THE SOCCER REPORT

MLS kicks off 24th season, Barcelona sweeps Real Madrid and other soccer results

Fans across the country were back in their home stadiums to support their MLS teams. Photo by Diego Dlouhy/SportsMap Houston.

There's plenty to talk about around the soccer world, starting with FC Barcelona's two wins over rivals Real Madrid in the same week. The coming week will be dominated by international club soccer with knockout matches in the UEFA and Concacaf Champions League plus the start of the group stage in the Copa Libertadores.

English Premier League

Every goal from Premier League Matchweek 29 | NBC Sports www.youtube.com

Two matchdays this week have helped Manchester City stay atop the table by a point as Liverpool's nil-nil draw against rivals Everton may prove to be a pivotal match in the latter's title hopes. As far as the top six, there's still some shifting around though Manchester United has the slight lead for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Top six: 1. Manchester City (71), 2. Liverpool (70), 3. Tottenham (61), 4. Manchester United (58), 5. Arsenal (57), 6. Chelsea (56)

Scoring leader: 18 - Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Assists leader: 11 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

Highlights Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (0-1) www.youtube.com

Barcelona enjoyed two victories - in Madrid, no less - over rivals Real by knocking them out of the Copa del Rey with a 3-0 win and then following that up with a 1-0 win in league play. Real Madrid are only left in Champions League contention as far as any title hopes this season while Barcelona looks set for another La Liga title.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (60), 2. Atlético Madrid (53), 3. Real Madrid (48), 4. Getafe (42), 5. Alaves (40), 6. Sevilla (37)

Scoring leader: 25 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 11 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Dortmund's fall to Augsburg and Bayern's emphatic win over Monchengladbach have evened things up at the top of the Bundesliga table. Dortmund now has very little room for error if they still dream with winning the league while Bayern are back on track for a seventh consecutive title.

Top six: 1. Dortmund (54), 2. Bayern Munich (54), 3. RB Leipzig (45), 4. Monchengladbach (43), 5. Eintracht Frankfurt (40), 6. Bayer Leverkusen (39)

Scoring leader: 15 - Luka Jović (Eintracht Frankfurt) / Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 10 - Jadon Sancho (Dortumund) / Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (72), 2. Napoli (56), 3. Milan (48), 4. Inter Milan (47), 5. Roma (44), 6. Lazio (41)

Scoring leader: 19 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) / Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

Assists leader: 8 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) / Suso (A.C. Milan)

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. PSG (71), 2. Lille (54), 3. Lyon (49), 4. Marseille (44), 5. Saint-Étienne (43), 6. Stade Reims (42)

Scoring leader: 24 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

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

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (61), 2. Ajax (56), 3. Feyenoord (46)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (59), 2. Club Brugge (53), 3. Antwerp (49)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Benfica (59), 2. Porto (57), 3. Braga (52)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (66), 2. Rangers (58), 3. Aberdeen (50)

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Concacaf Champions League

The Round of 16 in the CCL saw a conclusion this week with the second leg matches deciding who advanced to the following round. MLS had its four U.S. representatives advance in Atlanta United, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City while Liga MX is represented by northern clubs Monterrey, Tigres UANL and Santos Laguna. Independiente of Panama is the other team that advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to their upset of Toronto FC.

Round of 16 - second leg results:

  • Toronto FC 1-1 Independiente (1-5 agg.)
  • Tigres 5-1 Saprissa (5-2 agg.)
  • Houston Dynamo 2-1 Guastatoya (3-1agg.)
  • Santos Laguna 5-0 Marathon (11-2 agg.)
  • NY Red Bulls 3-0 Atletico Pantoja (5-0 agg.)
  • Monterrey 1-0 Alianza (1-0 agg.)
  • Atlanta United 4-0 Herediano (5-3 agg.)
  • Toluca 0-2 Sporting KC (0-5 agg.)

The quarter-finals begins on Tuesday.

Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer's 24th season kicked off with plenty of draws to go around, five of them to be exact. The Dynamo were one of those teams with their season opener against Real Salt Lake ending in a 1-1 stalemate. Seattle Sounders gave new club Cincinnati a harsh welcome with a 4-1 result while Colorado and Portland played to a 3-3 draw in the snow.

Liga MX

Top eight: 1. Tigres UANL (22), 2. Monterrey (21), 3. Leon (20), 4. Club Tijuana (16), 5. Chivas Guadalajara (14), 6. Santos Laguaa (14), 7. Pachuca (14), 8. Club America (13)

Scoring leader: 9 - Angel Mena (Leon)

Assists leader: 6 - Angel Mena (Leon)

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Copa Libertadores

Third round - second leg results:

  • Caracas FC 2-1 Melgar (2-3 agg.)
  • Palestino 2-1 Talleres Cordoba (4-3 agg.)
  • Atletico Mineiro 0-0 Defensor Sporting (2-0 agg.)
  • Atletico Nacional 1-0 Libertad (1-1 agg., Libertad wins 5-4 on penalties)

The group stage begins on Tuesday.

