THE SOCCER REPORT

River-Boca on tap, Houston Dynamo playoff hopes end

River Plate product Tomas Martinez has been a staple of Dynamo lineups in 2019. Credit: Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo are officially eliminated from playoff contention, sentencing their absence from the MLS Cup Playoffs in five of the past six seasons. The Dash are off this week but will be heading down to Monterrey, Mexico for a friendly with Liga MX side Tigres on Saturday night.

On the global scale, one of the most heated rivalries in the sport takes place on Tuesday night as Argentina's River Plate and Boca Juniors face off in the Copa Libertadores semifinals. The matchup is a rematch of the Libertadores finals from last year, a series that had to be finished in Spain because it was not deemed safe to conclude in Argentina.

Here is a review of the past week in soccer:

Major League Soccer

Last Wednesday, LAFC demolished the Houston Dynamo by a scoreline of 3-1 to clinch the best record in MLS and home field throughout the playoffs. The Supporters Shield is the two-year club's first major trophy. Four other Western Conference teams clinched a playoff spot, leaving only two to be decided for the final day of the regular season.

In the East, NYCFC clinched the top spot and a bye in the first round. New England defeated NYCFC on Sunday to secure the final playoff spot in the conference.

Every match will be played simultaneously on Sunday in MLS' "Decision Day." Aside from the final two playoff berths, seeding in the playoffs is also to be decided. Spots 2-4 in each conference host in the first round.

With two goals this week, Carlos Vela tied the single-season scoring record (31) set by Atlata's Josef Martinez in 2018. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not far behind in the Golden Boot race with 29 as the Galaxy come to Houston on Sunday.

East top seven: 1. y - NYCFC (61), 2. x - Atlanta (55), 3. x - Philadelphia (55), 4. x - D.C. United (49), 5. x - NY Red Bulls (48), 6. x - Toronto (47), 7. x - New England (45)

West top seven (and playoff hopefuls): 1. s - LAFC (69), 2. x - Minnesota (53), 3. x - Seattle (53), 4. x - LA Galaxy (51), 5. x - Real Salt Lake (50), 6. Portland (46), 7. Dallas (45), 8. San Jose (44), 9. Colorado (42)

Scoring leader: 31 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 20 - Maxi Morales (NYCFC)

National Women's Soccer League

The four teams in the NWSL playoffs have been decided with only the semifinal matchups to be decided as the league enters it's final two weeks. The Houston Dash will miss out on the postseason once more, a feat never accomplished in club history.

Standings: 1. s - North Carolina Courage (46), 2. x - Chicago Red Stars (44), 3. x - Portland Thorns (39), 4. x - Reign FC (37), 5. Utah Royals (31), 6. Washington Spirit (30), 7. Houston Dash (26), 8. Sky Blue FC (20), 9. Orlando Pride (15)

Scoring leader: 18 - Sam Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 8 - Yuki Nagasato (Chicago)

English Premier League

Matchday 7 Results

  • Sheffield Utd 0-1 Liverpool
  • Crystal Palace 2-0 Norwich City
  • Aston Villa 2-2 Burnley
  • Bournemouth 2-2 West Ham
  • Wolves 2-0 Watford
  • Tottenham 2-1 Southampton
  • Chelsea 1-0 Brighton
  • Everton 1-3 Manchester City
  • Leicester City 5-0 Newcastle
  • Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal

Top six: Liverpool (21), Man City (16), Leicester City (14), Arsenal (12), West Ham (12), Tottenham (11)

Scoring leader: 8 - Sergio Aguero (Man City)

Assists leader: 8 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Matchday 6 Results

  • Valladolid 1-1 Granada
  • Real Betis 3-1 Levante
  • FC Barcelona 2-1 Villareal
  • RCD Mallorca 0-2 Atletico Madrid
  • Leganes 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
  • Valencia 3-3 Getafe
  • Real Madrid 2-0 Osasuna
  • Eibar 3-2 Sevilla
  • Celta Vigo 1-1 Espanyol
  • Real Sociedad 3-0 Alaves

