reunion with Neymar and several Brazilian mates — Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura — may’ve been enough and surely that conversation would’ve happened between the two Barca stars.

The French side has to make a big chance at some point soon, unless they’ve been able to unload their money bags and actually buy a fountain of youth. Thiago Motta is 34, Blaise Matuidi 30, Silva 32, and Edinson Cavani 30.

It’s calculated aggression from PSG to splash cash in hopes of rivaling Real Madrid, Juventus, and Barca in pursuit of the UCL title. The Neymar move weakens one of those rivals. If Marco Verratti isn’t part of a swap deal, the signings of Sanchez and Neymar would meet the Italian star’s ambitions well up the road.

De Boer: West Brom was out to injure Palace star Zaha

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No shrinking violet, new Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer was left fuming at West Bromwich Albion players following the PL Asia Trophy third place match on Saturday in Hong Kong.

While the focus could’ve been on Luka Milivojevic‘s gorgeous free kick (watch here), De Boer couldn’t get past the hard fouls aimed at his key attacker.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

West Brom gave away the free kick that led to the aforementioned goal by chopping down Zaha, and the foul was not an isolated incident.

From the BBC:

“They were looking for him, to injure him,” said De Boer.

“He’s one of the exciting players in the league. I don’t want to think he’d be out for two weeks or months.”

De Boer is no stranger to rough play, so this is not coming from a soft place. We doubt it’s going to change anything from Tony Pulis‘ men, though.

Chelsea hammers Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing (video)

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Chelsea struck twice early and Michy Batshuayi put the cherry on top as the Premier League champions cruised past Arsenal 3-0 in Beijing on Saturday.

The Blues started a lineup they’d use on any occasion in the PL, while Arsenal had unproven prospects Cohen Bramall and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the XI.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

Willian‘s quick goal put the Blues up 1-0 at the Bird’s Nest, and Batshuayi scored the second and third. Both were pretty classy, especially the second.

Marcos Alonso did the lion’s share of the work to produce the second chance for Batshuayi, who is threatening to carry over his fine late season form to this campaign. What a smash.

Coutinho rocket helps LFC to PL Asia Trophy (video)

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Goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool come back from an early deficit to win the PL Asia Trophy on Saturday in Hong Kong.

Islam Slimani gave Leicester City an early lead in front of a heavy pro-Liverpool crowd at Hong Kong Stadium, but Coutinho delivered the goods on both goals in a 2-1 win.

The tournament win is Liverpool’s first in its second trip to the PL Asia Trophy Final.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Strootman talks Roma w/ PST ]

First he crossed for Salah to head home, and then he scored the above goal by cutting in from the left and lashing a shot past a flailing Kasper Schmeichel.

We’ve seen this one before from Coutinho, just not on this particular continent. The Brazilian remains a Barcelona target, but looks prepared for the season in whatever land he sets foot.