May 3/4: What to watch, where to go

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
12:19
AM PT
THURSDAY, MAY 3
  • TELEVISION
ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP
West Ham United at Cardiff City
Fox Soccer Plus, 11:40 a.m.

The Hammers just missed automatic promotion to the Premier League, finishing two points behind champion Reading and runner-up Southampton. That makes them the top seed in the four-team playoff for the third spot, starting with this two-leg semifinal. Replay: 12:30 a.m.

MEXICAN PRIMERA DIVISION
Santos Laguna at Jaguares de Chiapas
Azteca America (KAZA/Channel 54), 5 p.m.
The last seven No. 1 seeds have lost in their opening playoff series in Mexico's top division. Thirteen of the last 20 regular-season winners have failed. So that makes Jaguares the favorite over a Santos side that was dominant in the Clausura.
Also
Morelia at UANL Tigres, Univision Deportes, 6:55 p.m.

COPA LIBERTADORES
Universidad de Chile (Chile) at Deportivo Quito (Ecuador)
Fox Deportes, 5 p.m.
Quito, with Matias Alustiza scoring six goals (four in the finale against Guadalajara), survived a tough Group 7 to get to the knockout stage in South America's club championship, edging out Uruguay's Defensor Sporting for a spot. U de Chile won its group, which wasn't quite so competitive.
Also
Lanus (Argentina) at Vasco da Gama (Brazil), Fox Deportes, 2:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, MAY 4
  • TELEVISION
ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP
Birmingham City at Blackpool
Fox Soccer Plus, 11:40 a.m.

Only one point separated fifth-place Birmingham and sixth-place Blackpool in the table, and the surging Blues are a decent bet to return to the EPL after one season in the second tier, riding a nine-game unbeaten streak culminating in a victory over Championship champion Reading. They're the No. 2 seed in the the four-team playoff for the third promotion slot to the top league. Big guns: Marlon King (16 goals and 10 assists) and Chris Burke (13 goals and 16 assists).

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Chicago Fire at Chivas USA
ESPN Deportes, 8 p.m.
Chivas USA is playing decent soccer, but they're not scoring goals -- just four in eight games, none in the last 239 minutes (after starting the season with just one in the first 407). Good thing the Goats play defense, although it will be tested by Chicago's speedy Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko.
  • ON LOCAL FIELDS
USASA REGION IV CHAMPIONSHIP
Doxa Italia vs. Cal FC
Ontario Soccer Park, 1 p.m.

Manhattan Beach's Doxa won the title last year. Cal FC looks like the big challenger, with Eric Wynalda bringing in some familiar names. The winner of each group in the three-day, eight-club event advances to the U.S. Open Cup.
Also
EP Elite vs. The Internationalist, 1 p.m.
OC Crew vs. Pittsburg Galaxy, 3 p.m.
PSA Elite vs. DV8 Defenders, 3 p.m.

USL PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE
Pali Blues at Orange County Blue Star
Concordia University (Irvine), 5 p.m.
Longtime PDL power Blue Star, the team Jurgen Klinsmann once played for, opens its Southwest Division slate against the L.A. Blues' second club, now focused on development (and using college players) rather than as a farm side for the big team. It's the model Blue Star has used to create dozens of pros.

USL PRO
Wilmington Hammerheads at L.A. Blues
Fullerton College, 7 p.m.
The Blues give their fans a freebee when they can't find an appropriate venue after a conflict arises with their usual home field at Cal State Fullerton. Limited seating right on top of the action.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Chicago Fire at Chivas USA
Home Depot Center (Carson), 8 p.m.
The Goats have lost all four home games, all by 1-0 scorelines. Might a fifth such result endanger Robin Fraser's tenure. You wouldn't think so, but the foundation of success in this sport: win your home games.
TV: ESPN Deportes.
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