The Soccer Report

Dynamo greet fans with open practice; U.S. Men's National Team to visit Houston on March 26

Houston Dynamo Defender DaMarcus Beasley speaks with the media following an open scrimmage at BBVA Compass Stadium.

European clubs capped off a busy start to the year and now focus their attention to Thursday's transfer deadline day - the soccer equivalent of the "trade deadline" famous in American sports. For the elite clubs, it will be their last opportunity to reinforce their squads before the UEFA Champions League resumes in mid-February.

As always, scroll down to the bottom of this article for notable matches coming up this week.

English Premier League

Clubs in England took a week from league play to take part in cup action this week. Third place Tottenham's depth was tested this week but could not pass the test, crashing out of both the English Football League Cup (semifinals loss on penalties to Chelsea) and the FA Cup (fourth Round loss to Crystal Palace). With injuries to important players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Spurs will be tested in their efforts to stay in the top four.

Premier League action resumes on Tuesday with Newcastle-Manchester City and Liverpool-Leicester City as top matchups.

Top six: 1. Liverpool (60), 2. Manchester City (56), 3. Tottenham (51), 4. Chelsea (47), 5. Arsenal (44), 6. Manchester United (44)

Scoring leader: 16 - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Assists leader: 10 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

Highlights Girona FC vs FC Barcelona (0-2) youtu.be

The top four in Spain march on with three points a piece but the big question will be if Barcelona can even slip in what's left of the season, at least enough to make the title race interesting. The defending champions bolstered their squad with the addition of forward Kevin-Prince Boateng and made bigger headlines with the €75 million purchase of 21-year-old Frenkie de Jong (who won't join the team until the summer). Atletico Madrid, on their end, signed former Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata on a loan from Chelsea in an attempt to boost their attack and title aspirations.

By the way, Messi continues to dominate the league in goals and assists.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (49), 2. Atlético Madrid (44), 3. Real Madrid (39), 4. Sevilla (36), 5. Alavés (32), 6. Getafe (31)

Scoring leader: 19 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 10 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Two former MLS prodigies made their debuts in the Bundesliga. Canada's 18-year-old starlet Alphonso Davies got about 15 minutes of play time in Bayern Munich's 4-1 win over Stuttgart while U.S. Men's National Team 19-year-old midfielder Tyler Adams was named a starter and went full ninety in RB Leipzig's 4-0 win at Fortuna. What about Christian Pulisic? He had the day off, watching from the bench as leaders Dortmund handled Hannover 96 with a 5-1 home win.

Top six: 1. Dortmund (48), 2. Bayern Munich (42), 3. Monchengladbach (39), 4. RB Leipzig (34), 5. Eintracht Frankfurt (31), 6. Hoffenheim (28)

Scoring leader: 13 - Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt)

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

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (59), 2. Napoli (48), 3. Inter Milan (40), 4. Milan (35), 5. Roma (34), 6. Sampdoria (33)

Scoring leader: 16 - Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

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

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. PSG (56), 2. Lille (43), 3. Lyon (40), 4. Saint-Étienne (36), 5. Strasbourg (35), 6. Montpellier (35)

Scoring leader: 18 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

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

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (52), 2. Ajax (47), 3. Feyenoord (39)

Scoring leader: 15 - Luuk de Jong (PSV)

Assists leader: 10 - Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (51), 2. Club Brugge (44), 3. Antwerp (42)

Scoring leader: 16 - Mbwana Samatta (Genk)

Assists leader: 12 - Hans Vanaken (Brugge)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Porto (46), 2. Benfica (41), 3. Braga (40)

Scoring leader: 12 - Dyego Sousa (Braga)

Assists leader: 7 - Pizzi (Benfica)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (48), 2. Rangers (45), 3. Kilmarnock (45)

Scoring leader: 32 - Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

Assists leader: 8 - James Tavernier (Rangers)

------

Major League Soccer

Dynamo preseason begins with high expectations | The SLICE youtu.be


The Dynamo continued their preseason with an open scrimmage against their farm team RGVFC on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. The team will continue their preparations ahead of their annual trip to Tucson, Arizona for MLS preseason friendlies. The Dynamo return to action on February 19 in their Concacaf Champions League bout at Guatemalan side Guastatoya.

Liga MX

Monterrey vs. America | 2018-19 Liga MX Highlights youtu.be



Top eight: 1. Monterrey (10), 2. Chivas Guadalajara (9), 3. Tigres UANL (7), 4. Atlas (7), 5. Necaxa (7), 6. Cruz Azul (7), 7. Santos Laguna (7), 8. Toluca FC (6)

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

Assists leader: 4 - Carlos Rodríguez (Monterrey)

------

U.S. Men's National Team

MNT vs. Panama: Highlights - Jan. 27, 2019 www.youtube.com

The U.S Men officially kicked off their road to Qatar 2022 with their first match under new Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. With seven debutants, the U.S. handled Panama with a 3-0 win in Glendale, Arizona. The roster featured off-season MLS players since the European based players were unable to participate in January camp due to FIFA restrictions.

