THE SOCCER REPORT

International leagues take break for friendlies; U.S. women advance

Mallory Pugh, 20, and the U.S. Women's National Team have qualified for next summer's FIFA Women's World Cup. Team USA will be looking to defend their crown and pick up their fourth World title. Nike

USWNT punch ticket to 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, England manhandles Spain and Germany’s woes continue against France

The second international break post-2018 FIFA World Cup left plenty to talk about, from the World Champion France to the regionals like the rebuilding United States. On the Women’s side of things, a few more spots for next year’s Women’s World Cup were clinched. In club soccer, Major League Soccer had a few matches with playoff implications.

International Friendlies

Outside of the UEFA Nations League, European sides tested themselves in friendlies to stay active during the international break. The big nations on this side of the world played in friendlies in preparation for their continental tournaments next season.

The United States men’s national team is one of several who are still on a coaching search. The USA opted for a young roster to gain experience against 2018 World Cup participants in Colombia and Peru. Mexico is also in the same boat and tested themselves against Costa Rica and current South American champion Chile. Argentina and Brazil took their brands on the road to Saudi Arabia where they added another chapter to their rivalry. Uruguay went on tour in Asia where they were defeated by both of their hosts in South Korea and Japan.

Notable results:

Italy 1-1 Ukraine

Iraq 0-4 Argentina

Wales 1-4 Spain

USA 2-4 Colombia

Mexico 3-2 Costa Rica

South Korea 2-1 Uruguay

Saudi Arabia 0-2 Brazil

Peru 3-0 Chile

Scotland 1-3 Portugal

Japan 4-3 Uruguay

Argentina 0-1 Brazil

Belgium 1-1 Netherlands

Colombia 3-1 Costa Rica

USA 1-1 Peru

Mexico 0-1 Chile

UEFA Nations League

The Nations League has added another level of competition to European international soccer, making more of mere friendlies and putting higher stakes on these matches. The format may be a bit complicated to grasp at first but it is essentially what the name entails, a league, with financial incentives for the teams that perform best. Countries are paired off in groups with promotion and relegation, with the champion to be crowned next summer. The tournament also influences the qualifying process for Euro 2020.

France handed Germany a 2-1 loss, their sixth in 10 matches, while England handed Spain their first home loss in 15 years.

Notable results:

Poland 2-3 Portugal

Belgium 2-1 Switzerland

Croatia 0-0 England

Netherlands 3-0 Germany

Ireland 0-0 Denmark

Russia 2-0 Turkey

Poland 0-1 Italy

Iceland 1-2 Switzerland

Spain 2-3 England

France 2-1 Germany

Ireland 0-1 Wales

Ukraine 1-0 Czech Republic

Concacaf Nations League Qualifying

Following in the footsteps of Europe, Concacaf (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) has instituted their own Nations League. The qualifying rounds continued during this FIFA date with the top 10 sides also booking their place in next year Concacaf Men’s Championship, known as the Concacaf Gold Cup.

Top 10: 1. Curaçao (6), 2. Haiti (6), 3. Canada(6), 4. Cuba(6), 5. Saint Kitts and Nevis (6), 6. Jamaica (6), 7. Dominican Republic (6), 8. Nicaragua (6), 9. Martinique (6), 10. El Salvador (6)

Notable results:

U.S. Virgin Islands 0-5 Curaçao

Dominican Republic 3-0 Cayman Islands

Puerto Rico 0-1 Martinique

El Salvador 3-0 Barbados

Bonaire 0-6 Jamaica

Nicaragua 6-0 Anguilla

Canada 5-0 Dominica

Saint Lucia 1-2 Haiti

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2018 Concacaf Women's Championship

The U.S. Women’s National Team assured secured a spot in their eight FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday with a 6-0 win over Jamaica, also advancing to the Concacaf Women’s Championship Final. Canada booked their spot to France 2019 as well with a 7-0 win over Panama. The two giants of the region will face off for the Concacaf title on Wednesday night in what will also serve as a preparation for next summer’s tournament. Jamaica and Panama will face off in the third place match with a spot to the Women’s World Cup on the line. Mexico and Costa Rica were left disappointed after being denied qualification in their final game of the group stage.

Group A: USA (9), Panama (6), Mexico (3), Trinidad and Tobago (0)

Group B: Canada (9), Jamaica (6), Costa Rica (3), Cuba (0)

Semifinals: Canada def. Panama, 7-0; USA def. Jamaica 6-0 [Highlights].

Third-place match: Panama vs. Jamaica

Championship match: USA vs. Canada

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Major League Soccer

Eight teams were in action across four matches this weekend as the MLS playoff race continues to take shape. The weekend slate started on Friday night in La La land as LAFC defeated the Houston Dynamo 4-2 to jump Kansas City for second in the Western Conference (the top two seeds get a bye through the wild card round). Mauro Manotas scored the opening goal for the Dynamo before a two-hour weather delay (lighting) would prolong the second half. LAFC would regroup with the break and score four unanswered goals over the course of the match. Andrew Wenger scored a consolation goal late to dwindle the difference down to two.

