<
>

Best Bets March 24/25: What to watch/where to go

FRIDAY, MARCH 25

  • TELEVISION

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING

Czech Republic at Spain

ESPN2, 1:55 p.m.

Any chance to see the reigning World Cup and European champion in real competition is a treat. We, too, can't see Xavi, Iniesta & Co. failing to qualify for the 2012 finals, but the Czechs would help their cause with an upset in Granada.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders

Fox Soccer Channel, 7 p.m.

The Sounders are off to an 0-2-0 start, worst in the league -- time to panic? Not quite. One-goal losses to two of the (probably) three best sides in MLS, one of those away, isn't disastrous. The Dynamo were much the better team in their opener and lost.

SATURDAY, MARCH 26

  • TELEVISION

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING

England at Wales

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 7:55 a.m.

John Terry has the captain's armband again, and that's good news for the English, not that they need much more in a Group G derby with their winless British brothers. Replay: ESPN Deportes, 6 p.m.

Also

Italy at Slovenia, ESPN Deportes, 10 a.m.

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY

Mexico vs. Paraguay

Univision (KMEX/Channel 34), 2 p.m.

Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez return from six-month suspensions, but the buzz for this clash in Oakland is for Rafa Marquez's and Memo Ochoa's first games under new coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre.

Also

Chile at Portugal, ESPN Deportes, 2 p.m.

Colombia at Ecuador, Fox Soccer Channel, 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Brazilian Campeonato Paulists

Bragantino at Palmeiras, GolTV, 2:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Colombian Liga Postobon

America de Cali at Junior, GolTV, 4:30 p.m. and midnight

Deportes Tolima at Deportivo Cali, GolTV, 6:30 p.m.

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY

United States vs. Argentina

ESPN2 and Univision (KMEX/Channel 34), 4 p.m.

Bob Bradley has the makings to field a first-choice lineup against Lionel Messi and the mighty Albiceleste, a marquee match for the Americans' preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. A packed New Meadowlands Stadium will witness.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Galaxy at Real Salt Lake

Prime Ticket, 10:30 p.m.

The first big showdown of the MLS season, and no love for the fans, especially in So Cal. The international fixture date deprives both teams of star players (L.A.'s Landon Donovan, RSL's Alvaro Saborio), and it won't show up on our televisions until 4½ hours after kickoff, thanks to Ducks hockey, Clippers basketball and college baseball.

Also

Portland Timbers at Toronto FC, MLS Direct Kick, 11 a.m.

Sporting Club Kansas City at Chicago Fire, TeleFutura (KFTR/Channel 46), 1 p.m.

New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew, MLS Direct Kick, 1 p.m.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Philadelphia Union, MLS Direct Kick, 1 p.m.

D.C. United at New England Revolution, MLS Direct Kick, 1:30 p.m.

San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas, MLS Direct Kick, 6 p.m.

Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA, KDOC/Channel 56, 7:30 p.m.

  • ON LOCAL FIELDS

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Chivas USA vs. Colorado Rapids

Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m.

There was a lot of good (but more than enough bad) in the opener for the Goats to build on, but doing so won't be easy against the reigning MLS Cup champs, even with star Rapids forward Omar Cummings off with Jamaica's national team.

TV: KDOC/Channel 56