NWSL Challenge Cup, Barcelona-Atletico, AEW Fyter Fest and More to Watch

Corey KnappContributor IJune 29, 2020

Lionel Messi and Barcelona face an almost must-win match this week against Atletico Madrid, one of the toughest teams in La Liga.
Lionel Messi and Barcelona face an almost must-win match this week against Atletico Madrid, one of the toughest teams in La Liga.Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

This week American team sports continue their return, title races in La Liga and Serie A are very close, and All Elite Wrestling premieres the first part of Fyter Fest. It all culminates with the Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, headlined by the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.


What's On

The NWSL Challenge Cup

All eight participating National Women's Soccer League teams jump into tournament play this week in the group stage after a pair of opening matches on Saturday brought live team sports back to America. 

You'll recognize numerous USWNT stars from last summer's World Cup, including Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn, Samantha Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper as well as top international players like Canada's Christine Sinclair and Brazil's Debinha. The lasting image from the opening weekend was the emotional moment shared during the national anthem by Chicago Red Stars and USWNT teammates Julie Ertz and Casey Short.


This moment and this movement means everything to our players. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/g0BOzN9hoF

All matches on CBS All Access and kickoff times ET

Houston Dash vs. Utah Royals, 12:30 p.m.
OL Reign vs. Sky Blue FC, 10 p.m.
Portland Thorns vs. Chicago Red Stars, 12:30 p.m.
Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage, 10 p.m.
Utah Royals FC vs. Sky Blue FC, 12:30 p.m.
Houston Dash vs. OL Reign, 10 p.m.
NC Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars, 12:30 p.m.
Portland Thorns vs. Washington Spirit, 10 p.m.


Liverpool wins Premier League; race for top four intensifies

At last the Reds are Premier League champions, clinching the trophy last week with a win and Manchester City loss that sent the club's players and fans into huge celebrations and left manager Jurgen Klopp in tears during an interview. Liverpool fans can watch post-championship coverage and programming with LFCTV on B/R Live here.

So, Liverpool's match this week at City should be plenty of fun. The rest of the league now turns into a race for UEFA slots, with the likes of Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Wolves and Tottenham battling to finish in Champions League and Europa League spots in the table.

B/R Football @brfootball

1990-2020. Liverpool's 30-year wait for a league title is over. https://t.co/9MXENLCCXC

All matches on NBCSN unless otherwise noted

Brighton vs. Manchester United, 3:15 p.m.
Arsenal vs. Norwich, 1 p.m.
Everton vs. Leicester City, 1 p.m. (NBC Sports Gold)
West Ham vs. Chelsea, 3:15 p.m.
Sheffield United vs. Tottenham, 1 p.m.
Manchester City vs. Liverpool, 3:15 p.m.
Manchester United vs. Bournemouth, 10 a.m.
Wolves vs. Arsenal, 12:30 p.m.
Chelsea vs. Watford, 3 p.m.
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa, 11:30 a.m.   
Southampton vs. Manchester City, 2 p.m.


All Elite Wrestling Fyter Fest 
8 p.m. Wednesday on TNT

AEW Dynamite pauses this week for the second edition of Fyter Fest, which this year will be a two-night event split between this Wednesday and next. Some of the matchups to be excited for are Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy, the World Tag Team Championship pitting Kenny Omega and Adam Page against Best Friends, and another tag team match between Private Party and the duo of Santana and Ortiz. Want to watch the first Fyter Fest from 2019 to get ready? Stream that full event free on B/R Live here.

All Elite Wrestling @AEWrestling

It's the start of a two-week event!⁠ Night 1: July 1st | Night 2: July 8th⁠ #AEW presents #FyterFest | Where every championship will be on the line! Watch FyterFest on @TNTDrama at 8e/7c LIVE & absolutely FREE! https://t.co/Y4DHXugv7N


Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 
Noon Saturday on ESPN

The Fourth of July tradition will be different this year, held indoors and without fans. But 12-time champion Joey Chestnut still thinks he'll be able to put on a show, telling TMZ he's confident he can set another world record and eat 77 (!) hot dogs in 10 minutes to claim his 13th title (his record is 74). Air conditioning and a smaller field of eaters sounds like the recipe for a record.


La Liga and Serie A

It's a critical week for the title races in Spain and Italy, as top teams in each league go head-to-head for valuable points. Holding a two-point lead at the top over rival Barcelona, Real Madrid could get help from another rival when Atletico heads to the Camp Nou for a huge clash. Then both sides face tough away tests this weekend.

All matches on BeIN Sports

Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid, 4 p.m. Tuesday
Real Madrid vs. Getafe, 4 p.m. Thursday
Atletico Madrid vs. Mallorca, 4 p.m. Friday
Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid, 8 a.m. Sunday
Villarreal vs. Barcelona, 4 p.m. Sunday

In Italy, Juventus looks to create some more breathing room between itself, Lazio, and Inter at the top, while Atalanta, Roma and Napoli fight for spots in the top four.

