The Soccer Report

Man City gets first PL loss since January; Houston Dash to play Tigres Femenil in Mexico

The Houston Dash are headed to Mexico to face the Liga MX Femenil Champions. Credit: Houston Dash

With the FIFA international break over, leagues around the world resumed their calendar and with it many interesting results. Major League Soccer didn't have a big pause during the international fixtures so the league just resumed business as usual (although Zlatan was one of the many who disapproved).

Here are the top stories from around the globe:

English Premier League

Matchday 5 Results

  • Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle
  • Manchester United 1-0 Leicester City
  • Sheffield Utd 0-1 Southampton
  • Brighton 1-1 Burnley
  • Wolves 2-5 Chelsea
  • Tottenham 4-0 Crystal Palace
  • Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City
  • Bournemouth 3-1 Everton
  • Watford 2-2 Arsenal
  • Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham

Top six: Liverpool (15), Man City (10), Tottenham (8), Man Utd (8), Leicester City (8), Chelsea (8)

Scoring leader: 7 - Sergio Aguero (Man City) / Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)

Assists leader: 5 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Matchday 4 Results

  • Mallorca 0-0 Athletic Bilbao
  • Real Madrid 3-2 Levante
  • Leganes 0-3 Villareal
  • Real Sociedad 2-0 Atletico Madrid
  • Barcelona 5-2 Valencia
  • Eibar 1-2 RCD Espanyol
  • Alaves 0-1 Sevilla
  • Celta Vigo 0-2 Granada
  • Valladolid 1-1 Osasuna
  • Real Betis 1-1 Getafe

Top six: Sevilla (10), Atletico Madrid (9), Real Madrid (8), Athletic Bilbao (8), Barcelona (7), Granada (7)

Scoring leader: 5 - Gerard Moreno (Villareal)

Assists leader: 3 - Ander Capa (Bilbao) / Angel Montoro Sanchez (Granada)

German Bundesliga

Matchday 4 Results

  • Fortuna 1-1 Wolfsburg
  • Cologne 0-1 Monchengladbach
  • Dortmund 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen
  • Mainz 2-1 Hertha Berlin
  • Union Berlin 1-2 Werder Bremen
  • Augsburg 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich
  • Hoffenheim 0-3 Freiburg
  • Paderborn 1-5 Schalke 04

Top six: RB Leipzig (10), Dortmund (9), Freiburg (9), Bayern Munich (8), Wolfburg (8), Schalke 04 (7)

Scoring leader: 7 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 4 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund)

Italian Serie A

Matchday 3 Results

  • Fiorentina 0-0 Juventus
  • Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria
  • Inter Milan 1-0 Udinese
  • Genoa 1-2 Atalanta
  • SPAL 1-0 Lazio
  • Brescia 3-4 Bologna
  • Parma 1-3 Cagliari
  • Roma 4-2 Sassuolo
  • Hellas Verona 0-1 AC Milan
  • Torino 1-0 Lecce

Top six: Inter Milan (9), Bologna (7), Juventus (7), Napoli (6), Atalanta (6), Torino (6)

Scoring leader: 5 - Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo)

Assists leader: 3 - Alfred Duncan (Sassuolo) / Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)

French Ligue 1

Matchday 5 Results

  • Lille 2-1 Angers
  • Amiens 2-2 Lyon
  • PSG 1-0 Strasbourg
  • Montpellier 2-1 Nice
  • Dijon 0-0 Nimes
  • Bordeaux 2-0 Nice
  • Brest 0-0 Rennes
  • Nantes 1-0 Reims
  • St-Etienne 2-2 Toulouse
  • Monaco 3-4 Marseille

Top six: PSG (12), Rennes (10), Nantes (10), Marseille (10), Lille (9), Nice (9)

Scoring leader: 5 - Moussa Dembele (Lyon) / Victor Osimhen (Lille)

Assists leader: 3 - Thiago Mendes (Lyon)

