THE SOCCER REPORT

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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Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March. Photo via: NRG Park/Facebook

Football players, coaches and general managers have come and gone, but only one person has been running the business side of the Texans, well, even before they were the Texans. Jamey Rootes has been President of the Houston Texans since 1999, when an NFL team in Houston was still just a gleam in owner Bob McNair's eyes. That's before the team adopted the name "Texans" in 2000, before there was NRG Stadium, which opened as Reliant Stadium in 2000, and before they became serial champs of the AFC South, six titles between 2011-2019.

The precise date was Oct. 6, 1999 when NFL owners voted 29-0 to award the NFL's 32nd and newest franchise to Houston. Not only that, Houston was awarded the 2004 Super Bowl. Rootes, 34 years old with no NFL experience, had his work cut out for him. Before taking the job in Houston, Rootes was team president, general manager and CEO of selling peanuts and popcorn for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer, with all due respect, is not nearly a national obsession like the National Football League.

"I wasn't intimidated," Rootes said. "There's a quote that I love, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' I've always been a purpose-driven person. As for the step up to the NFL, I went from knowing nothing at the start of my time in Columbus to five years later thinking, OK, I've got this sports thing down. Actually, I had a very significant reduction in my responsibilities in Houston. When I was in Columbus, I ran the stadium, I ran the team's business, I was the general manager so I did the talent side of it, too. When I came to Houston, all I had to do was the business, so that was great."

Rootes has captured his remarkable journey from the soccer team at Clemson to grad school at Indiana University to the business world at IBM and Proctor & Gamble to the Clemson Crew, to ultimately being named President of the Houston Texans in his new book, The Winning Game Plan: A Proven Leadership Playbook for Continuous Business Success, available next week.

I've known Rootes from his day one with the Texans, but I still had to ask: everybody knows what the general manager does, and what the head coach does. What exactly does the President of an NFL team worth $3.3 billion do?

"I like to use the parallel of a pharmaceutical company to describe my job. There are two sides to that company. First you put scientists in one building and you leave them alone. They create products, which is what our football team is. The football side has a coach and general manager and all the people who prepare the team to play on Sunday. But getting that product to market is done by the business side, traditional business disciplines. Those are the things that fall to me. Basically, everything between the white lines is run by the football side. Everything outside of those lines, I do," Rootes said.

Between 1999 and 2002, when the Texans played their first game (let the record show the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboy, 19-10), the team was essentially a massive start-up project. First orders of business for Rootes involved building a new stadium, developing relationships with suppliers, contractors and government officials, preparing for a Super Bowl and, most important, developing a relationship with fans.

Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March, but it's really an accumulation of lessons learned and behind-the-scenes stories about building the Texans from scratch into one of the most admired and valuable franchises in all of sports.

"I've always been a meticulous note-taker. I've kept every presentation I've ever done. I took all of my notes and concepts and put those down on paper," Rootes said. "To be a good leader, you need a wild imagination. You can show me a blank piece of paper, but I don't see it as blank. To me, it's a finished product that hasn't been created yet," Rootes said.

Rootes lays out his leadership strategy in seven chapters: Are You a Manager or a Leader, Get the Right People on Your Team, Build a Winning Culture, Create Raving Fans, a Winning Playbook for Adversity and Success, Your Leadership Playbook and Play to Win.

He learned lesson No. 1 the hard way. A friend once counseled Rootes, "your staff doesn't like the way you're all up in their business, you need to back off." Rootes took that advice to heart.

"It was an epiphany. I wasn't a leader. That's when I truly began thinking about leadership. I say this all the time, I don't do anything. All I do is create an environment where exceptional people can be their very best self. I know what's going on. I'm fully informed. I leave every game day exhausted. I get there early. I do the things I need to do. I kiss babies. I shake hands. I present checks. I entertain clients. I'm dialed in. It absolutely wears me out because I love this organization so much. I am so proud of what we've been able to do for this great city of Houston."

I asked Rootes, as someone who lives for Game Day and a packed NRG Stadium, are you devastated by 2020, the year of COVID-19 and small crowds limited by Centers for Disease Control guidelines?

"I don't look at it that way. I think there's a song by 10,000 Maniacs that said, these are the days that you'll remember. I told my staff, I know you're all going through hell right now, but later on in life, you'll talk about this year. Things that are important are memorable, for the positive and those things that leave a scar. You learn from adversity and you're a better person for enduring it. Victor Frankl said 'We can discover meaning in life in three different ways, by creating a work or doing a deed, experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.' Suffering is part of life. He should know, he survived a Nazi concentration camp," Rootes said.

H-E-B President Scott McClelland wrote the forward to The Winning Game Plan. Rootes dedicates the book to late Texans owner Bob McNair. Rootes' book is a fun read. All I kept thinking was, where was this book when I needed it? And before you buy too much into Rootes as a leader, consider that Rootes admits that he had to ask for wife Melissa's permission before he could accept the Texans job.

Personal note: I believe that a big part of leadership is the ability to keep a promise. Several years ago, I was riding my bicycle with my dog Lilly on a leash. It was the only way I could keep up with her. Well, one time Lilly saw a squirrel and pulled me off my bicycle. I tumbled a few times and rolled next to the curb. When I looked up, there was Jamey Rootes. I told him, "There's no need for you to tell anybody about this." He never said a word.

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