Superliga Argentina

Top four: 1. Racing Club (51), 2. Defensa y Justicia (48), 3. Boca Juniors (41), 4. Atletico Tucuman (39)

Scoring leader: 16 - Lisandro Lopez (Racing)

Assists leader: 8 - Walter Montillo (Tigre)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Mar. 5

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Borussia Dortmund vs. Tottenham (B/R Live, Galavision)

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

6:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Jorge Wilstermann vs. Boca Juniors (beIN SPORTS en Español)

7:00 p.m. - [SheBelieves Cup] U.S. Women's National Team vs. Brazil (FS1)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] New York Red Bulls vs. Santos Laguna (YahooSports.com)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Houston Dynamo vs. Tigres UANL (YahooSports.com)

Wednesday, Mar. 6

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

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

6:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Alianza Lima vs. River Plate (beIN SPORTS en Español)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Independiente vs. Sporting KC (YahooSports.com)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Monterrey vs. Atlanta United (YahooSports.com)

Thursday, Mar. 7

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Inter (B/R Live, UniMas)

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Rennes vs. Arsenal (B/R Live, Galavision)

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

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Napoli vs. Red Bull Salzburg (B/R Live, Galavision)

6:00 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] LDU Quito vs. Peñarol (beIN SPORTS en Español)

8:00 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Deportivo Lara vs. Emelec (beIN SPORTS en Español)

Friday, Mar. 8

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Werder Bremen vs. Schalke 04 (FS2)

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

Saturday, Mar. 9

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Crystal Palace vs. Brighton (NBC Sports)

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

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Dortmund vs. VfB Stuttgart (FS2)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Southampton vs. Tottenham (NBC Sports)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Newcastle vs. Everton (CNBC)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester City vs. Watford (NBC)

11:30 a.m. - [La Liga] Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano (beIN Sports)

2:30 p.m. - [MLS] FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy (Univision)

4:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Montreal Impact (KUBE57)

Sunday, Mar. 10

7:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Liverpool vs. Burnley (NBC Sports)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Chelsea vs. Wolves (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Arsenal vs. Manchester United (NBC)

2:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Valladolid vs. Real Madrid (beIN Sports)

4:00 p.m. - [MLS] Atlanta United vs. Cincinnati (ESPN)

6:30 p.m. - [MLS] LAFC vs. Portland Timbers (FS1)

The U.S. Women's National Team look to defend their FIFA Women's World Cup title and become back-to-back champs.

The Summer of Soccer is underway with the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, UEFA Nations League and international friendlies all part of the schedule this past weekend. The action is about to kick into another gear with the start of the Concacaf Gold Cup and South America's Copa America this week. Here is the week in soccer:

FIFA Women's World Cup

The premier women's international soccer competition kicked off in France with a 4-0 win by the hosts last Friday to open the competition. France is one of the favorites, and pressured to win, due to their role as the home team. The French women are also looking to match their male counterparts that became World Cup champions last summer at Russia 2018.

Germany, another of the favorites, opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over China while 2011 Champions and 2015 Runners-up Japan were held to a scoreless draw against what could be a Cinderella team in Argentina. England and Scotland faced off for the first time at the World Cup, men or women's, with the Lionesses winning 2-1 while potential dark horse Canada picked up a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

The defending champion United States joins the fray on Tuesday (2:00 p.m. CT, FOX) in what will likely be a multiple goal clinic against Thailand. For all the basics on the Women's World Cup, check out this article.

UEFA Nations League

The first ever Nations League, an attempt to get rid of "meaningless" international friendlies, looks to have been a rousing success and it could not have finished in a better way in terms of garnering media attention. European football's golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal, the current European champions, to a second European title in three years with a 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

Concacaf Gold Cup

The biannual tournament to determine the champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean - the region governed by Concacaf - kicks off on Saturday. The United States enter as the defending champions but it is Mexico, the nation with the most titles in the competition, who enter as the favorites to win it all.

Mexico fared well with a 3-1 friendly win over Venezuela in Atlanta on Wednesday followed by a 3-2 win over Ecuador on Sunday up in Arlington, TX. The United States enter with doubts after a 0-1 loss to Jamaica in Washington D.C. and a 0-3 loss to Venezuela in Cincinnati.

CONMEBOL Copa America

South America also has a tournament kicking off this weekend in the revered Copa America. Hosts Brazil are always in the spotlight because of their star-studded squad and will be expected to win despite losing Neymar to injury this past week. Of course, as it has been for several editions now, the main storyline will be if Lionel Messi can finally lift a trophy with Argentina. With what many consider as the best in the world (and best all-time by others) in his prime, the time seems now or never for Messi to conquer the quadrennial tournament as well of the hearts of his country - and what a story it would be to do it on rival turf.

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