The Soccer Report

Agüero, Messi and Ronaldo among weekend scorers; Atlanta's Almiron sold for MLS-record $26 million

Sergio Aguero scored his 10th Premier League hat-trick for Manchester City against Arsenal. Credit: Puma.

There's plenty to digest from the past week in soccer, from the craziness of Thursday's deadline day to the title-implicating results of the weekend. Here is a breakdown of all the action:

English Premier League

There were two rounds of Premier League action this week and both provided some drama in the title race. On Tuesday, Newcastle United looked to have dashed Manchester City's title hopes after the defending champions were upset 2-1 at St. James' Park. That left Liverpool with a chace to extend their lead by as much as seven points with a win over Leicester City on Wednesday, which ended in a 1-1 draw. City would regain their form on Sunday with a 3-1 home win over Arsenal - a result made more important by Liverpool's 1-1 away draw at West Ham on Monday. Now, a title race that could've been all but decided is back to a three point difference, with Spurs quietly two points behind City in third. With 13 dates left to play, the title race is nowhere near over.

Of course, Thursday's transfer deadline day left much to be talked about in the Premier League... for some. Tottenham, for starters, did not make a signing in back-to-back January transfer windows. London rivals Chelsea did as the Blues acquired striker Gonzalo Higuain from Milan. The Argentine, who reunites with his former Napoli manager, scored twice in Saturday's 5-0 win over Huddersfield. Newcastle were among the teams that made a splash by signing Atlanta United's Miguel Almiron for a club record £20 million ($26 million) on a five-year deal.

Top six: 1. Liverpool (62), 2. Manchester City (59), 3. Tottenham (57), 4. Chelsea (50), 5. Manchester United (48), 6. Arsenal (47)

Scoring leader: 16 - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Assists leader: 10 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

Highlights FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF (2-2) www.youtube.com

Leo Messi comes up big for FC Barcelona once more, with two goals this week in what could've been a disaster loss to a formidable Valencia who took a 0-2 lead at the Camp Nou. What makes it a sweeter victory is the loss of second place Atletico Madrid, 0-1 at Real Betis, to extend Barcelona's stranglehold on the title. Real Madrid won 3-0 against Alaves and will bank on Barcelona dropping more points to remain hopeful about a last gasp title run.

Off the field, Cirque du Soleil announced a show modeled after the Argentine sensation titled, "Messi10." The show will debut with showings to the public later this year in Barcelona before going international in 2020.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (50), 2. Atlético Madrid (44), 3. Real Madrid (42), 4. Sevilla (36), 5. Getafe (32), 6. Real Betis (32)

Scoring leader: 21 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 10 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Leaders Borussia Dortmund continue with breathing room despite dropping points in a 1-1 draw at Frankfurt. Bayern Munich, who was on a charge up the table, lost 3-1 at Bayer Leverkusen to drop down to 3rd in the standings.

Top six: 1. Dortmund (49), 2. Monchengladbach (42), 3. Bayern Munich (42), 4. RB Leipzig (37), 5. Eintracht Frankfurt (32), 6. Wolfburg (31)

Scoring leader: 14 - Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Assists leader: 9 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund / Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Juventus 3-3 Parma | Gervinho Snatches Late Draw After Ronaldo Double | Serie A youtu.be

It was a bit of a down week for Juventus after the Italian giants were eliminated from the Coppa Italia in a 3-0 quarterfinal loss at Atalanta. The slump carried over to their league form as the defending champions dropped points against Parma thanks to a goal given up in stoppage team. Cristiano Ronaldo did score twice and retook the leadership in the scoring table.

Top six: 1. Juventus (60), 2. Napoli (51), 3. Inter Milan (40), 4. Milan (36), 5. Atalanta (35), 6. Roma (35)

Scoring leader: 17 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

Assists leader: 8 - Suso (A.C. Milan)

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. PSG (56), 2. Lille (46), 3. Lyon (43), 4. Saint-Étienne (37), 5. Montpellier (36), 6. Strasbourg (35)

Scoring leader: 18 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 8 - Angel Di Maria (PSG) / Memphis Depay (Lyon) / Nicolas Pepe (Lille)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (55), 2. Ajax (50), 3. Feyenoord (39)

Scoring leader: 18 - Luuk de Jong (PSV)

Assists leader: 10 - Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord) / Steven Bergwijn (PSV)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (54), 2. Club Brugge (45), 3. Antwerp (45)

Scoring leader: 17 - Mbwana Samatta (Genk)

Assists leader: 12 - Hans Vanaken (Brugge)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Porto (50), 2. Benfica (47), 3. Braga (46)

Scoring leader: 13 - Dyego Sousa (Braga)

Assists leader: 9 - Pizzi (Benfica)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (54), 2. Rangers (48), 3. Aberdeen (46)

Scoring leader: 13 - Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

Assists leader: 8 - James Tavernier (Rangers)

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Major League Soccer

MLS took a major stride in it's attempt to grow into a "selling league" with the record sale of Atlanta United's Miguel Almiron to the Premier League's Newcastle United for a reported $26 million transfer fee. That wasn't the only bit of craziness as D.C. United's own #10 Luciano Acosta was reportedly on his way to PSG, and even flew to Paris to complete the transfer, before the deal fell apart after the clubs could not agree on a price.