The only other match this weekend with playoff implications involved the rejuvenated D.C. United against the West’s No. 1 seed FC Dallas. FCD could not increase the gap between them and the rest of the West while D.C. won their third straight to officially jump into the playoff picture. Transformed into a contender by the summer arrival of former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, D.C. jumped Montreal in the standings and controls their destiny with one extra game in hand. In other action, Colorado won 2-0 at Minnesota and New England defeated Orlando City at home - both matches of teams already eliminated from the playoff race.

East top six: 1. Atlanta United (66), 2. NY Red Bulls (65), 3. NYC FC (53), 4. Philadelphia (50), 5. Columbus (48), 6. D.C. United (44).

West top six: 1. FC Dallas (57), 2. LAFC (56), 3. Sporting KC (53), 4. Portland (51), 5. Seattle (50), 6. Real Salt Lake (46).

Scoring leader: 30 - Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)

Assists leader: 17 - Borek Dockal (Philadelphia Union)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

For a primer on all the league action before the FIFA International break, check out last week’s soccer recap.

Wednesday, October 17

6:30 p.m. - [MLS] D.C. United vs. Toronto FC (ESPN+)

6:30 p.m. - [MLS] Orlando City SC vs. Seattle Sounders FC (ESPN+)

7 p.m. - [Concacaf Women's Championship] Final - USA vs. Canada (FS2)

9 p.m. - [MLS] Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Sporting KC (ESPN+)

Thursday, October 18

8 p.m. - [MLS] Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution (ESPN+)

Friday, October 19

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Dusseldorf (FS2)

2 p.m. - [La Liga] Celta Vigo vs. Alaves (beIN Sports en Espanol)

9 p.m. - [Liga MX] Atlas vs. Veracruz (Univision Deportes)

Saturday, October 20

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

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Chelsea vs. Manchester United (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Wolfsburg vs. Bayern Munich (FS1/Univision Deportes)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Stuttgart vs. Dortmund (FOX Deportes)

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

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Valencia vs. Leganes (beIN Sports en Espanol)

11 a.m. - [Serie A] Juventus vs. Genoa (ESPN+)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Huddersfield vs. Liverpool F.C. (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [La Liga] Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid (beIN Sports en Espanol)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Schalke 04 vs. Werder Bremen (FS2)

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] FC Barcelona vs. Sevilla (beIN Sports en Espanol)

5 p.m. - [Liga MX] Queretaro vs. Cruz Azul (ESPN Deportes/Univision Deportes)

7 p.m. - [Liga MX] Pachuca vs. Santos Laguna (ESPN Deportes)

7 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club America vs. Tijuana (Univision/Facebook)

9 p.m. - [Liga MX] Necaxa vs. Leon (Univision)

Sunday, October 21

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Hertha Berlin vs. Freiburg (FS2)

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Eibar vs. Athletic Bilbao (beIN Sports en Espanol)

10 a.m. - [Premier League] Everton vs. Crystal Palace (NBC Sports)

11 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Moenchengladbach vs. Mainz (FS2)

11:30 a.m. - [La Liga] Huesca vs. Espanyol (beIN Sports en Espanol)

12 p.m. - [Liga MX] Lobos BUAP vs. Chivas (Univision)

1:30 p.m. - [Serie A] Inter Milan vs. A.C. Milan (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Betis vs. Valladolid (beIN Sports en Espanol)

2 p.m. - [MLS] Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire (ESPN)

2 p.m. - [MLS] All other Eastern Conference matches (ESPN+)

4 p.m. - [MLS] Minnesota United vs. LA Galaxy (ESPN)

4 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC (KUBE57)

4 p.m. - [MLS] All other Western Conference matches (ESPN+)

5 p.m. - [Liga MX] UNAM vs. Tigres (Univision Deportes)

7 p.m. - [Liga MX] Morelia vs. Puebla (Univision Deportes)

9 p.m. - [Liga MX] Monterrey vs. Toluca (FOX Deportes)

Monday, October 22

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

2 p.m. - [Premier League] Arsenal vs. Leicester City (NBC Sports)

2 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Sociedad vs. Girona (beIN Sports)

Photo courtesy of Nike, Inc.

English Premier League

Every goal from Matchday 23 in the Premier League | NBC Sports www.youtube.com

The race for the top four spots continues to intensify in the Premier League with Manchester United running hot with six straight wins. Their latest win over Brighton now puts the Red Devils three points out of a Champions League spot, thanks to Arsenal's 2-0 win over London rivals Chelsea. At the top of the table, Liverpool continue to march on despite complicating themselves a bit in an eventual 4-3 win over Crystal Palace. Manchester City also picked up three points with the hope of catching up if Liverpool were to slip up.