Matchday 7 Results

  • Villareal 5-1 Real Betis
  • Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Valencia
  • Getafe 0-2 FC Barcelona
  • Granada 1-0 Leganes
  • Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid
  • Espanyol 0-2 Valladolid
  • Eibar 2-0 Celta Vigo
  • Alaves 2-0 RCD Mallorca
  • Levante 1-1 Osasuna
  • Sevilla 3-2 Real Sociedad

Top six: Real Madrid (15), Granada (14), Atletico Madrid (14), FC Barcelona (13), Real Sociedad (13), Sevilla (13)

Scoring leader: 6 - Gerard Moreno (Villareal)

Assists leader: 3 - Five players tied

German Bundesliga

Matchday 6 Results

  • Union Berlin 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Hoffenheim 0-3 Monchengladbach
  • Mainz 0-1 Wolfsburg
  • Augsburg 0-3 Bayer Leverkusen
  • Paderborn 2-3 Bayern Munich
  • RB Leipzig 1-3 Schalke 04
  • Dortmund 2-2 Werder Bremen
  • Fortuna 1-2 Freiburg
  • Cologne 0-4 Hertha Berlin

Top six: Bayern Munich (14), RB Leipzig (13), Freiburg (13), Schalke 04 (13), Monchengladbach (13), Bayer Leverkusen (13)

Scoring leader: 10 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 4 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund)

Italian Serie A

Matchday 5 Results

  • Hellas Verona 0-0 Udinese
  • Brescia 1-2 Juventus
  • Roma 0-2 Atalanta
  • SPAL 1-3 Lecce
  • Napoli 0-1 Cagliari
  • Genoa 0-0 Bologna
  • Fiorentina 2-1 Sampdoria
  • Parma 1-0 Sassuolo
  • Inter Milan 1-0 Lazio
  • Torino 2-1 AC Milan

Matchday 6 Results

  • Juventus 2-0 SPAL
  • Sampdoria 1-3 Inter Milan
  • Sassuolo 1-4 Atalanta
  • Napoli 2-1 Brescia
  • Lazio 4-0 Genoa
  • Udinese 1-0 Bolognia
  • Lecce 0-1 Roma
  • Cagliari 1-1 Hellas Verona
  • AC Milan 1-3 Fiorentina
  • Parma 3-2 Torino

Top six: Inter Milan (18), Juventus (16), Atalanta (13), Napoli (12), Roma (11), Lazio (10)

Scoring leader: 5 - Four players tied

Assists leader: 4 - Three players tied

French Ligue 1

Matchday 7 Results

  • Dijon 0-0 Marseille
  • Monaco 3-1 Nice
  • Brest 2-2 Lyon
  • St-Etienne 0-1 Metz
  • Amiens 1-3 Bordeaux
  • Nantes 1-0 Rennes
  • Montpellier 1-0 Nimes
  • Toulouse 0-2 Angers
  • Lille 2-0 Strasbourg
  • PSG 0-2 Stade Reims

Matchday 8 Results

  • Lyon 0-1 Nantes
  • Bordeaux 0-1 PSG
  • Stade Reims 1-2 Dijon
  • Metz 2-2 Toulouse
  • Monaco 4-1 Brest
  • Angers 1-1 Amiens
  • Nice 1-1 Lille
  • Strasbourg 1-0 Montpellier
  • Nimes 0-1 St-Etienne
  • Marseille 1-1 Rennes

Top six: PSG (18), Angers (16), Nantes (16), Lille (14), Marseille (13), Nice (13)

Scoring leader: 6 - Three players tied

Assists leader: 4 - Islam Slimani (Monaco)

Netherlands Eredivisie

Matchday 8 - Top Results

  • Ajax 2-0 Groningen
  • Waalwijk 1-2 Vitesse
  • Zwolle 0-2 PSV
  • AZ Alkmaar 2-0 Heracles
  • Feyenoord 5-1 Twente

Top four: Ajax (20), PSV (20), AZ Alkmaar (19), Vitesse (17)

Scoring leader: 8 - Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven)

Assists leader: 8 - Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Matchday 7 - Top Results

