THE SOCCER REPORT

Dynamo tie LA Galaxy in sold out opener; Real Madrid take El Clasico and La Liga lead

Dynamo tie LA Galaxy in sold out opener; Real Madrid take El Clasico and La Liga lead
Mauro Manotas' goal earned the Dynamo their first point of the season. Photo: Manuel Gonzalez / Deporte Total USA

MLS is back with its 25th season and the opening weekend had plenty of big goals and special moments. Over in Europe, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona met in the sport's most talked about rivalry worldwide.

Here is a recap of last week's top action:

International Club competitions

UEFA Champions League

Round of 16 - First Leg

  • Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich
  • Napoli 1-1 FC Barcelona
  • Lyon 1-0 Juventus
  • Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City
Concacaf Champions League

Round of 16 - Second Leg

  • Atlanta United 3-0 Motagua (ATL advances 4-1)
  • Cruz Azul 4-0 Portmore United (CAZ advances 6-1)
  • New York City FC 1-0 AD San Carlos (NYC advances 6-3)
  • Montreal Impact 0-0 Saprissa (MTL advances, 2-2 agg, on away goals)
  • Tigres UANL 4-2 Alianza FC (TIG advances 5-4)
  • Club America 1-1 Comunicaciones (2-2 agg., AME advances 5-3 on pens.)
  • Seattle Sounders FC 2-2 Olimpia (4-4 agg., OLI advances 4-2 on pens.)
  • LAFC 3-0 Club Leon (LAFC advances 3-2)
Quarterfinals take place March 10-18

English Premier League

Liverpool FC's bid for an undefeated season ended at the hands of Watford, who jump out of the relegation zone with a 3-0 victory.

Top six: 1. Liverpool (79), 2. Man City (57), 3. Leicester City (50), 4. Chelsea (45), 5. Manchester United (42), 6. Wolves (42)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. Bournemouth (27), 19. Aston Villa (25), 20. Norwich City (21)

Scoring leader: 17 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) / Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Assists leader: 16 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

With goals from Vinicius and Mariano, Real Madrid took a 2-0 win in El Clasico and the lead at the top of the table in La Liga.

Top six: 1. Real Madrid (56), 2. FC Barcelona (55), 3. Sevilla (46), 4. Getafe (45), 5. Atletico Madrid (44), 6. Real Sociedad (43)

Bottom three: 18. Mallorca (22), 19. Leganes (20), 20. Espanyol (20)

Scoring leader: 18 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 12 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (52), 2. RB Leipzig (49), 3. Dortmund (48), 4. Monchengladbach (46), 5. Bayer Leverkusen (44), 6. Schalke 04 (36)

Bottom three: 16. Fortuna (21), 17. Werder Bremen (17), 18. Paderborn (16)

Scoring leader: 25 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 16 - Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Lazio (62), 2. Juventus (60), 3. Inter Milan (54), 4. Atalanta (48), 5. Roma (45), 6. Napoli (39)

Bottom three: 18. Genoa (22), 19. Brescia (16), 20. SPAL (15)

Scoring leader: 27 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 12 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top four: 1. PSG (68), 2. Marseille (55), 3. Rennes (47), 4. Lille (46)

Bottom three: 18. Nimes (27), 19. Amiens (22), 20. Toulouse (13)

Scoring leader: 18 - Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Assists leader: 14 - Angel Di Maria (PSG)

Major League Soccer

The 25th season of MLS got underway with a soccer game with American football lines... just like the good old days (thanks to XFL at D.C. United's Audi Field).

The Houston Dynamo hosted LA Galaxy and the signing of the offseason in Mexican superstar Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward stole the spotlight but it would be the South American goalscorers who would get on the scoresheet. Cristian Pavon opened the scoring for LA while Mauro Manotas earned the point for the Dynamo - match ended in a 1-1 tie. Alberth Elis and offseason signing Darwin Quintero were among the players who missed the sold out home opener due to injury.

Over 59,000 packed Nissan Stadium in Nashville for the expansion side's opening match against Atlanta United, with the visitors taking a 2-1 victory. David Beckham's Inter Miami, the other expansion team this year, lost 1-0 at LAFC on Sunday.

