THE SOCCER REPORT

Back-to-back Clásicos, MLS opening weekend highlight upcoming schedule

The Houston Dynamo are back at BBVA Compass Stadium with two matches this week.

Different story lines and renewed rivalries await as another busy week of soccer begins with a midweek dose of Premier League beginning on Tuesday. Real Madrid will host FC Barcelona twice this week in two different competitions, capturing the eyes of millions in one of the world's most heated sports rivalries. Finally, MLS is back with it's 24th season kicking off on Saturday.

UEFA Champions League

The first leg matches of the Round of 16 are in the books with plenty to play for when the second leg matches begin next week. In these latter matches, Atletico Madrid grabbed the biggest headlines for their 2-0 home win over Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus.

Round of 16 - first leg results:

  • Roma 2-1 Porto
  • Manchester United 0-2 PSG
  • Tottenham 3-0 Dortmund
  • Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid
  • Lyon 0-0 FC Barcelona
  • Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich
  • Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus
  • Schalke 04 2-3 Manchester City

UEFA Europa League

Round of 32 - second leg results:

  • Sevilla 2-0 Lazio (3-0 agg.)
  • Red Bull Salzburg 4-0 Club Brugge (5-2 agg.)
  • Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 Shakhtar Donetsk (6-3 agg.)
  • Villareal 1-1 Sporting CP (2-1 agg.)
  • Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 Plzen (4-2 agg.)
  • Zenit 3-1 Fenerbace (3-2 agg.)
  • Valencia 1-0 Celtic (3-0 agg.)
  • Napoli 2-0 Zurich (5-1 agg.)
  • Arsenal 3-0 BATE (3-1 agg.)
  • Genk 1-4 Slavia Praha (1-4 agg.)
  • Inter Milan 4-0 Rapid Vienna (5-0 agg.)
  • Leverkusen 1-1 Krasnodar (1-1 agg., Krasnodar wins on away goals)
  • Benfica 0-0 Galatasaray (2-1 agg.)
  • Real Betis 1-3 Rennes (4-6 agg.)
  • Chelsea 3-0 Malmo (5-1 agg.)
  • Dynamo Kiev 1-0 Olympiacos (3-2 agg.)

English Premier League

Manchester United and Liverpool played to a nil-nil draw at Old Trafford but the biggest headlines this weekend came from two sides not in league action. Manchester City and Chelsea played the final of the English Football League Cup, known also as the Carabao Cup, in a 0-0 draw that had to be decided in penalties. Drama ensued in extra time as Chelsea goalkeepeer Kepa Arrizabalaga grabbed all the headlines by refusing to sub out prior to penalty kicks. City won 4-3 on penalties.

Top six: 1. Liverpool (66), 2. Manchester City (65), 3. Tottenham (60), 4. Arsenal (53), 5. Manchester United (52), 6. Chelsea (50)

Scoring leader: 17 - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) / Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Assists leader: 10 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

Highlights Sevilla FC vs FC Barcelona (2-4) www.youtube.com

Lionel Messi continues to have a spectacular season, this week putting up a hat-trick against formidable foes Sevilla. Messi leads the league in goals and assists while Barcelona sit comfortably at the top of the standings.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (57), 2. Atlético Madrid (50), 3. Real Madrid (48), 4. Getafe (39), 5. Sevilla (37), 6. Alaves (37)

Scoring leader: 25 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 11 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Dortmund (54), 2. Bayern Munich (51), 3. Monchengladbach (43), 4. RB Leipzig (42), 5. Wolfsburg (38), 6. Eintracht Frankfurt (37)
Scoring leader: 15 - Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt

Assists leader: 10 - Jadon Sancho (Dortumund) / Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (69), 2. Napoli (56), 3. Inter Milan (47), 4. Milan (45), 5. Roma (44), 6. Lazio (38)

Scoring leader: 19 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

Assists leader: 8 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) / Suso (A.C. Milan)

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. PSG (68), 2. Lille (51), 3. Lyon (46), 4. Saint-Étienne (43), 5. Marseille (41), 6. Stade Reims (41)

Scoring leader: 22 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 8 - Nicolas Pepe (Lille) / Angel Di Maria (PSG) / Kenny Lala (Strasbourg)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (58), 2. Ajax (56), 3. Feyenoord (43)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (58), 2. Club Brugge (50), 3. Standard Liège (46)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Porto (57), 2. Benfica (56), 3. Braga (49)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (63), 2. Rangers (55), 3. Aberdeen (50)

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Concacaf Champions League

#SCCL 2019 Weekly Recap www.youtube.com

The Houston Dynamo got their season to a successful start with a 1-0 away victory against Guatemalan side CD Guastatoya. For a few takeaways from that match, click here.

Round of 16 - first leg results:
  • Deportivo Saprissa 1-0 Tigres UANL
  • Independiente (Panama) 4-0 Toronto FC
  • Guastatoya 0-1 Houston Dynamo
  • Atletico Pantoja 0-2 New York Red Bulls
  • Talleres Cordoba 2-2 Palestino
  • Marathon 2-6 Santos Laguna
  • Alianza 0-0 Monterrey
  • Sporting KC 3-0 Toluca FC
  • Herediano 3-1 Atlanta United

Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer's 24th season kicks off Saturday with a total of 24 teams now that FC Cincinatti joins the league. The league will also feature a new playoff format where the top seven teams in each conference advance to the playoffs.

