THE SOCCER REPORT

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

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 - FINALwww.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 2019www.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, 2019www.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, 2019www.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 Dashwww.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 MXwww.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 | Highlightswww.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 EspaƱol)

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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With both Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers making their way back from surgeries that sideline that Astros pitchers last season, and given the team's thin depth in their starting rotation, Houston fans and media have waited on bated breath for scraps of information to leak out of the notoriously secretive organization regarding their progress.

In a week full of mostly Hurricane Beryl-related bad news, the Astros organization had some discouraging news of their own when manager Joe Espada told the media that Lance McCullers has been shut down from pitching after his arm did not respond well to his latest bullpen session. The team says they are "formulating a plan for what's next."

Another Astros starter making his way back from injury is HOF-bound Justin Verlander. Verlander has been on the IL since June 16th with neck discomfort and, while there was initial hope that JV would only miss a start, his status has become increasingly murky as he is still apparently not close to returning.

Shifting from the health questions of the starters to the performance questions of the bullpen, some Houston fans have voiced concern via social media that Astros big-ticket 9th inning pitcher Josh Hader is not looking like a "shut-down" closer. Hader gave up more home runs in the first week of July (3) as he did the entire month of June (2).

In this week's episode of Stone Cold Stros, Charlie Pallilo and Brandon Strange discuss how the fluid dynamics of Astros pitching is impacting the competitive landscape of the division race. To watch the conversation, just click the video YouTube embedded in this article. To listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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