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MLS at Week 5: Crew picking up steam, Sounders face Atlanta

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With international fixtures over for the time being, MLS is ready to get back into full swing, starting with a pair of Friday night matches. Here’s a look at this weekend’s action:

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Toronto FC vs. Sporting KC – 7:30 p.m. ET Friday

The visitors have only allowed one goal so far in the new season, however, Sporting KC’s attack hasn’t lived up to the billing yet, with just two finishes in the first three matches. Both sides come into Friday’s contest unbeaten to start, however, TFC has done so in its opening three fixtures all on the road. Greg Vanney’s side will have their home opener at BMO Field on Friday.

Seattle Sounders vs. Atlanta United – 10 p.m. ET Friday

Clint Dempsey and the Sounders impressed their last time out against the New York Red Bulls, and now another hot Eastern Conference side is coming to the Pacific Northwest on Friday. Atlanta has been one of the most exciting teams to watch over the first few weeks of the season, particularly the club’s attack led by Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Hector Villalba. The team’s 11 goals scored are the second most in MLS, trailing only the Portland Timbers (12).

New York City FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 2 p.m. ET Saturday

The Earthquakes have yet to beat NYCFC in their first two tries, but the Western Conference side has looked revamped to start the 2017 season. Currently fourth place in the West, the Quakes are unbeaten in their first two home matches, but Saturday will give the club an opportunity to get its first point(s) away from Avaya Stadium. Meanwhile, NYCFC has had its share of ups and downs to start the season, mostly because of its lack of finishing despite having plenty of chances.

Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact – 3 p.m. ET Saturday

It’s been a tough start for the Impact, and without Ignacio Piatti it leaves a tremendous burden on the rest of the attack. For the Fire, it has been an up and down start after making a lot of intriguing moves during the offseason.

Columbus Crew vs. Orlando City – 4 p.m. ET Saturday

The Crew have revamped after a disappointing 2016 season and the new addition of Kekuta Manneh should make their side’s attacking presence all the more dangerous. Meanwhile, Orlando has started well out of the gate, however, the Lions continue to play without captain Kaka, who was injured in the team’s first match against NYCFC.

D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union – 7 p.m. ET Saturday

D.C. is the only team in MLS without a goal so far this season, which should be good news for the Union, who are also trying to get their 2017 campaign off on a higher note. Both sides are seeking their first win.

Minnesota United vs. Real Salt Lake – 8 p.m. ET Saturday

If there’s a week that Minnesota might sneak out their first win it could be Saturday night when they face RSL. The Loons have started off very poorly, especially defensively, with 18 goals allowed in four matches. However, RSL has struggled mightily to score goals, with just two to show thus far.

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls – 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday

The Red Bulls will be happy to get Sacha Kljestan back from international duty after drawing with RSL last weekend, while the Dynamo hope to continue their early-season success. Romell Quioto’s three goals leads the club thus far, however, the striker will miss time after suffering a shoulder injury for Honduras.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy – 10 p.m. ET Saturday

It’s been a slow start for the Western Conference sides for different reasons. The Galaxy have had to cope with a multitude of injuries through the opening four weeks, while the Whitecaps have failed to find success in the attacking third. With just two goals thus far and now the loss of Kekuta Manneh through a trade to the Crew, Carl Robinson’s side must find a way to pick up the offensive slack.

Portland Timbers vs. New England Revolution – 9 p.m. ET Sunday

The Timbers are coming off their first loss of 2017 last weekend, while the Revs put on a show against Minnesota (even though most teams are having that same success). Caleb Porter’s side currently leads MLS with 12 goals in the first four matches, and the Timbers look capable of scoring a lot more goals this season with their crop of attacking talent.

Stoke City adds versatile Greek left-sided man on loan

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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New Stoke City boss Paul Lambert is tasked with shoring up a defense which has been bottom half in goals allowed for several seasons, and has made his first move.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

Kostas Stafylidis is a 24-year-old left-sided player with 22 Greek caps to his name, but he’s fallen out of favor at Bundesliga side Augsburg and managed just 31 minutes this season.

He’ll head on loan to the Potteries, where he’ll attempt to aid the leakiest side in the Premier League. Stoke’s 50 goals allowed are eight more than its closest competitor (Watford).

Stafylidis has played left back and left mid for club and country, though he had his most league success last season at left back. He scored four goals and was rated Augsburg’s best field player by WhoScored and its top player overall by Squawka.

And he wants to be there (from StokeCityfc.com):

“As soon as I heard I told my agent directly that I wanted this move,” he added. “I left it to him then, he spoke to the Club more, and then to the trainer and we all wanted to make this move happen. It is good for me, it is good for the Club to bring me here for five months and I am very happy about that.”

Top Premier League storylines — Week 24

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It’s the first week of the Premier League season which follows a Manchester City league loss, so you know our top storyline of the week is going to begin with Pep Guardiola‘s men.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Just how big of a bounce back will there be for Man City?
Manchester City vs. Newcastle United — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC STREAM ]

The manager, who turned 47 on Thursday, saw Liverpool use a frantic second half spell to boost a 4-3 win and end hopes of an unbeaten PL season.

And while Jurgen Klopp‘s high press kept them off-kilter for most of the first half and had them rattled early in the second, City still came within a late free kick to finding a point.

Enter Newcastle, a club that flustered them at St. James’ Park last month and came within a Dwight Gayle-turned header of finding a point for Christmas.

So how angry is City after its first loss of the season? Maybe a better word is motivated, and we expect that City will hang a big number on Rafa Benitez‘s men considering the Spaniard isn’t likely to try to repeat what worked for Klopp.

Wobbly Burnley plays host to sound Manchester United
Burnley vs. Manchester United — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN STREAM ]

Jose Mourinho’s men head to Turf Moor with Alexis Sanchez expected to join their side any day and both Liverpool and Chelsea three points behind the Red Devils.

Believe it or not, though, the match is more pivotal for the hosts, who are in danger of slipping deep into the back of chasers after their stingy and resolute start to the season had the Clarets aiming for a Top Seven place.

Now Leicester is within three of the 7th place Clarets, and Everton is seven back with two big additions in place of need. If Burnley wants to stay in the race for seventh, it needs to get its first win in seven tries. Seven’s the number, you see?

United hasn’t allowed a goal in four matches, dating back to a 2-2 draw on Dec. 26… against Burnley.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Will the Gunners show signs of life after tumultuous week(s)?
Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC 

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal’s first loss in a month turned “unbeaten in seven” to “one win in five,” and Arsene Wenger‘s men look set to lose Alexis Sanchez and have already watched last season’s second-leading scorer, Theo Walcott, skip town for Everton.

Meanwhile, Palace played the Gunners tight in a 3-2 loss on Dec. 28, and that was the Eagles’ only Premier League loss since a 1-0 defeat at Spurs on Nov. 5.

Is Liverpool going to stay motivated?
Swansea City vs. Liverpool — 3 p.m. ET Monday STREAM ]

On the surface this is silly, especially with Virgil Van Dijk happy to return to the fold. Yet Liverpool has a knack of playing down to its opponents. The Reds are coming off a major win over Manchester City and have the knowledge of a recent battering of cellar-dwelling Swans in their back pocket. Will they rise up on Monday? The national focus could help.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Week 24 of the Premier League is here and the race for the top four and against relegation is really heating up.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

[ STREAM: Premier League “Goal Rush”

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for. 


Burnley 0-3 Man United – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Man City 4-1 Newcastle – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) –  [STREAM

Southampton 0-3 Tottenham – (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Arsenal 3-1 Crystal Palace (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM

West Ham 2-0 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Swansea City 0-3 Liverpool – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]


Leicester City 2-1 Watford – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Brighton 1-2 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Stoke City 1-1 Huddersfield – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


Everton 2-2 West Brom – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Premier League TV, streaming schedule: MD 24

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Drink in all the Premier League action you can get before the FA Cup takes center stage the weekend after next.

MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


7:30 a.m. ET: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Manchester United – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. Huddersfield Town – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
12:30 p.m. ET: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United – NBC [STREAM]

11 a.m. ET: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [STREAM]

3 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]