What to Watch Part 2: Waiting for NHL’s August 1st Return

Yesterday, the NHL came out with specific dates to carry on with their return-to-play plan, announcing that official training camps will begin July 13th, and the qualifying tournament will commence Aug. 1. 

In that light, I decided it was appropriate to release the second and final “What to Watch ‘Till Hockey’s Back” guide. 

American Soccer

Lynn Williams
Jun 27, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; North Carolina Courage forward Lynn Williams (9) celebrates after scoring a goal Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The NWSL has begun playing, although something tells me this time around American soccer may have more entertainment value. The U.S. women’s soccer league is heading a four-stage Challenge Cup, as preliminary round games take place all weekend on CBS All Access before they begin an 8-team, single-elimination tournament from July 17th – July 26th. 

The MLS is proclaiming to be back, although one matchup scheduled for today between Nashville and Chicago has been canceled after 5 members of Nashville SC tested positive for COVID-19. The tournament was originally to be 26 teams but was whittled down to 25 since Dallas F.C. was disqualified after 10 players recently tested positive for COVID-19. (MLS.com).

F.C. Dallas won’t compete in the MLS restart due to COVID-19 complications. (FCDallas.com)

Still, much like the NBA, Major League Soccer is starting back up in Orlando tonight on ESPN; The tournament will begin with three group stage games, after which the top 16 teams will qualify for a single-elimination tournament, with a champion crowned in early August.

European Soccer’s Final Stretch

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi’s relationship with F.C. Barcelona is in question while the team’s title chances are dwindling. (EverythingBarca.com)

It’s entirely possible this is Lionel Messi’s last year in an F.C. Barcelona uniform, so if you’re the type to get sentimental about a soccer player overseas, maybe tune into some La Liga action on Fox Sports. Each team in La Liga has 3-4 games left, with the final day of the 2019-20 season being July 19th.

  • Real Madrid is 4 points ahead of Barcelona in the title race, and both teams have four games left
Photo retrieved from ESPN.com
  • Villarreal, Getafe, Real Sociedad, and Valencia are all in a tight race for spots 5 and 6, in order to qualify for the Europa League tournament.
Photo retrieved from ESPN.com

There are 4-5 games left for each team  in the English Premier League, with the season set to wrap up on July 26th.

  • Manchester United is chasing Chelsea and Leicester City for a spot in the Champions League
Photo retrieved from ESPN.com
  • While, at the same time, Wolverhampton (6th) and Arsenal (7th) chase Manchester United for the 5th spot, which guarantees a trip to the Europa League.
Photo retrieved from ESPN.com

There are 7-8 games left in Serie A.

  • Though Juventus has stretched their first-place lead, Lazio (7 PTS back) and Internazionale (11 PTS back) still have a chance at the Serie A Title.
Photo retrieved from ESPN.com
  • Also fighting for tournament play is AC Milan, AS Roma, Napoli, and Hellas Verona, who’ll need to finish 5th and 6th to qualify for Europa League
Photo retrieved from ESPN.com

Golf

Photo retrieved from ESPN.com

Another random golf tournament is on this weekend if you’re into that kind of thing. This time, it’s the Workday Charity Open at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. The tournament begins early tomorrow morning and will be covered on CBS.

UFC

Last, but definitely not least, the time for Fight Island has come; ESPN or ESPN+ will air Fight Night from Yas Island the next four Saturday nights, so buckle up if you like knockouts. This week’s main card features a Welterweight Title Fight between American fighter Jorge Masvidal and the favored Nigerian Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman.

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