THE SOCCER REPORT

Chelsea host Manchester United in Carabao Cup; Houston Dynamo, USWNT name new managers

Christian Pulisic became the second American to score a hat-trick in the Premier League after doing so for Chelsea aginst Burnley. Photo: Getty Images

The Houston Dynamo officially announced the appointment of former U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Tab Ramos as the club's new Head Coach last Friday. Ramos arrived in the Bayou City on Monday and has begun to plan for the 2020 Major League Soccer season.

The Dynamo were not the only ones with a new manager as the U.S. Women's National Team announced the appointment of two-time NWSL Championship winning coach Vlatko Andonovski. The 2019 NWSL Coach of the Year takes over for Jill Ellis, who took the USWNT to back-to-back FIFA Women's World Cup titles.

The U.S. Men also had positive news of their own to share. Sergiño Dest, the 18-year-old Ajax defender, revealed his intent to play for the United States over the Netherlands. Dest had played with the USMNT earlier this year but is yet to be permamently tied through an appearance in an official encounter. Dest also played with the youth national teams of Team USA, including under Ramos at the 2019 U-20 FIFA World Cup.

Here is the rest of the soccer ongoings from the past week:

Major League Soccer

The MLS Cup Playoffs have one finalist decided after Seattle Sounders upset LAFC on Tuesday night. Seattle will play for the championship at Atlanta or will host Toronto, depending on the results of Wednesday night's match.

Conference semifinals results

  • New York City FC 1-2 Toronto FC
  • Atlanta United 2-0 Philadelphia Union
  • Los Angeles FC 5-3 LA Galaxy
  • Seattle Sounders 2-0 Real Salt Lake
Conference finals results
  • Los Angeles FC 1-3 Seattle Sounders
  • Atlanta United vs. Toronto [to be played Wednesday]
MLS Cup Final - November 10th 2:00 p.m. CT

National Women's Soccer League

The 2019 NWSL season came to an end as the North Carolina Courage succesfully defended their title with a 4-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars.

English Premier League

After weeks of concern from U.S. Men's National Team fans over the playing time of Christian Pulisic, the 21-year-old American prodigy scored his first goal for Chelsea F.C. - delivering three in the process. Pulisic became the second U.S. player with a hat-trick in the EPL and the first since Clint Dempsey.

The Premier League resumes this coming weekend but first, English clubs are taking part in the League Cup - known also as the Carabao Cup - during the midweek slate.

Top six: Liverpool (28), Man City (22), Leicester City (20), Chelsea (20), Arsenal (16), Crystal Palace (15)

Scoring leader: 9 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Assists leader: 9 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Updated through October 29 matches

Top six: Barcelona (22), Granada (20), Atletico Madrid (20), Real Sociedad (19), Sevilla (19), Real Madrid (18)

Scoring leader: 7 - Gerard Moreno (Villareal) / Lorenzo Garica (Real Betis)

Assists leader: 4 - Leo Messi (Barcelona) / Santi Cazorla (Villareal)

German Bundesliga

Top six: Monchengladbach (19), Bayern Munich (18), Freiburg (17), Wolfsburg (17), Dortmund (16), RB Leipzig (15)

Scoring leader: 13 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 5 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund) / Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund)

Italian Serie A

Top six: Inter Milan (25), Juventus (23), Atalanta (20), Napoli (17), Roma (16), Lazio (15)

Scoring leader: 10 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 5 - Four players tied

French Ligue 1

Top six: PSG (27), Nantes (19), Lille (18), Reims (18), Brest (17), Angers (17)

Scoring leader: 9 - Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)

Assists leader: 6 - Islam Slimani (Monaco) / Yoann Court (Brest)

TV listings (All Times CT):

Wednesday, October 23

1:00 p.m. - [Serie A] Napoli vs. Atalanta (ESPN+)

1:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Valencia vs. Sevilla (beIN Sports)

2:30 p.m. - [English League Cup] Liverpool vs. Arsenal (ESPN+)

2:45 p.m. - [English League Cup] Aston Villa vs. Wolves (ESPN+)

2:45 p.m. - [German Cup] Dortmund vs. Gladbach (ESPN3)

2:45 p.m. - [German Cup] St Pauli vs. Frankfurt (ESPN3)

3:00 p.m. - [Serie A] Juventus vs. Genoa (ESPN+)

3:00 p.m. - [Serie A] Udinese vs. Roma (ESPN+)

3:00 p.m. - [English League Cup] Chelsea vs. Man United (ESPN+)

3:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. Leganes (beIN SPORTS)

7:00 p.m. - [MLS Cup Playoffs] Atlanta United FC vs. Toronto FC (FS1, FOX Deportes)

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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