Portuguese Liga Nos

Matchday 5 - Top Results

  • Setubal 1-0 Braga
  • Benfica 2-0 Gil Vicente
  • Portimonense 2-3 Porto
  • Boavista 1-1 Sporting

Top four: Familicao (13), Benfica (12), Porto (12), Boavista (9)

Scoring leader: 6 - Pizzi (Benfica)

Assists leader: 4 - Bruno Fernandes (Sporting)

Netherlands Eredivisie

Matchday 6 - Top Results

  • Ajax 4-1 Herenveen
  • AZ Alkmaar 5-1 Sparta
  • PSV 5-0 Vitesse
  • Feyenoord 3-2 Den Haag

Top four: Ajax (13), PSV (13), Twente (12), Vitesse (11)

Scoring leader: 6 - Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven)

Assists leader: 5 - Bryan Smeets (Sparta) / Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

Scottish Premiership

Matchday 5 - Top Results

  • Hamilton 0-1 Celtic
  • Hearts 2-3 Motherwell
  • Rangers 3-1 Livingston

Top four: Celtic (15), Rangers (12), Motherwell (10), Aberdeen (8)

Scoring leader: 4 - Liam Donelly (Motherwell) / Ryan Christie (Celtic)

Assists leader: 3 - James Forrest (Celtic)

Major League Soccer

East top seven: 1. NYCFC (57), 2. Philadelphia (52), 3. Atlanta (48), 4. Toronto (45), 5. D.C. United (45), 6. New York Red Bulls (41), 7. New England (40)

West top seven: 1. x - LAFC (64), 2. Seattle (49), 3. Minnesota (48), 4. Real Salt Lake (46), 5. LA Galaxy (45), 6. San Jose (44), 7. Portland (43)

Scoring leader: 28 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 18 - Maxi Morales (NYCFC)

Mexican Liga MX

Matchday 9 Results

  • Puebla 1-3 Atletico San Luis
  • Veracruz 0-0 Cruz Azul
  • Xolos 1-1 Tigres UANL
  • Monterrey 0-2 Necaxa
  • Guadalajara 1-0 Atlas
  • Leon 3-1 Juarez
  • Club America 1-1 Pumas UNAM
  • Toluca 0-2 Morelia
  • Santos 0-0 Pachuca

Top Eight: 1. Necaxa (17), 2. Queretaro (17), 3. Santos Lagua (17), 4. Club America (16), 5. Leon (15), 6. Tigres UANL (14), 7. Atleti San Luis (14), 8. Monarcas (13)

Scoring leader: 7 - Julio Furch (Santos)

Assists leader: 4 - Luis Quinones (Tigres) / Osvaldo Martinez (Atlas)

Argentina Superliga

Matchday 6 Results

  • Arsenal 4-1 Union
  • Cordoba 1-2 Defensa y Justicia
  • Godoy Cruz 0-1 Argentinos Juniors
  • Colon 2-1 San Lorenzo
  • Huracan 0-4 River Plate
  • Gimnasia 1-2 Racing Club
  • Banfield 0-1 Talleres Cordoba
  • Rosario Central 1-1 Newell's
  • Independiente 2-2 Lanus
  • Boca Juniors 1-0 Estudiantes
  • Aldosivi 1-1 Patronato
  • Velez 1-0 Atletico Tucuman

Top four: Boca (10), San Lorenzo (10), Arsenal Sarandi (9), Rosario Central (8)

National Women's Soccer League

The Houston Dash pulled themselves six points behind the fourth and final playoff spot with a 2-1 win over Utah Royals on Friday night at BBVA Stadium. The Dash play Tuesday night with an opportunity to continue to close the gap in a tough test against defending champion NC Courage.

The Dash will also become the first NWSL side to play a friendly in Mexico after announcing an October 5 friendly at Liga MX Femenil Champion Tigres UANL.

