THE SOCCER REPORT

Manchester City humbles Chelsea in 6-0 win; United back in the top four

Paul Pogba and Manchester United look to extend their 11-match unbeaten streak in the UEFA Champions League. Credit: Adidas

The second week of February always brings supporters across the world a feeling of love with the reboot of the UEFA Champions League. Europe's club championship, and arguably the most important tournament in soccer after the FIFA World Cup, returns with the round of 16 as the road to the final in Madrid continues. A list of TV listings for this week's UCL and other matches can be found at the end of this article.

English Premier League

Manchester City v. Chelsea | PREMIER LEAGUE EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS | 2/10/19 | NBC Sports www.youtube.com

Sergio Agüero equaled the legendary Alan Shearer for most hat-tricks in the Premier League with his 11th such in Sunday's 6-0 win over Chelsea. The win puts City equal with Liverpool for first place, albeit with one extra match in the books, and dropped Chelsea down to sixth. The loss also benefits Manchester United, who are back in the top four after an 11-match unbeaten streak since Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over as the interim manager. A top four finish guarantees teams a spot in next season's UEFA Champions League and the prize money that comes with it. Should Chelsea and Arsenal not be able to regain a top four spot, winning the UEFA Europa League would be their only way in.

Top six: 1. Manchester City (65), 2. Liverpool (65), 3. Tottenham (60), 4. Manchester United (51), 5. Arsenal (50), 6. Chelsea (50)

Scoring leader: 17 - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) / Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Assists leader: 10 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)


Spain's La Liga

A 3-1 win in the Madrid Derby helped Real Madrid jump back into the top two and start thinking seriously about potentially catching rivals Barcelona for the top spot in the league, if certain results were to go their way. At least for this week, that was the case as Bacelona drew 0-0 with Athletic Bilbao.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (51), 2. Real Madrid (45), 3. Atlético Madrid (44), 4. Sevilla (37), 5. Getafe (35), 6. Alaves (35)

Scoring leader: 21 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 10 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Dortmund (50), 2. Bayern Munich (45), 3. Monchengladbach (42), 4. RB Leipzig (38), 5. Eintracht Frankfurt (33), 6. Bayer Leverkusen (33)

Scoring leader: 14 - Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Assists leader: 9 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund / Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Sassuolo 0-3 Juventus | Ronaldo on Target as Champions Go 11 Points Clear | Serie A www.youtube.com

Top six: 1. Juventus (63), 2. Napoli (52), 3. Inter Milan (43), 4. Milan (39), 5. Atalanta (38), 6. Roma (38)

Scoring leader: 18 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

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

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. PSG (59), 2. Lille (49), 3. Lyon (43), 4. Montpellier (37), 5. Saint-Étienne (37), 6. Marseille (37)

Scoring leader: 18 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 8 - Nicolas Pepe (Lille) / Angel Di Maria (PSG) / Kenny Lala (Strasbourg)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (56), 2. Ajax (50), 3. Feyenoord (42)

Scoring leader: 20 - Luuk de Jong (PSV)

Assists leader: 11 - Steven Bergwijn (PSV)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (57), 2. Club Brugge (46), 3. Antwerp (45)

Scoring leader: 19 - Mbwana Samatta (Genk)

Assists leader: 12 - Hans Vanaken (Brugge)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Porto (51), 2. Benfica (50), 3. Braga (49)

Scoring leader: 14 - Dyego Sousa (Braga)

Assists leader: 12 - Pizzi (Benfica)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (57), 2. Rangers (51), 3. Aberdeen (46)

Scoring leader: 15 - Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

Assists leader: 9 - James Tavernier (Rangers)

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Major League Soccer

The Houston Dynamo continued their preseason preparations out in Tucson, AZ with a 0-0 draw on Wednesday against Minnesota United and a 3-2 win over Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday night. They Dynamo enter their second and final week in the desert before focusing on their Concacaf Champions League match at Guatemalan club Guastatoya next Tuesday.

Liga MX

Top eight: 1. Monterrey (14), 2. Tigres UANL (13), 3. Leon (11), 4. Necaxa (11), 5. Chivas Guadalajara (11), 6. Atlas (10), 7. Pachuca (10), 8. Club America (9)

Scoring leader: 5 - Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey) / Brian Leonel Fernández (Necaxa)

Assists leader: 4 - Carlos Rodríguez (Monterrey) / Angel Mena (Cruz Azul)

Superliga Argentina

Top four: 1. Racing Club (42), 2. Defensa y Justicia (42), 3. Boca Juniors (32), 4. Atletico Tucuman (32)

Scoring leader: 14 - Lisandro Lopez (Racing)

Assists leader: 5 - Luis Miguel Rodriguez (Atletico Tucuman) / Mauro Zarate (Boca Juniors) / Walter Montillo (Tigre)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Feb. 12