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

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (46), 2. Atlético Madrid (41), 3. Real Madrid (36), 4. Sevilla (33), 5. Alavés (32), 6. Getafe (31)

Scoring leader: 18 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 10 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

The Bundesliga is back on after the end of the winter break. The top two dogs in the title fight- Dortmund and Bayern Munich - each picked up three points. The storyline here will be to see if Dortmund will be able to break Bayern's quest for a seventh consecutive league title. Dortmund's 1-0 win over Leipzig featured a unique matchup for American fans as U.S. men's national team players Christian Pulisic and Leipzig's Tyler Adams were on opposite ends of the sideline. Adams, who recently transferred to RB Leipzig from sister club New York Red Bulls, is still waiting to make his Bundesliga debut.

Top six: 1. Dortmund (45), 2. Bayern Munich (39), 3. Monchengladbach (36), 4. RB Leipzig (31), 5. Eintracht Frankfurt (30), 6. Wolfsburg (28)

Scoring leader: 13 - Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Assists leader: 8 - Sébastien Haller (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Italian Serie A

Juventus and A.C. Milan faced off midweek in the SuperCoppa Italiana final that was contested on foreign soil in Saudi Arabia. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the lone goal to pick up his first piece of silverware with his new club.
Top six: 1. Juventus (56), 2. Napoli (47), 3. Inter Milan (40), 4. Milan (34), 5. Roma (33), 6. Lazio (32)

Scoring leader: 14 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) / Duván Zapata (Atalanta) / Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

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

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. PSG (53), 2. Lille (40), 3. Lyon (37), 4. Saint-Étienne (36), 5. Strasbourg (32, 6. Montpellier (31)

Scoring leader: 17 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 7 - Angel Di Maria (PSG) / Kenny Lala (Strasbourg) / Memphis Depay (Lyon) / Nicolas Pépé (Lille)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (49), 2. Ajax (47), 3. Feyenoord (36)

Scoring leader: 15 - Luuk de Jong (PSV)

Assists leader: 9 - Arbër Zeneli (Heerenveen)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (51), 2. Club Brugge (41), 3. Antwerp (41)

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 (42), 2. Rangers (42), 3. Kilmarnock (41)

Scoring leader: 12 - Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

Assists leader: 8 - James Tavernier (Rangers)

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Major League Soccer

Chris Duvall says winning mentality set on day one www.youtube.com

Preseason is officially underway for all 24 teams in Major League Soccer, including the hometown Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo will host an open practice at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday. The transfer saga surrounding star Alberth Elis appears to be over as reports from Honduras state that the player has agreed to forego his transfer demand, at least until the summer transfer window.

Up the road in Austin, Major League Soccer announced Austin FC as the newest club to join the league. The team will begin play in the 2021 season. Soccer Matters host Glenn Davis spoke exclusively with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and FOX Sports Analyst Alexi Lalas on what the addition of Austin means for the league and soccer in Texas.

Liga MX

Top eight: 1. Chivas Guadalajara (9), 2. Monterrey (7), 3. Toluca FC (6), 4. Lobos BUAP (6), 5. Club America (6), 6. Necaxa (6), 7. Tigres UANL (4), 8. Atlas (4)

Scoring leader: 4 - Leonardo Ramos (Lobos BUAP)

Assists leader: 3 - Carlos Rodríguez (Monterrey)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Jan. 22

1:30 p.m. - [Women's International Friendly] Spain vs. USA (ESPN2/Univision Deportes)

1:45 p.m. - [Portuguese League Cup] Benfica vs. Porto (fuboTV)

2:30 p.m. - [Copa Del Rey] Getafe vs. Valencia (beIN SPORTS)

Wednesday, Jan. 23

1:45 p.m. - [English League Cup] Burton Albion vs. Manchester City (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [Scottish Premiership] Kilmarnock vs. Rangers (B/R Live)

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

7:00 p.m. - [Argentine Superliga] River Plate vs. Union Santa Fe (Fanatiz)

Thursday, Jan. 24

12:30 p.m. - [Copa del Rey] Espanyol vs. Real Betis (beIN Sports)

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

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

Friday, Jan. 25

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Hertha Berlin vs. Schalke (FS2/Univision Deportes)

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

1:55 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Arsenal v Manchester United (ESPN+)

Saturday, Jan. 26

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Dortmund vs. Hannover (FS1/Univision Deportes)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Monchengladbach vs. Augsburg (FS2)

9:00 a.m. - [English FA Cup] Manchester City v Burnley (ESPN+)

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

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Werder Bremen vs. Frankfurt (FS2)

1:30 p.m. - [Serie A] A.C. Milan vs. Napoli (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Betis (beIN Sports)

Sunday, Jan. 27

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Girona vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports)

10:00 a.m. - [English FA Cup] Crystal Palace v Tottenham (ESPN+)

11:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Torino vs. Inter Milan (ESPN+)

12:00 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Chelsea v Sheffield Wednesday (ESPN+)

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

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

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