Standings: 1. North Carolina Courage (40), 2. Chicago Red Stars (38), 3. Portland Thorns (36), 4. Utah Royals (31), 5. Reign FC (31), 6. Washington Spirit (26), 7. Houston Dash (25), 8. Sky Blue FC (16), 9. Orlando Pride (14)

Scoring leader: 16 - Sam Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 7 - Yuki Nagasato (Chicago)

Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, September 17

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Inter Milan vs. Slavia Prague (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Dortmund vs. Barcelona (UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Napoli vs. Liverpool (TNT, Galavision)

7:30 p.m. - [NWSL] NC Courage vs. Houston Dash (ESPNews)

Wednesday, September 18

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Brugge vs. Galatasaray (Galavision)

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Olympiacos vs. Spurs (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus (Galavision)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] PSG vs. Real Madrid (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo take the field for their 15th professional soccer season and ninth at BBVA Stadium when they take on the LA Galaxy in their opening match on February 29. Major League Soccer is also celebrating its 25th season as the league expands to 26 total teams with the addition of Nashville SC and David Beckham's Inter Miami CF.

Head Coach - Tabaré "Tab" Ramos

Tab Ramos, the first player ever signed to Major League Soccer, returns to the league in its 25th season after spending a decade as coach of the U20 U.S. National Team. Photo: Bryan Salas / Houston Dynamo

Perhaps the biggest offseason signing for the Dynamo happened off the field as Tab Ramos was announced as the club's fourth Head Coach in November. The Uruguayan was a midfielder in his playing days and represented the United States in three FIFA World Cup tournaments. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.

Ramos will debut as a manager of a professional club after working as a U.S. Men's National Team assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann from 2014–2016 and heading the U20 U.S. Men's National Team from 2011–2019.

Tab Ramos' coaching staff is reinforced by his longtime assistant Omid Namazi and Pablo Mastroeni, a former MLS Head Coach with the Colorado Rapids.

Houston Dynamo 2020 Technical Staff

Head Coach - Tab Ramos
Assistant - Omid Namazi
Assistant - Pablo Mastroeni
Goalkeepers - Paul Rogers
Head of Performance - Paul Caffrey
Head Athletic Trainer - Chris Rumsey
Assistant Athletic Trainer - Casey Carlson
Director of Equipment Operations - Chris Maxwell
Assistant Equipment Manager - Ed Cerda

2020 roster

Colombian forward Mauro Manotas, 24, has 48 goals and 15 assists in MLS regular season play since joining the club in 2015. Photo: Bryan Salas / Houston Dynamo

Goalkeepers:

  • 1 - Marko Marić
  • 26 - Michael Nelson
  • 5 - Cody Cropper

Defenders:

  • 2 - Alejandro Fuenmayor
  • 3 - Adam Lundkvist
  • 4- Zarek Valentin
  • 5 - Aljaž "Kiki" Struna
  • 15 - Maynor Figueroa
  • 18 - Jose Bizama
  • 28 - Erik McCue
  • 29 - Sam Junqua
  • 32 - Kyle Adams
  • 36 - Victor Cabrera

Midfielders:

  • 8- Jose Guillermo "Memo" Rodriguez
  • 10 - Tomas Martinez
  • 11 - Thomas "Tommy" McNamara
  • 12 - Niko Hansen
  • 14 - Marcelo Palomino
  • 22 - Matías Vera
  • 24 - Darwin Cerén
  • 27 - Óscar Boniek García

Forwards:

  • 7 - Alberth Elis
  • 9 - Mauro Manotas
  • 13 - Christian Ramirez
  • 19 - Michael Salazar
  • 21 - Ronaldo Peña
  • 23 - Darwin Quintero

Offseason additions / subtractions

Goalkeeper Marko Marić, 24, will be the starter in his first season with the club. Photo: Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo made a bit of noise early by signing former Liga MX star scorer Darwin Quintero (pictured at the top of the article) as an intraleague transfer from Minnesota United. The team also hired a new starting goalkeeper in Croatian Marko Maric. It was otherwise a quite offseason for the club.

MLS SuperDraft selections FW Garrett McLaughlin and MF Luka Prpa were signed to second division affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC. On the homegrown front, the Dynamo finally came to terms with former Academy prodigy Marcelo Palomino who took a year away from the club to pursue other potential suitors.

