THE SOCCER REPORT

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid rock Houston, James Harden invests in Dynamo/Dash

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)

------

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

-----

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)

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston needs a win to advance

ALWC Game 2 Preview: Astros vs. Twins

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It took all nine innings, but the Astros rallied late and took Game 1 by a score of 4-1 and are in the driver's seat in this best-of-three series. They'll return to Target Field, home of the Twins, on Wednesday afternoon to try and get the win and advance to the ALDS. Here's what you need to know about Game 2:

Game Facts

When: Wednesday, 12:08 PM Central

Where: Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ESPN 2

Streaming: ESPN App

Pitching Matchup: Jose Urquidy+ vs. José Berríos.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central) Location Pitching Matchup
Game 1 Astros 4, Twins 1 Target Field, Minneapolis Greinke vs. Maeda
Game 2 Wed 9/30, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis Urquidy+ vs. Berríos
Game 3* Thu 10/1, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis McCullers Jr.+ vs. Pineda+

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Houston's offense has to get going earlier

The Twins' error in the ninth inning in Game 1 was a gift for the Astros that they were able to take advantage of and score the winning runs. It's unlikely to be handed another chance like that in the postseason, so in Game 2, it's paramount that Houston creates their own opportunities at the plate.

The good news is, every batter in the lineup was able to reach base in the first game, either by hit or walk. However, they would go 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine on base during the game. Because they can't expect to have two pitchers to combine for a one-run game on Wednesday, they will have to carry over the momentum from the end of Game 1 into Game 2 to build a lead their bullpen can carry.

Trust your arms to navigate through

Whether it's Jose Urquidy, who is the likely candidate, or anyone else who ends up starting Wednesday's game, the Astros have to be prepared to have a longer stretch of innings filled by their bullpen. Despite his struggles to end the regular season, Greinke did well only to allow one run to the Twins over his four innings in Game 1.

You should expect a similar outcome in Game 2, where hopefully your starter can hold the Twins at bay for as long as they can before needing to make the change to relievers. It will be interesting to see how Dusty Baker plays that situation, mostly dependent on the score at the time, as he could have someone like Cristian Javier come in for multiple innings. The only thing the Astros shouldn't do is fire too many of their bullets and put their chances in a potential Game 3 at risk.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome