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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Yuli Gurriel had a monster night at the plate Friday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Although they lost the series 2-1, the Astros ended their road trip with a nice win over the Yankees to head home on a positive note. On Friday, they welcomed in the Toronto Blue Jays and former teammate George Springer, currently on the IL, to start a three-game series and long homestand. They had an excellent night at the plate, along with a strong start from Jose Urquidy, cruising past the Blue Jays to take the opener.

Final Score: Astros 10, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 17-15, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (3-2)

Losing Pitcher: Ross Stripling (0-2)

Jays strike first, then Houston responds and never looks back

It first appeared that Urquidy may be in for a long night, giving up two solo home runs early in Friday's game, one to Bo Bichette in the top of the first with one out to put Toronto up 1-0, then another to Danny Jansen in the top of the third. However, Urquidy would lock-in, and his offense would back him up strongly.

Houston ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, getting two runs on a homer by Carlos Correa, then later loading the bases to set up an RBI walk by Alex Bregman. In the bottom of the fifth, with a one-run lead at 3-2, Yuli Gurriel expanded the lead to three runs on a two-run shot.

Gurriel went on to have a fantastic night, going 4-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBI. His third of those came in the bottom of the seventh, extending the lead again with an RBI single to make it 6-2. Kyle Tucker made it a five-run game that same inning with an RBI double, then more insurance came in the bottom of the eighth. They reached double-digits that inning, with Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, his fourth of the night, all getting an RBI to make it 10-2.

Urquidy finishes seven, then Emanuel finishes it off

Those gave Urquidy plenty of support, though he would bounce back after the two early homers and have a nice night on the mound. He allowed just two other hits, working around both, en route to a seven-inning two-run performance to earn him the win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 84 P.

He likely could have gone longer, but Dusty Baker turned the ball over to Kent Emanuel to wrap things up with the significant lead. He did so, despite allowing a two-run home run to former-Astro Teoscor Hernandez in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-4. The win kept the Astros above .500 and two games back of the A's, who sit atop the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be a 6:10 PM start Saturday night. The pitching matchup will be Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA) for Toronto and the electric Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) for Houston.

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