All matches on ESPN+

Genoa vs. Juventus, 3:45 p.m. Tuesday
Inter Milan vs. Brescia, 1:30 p.m. Wednesday
Atlanta vs. Napoli, 1:30 p.m. Thursday
AS Roma vs. Udinese, 3:45 p.m. Thursday
Juventus vs. Torino, 11:15 a.m. Saturday
Lazio vs. AC Milan, 3:45 p.m. Saturday
Inter Milan vs. Bologna, 11:15 a.m. Sunday
Cagliari vs. Atalanta, 1:30 p.m. Sunday
Napoli vs. AS Roma, 3:45 p.m. Sunday


Coming back soon on B/R Live: NBA League Pass

One month and a day from Monday, the NBA will restart play from Disney World in Orlando. On Friday, the league released its new schedule for the remaining eight "seeding games" of the regular season, set to tip off July 30 on TNT.

Beginning July 31, there will be 42 games in 15 nights on NBA League Pass, available to stream on B/R Live. Those games will feature the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers once each, Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans twice, Rookie of the Year favorite Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies as well as last season's ROY winner, Luka Doncic, and his Dallas Mavericks four times each.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

🚨 New NBA schedule released 🚨 Jazz-Pelicans and Lakers-Clippers to restart the season on July 30 on @NBAonTNT https://t.co/YvhgDx85L6


The News, Fast

1. Baseball Is (Finally) Back

Players will report to "spring" training Wednesday after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred imposed the start of the season last week after owners and players could not reach a new deal after three months of negotiations. Many parameters of the season are the same as agreed upon in March. Anyway, here's how it will work:

  • Players report by Wednesday, begin training Friday, season begins July 23 or 24
  • The regular season will be 60 games, ending Sept. 27, and the postseason format will not change, meaning three division winners and two wild-card teams in each league qualify
  • Teams will play 40 games against division opponents (10 each) and 20 against teams in the corresponding division in the opposite league (i.e. NL East vs. AL East)
  • Notable new rules: The National League will adopt the DH for this season only; in extra innings, teams will start with a runner on second base

Read more about the coming season here and check out a helpful FAQ guide full of details here.

2. Cam Newton has a new team, as the former MVP agreed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

3. Players opting out of return to play

Many players across different leagues are deciding not to participate in the start of or resumptions of their 2020 seasons, citing health and family concerns, injury risks and/or a desire to prioritize social justice work:

  • NBA: Lakers' Avery Bradley, Trail Blazers' Trevor Ariza, Mavericks' Willie Cauley-Stein, Wizards' Davis Bertans, Nets' Wilson Chandler
  • WNBA: Atlanta's Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes, Washington's Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders, Los Angeles's Kristi Toliver and Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut's Jonquel Jones, Minnesota's Cecilia Zandalasini and Maya Moore, who is arguably the best player in the world and already sat out the 2019 season to focus on social justice efforts
  • NWSL: USWNT standouts Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Carli Lloyd, along with Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris and Emily Sonnet, who plays for the Orlando Pride. Her team was forced to withdraw from the NWSL Challenge Cup after six players and four staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

4. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, his wife and several others involved in his Adria Tour tested positive for the coronavirus after hosting events with fans and minimal prevention measures. It's a cautionary tale for returning leagues on how quickly things can turn bad if complacency sets in.

5. Australia and New Zealand will host the next FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023. The USWNT will be going for a three-peat in the competition that summer.

6. The U.S. Open golf tournament is headed back to NBC Sports after five years on Fox Sports. This year's competition, postponed from this month until Sept. 17, will air on NBC, which last broadcast it in 2014. Winged Foot in New York will host the 2020 tournament, the second men's golf major championship of the season. The first is the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco, scheduled for Aug. 6-9.


Best of the Week

1. Vince Carter retires

The NBA legend officially called it a career last week after 22 seasons that touched four decades. His final game came during one of the most surreal nights in NBA history as the league suspended its season but not before VC hit one last three-pointer.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Half man, half amazing. Vince Carter has a nasty highlight reel 🔥 https://t.co/q2WXELCGkx


2. Kobe and Shaq forever

We can't stop watching this creative tribute to the two Lakers legends.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Need this on every car (via @RudyWillingham) https://t.co/EcsRtOjxZG


3. Giannis in MVP form on TikTok

The Bucks' superstar and new dad continues to be one of the most entertaining players in the NBA on social media.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

.@Giannis_An34 doing the 'don't leave me' challenge 😂 https://t.co/dmMEQkKNvE


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