On the field, less than a month remains for the start of the 2019 season as teams begin to take part in friendlies. The Dynamo returns to competitive action in about two weeks for their part in the Concacaf Champions League before kicking off the season on March 2nd against Real Salt Lake. In the meanwhile, the club is in Tucson,Arizona for preseason friendlies against MLS competition (times and dates in the schedule below).

Liga MX

Tijuana vs. Toluca | 2019 Liga MX Highlights www.youtube.com

Top eight: 1. Monterrey (11), 2. Necaxa (10), 3. Tigres UANL (10), 4. Atlas (10), 5. Chivas Guadalajara (10), 6. Club America (9), 7. Club Leon (8), 8. Lobos BUAP (7)

Scoring leader: 4 - Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey) / Leonardo Ramos (Lobos BUAP)

Assists leader: 4 - Carlos Rodríguez (Monterrey)

Superliga Argentina

Top four: 1. Racing Club (42), 2. Defensa y Justicia (39), 3. Boca Juniors (31), 4. Atletico Tucuman (31)

Scoring leader: 14 - Lisandro Lopez (Racing)

Assists leader: 5 - Luis Miguel Rodriguez (Atletico Tucuman)

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U.S. Men's National Team

MNT vs. Costa Rica: Highlights - Feb. 2, 2019 www.youtube.com

The U.S. Men's National Team notched their second win under new coach Gregg Berhalter with a 2-0 result over Costa Rica. The result should be taken with a grain of salt given it wasn't either team's best squad due to this match not being played on a FIFA international date, meaning European-based players would not be released. The USMNT's next friendlies should provide a better litmus test when they face off on March 21st against Ecuador and March 26th against Chile, the latter taking place in Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium.

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Feb. 5

11:30 a.m. - [German Cup] Heidenheim vs. Bayer Leverkusen (ESPN3)

1:45 p.m. - [German Cup] Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen (ESPN3)

Wednesday, Feb. 6

11:30 a.m. - [German Cup] RB Leipzig vs. Wolfsburg (ESPN3)

1:45 p.m. - [Premier League] Everton vs. Manchester City (NBC Sports)

1:45 p.m. - [German Cup] Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich (ESPN3)

1:45 p.m. - [German Cup] Schalke 04 vs. Dusseldorf (ESPN3)

2:00 p.m. - [Copa Del Rey] FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid (beIN SPORTS)

7:00 p.m. - [MLS Preseason] Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United (HoustonDynamo.com)

Thursday, Feb. 7

1:30 p.m. - [Serie A] Lazio vs. Empoli (ESPN+)

2:00 p.m. - [Copa del Rey] Real Betis vs. Valencia (beIN Sports)

Friday, Feb. 8

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Mainz vs. Bayer Leverkusen (FS2)

1:30 p.m. - [Serie A] Chievo vs. Roma (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Veracruz vs. Tigres UANL (Univision Deportes)

Saturday, Feb. 9

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Fulham vs. Manchester United (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] RB Leipzig vs. Frankfurt (FOX Deportes)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim (FS2/Univision Deportes)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Liverpool vs. Bournemouth (NBC Sports)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Huddersfield vs. Arsenal (CNBC)

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Brighton vs. Burnley (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayern Munich vs. Schalke 04 (FS2)

1:30 p.m. - [Serie A] Parma vs. Inter Milan (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [MLS Preseason] Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC (HoustonDynamo.com)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club America vs. Club Leon (Univision)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Necaxa vs. Chivas Guadalajara (Univision)

Sunday, Feb. 10

7:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Tottenham vs. Leicester City (NBC Sports)

10:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester City vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

11:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Sassuolo vs. Juventus (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes)

12:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Toluca vs. Cruz Azul (Univision)

1:30 p.m. - [Serie A] AC Milan vs. Cagliari (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona (beIN Sports)

Monday, Feb. 11

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Wolves vs. Newcastle United (NBC Sports)

FC Bayern Munich picked up a 3-1 win over Real Madrid in front of 60,314 at NRG Stadium. Credit: Deporte Total USA

There were plenty of great goals scored over the weekend and plenty of sellouts too as European club friendlies continue. In MLS, the playoff race begins to take shape with urgency setting in on recent results.

African Cup of Nations

Senegal v Algeria Highlights - Total AFCON 2019 - FINAL www.youtube.com

The final international cup of the summer concluded as Algeria defeated Senegal 1-0 to crown themselves the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Champions. Nigeria defeated Tunisia by the same margin earlier in the week to take 3rd place.

