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)

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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)

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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.

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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)

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Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

After rallying in the ninth inning in Game 1 to take the pivotal opener of this best-of-three ALWC series, the Astros were in the driver's seat to try and end the series on Wednesday with another win at Target Field. Here is a quick rundown of Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 3, Twins 1.

Series: HOU Wins 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier.

Losing Pitcher: Cody Stashak.

Houston gets the first hit and first run in the fourth

Through the first three innings, neither team could get a hit off of Jose Berrios or Jose Urquidy, though the Twins did load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and an error, but Urquidy would strand the runners before getting 1-2-3 innings in the second and third.

Meanwhile, the Astros lineup was retired in order in three perfect innings by Berrios. That changed in the top of the fourth when Houston would get back-to-back two-out walks to set up the first hit of the game, an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Dusty Baker makes another early call to the bullpen before Twins tie it up

Urquidy was able to keep the 1-0 lead by working around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, the first hit for the Twins. He returned in the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before a strikeout for the first out. Dusty Baker would pull another early hook, like Greinke the day prior, dipping into his bullpen early to end Urquidy's day at just 76 pitches in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 P.

Brooks Raley was who Baker called on to face the top of the Twins' lineup. He would walk his first batter, putting runners on first and second, get a strikeout for the second out, then allow an RBI-double to Nelson Cruz that almost scored a second, go-ahead run. Instead, the runner was out at home thanks to a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa, bulleting the ball to Maldonado at home, who made a great tag to save the run and keep it tied 1-1.

Correa homers, Astros advance to ALDS

After Raley completed the fifth inning for Urquidy, Cristian Javier was the next reliever out to begin the bottom of the sixth. He would toss a 1-2-3 frame, sending the tie game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa broke the tie with a long, loud two-out solo home run to center-field, putting the Astros back in front 2-1.

Javier held on to the one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh by working around a leadoff walk, then returned for the eighth. He would get through it scoreless, despite allowing a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, who would be pinch-ran for by the speedy Byron Buxton. After a strikeout for out number two, Javier would catch Buxton between first and second base in a rundown, getting the big final out of the inning.

Houston added insurance in the top of the ninth, getting two on base before an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, his second of the day to make it 3-1. That left things up to closer Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance of the postseason. He would notch the save, advancing the Astros to the ALDS for their fourth-straight year.

Up Next: The Astros will now have a few days off to travel to the west coast before starting their ALDS with the winner of the A's / White Sox ALWC series. Game 1 of their ALDS will be on Monday, October 5th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, with start time TBD.

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