Liga MX

Clausura 2020

Top eight: 1. Cruz Azul (16), 2. Club America (16), 3. Leon (15), 4. Juarez (14), 5. Pumas UNAM (14), 6. Santos Laguna (14), 7. Queretaro (13), 8. CD Guadalajara (12)

Scoring leader: 7 - Jonathan Rodriguez (Cruz Azul) / Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres UANL)

Assists leader: 5 - Pablo Barrera (Pumas)

TV listings (All Times CT):

For full info on soccer TV listings and streaming services in the United States, visit worldsoccertalk.com

Tuesday, March 3

1:45 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Chelsea vs. Liverpool (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [German Cup] Schalke 04 vs. Bayern Munich (ESPNU, ESPN Deportes)

4:15 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Defensa y Justicia vs. Santos (beIN Sports)

6:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] America de Cali vs. Gremio (beIN Sports Connect)

Wednesday, March 4

1:45 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Sheffield Wednesday vs. Man City (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Spurs vs. Norwich (ESPN+)

Thursday, March 5

1:45 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Derby vs. Man United (ESPN+)

6:00 p.m. - [SheBelieves Cup] USWNT vs. England (ESPN2, TUDN)

Friday, March 6

8:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Pumas UNAM vs. Club América (TUDN)

Saturday, March 7

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

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Wolfsburg vs. RB Leipzig (FS1, FOX Deportes)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Arsenal vs. West Ham (NBC Sports)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Wolves vs. Brighton (CNBC)

9:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Burnley vs. Spurs (NBC Sports)

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

7:30 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo at Sporting KC (KUBE57)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Atlas vs. Chivas (Univision)

Sunday, March 8

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

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

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

Monday, March 9

3:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Leicester City vs. Aston Villa (NBC Sports)

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Following Houston's 6-4 road trip, the Astros returned home to finish the first "half" of the season before the All Star break hosting Florida and Texas. Houston's road trip was filled with clutch performances in New York, dominance in taking 3 of 4 in Toronto, and a dose of close calls and tough realities with a short-handed team against Minnesota.

Now the Astros hope to take care of business against the lowly Marlins and division rival Rangers. The Texas series, in particular gives Houston the opportunity to reassert their hold on the #2 spot ahead of the Rangers who have won their last 5 games in a row (as of the time this was published). Both teams have won 7 of their last 10 games and hope to catch a free-falling Seattle team to overtake the division lead.

Dana Brown told the media last week he expects both Justin Verlander and Kyle Tucker to be reactivated following the All-Star break but Tucker's updates continue to be more promising than Verlander's and MUCH more promising than Lance McCullers. Astros manager informed the media this week that McCullers has been shut down from throwing after his arm did not respond well to his recent bullpen sessions and the team is formulating the plan for what's next for the embattled pitcher. McCullers hasn't pitched since the 2022 postseason and underwent season-ending flexor tendon surgery last June. McCullers is under contract with Houston until 2026.

An eventual return for Kyle Tucker would spur a juggling act from Joe Espada to find a proper balance of time for all his outfielders, none of which have separated themselves offensively. Chas McCormick had a great month of June recording an .804 OPS but that run looks more like an anomaly as his scuffles have continued over the past 2.5 weeks, recording just 4 hits over his last 32 plate appearances.

While Jake Meyers has wowed fans and teammates with his glove this season, his offense has hit a skid, hitting just .184 with a .565 OPS over the past month. After rookie Joey Loperfido's torrid debut, he too has struggled with the bat, hitting just .216 with .599 OPS over the same time period.

An unexpected bright spot has been the recent play of first baseman Jon Singleton. Over the last 4 weeks, "Big Jon" is batting .302 with an .802 OPS. It's worth mentioning that Singleton's season numbers are better than Florida's Josh Bell, who drew interest from Astros fans over the past several seasons as a potential answer at first base. Bell has 135 more ABs this season so its not quite an apples-to-apples comparison but there's no doubt Singleton's contributions were sorely needed following the release of Jose Abreu.

To watch part 1 of this week's episode of Stone Cold StrosStone Cold Stros, just click the video above or 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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