International Champions Cup

Full Match | FC Bayern vs. Real Madrid 3-1 | International Champions Cup 2019 www.youtube.com

Houston was in worldwide spotlight as two European giants faced off in front of 60,314 attendees at NRG Stadium on Saturday night. FC Bayern Munich fans left with the bragging rights as their team picked up a 3-1 victory of Real Madrid. Madrid fans did leave with joy after seeing the debut of the club's major summer signing Eden Hazard.

Major League Soccer

LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles Football Club | HIGHLIGHTS - July 19, 2019 www.youtube.com

Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the spotlight and the glory this week in Major League Soccer with a hat-trick performance in LA Galaxy's 3-2 win over rivals, and league leaders, LAFC. Brian Fernandez, arguably the best signing of the year, also showcased himself with two goals in the 2-1 Portland Timbers win over rivals Seattle.

Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo | HIGHLIGHTS - July 20, 2019 www.youtube.com

The Houston Dynamo had a roller coaster week after losing 0-5 at Atlanta United on Wednesday before picking up a rare road win with a 3-1 result at Toronto FC. Forward Mauro Manotas was a topic of conversation after taking on five TFC defenders in the win.

Off the field, the Dynamo made noise with the announcement of James Harden as a 5% owner of the Dynamo, Dash organization. The Rockets star is an active soccer fan and was part of adidas uniform unveiling of Premier League side Arsenal just last week.

James Harden now an owner of Houston Dynamo and Dash www.youtube.com

East top seven: 1. Philadelphia (39), 2. Atlanta (36), 3. D.C. United (35), 4. NY Red Bulls (34), 5. NYCFC (32), 6. Montreal (30), 7. New England (30)

West top seven: 1. LAFC (46), 2. LA Galaxy (37), 3. Seattle (35), 4. Minnesota (34), 5. San Jose (34), 6. Dallas (32), 7. Real Salt Lake (30)

Scoring leader: 21 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 13 - Maxi Moralez (NYCFC)

Liga MX

Goles Jornada 1 | Liga BBVA MX www.youtube.com

The Apertura 2019 season kicked off in Mexico over the weekend with some of the usual suspects going straight to the top of the standings in week 1.

Top eight: 1. Santos Laguna (3), 2. Tigres UANL (3), 3. Club America (3), 4. Leon (3), 5. Tijuana (3), 6. Pumas UNAM (3), 7. Queretaro (3), 8. Atlas (3)

Scoring leader: 2 - Javier Aquino (Tigres UANL), Nicolas Castillo (Club America)

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National Women's Soccer League

The post FIFA Women's World Cup tour begins in the NWSL as many of the U.S. women return to their clubs. The Houston Dash picked up their first win since May with a road win at Washington.

Houston Dash 2-1 Washington Spirit | Highlights www.youtube.com

Standings: 1. Portland Thorns (23), 2. North Carolina Courage (22), 3. Chicago Red Stars (20), 4. Reign FC (20), 5. Washington Spirit (18), 6. Utah Royals (18), 7. Houston Dash (16), 8. Orlando Pride (11), 9. Sky Blue FC (8)

Scoring leader: 10 - Sam Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 4 - 5 players tied

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, July 23

4:00 a.m. - [Friendly] - FC Barcelona vs. Chelsea (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)

5:15 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] River Plate vs. Cruzeiro (beIN SPORTS)

6:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] Real Madrid vs. Arsenal (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Penarol vs. Fluminense (beIN SPORTS Connect)

7:30 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] Chicago Fire vs. Cruz Azul (ESPN+)

8:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] Chivas vs. Atletico Madrid (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

8:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] FC Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan (ESPN+)

10:00 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] LA Galaxy vs. Tijuana (ESPN, TUDN)

Wednesday, July 24

6:30 a.m. - [International Champions Cup] - Juventus vs. Inter Milan (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] - Fiorentina vs. Benfica (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [Friendly] Liverpool vs. Sporting CP (TNT)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Atletico PR vs. Boca Juniors (beIN SPORTS en Español)

7:30 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] Houston Dynamo vs. Club America (ESPN+, TUDN)

9:30 p.m. - [Leagues Cup] Real Salt Lake vs. Tigres UANL (ESPN+, TUDN)

Thursday, July 25

6:30 a.m. - [International Champions Cup] - Manchester United vs. Tottenham (ESPN+)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Gremio vs. Libertad (beIN SPORTS)

Friday, July 26

6:30 p.m. - [MLS] NYCFC vs. Sporting KC (ESPN+)

7:30 p.m. - [International Champions Cup] Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

9:00 p.m. - [MLS] LAFC vs. Atlanta United (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

Saturday, July 27

7:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC (KUBE57)

9:30 p.m. - [MLS] Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy (FS1)

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