THE SOCCER REPORT

Soccer roundup: Premier League returns, Zlatan slams MLS playoff system

Liverpool supporters in Houston packed Hugh O'Connors pub in the Marq'E for the opening match of the Premier League season.

The start of the 2019/20 Premier League season left plenty of stories for soccer fans to digest but it wasn't the only thing to talk about. The French top division also kicked off, Zlatan Ibrahimovic used the word "s***" to describe Major League Soccer's regular season structure and Wayne Rooney is headed back to England after the conclusion of the current domestic season.

Here are the top stories you need to know from the past week:

English Premier League

Every goal from Premier League 2019/20 Matchweek 1 | NBC Sports www.youtube.com

UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool kicked off the new season with a 4-1 win at home while defending PL champions Manchester City followed that up with a 5-0 win at West Ham. The season is expected to be another two team race between them but Manchester United had something to say about that with a 4-0 win over Chelsea in the most touted match of the week. U.S. Men's National Team's Christian Pulisic and Chelsea Legend Frank Lampard made their debuts with the club as player and manager, respectively.

Matchday 1 Results

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

French Ligue 1

Top buts 1ère journée - Ligue 1 Conforama / 2019-20 www.youtube.com

The trio of Cavani, Mbappe and Di Maria scored for champions Paris Saint-Germain as the Neymar saga continues behind the scenes. The Brazilian has been rumored to leave the French giants for a return to Spain with either his former club Barcelona or their hated rivals Real Madrid. Elsewhere in France, 19-year-old American Tim Weah made his debut with Lille after a $11.4 million move from PSG back in June.

Matchday 1 - Top Results

  • Monaco 0-3 Lyon
  • Marseille 0-2 Stade Reims
  • Dijon 1-2 St-Ettiene
  • Lille 2-1 Nantes
  • PSG 3-0 Nimes

Netherlands Eredivisie

Matchday 2 - Top Results

  • Ajax 5-0 Emmen
  • Waalwijk 0-2 AZ Alkmaar
  • Heerenveen 1-1 Feyenoord
  • PSV 3-1 Den Haag

Scottish Premier League

Matchday 2 - Top Results

  • Motherwell 2-5 Celtic
  • Rangers 6-1 Hibernian
International Champions Cup (European preseason)

FC Barcelona – SCC Napoli (4-0) HIGHLIGHTS www.youtube.com

FC Barcelona faced off against Napoli in back-to-back friendlies during the past week. Barcelona won the first encounter in Miami's Hard Rock Stadium by a 2-1 scoreline and the second with a 4-0 thumping at "The Big House" in Michigan.

Atletico Madrid defeated Juventus 2-1 in Stockholm, Sweden to conclude the preseason International Champions Cup.
Major League Soccer (USA/Canada)
Two of the bigger stars in the league made headlines for different reasons. First came the news of D.C. United forward Wayne Rooney returning to England in January with Championship side Derby County as a player-coach. Rooney was absent from D.C.'s 2-1 win over LA Galaxy on Sunday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made news midweek after criticizing the regular season format in MLS. The news came a day before the Galaxy announced Boca Juniors forward Cristian Pavon as its latest signing.

The Houston Dynamo, on their behalf, continued their poor road form with back-to-back losses at NYCFC and Philadelphia in the span of four days. The Dynamo return home to face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

East top seven: 1. Philadelphia (45), 2. Atlanta (42), 3. D.C. United (39), 4. NYCFC (38), 5. NY Red Bulls (37), 6. New England (34), 7. Montreal (33)

West top seven: 1. LAFC (55), 2. Seattle (39), 3. Minnesota (38), 4. San Jose (38), 5. LA Galaxy (37), 6. Real Salt Lake (37), 7. Dallas (36)

Scoring leader: 23 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 15 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Liga MX

Top Eight: 1. Santos Laguna (12), 2. Queretaro (10), 3. Club America (10), 4. Tigres UANL (9), 5. Atlas (9), 6. Guadalajara (7), 7. Tijuana (7), 8. Pumas UNAM (6)

Scoring leader: 4 - Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Brian Lozano (Santos)

Assists leader: 4 - Luis Quinones (Tigres)

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National Women's Soccer League

Highlights: Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash | August 10, 2019 www.youtube.com

The Houston Dash picked up a 1-0 win at Orlando to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Standings: 1. Portland Thorns (30), 2. Chicago Red Stars (29), 3. North Carolina Courage (28), 4. Reign FC (26), 5. Utah Royals (24), 6. Houston Dash (22), 7. Washington Spirit (21), 8. Orlando Pride (11), 9. Sky Blue FC (9)

Scoring leader: 12 - Sam Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 5 - Lynn Williams (North Carolina)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, August 13

1:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League Qualyfing] Copenhagen vs. Red Star Belgrade (B/R Live)

1:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League Qualyfing] Ferencváros vs. Dinamo Zagreb (B/R Live)

Wednesday, August 14

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Super Cup] Liverpool vs. Chelsea (TNT, Univision)

7:00 p.m. - [Campeones Cup] Atlanta United vs. Club America (ESPN2, TUDN)

Thursday, August 15

4:00 p.m. - [Women's International Champions Cup] Atletico Madrid vs. Lyon (ESPN+)

6:30 p.m. - [Women's International Champions Cup] Man City vs. North Carolina Courage (ESPN+)

Friday, August 16

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

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona (beIN Sports)

Saturday, August 17

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Arsenal vs. Burnley (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Dortmund vs. Augsburg (FS1, UniMas)

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

10:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid (beIN Sports)

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

8:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids (KUBE57)

9:00 p.m. - [MLS] LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC (ESPN2)

Sunday, August 18

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Sheffield United vs. Crystal Palace (NBC Sports)

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Chelsea vs. Leicester City (NBC Sports)

Monday, August 19

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Wolves vs. Manchester United (NBC Sports)




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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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