THE SOCCER REPORT

Dynamo trio score in international competition; Maradona returns to coaching

Credit: Houston Dynamo

The September FIFA break brought a pause to league matches all around the world for international competitions and friendlies. Here are the top stories from the week, followed by a schedule of some of the more compelling upcoming matches.

Dynamo fall in the standings in bye week, three players score in international play

Houston Dynamo fell to 11th (out of 12) in the Western Conference despite not playing this weekend thanks to the Colorado Rapids win over Seattle Sounders. The Dynamo have two matches this week and, depending on results, could still fall to last place in the Western Conference.

Not everything was bad news for the Dynamo as five of their players featured for their national teams during the international break.

Defender Aljaz "Kiki" Struna scored for Slovenia in a 2-0 win against Poland last Friday. Struna started in the 3-2 win over Israel on Monday but was subbed off in the second half due to injury. Slovenia is currently second in their group and is well positioned to qualify for next summer's EURO 2020.

Darwin Ceren scored off a penalty in El Salvador's 3-0 win over Saint Lucia in Concacaf Nations League. He also featured in the 0-1 loss at the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

Alberth Elis and Maynor Figueroa saw action in Honduras' 2-1 home win in a friendly against Jose Bizama's Chile. Elis scored the tying goal for Honduras while Bizama, a summer signing for the Dynamo, came off the bench in the 75th minute.

The Dynamo are back home on Wednesday against Minnesota Untied (7:30 p.m. CT, KUBE 57)

Houston Dash lose 0-3 at Chicago Red Stars, virtually ending playoff hopes

The Houston Dash fell to 7th place (out of 9 teams) in the National Women's Soccer League standings with a road loss against likely playoff-bound Chicago Red Stars. The loss puts Houston nine points behind fourth place Utah, who the Dash will host on Friday night.

U.S. Men's National Team lose to Mexico, draw with Uruguay

A rematch of this summer's Concacaf Gold Cup final, just over a month after that encounter, ended in a 0-3 loss for the United States in front of a pro-Mexico crowd at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey last Friday.

The USMNT recovered from that heavily scrutinized match with a 1-1 draw against an alternate Uruguay squad at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo has a four-goal performance in Euro 2020 qualifiers

Cristiano Ronaldo continues to wreck it at the international stage at the age of 34, getting a "poker" against Lithuania in EURO 2020 qualifiers. His four-goal performance extends his mark of international goals to 93 with Portugal.

Diego Maradona is presented as head coach of Argentina Superliga club Gimnasia

There's one word that can never be used when Diego Maradona is in the news - boring. The legendary FIFA World Cup winner, regarded as one of the greatest to ever play the game, has returned to his native land as the Manager of Argentina top division team Gimnasia La Plata.

Maradona was unveiled over the weekend at the club's 33,500-seat stadium to a capacity crowd of supporters and worldwide media.

Gimnasia's first match with Maradona at the helm comes Sunday 9:00 a.m. CT in league action against defending champions Racing Club.

Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Wednesday, September 11

7:30 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United (KUBE 57)

Friday, September 13

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Dusseldorf vs. Wolfsburg (FS2, FOX Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Mallorca vs. Athletic Bilbao (beIN Sports)

6:30 p.m. - [Liga MX] Puebla vs. Atletico San Luis (TUDN, ESPN Deportes)

7:30 p.m. - [NWSL] Houston Dash vs. Utah Royals

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club Tijuana vs. Tigres (FOX Deportes)

Saturday, September 14

6:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. Levante (beIN Sports)

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

8:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Fiorentina vs. Juventus (ESPN+)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen (FS1, FOX Deportes)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Cologne vs Borussia Monchengladbach (FS2, TUDN)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Spurs vs. Crystal Palace (NBC Sports)

9:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Leganes vs. Villarreal (beIN Sports en Español)

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

11:30 a.m. - [La Liga] Real Sociedad vs. Atletico Madrid (beIN Sports en Español)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich (FS2, UniMas)

1:30 p.m. - [La Liga] FC Barcelona vs. Valencia (beIN Sports)

9:00 p.m. - [MLS] Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo (KUBE 57)

Sunday, September 15

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Bournemouth vs. Everton (NBC Sports)

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

2:30 p.m. - [MLS] Portland Timbers vs. D.C. United (ESPN)

9:00 p.m. - [MLS] LA Galaxy vs. Sporting KC (FS1)

Monday, September 16

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

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The Legacy Project has a long history in the city of Houston. Courtesy image.

Each year, the NCAA is committed to leaving a legacy in the Men’s and Women’s Final Four host cities to foster goodwill and sportsmanship. The Men’s Final Four Legacy Project presented by Unilever will select a community facility in Harris County and provide renovations in 2023. This will be the first time a Local Organizing Committee offers an open call for applications in order to select a project. Unilever, the Official Personal Care Partner of the NCAA, is in its twelfth year as an NCAA Corporate Partner and has been the presenting partner of the Legacy Project since 2018.

“One of the key roles that the Houston Local Organizing Committee plays is working with the NCAA to ensure that the impact of having an event like the Men’s Final Four in our city is felt long beyond the tournament’s conclusion. The Men’s Final Four Legacy Project presented by Unilever is one example of a community-focused project that will make a difference in our community for years to come,” says Rachel Quan, HLOC vice president of external operations.

The Legacy Project has a long history in the city of Houston. In 2011, the NCAA and HLOC worked to restore the basketball court and facilities at the MD Anderson Family YMCA. The renovation helped see a drastic increase in membership and enhanced the center’s ability to continue to reach neighborhood youth. In 2016, the Morefield Boys and Girls Club in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Houston received a refurbished basketball court thanks to the NCAA’s Legacy Project.

Working alongside the HLOC, the NCAA and corporate partner, Unilever, we will once again leave behind a legacy in the city by choosing and renovating another community facility in 2023.Applications are open to the public online through midnight on Monday, May 20, 2022.

To qualify, applicants must be located in Harris County. Applications awarded the highest score by community relations evaluators will earn the chance for the HLOC and NCAA to do a site visit to consider the project. A winner will be announced in the summer/fall of 2022 and unveiled in spring 2023, prior to the Men’s Final Four in April.

About the 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Four®

Houston will host the 2023 Men’s Final Four® from March 31 through April 3, 2023. Houston Baptist University, Rice University, Texas Southern University and the University of Houston will make history as the first quartet of institutions to host the Final Four. Games will be played on April 1 and 3 at NRG Stadium. The city of Houston is hosting the event for the fourth time, having previously crowned national champions in 1971, 2011 and 2016. For more information, visit https://www.ncaa.com/mens-final-four/.

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