The USMNT return to action in March during a FIFA International window - meaning European club players are eligible to participate - with one of their matches to be played on March 26 at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.


U.S. Women's National Team

WNT vs. Spain: Highlights - Jan. 22, 2019 www.youtube.com

The U.S. Women continued their preparations for this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup with a 1-0 win at Spain to cap off a two-match tour of Europe. The Women will next be in action in one month with matches against Japan, England and Brazil in the 2019 SheBelieves Cup.

------

Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Jan. 29

8:00 a.m. - [AFC Asian Cup] Qatar vs. United Arab Emirates (DAZN)

1:00 p.m. - [Portuguese League] Benfica vs. Boavista (GolTV)

1:45 p.m. - [Coppa Italia] Milan vs. Napoli (ESPN+)

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

Wednesday, Jan. 30

10:30 a.m. - [Coppa Italia] Fiorentina vs. Roma (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [Coppa Italia] Atalanta vs. Juventus (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [Premier League] Bournemouth vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

1:45 p.m. - [Scottish Cup] Cowdenbeath vs. Rangers (ESPN+)

2:30 p.m. - [Copa Del Rey] FC Barcelona vs. Sevilla (beIN SPORTS)

6:00 p.m. - [Argentine Superliga] Godoy Cruz vs. River Plate (Fanatiz)

Thursday, Jan. 31

2:00 p.m. - [Coppa Italia] Inter Milan vs. Lazio (ESPN+)

2:30 p.m. - [Copa del Rey] Girona vs. Real Madrid (beIN Sports)

6:00 p.m. - [Argentine Superliga] San Martin vs. Boca Juniors (Fanatiz)

Friday, Feb. 1

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Hannover 96 vs. RB Leipzig (FS2/FOX Deportes)

Saturday, Feb. 2

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

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Dortmund (FS1/FOX Deportes)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich (FS2/Univision Deportes)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Chelsea vs. Huddersfield Town (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [La Liga] FC Barcelona vs. Valencia (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Cardiff City vs. Bournemouth (NBC)

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

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Celta vs. Sevilla (beIN Sports)

2:30 p.m. - [International Friendly] USA vs. Costa Rica (FOX/UniMás/Univision Deportes)

Sunday, Feb. 3

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Leicester City vs. Manchester United (NBC Sports)

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

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester City vs. Arsenal (NBC Sports)

11:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Inter Milan vs. Bologna (ESPNews/ESPN Deportes)

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

Monday, Feb. 4

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] West Ham vs. Liverpool (NBC Sports)

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston looked much more like themselves

Astros return to form in win over Angels at home

Cristian Javier was impressive Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Hoping to avoid spiraling further out of control, the Astros turned the page from their disappointing road trip and the recent stretch of games. They hoped to start this new homestand on a good note, welcoming in the Angels for four games of this eight-game stint at Minute Maid Park.

Houston would get the much-needed win, with their offense coming alive early in the game to put up big innings, which they rode to the victory thanks in part to a great start by Cristian Javier.

Final Score: Astros 8, Angels 2

Astros' Record: 8-10, fifth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Alex Cobb (1-1)

Astros' offense starts clicking early

Houston would grab the early momentum, despite leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. They would get a leadoff double by Aledmys Diaz in the bottom of the second, followed by an RBI triple by Myles Straw to jump in front 1-0. They made it a three-run inning, with an RBI by Carlos Correa then a bases-loaded RBI-walk by Yuli Gurriel, though for consecutive innings would leave three runners stranded on base.

Correa drove in another in the bottom of the next inning, getting an RBI single to push the lead to four runs, then would come in on a two-run single by Alex Bregman, who made it 6-0. That set things up nicely for Cristian Javier, who was on the mound trying to take advantage of the opportunity for another start.

Javier has an electric start



Javier was electric over the first three innings, including getting eight of the first nine outs by strikeout while allowing only a walk and double during that span. He would have longer innings in the next two, but in both cases would keep the Angels off the board, finishing in line for the win. His final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 98 P.

Houston gets the much-needed win

Meanwhile, Houston's offense kept scoring. They pushed the lead two runs further over the fourth and fifth, getting a run in each with another RBI each for Straw and Bregman. With Javier's night done, Bryan Abreu was first out of the Astros bullpen, and despite allowing a controversial two-run home run to Albert Pujols, of all people, that looked to be a foul ball, got through the inning.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the seventh but would get just one out while hitting a batter and allowing a single before Dusty Baker brought in Brooks Raley to face the heavy left-handed part of the Angels lineup. Raley would get through it, sending things to the seventh-inning stretch with the six-run lead intact.

Raley would get another out before Joe Smith would finish that inning in the top of the eighth. Ryan Pressly, who has been starved for work lately with no save opportunities, would close things out in the ninth as Houston would start this series off with a win.

Up Next: Game two of this four-game set will be another 7:10 PM start on Friday night. Andrew Heaney (1-1, 5.65 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels, while Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.81 ERA) will look to repeat the success of his last start; an eight-inning shutout performance for the Astros.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome