THE SOCCER REPORT

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

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)

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Reed Sheppard to Houston seems to be the common consensus. Composite Getty Image.

French 7-footer Alexandre Sarr has widely been projected to follow the footsteps of fellow countryman Victor Wembanyama as the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

But Sarr isn't the only big man expected to have his name called.

Though the June 26 draft isn't loaded with bigs, it does have the two-time national college player of the year and a two-time national champion available.

UConn's Donovan Clingan won two national championships and could go in the lottery with his strong pick-and-roll skills and shot-blocking ability.

Purdue's Zach Edey is expected to go much later in the first round due to his lack of mobility and perimeter shooting, but he is the first two-time national player of the year since Ralph Sampson, so there's likely a place for him in the NBA.

This year's draft also includes Kyle Filipowski from Duke, Indiana's Kel'el Ware and Baylor's Yves Missi, so there will be chances for teams looking to add size.

Then again, some team may even take a chance on using a first-round pick on Southern California's Bronny James, son of NBA career scoring leader LeBron James.

1. ATLANTA HAWKS: Alexandre Sarr, center, France

Sarr doesn't have the all-around skills of Wembanyama, but then no one really does. He's still extremely talented, an athletic 7-footer who can wreck rims and the hopes of opposing shooters. Sarr's shot still needs some work, but he could end up becoming a franchise player in the next few years. Atlanta fans should love watching him throw down lobs from Trae Young.

2. WASHINGTON WIZARDS: Zaccharie Risacher, forward, France

Many NBA mock drafts have Risacher going No. 1 — and for good reason. The 6-foot-9 forward has the skills of a guard and should be a perfect fit for today's NBA. Risacher is a superb catch-and-shoot wing who can beat defenders off the dribble and has a huge defensive upside with his length and athleticism. He may end up being the franchise player the Wizards need in their rebuild.

3. HOUSTON ROCKETS: Reed Sheppard, guard, Kentucky

The Rockets need shooters and Sheppard is certainly that. The 6-3 guard may be the best shooter in the draft — his 52% mark would have led Division I last season if he had enough attempts to qualify.

He has a high basketball IQ — both parents played at Kentucky — and averaged 12.5 points as a freshman.

Last week's mock draft also had Sheppard going to the Rockets.

4. SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Stephon Castle, guard, UConn

The Huskies were loaded with talented players in their title defense last season and Castle had no trouble fitting in as a freshman. The 6-6 guard is a solid playmaker who can get his own shot and is a hard-nosed defender. His size and athleticism could end up making him one of the best players of the draft, particularly if he improves his outside shot. Even at 19, he’s already a proven winner.

5. DETROIT PISTONS: Matas Buzelis, forward, G League Ignite

Buzelis bypassed college basketball to play in the G League and improved his draft status by gaining muscle while rounding out his game. The 6-8 forward is an excellent playmaker who can see over defenders and finishes strong at the rim in transition. Buzelis will need to work on his perimeter shooting, though: He hit 27% from 3 for the Ignite last season.

6. CHARLOTTE HORNETS: Donovan Clingan, center, UConn

Clingan's a proven winner as the massive anchor to UConn's back-to-back NCAA titles. Though he doesn't fit the NBA mold of a perimeter-shooting big man, the 7-2, 280-pounder is a load for opponents inside at both ends of the floor and would be a great fit for a Charlotte team that was 25th in the NBA in blocked shots last season. Clingan also is excellent at finishing on lobs, which could be a great fit with LaMelo Ball running the point in Charlotte.

7. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: Rob Dillingham, guard, Kentucky

Portland was last in the NBA in 3-point percentage last season and Dillingham's 44% mark in his lone season at Kentucky was nearly 10 points higher than the Blazers' percentage. Though small at 6-1, 165 pounds, Dillingham has a big game with an ability to score at three levels and has the quickness to beat defenders off the dribble. His size could be a liability on defense.

8. SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Ron Holland II, forward, G League Unite

Holland could end up being the best defensive forward in the draft. The 6-7 forward has a nose for the ball defensively — he averaged more than 2 steals a game in the G League — and is excellent in the open floor. Holland can create his own shot, but needs to make more after shooting 24% from 3 on 3.6 attempts per game last season. The Spurs are at least in a position to wait for him to develop.

9. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: Dalton Knecht, guard, Tennessee

A knockdown shooter, Knecht could be a great complement to Ja Morant. The 6-6 shooting guard is superb at shooting off screens and can fill it up in a hurry, like he did while scoring 37 points against Purdue in the Elite Eight. Knecht is close to a finished product already, a 23-year-old who should contribute right away.

10. UTAH JAZZ: Tidjane Salaun, forward, France

Salaun can make it three French players as lottery picks in this year's draft. The 6-9 forward fits the NBA style of play. He can shoot it from deep and improved his game — not to mention his frame — while playing in the French LNB Pro A, the same league as Wembanyama before his move to the NBA. Salaun may be a longer-term project, but has massive upside.

11. CHICAGO BULLS: Cody Williams, guard, Colorado

He’s a thin 6-8, but has the size and athleticism to shoot over or get around defenders. Williams can create his own shot, is an excellent finisher and has good playmaking skills for a shooting guard. He shot a respectable 41% from 3 during his freshman season and has a huge defensive upside with his length and agility.

12. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: Ron Holland, forward, G League Unite

Holland could end up being the best defensive forward in the draft. The 6-7 forward has a nose for the ball defensively — he averaged more than 2 steals a game in the G League — and is excellent in the open floor, which would be a great fit in OKC. Holland can create his own shot, but needs to make more after shooting 24% from 3 on 3.6 attempts per game last season. The Thunder are at least in a position to wait for him to develop.

13. SACRAMENTO KINGS: Devin Carter, guard, Providence

The 6-3 guard has a massive wingspan and vertical leap, which helped allow him make a big jump from 13 points to 19.7 last season. Carter has a high basketball IQ, is a hard-nosed defender and an excellent rebounder for a guard. The son of former NBA player Anthony Carter, he was the Big East player of the year in a league that included Clingan and Castle.

14. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: Ja'Kobe Walter, guard, Baylor

The 6-5 guard was not shy in putting it up from 3 for the Bears as a freshman, taking more than four a game while shooting 34%. His long wingspan and athleticism give Walter the potential to become a defensive stopper at the next level. Shot selection and adding a bit of muscle to his 197-pound frame will be the biggest adjustments in the move to the NBA, but he's only 19, so there's plenty of time.

15. MIAMI HEAT: Nikola Topic, guard, Serbia

At 6-6, Topic is a superb passer with great vision and size to see over defenders. He also has the strength to get into the lane and can finish strong at the rim, making him able to control a game even without being a great 3-point shooter. Would be projected to go higher — maybe with the Spurs’ first pick at No. 4 — but medical tests showed he has a partially torn ACL in his left knee, which he injured twice last season in Europe.

16. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: Jared McCain, guard, Duke

He was Duke's toughest competitor during his lone season in Durham and is an elite shooter who could fit in on any team. McCain is an excellent shooter off screens and in the pullup game, but can also run the point if needed. He has a high basketball IQ, so should pick up the NBA game fairly quickly.

17. LOS ANGELES LAKERS: Kel'el Ware, center, Indiana

The 7-footer with a 7-5 wingspan has the length and game to have an immediate impact in the NBA. Ware quickly moved up NBA draft boards during team workouts and is a strong rim protector. He's also excellent on lobs and shot 43% from 3 last season, making him the type of stretch big man NBA teams covet.

18. ORLANDO MAGIC: Carlton Carrington, guard, Pittsburgh

The player known as “Bub” gets buckets in bunches and loves the pull-up J. The 6-4 guard has good size to play point guard and, at 19, has plenty of time to develop. His biggest downside: perimeter shooting. Carrington didn’t lack for confidence in his freshman season, attempting 6.1 3s per game, but shot 32% from the arc.

19. TORONTO RAPTORS: Zach Edey, center, Purdue

Even with a lack of mobility and perimeter shooting, Edey was still the first repeat AP national player of the year since Ralph Sampson. At 7-4, 300 pounds, he dominated the college game and will be a handful even in the NBA. The Canadian would be a popular pick by the Raptors.