Departures

  • DF DaMarcus Beasley - Retired
  • MF Marlon Hairston - Traded to Minnesota United FC
  • GK Joe Willis - Traded to Nashville SC
  • FW Romell Quioto - Traded to Montreal Impact
  • MF Eric Bird - Contract option declined
  • MF Juan David Cabezas - Contract option declined
  • GK Tyler Deric - Contract option declined
  • DF A.J. DeLaGarza - Contract expired
  • DF Kevin Garcia - Contract expired
Additions
  • FW Darwin Quintero - Trade with Minnesota United FC
  • DF Zarek Valentin - Trade with Nashville SC (acquired from Portland Timbers in Expansion Draft)
  • DF Victor Cabrera - Trade with Montreal Impact
  • MF Marcelo Palomino - Free Transfer, Homegrown player
  • GK Marko Marić - Purchased from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
  • GK Cody Cropper - Free Transfer
  • DF Kyle Adams - Promoted from USL affiliate RGVFC

The Star - Alberth Elis

Honduran Forward Alberth Elis, 24, enters the final year of his contract and is expected to depart the club on a free if he is not resigned during the year. Photo: Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Alberth Elis has made his intentions clear - his ultimate goal is to play in the English Premier League. To get there, he needs to get to Europe sooner rather than later. With the Dynamo unwilling to part ways with the offers that have come in for him already, Elis' best opportunity to leave is after his contract expires. In the final year of his contract, Elis can sign a pre-contract as soon as this summer.

In the meantime, Elis can raise his stock with interested European clubs by dazzling on the field as he has since joining the club in 2017. Few players in MLS, if any, can match the Honduran's speed and the winger has been influential in the team's attacking corps during his time in orange.

Elis has lacked consistency and his form has dipped near the end of the season in previous years. That not withstanding, he is the most talented player on the roster and one of the top players in the league on his best day.

The Cleaner - Matias Vera

Argentine midfielder Matias Vera, 24, joined the team in 2019 and was voted the season's Most Valuable Player. Photo: Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Matias Vera is one of the best finds in recent years for the club. Acquired from Argentina's San Lorenzo for a reported transfer fee of around $1 million in 2019, Vera has been "the cleaner" in front of the defense.

He was rightly voted the MVP of the 2019 season after providing a dependable level of consistency from start to finish. At the moment, there is no player on the roster that provides what he does in defensive midfield, meaning the Dynamo are thin at that position if Vera gets injured.

The Captain - Boniek Garcia

Honduran midfieler Oscar Boniek Garcia, 35, is the most tenured Dynamo on the roster. Photo: Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Oscar Boniek Garcia has been with the club since 2012 and is an example of professionalism. Originally a winger when he arrived, Boniek has shifted inward into midfield as part of reinventing himself and extending his playing career.

It's no surprise to see him wearing the captain's armband this season. What will be a story to follow if how much playing time he sees this year. The 35-year-old is at the tail end of his career and the Dynamo have to start looking for his replacement this season.

Dynamo broadcasters preview 2020 season

Dynamo TV play-by-play announcer Glenn Davis and color commentator Eddie Robinson, a two-time MLS Cup Champion with the club, previewed the season on this week's Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis.

Expectation - MLS Cup Playoffs

After missing the MLS Cup Playoffs in five of the last six seasons, its playoffs or bust for the Houston Dynamo. The expectation and the standard should be playoffs as more than half of the league is granted entry into the postseason.

It's a toss up from there for the Dynamo as far as lifting the MLS Cup, and from that perspective it's the same old Dynamo. While the club expects to "compete" for the MLS Cup, the gap between them and the true contenders is wide in terms of difference makers.

With one of the lowest payrolls in the league, the Dynamo are gambling on the "moneyball" way to a championship. Perhaps the better bet for a title, and one with similar prize money and a berth into the Concacaf Champions League, is the underappreciated Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - a title the club won in 2018.

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