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Manchester United vs. PSG (TNT/UniMas/Univision Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Roma vs. Porto (B/R Live/Galavision)

Wednesday, Feb. 13

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Ajax vs. Real Madrid (B/R Live/UniMas/Univision Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Tottenham vs. Dortmund (TNT/Galavision)

5:00 p.m. - [MLS Preseason] Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City (HoustonDynamo.com)

Thursday, Feb. 14

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] BATE vs. Arsenal (B/R Live)

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Galatasaray vs. Benfica (B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Malmo vs. Chelsea (B/R Live/UniMas)

Friday, Feb. 15

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Augsburg vs. Bayern Munich (FS2)

Saturday, Feb. 16

6:30 a.m. - [FA Cup] Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Derby County (ESPN+)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Schalke 04 vs. SC Freiburg (FS2)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Stuttgart vs. RB Leipzig (Univision Deportes)

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

11:30 a.m. - [FA Cup] Newport County vs. Manchester City (ESPN+)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Hertha BSC Berlin vs. SV Werder Bremen (FS2)

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

Sunday, Feb. 17

5:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. Girona (beIN Sports)

Monday, Feb. 18

1:30 p.m. - [FA Cup] Chelsea vs. Manchester United (ESPN+)

Credit: Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo Senior Vice President/General Manager Matt Jordan addressed questions from fans during the first hour of Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis on Tuesday night. Among the topics of conversation were potential player signings, concerns with player development and club operations.

The following are excerpts from the Q&A with callers to the program:

Potential Transfers

On why the Dynamo has not gone after a big name player that can fill BBVA Stadium

We're very open and we have had discussion with "big name players" ... For us, it's about getting the right players and I truly believe, through my experiences, you also have stars that grow within the league. We've seen that with our team with Alberth Elis, with Mauro Manotas - from my time in Montreal, we saw that with Ignacio Piatti. These weren't "big name stars" but they became "big name stars" so we look at all of it. We look at making our own stars, we look at some players that have been on the biggest stages and maybe a bit older but, for us, it's analyzing what's the right fit.

On the suggestion of a player like Mexico National Team Captain Andres Guardado

A lot of fans will say, "bring a big name, a Messi or Ronaldo" and that's not always realistic in the world of soccer but those are the types of profiles we do continue to look at along with making our own stars as well, which I think we've done a good job of with the two players I mentioned, who are stars in the city of Houston now.

On the reports of Cruz Azul's interest in Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas

We're getting interest in a lot of our young talented players. The two players that everyone talks about is Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis, there's also a handful of other players that we get inquiries of from abroad. A lot of the teams in the Mexican league follow our teams very closely and Cruz Azul did express interest in Mauro... [a potential transfer] has to make sense for the player, it has to make sense for the club

Player Development

On the investment in the Houston Dynamo Academy

With the support of our ownership group, over the last 18 months, have made significant investments in the academy. We hired a new academy director in Paul Holocher, we brought on what I believe are some of the brightest young coaches in the Unites States. We've really worked very hard to strengthen our partnerships and our strategic alliances here within the city of Houston, which I believe has really been a downfall of ours in the past.

On the possibility of having a locally-based USL team

We have. One thing I can tell you, we have our USL players, our academy players, our U23 players in and out with the first team all the time. With the Open Cup, we brought up several of our USL players. You'll see a couple of our USL players come up for our League's Cup game as well... of course, it's more ideal to have it next to our first team field but we're very proud of the partnership in the [Rio Grande] Valley.

Club Policies

On the Dynamo's scouting system for recruiting players for the first team...

We do have a scout in Europe that's paid by us, we have a scout in South America that's paid by us and I also have a full-time scout and analyst, here, that is in Houston working with us in our recruitment department.

What we do is we go through the annual scouting calendar, we prioritize what events we need to hit. Generally speaking, I only travel when we get to the point - myself or [Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera] or both of us together, a lot of time we'll travel together in the offseason. We only really travel when we get to [final stages of a transfer].

We use our regional contacts...What I really focus on is having one key contact in each country and, a lot of times, we go after the player, it's not that the player is presented to us by the agent. [Recent signing Jose Bizama] is a prime example, we went after Bizama and we approached the club through our process. Now, there's times where a player is presented to us as well, but more often then not we utilize those regional contacts in each country. There's a lot of times, with many of our players, we've identified them or we've gone after them when they're, maybe, not for sale and that's when the grinding starts to take place for the negotiation.

On the club hosting a town hall meeting with supporters

In this moment, I can't speak for ownership but I have no problem being in any setting and fielding questions about the team for the fans.

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The entire conversation is available on the July 16, 2019 episode of the podcast, which can be heard on iTunes, Google Podcasts and www.podcastarena.com/soccermatters/

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