Liga MX

Top eight: 1. Tigres UANL (19), 2. Monterrey (18), 3. Leon (17), 4. Santos Laguaa (14), 5. Chivas Guadalajara (14), 6. Pachuca (14), 7. Club Tijuana (13), 8. Club America (12)

Scoring leader: 7 - Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey) / Angel Mena (Leon) / Brian Fernandez (Necaxa)

Assists leader: 6 - Angel Mena (Leon)

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Copa Libertadores

Third round - first leg results:

  • Melgar 2-0 Caracas FC
  • Talleres Cordoba 2-2 Palestino
  • Defensor Sporting 0-2 Atletico Mineiro
  • Libertad 1-0 Atletico Nacional

Superliga Argentina

Top four: 1. Racing Club (48), 2. Defensa y Justicia (45), 3. Boca Juniors (38), 4. Atletico Tucuman (36)

Scoring leader: 16 - Lisandro Lopez (Racing)

Assists leader: 7 - Walter Montillo (Tigre)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Feb. 26

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

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Houston Dynamo vs. CD Guastatoya (YahooSports.com)

Wednesday, Feb. 27

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Chelsea vs. Tottenham (NBC Sports)

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

Thursday, Feb. 28

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

Friday, Mar. 1

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Augsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund (FS2)

Saturday, Mar. 2

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Tottenham vs. Arsenal (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Nuremberg vs. RB Leipzig (FS1)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Frankfurt vs. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (FS2)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester United vs. Southhampton (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] West Ham vs. Newcastle (NBC Sports)

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

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports)

5:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake (KUBE57)

Sunday, Mar. 3

6:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Watford vs. Leicester City (NBC Sports)

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Fulham vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

10:15 a.m. - [Premier League] Everton vs. Liverpool (NBC Sports)

ELIS INJURED IN COMEBACK WIN

5 kicks from Houston Dynamo's 2-1 win over D.C. United

Credit Trask Smith/Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo withstood Wayne Rooney's D.C. United plus an injury to star player Alberth Elis on their way to their seventh win of the season. El Campo native Memo Rodriguez and off-season signing Thomas McNamara scored in the 67th and 68th minutes, respectively, to lead the club to a comeback victory.

Here are five observations from the win:

1) Call it a comeback

HIGHLIGHTS: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United | May 18, 2019 youtu.be

Both the Dynamo and D.C. United were undefeated this season in matches where they took the lead first. Houston's record was 1-1-2 when giving up the first goal.

On Saturday night, they didn't need to rely on the advantage of opening up the scoreline. Wayne Rooney scored the match's first goal right after the start of the second half before the Dynamo turned on the pressure in attack.

Perhaps the most impressing part of the result was doing it without the wide threats of Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto on the field. Instead it was their substitutes, coincidentally, that drove home the victory.

2) Winning without Elis

Alberth Elis took a headbutt to the side of his skull at the start of the match when he and D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum jumped to dispute a ball in the air. Both players were taken out to the sidelines to get checked, Birnbaum had his head taped after bleeding, and were eventually allowed to return.

It would be minutes later that Elis asked for his substitution, which came in the 11th minute, and was subsequently taken to the locker room for a further evaluation. Despite passing the MLS concussion protocol, the Honduran playmaker wasn't well enough to continue the match.

Elis has been the most influential player for the team this season and a win without him will be a confidence booster. The big question now will be how long the team will be without one their most important contributors.

3) Memo leads the way

An inspired Memo Rodriguez was key to the Dynamo overturning the deficit at home, helping the team avoid a three-match winless streak. The homegrown midfielder took the responsibility of providing a spark in attack by creating his own shooting opportunity.

His goal in the 67th minute injected energy into the crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium and into his team. The Dynamo quickly went for another score and got it just a minute later.

With five goals and two assists, Rodriguez is enjoying his best season for the club. He'll likely pass his career high for minutes played in one season during the first half of the following match - eight games sooner than what it took him to reach that mark last year.

4) A win for Maynor

Defender Maynor Figueroa missed Saturday's match due to his father's passing on Wednesday night. The Honduran defender was on the field for the Dynamo against Timbers FC when the news broke in his home country.

The club showed solidarity with the seven-year Premier League veteran by dedicating the match to him in their pregame team photo. Figueroa joined the team in the off-season after three years at rival FC Dallas and has appeared in the majority of the Dynamo starting lineups this year.

Alejandro Fuenmayor took Figueroa's place in Saturday's starting XI and is expected to continue until Figueroa's return. The Dynamo have two league games left before this summer's Concacaf Gold Cup, a tournament Figueroa is expected to feature in for Honduras.

5) Rooney draws crowd but no sellout

Manchester United and England National Team Legend Wayne Rooney was in town with D.C. United. His appearance, unfortunately for the Dynamo, did very little for the gate in comparison to the visits of other league draws like LA's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Several Manchester United jerseys were seen in what was announced to be a crowd of 15,811 attendees at the 22,000 capacity stadium. That number is only the third highest crowd seen this year after the opening match and the derby against FC Dallas.

The three-time World Cup veteran and former UEFA Champions League winner held up his end with a goal in the 46th minute and, despite the loss, has helped D.C. to a top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Still, hope is bleak if a player of his stature has that little effect on the overall Houston soccer market - if they even knew he was in town.

Dynamo player of the game: Memo Rodriguez

Next up:

Saturday, May 25 at Minnesota United FC (7:00 p.m. CT, KUBE57) [ESPN+ for U.S. non-Houston markets]

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