20: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Tristan da Silva, forward, Colorado

Any team could use a steady, do-it-all type of player and da Silva is just that. The 6-8 forward doesn't have eye-catching athleticism, but he is smart and has the size and strength to endure the rigors of the NBA. He also can guard multiple positions and may be the most NBA-ready player in the draft after playing four years in Boulder.

21. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS: Isaiah Collier, guard, USC

While Bronny James got much of the hype in Southern California, Collier was the higher-rated prospect out of high school. Once projected as a lottery pick, his draft stock took a bit of a hit during an inconsistent lone season with the Trojans. Even so, Collier has the type of game and solid frame that could translate well in the NBA. The 6-3 guard plays hard with the strength and quickness to get past defenders, but needs to work on his perimeter game after shooting 34% from the college 3-point line.

22. PHOENIX SUNS: Tyler Kolek, guard, Marquette

The Suns have plenty of firepower led by Kevin Durant and Devin Booker but could use a true point guard to help get them organized. The two-time All-American can certainly do that and also provide points when needed, and should be a familiar name to new coach Mike Budenholzer from his time coaching in Milwaukee.

23. MILWAUKEE BUCKS: Yves Missi, center, Baylor

Missi knows his game and sticks to it. A high-motor 6-11 forward, he is a rim runner and shot blocker who didn’t even attempt a 3-pointer last season. The Cameroon native should transition well to the pick-and-roll game of the NBA and is a thunderous dunker, as he proved during his lone season with the Bears.

24. NEW YORK KNICKS: Kyle Filipowski, center, Duke

New York is loaded with Duke fans and Filipowski could be an instant favorite. The sturdy 6-11 center may not be an elite rim protector or a consistent 3-point shooter, but he has good footwork and plays hard. The Knicks had a solid run into the second round of the playoffs and Filipowski could be another piece to help push them deeper.

25. NEW YORK KNICKS: Terrence Shannon, guard, Illinois

Shannon can flat-out score and has shown he can do it in big moments. Sexual assault accusations might have made teams leery of taking the dynamic guard in the first round, but the Knicks might be willing to take a chance following a not guilty verdict earlier this month.

26. WASHINGTON WIZARDS: Johnny Furphy, guard, Kansas

The 6-8 Australian has a smooth shooting stroke and gets his shot off quickly. He also has good touch around the rim and good instincts on defense, often leading to steals. Furphy is not much of a shot creator off the dribble and needs to work on his individual defense, so he could need a year or two of development.

27. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: DaRon Holmes II, forward, Dayton

The 6-9 forward is good in the pick-and-roll game and a strong finisher at the rim. Holmes has improved his outside shooting, hitting 39% from the 3-point arc after shooting 32% the season before. He can defend multiple positions, but would be undersized as a center in the NBA. He also isn’t much of a shot creator, but his pick-and-roll skills may offset that.

28. DENVER NUGGETS: Jaylon Tyson, forward, California

Denver's bid to repeat as NBA champions hit a wall in the second round when its top players were stretched to the limit. Tyson could give them a solid boost off the bench. The 6-6 guard has good size, finishes strong at the rim and is a decent perimeter shooter. He increased his scoring average nearly 10 points to 19.6 last season, so has shown the ability to develop his game.

29. UTAH JAZZ: Bobi Klintman, forward, Wake Forest/Australia

The back end of the first round is typically filled with potential projects and Klintman is an intriguing one. The 6-9 stretch forward from Sweden has good length, both physically and shooting ability. Klintman moves more like a guard and is a good passer for a big man. He will likely need a few years of development before becoming ready, but is worth the risk late in the first round.

30. BOSTON CELTICS: Bronny James, guard, USC

The champion Celtics already have a loaded roster, so there's room to take a chance on LeBron's son. Bronny James has an incredible feel for the game after learning from his father and has a solid 6-4 frame. He had a so-so freshman season at USC, averaging 4.8 points and 27% shooting from 3-point range, but has the potential to be a solid pro. James also could come with a huge bonus if his father follows through with his intention to play at least one season with his son.

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