THE SOCCER REPORT

Manchester City win the Premier League, Bundesliga down to final day

Leroy Sané is a back-to-back Premier League champion with Manchester City. Credit Nike, Inc.


UEFA Champions League

FC Barcelona and Ajax were in the driver's seat after their first leg leg semi-final wins but it will be Liverpool and Tottenham who headline the final in Madrid. Liverpool, without top attacking players in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, overcame an 0-3 deficit with a four-goal win at Anfield - shocking Lionel Messi's Barcelona who had an embarrassing night. Young Ajax, meanwhile, were up on the scoreboard at home before Tottenham fired up a comeback to take the series on away goals and advance to their first UCL final.

Semifinals - second leg results:

  • Liverpool 4-0 FC Barcelona (4-3 agg.)
  • Ajax 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur (3-3 agg., Tottenham advance on away goals)

UEFA Europa League

The Europa Legue final will also be headline by two Premier League clubs as Arsenal and Chelsea found their way to the final. Arsenal had no problem doing away with Valencia while Chelsea left it up to a dramatic penalty shootout win at home in what will likely end up being Eden Hazard's final home match for the club.

Semifinals - second leg results:

  • Valencia 2-4 Arsenal (3-7 agg.)
  • Chelsea 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (2-2 agg., Chelsea advance 4-3 on penalties)

English Premier League

After falling 0-1 early at Brighton and Hove Albion, Manchester City stopped any dramatic finish with four unanswered goals to crown themselves the 2018/19 Premier League Champions. City are the first champions to repeat in over a decade since rivals United in the 2008-09 season.

Final top six: 1. (C) Manchester City (95), 2. Liverpool (97), 3. Chelsea (72), 4. Tottenham (71), 5. Arsenal (70), 6. Manchester United (66)

Top scorer: 22 - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) / Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) / Sadio Mané (Liverpool)

Most assists: 15 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

One day left in the Spanish league as three teams vie for the last Champions League spot.

Top six: 1. (C) - FC Barcelona (86), 2. Atlético Madrid (75), 3. Real Madrid (68), 4. Valencia (58), 5. Getafe (58), 6. Sevilla (56)

Scoring leader: 34 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 13 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) / Pablo Sarabia (Sevilla)

German Bundesliga

Bayern Munich were held at Leipzig but still depend only on themselves to win the title on the last weekend. Dortmund need to win combined with a Bayern loss to finish as champions.

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (75), 2. Dortmund (73), 3. RB Leipzig (66), 4. Monchengladbach (55), 5. Bayer Leverkusen (55), 6. Eintracht Frankfurt (54)

Scoring leader: 22 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 14 - Jadon Sancho (Dortumund)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. (C) - Juventus (89), 2. Napoli (76), 3. Inter Milan (66), 4. Atalanta (65), 5. A.C. Milan (62), 6. Roma (62)

Scoring leader: 26 - Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

Assists leader: 10 - Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta) / Dries Mertens (Napoli) / Suso (A.C. Milan)

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. (C) - PSG (88), 2. Lille (72), 3. Lyon (66), 4. Saint-Étienne (62), 5. Montpellier (58), 6. Marseille (55)

Scoring leader: 30 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 13 - Teji Savanier (Nimes)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. Ajax (83), 2. PSV Eindhoven (80), 3. Feyenoord (62)

Belgian First Division A

Championship Round: 1. Genk (50), 2. Club Brugge (47), 3. Antwerp (39), 4. Standard Liege (36), 5. Anderlecht (31), 6. Gent (29)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top four: 1. Benfica (84), 2. Porto (82), 3. Sporting CP (74), 4. Braga (64)

Scottish Premier League

Championship: 1. (C) Celtic (84), 2. Rangers (78), 3. Kilmarnock (64), 4. Aberdeen (64)

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Major League Soccer

East top seven: 1. Philadelphia (23), 2. D.C. United (23), 3. Montreal (20), 4. NYCFC (18), 5. Atlanta (17), 6. Toronto (16), 7. Columbus (16)

West top seven: 1. LAFC (27), 2. LA Galaxy (22), 3. Seattle (22), 4. Houston (19), 5. FC Dallas (17), 6. Minnesota (15), 7. Real Salt Lake (13)

Scoring leader: 12 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 6 - Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC) / Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers) / Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC) / Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Liga MX

Clausura 2019 quarter-finals results:

  • (1) Leon vs. (8) Tijuana (Leon win 5-2 agg.)
  • (2) Tigres vs. (7) Pachuca (2-2 agg., Tigres advance on higher seed tiebreaker)
  • (3) Monterrey vs. (6) Necaxa (1-1 agg., Monterrey advance on higher seed tiebreaker)
  • (4) Cruz Azul vs. (5) Club America (America win 3-2 agg.)

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National Women's Soccer League

Standings: 1. Houston Dash (10), 2. Utah Royals (9), 3. Chicago Red Stars (8), 4. North Carolina Courage (8), 5. Portland Thorns (8), 6. Washington Spirit (7), 7. Seattle Reign (3), 8. Sky Blue FC (2), 9. Orlando Pride (1)

Scoring leader: 4 - Crystal Dunn (North Carolina) / Samantha Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 3 - Yuki Nagasato (Chicago)

Liga MX Femenil

Tigres UANL crowned themselves champions of Mexico's top women's division after a 2-1 win at rivals Monterrey. The title marks a second for Tigres, making the northerners the club with the most championships in the four season history of the league - both wins coming against their cross-town rivals.

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, May 14

2:00 p.m. - [English Championship playoffs semifinal] West Brom vs. Aston Villa (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [Copa Superliga Argentina] River Plate vs. Tucuman (fanatiz)

Wednesday, May 15

12:30 p.m. - [Eredivisie] De Graafschap vs. Ajax (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [English Championship playoffs semifinal] Leeds United vs. Derby County (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [Serie A] Lazio vs. Atalanta (ESPN+)

7:00 p.m. - [Club Friendly] New England Revolution vs. Chelsea FC (FS1)

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

7:30 p.m. - [Liga MX Playoffs] Club America vs. Leon (Univision Deportes)

9:30 p.m. - [Liga MX Playoffs] Monterrey vs. Tigres UANL (Univision Deportes)

Thursday, May 16

7:00 p.m. - [International Friendly] U.S. Women's National Team vs. New Zealand (ESPN2)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Superliga Argentina] Boca Juniors vs. Velez (fanatiz)

9:00 p.m. - [MLS] LAFC vs. FC Dallas (ESPN2)

Saturday, May 18

8:30 a.m. - [Budesliga] Bayern Munich vs. Frankfurt (FOX)

8:30 a.m. - [Budesliga] Monchengladbach vs. Dortmund (FS1)

11:00 a.m. - [FA Cup Final] Manchester City vs. Watford (ESPN+)

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

Sunday, May 19

5:00 p.m. - [NWSL] Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars (YahooSports.com)

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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