  • Benfica 1-0 Setubal
  • Famalicao 3-1 Belenenses
  • Vitoria 1-0 Pacos Ferreira
  • Rio Ave 0-1 Porto
  • Aves 0-1 Sporting CP

Top four: Famalicao(19), Benfica (18), Porto (18), Vitoria (12)

Scoring leader: 6 - Pizzi (Benfica) / Ze Luis (Porto)

Assists leader: 4 - Bruno Fernandes (Sporting)

Scottish Premiership

Matchday 7 - Top Results

  • Hibernian 1-1 Celtic
  • Rangers 5-0 Aberdeen
  • St. Johnstone 0-1 Motherwell

Top four: Celtic (19), Rangers (18), Motherwell (13), Aberdeen (11)

Scoring leader: 6 - Jermain Defoe (Rangers) / Ryan Christie (Celtic)

Assists leader: 4 - James Forrest (Celtic)

Mexican Liga MX

Matchday 11 Results

  • Queretaro 1-2 Necaxa
  • Tigres 0-1 Puebla
  • Leon 1-1 Atlas
  • Guadalajara 2-4 Pachuca
  • Santos 5-0 Veracruz
  • Juarez 1-1 Club America
  • Cruz Azul 1-1 Monterrey
  • Tijuana 3-2 Monarcas
  • Toluca 3-1 Atletico San Luis

Matchday 12 Results

  • Puebla 2-1 Leon
  • Atlas 2-0 Queretaro
  • Pachuca 2-0 Cruz Azul
  • Necaxa 0-0 Juarez
  • Monterrey 0-2 Tigres
  • Club America 4-1 Guadalajara
  • Pumas 2-0 Santos
  • Atletico San Luis 2-3 Tijuana
  • Veracruz 1-1 Toluca

Top Eight: 1. Santos Laguna (23), 2. Necaxa (21), 3. Club America (21), 4. Leon (19), 5. Pachuca (18), 6. Queretaro (18), 7. Tigres (17), 8. Pumas (17)

Scoring leader: 8 - Julio Furch (Santos)

Assists leader: 8 - Miller Bolanos (Tijuana)

Liga MX clubs Tigres UANL and Santos will face off in a club friendly in Houston during the October FIFA International window. Tickets on sale at BBVAStadium.com

Liga MX Femenil

Matchday 13 Results

  • Necaxa 0-1 Queretaro
  • Juarez 1-2 UANL
  • Atlas 2-2 Cruz Azul
  • UNAM 1-1 Monarcas
  • Veracruz 1-1 Guadalajara
  • America 2-1 Pachuca
  • Santos 0-0 Puebla
  • Atletico San Luis 1-2 Leon
  • Tijuana 2-1 Toluca

Top Eight: 1. Monterrey (30), 2. Pachuca (26), 3. Tigres (25), 4. Guadalajara (23), 5. Atlas (21), 6. America (21), 7. Tijuana (21), 8. Monarcas (18)

Scoring leader: 13 - Mónica Monsiváis (Monterrey)

Argentina Superliga

Matchday 8 Results

  • Aldosivi 1-2 Union
  • Patronato 1-1 Lanus
  • Arsenal 3-0 Estudiantes
  • Gimnasia 0-2 River Plate
  • Boca 1-1 Newells
  • Banfield 0-1 San Lorenzo
  • Huracan 0-0 Atletico Tucuman
  • Velez 0-1 Defensa y Justicia
  • Rosario Central 1-1 Racing Club
  • Independiente 3-2 Talleres Cordoba
  • Cordoba 1-0 Godoy Cruz
  • Colon 1-0 Argentinos Juniors

Top four: Boca (18), San Lorenzo (16), Talleres Cordoba (16), Arsenal Sarandi (15)

Scoring leader: 4 - Bruno Pitton (San Lorenzo) / Nicolas Dominguez (Velez)

Assists leader: 3 - Mathias Abero Villan (Patronato)

Argentina Female

The first matchday in Argentina's female football featured the first Boca vs. River matchup of the professional era.

Matchday 1 Results

  • Villa 1-5 Rosario Central
  • Gimnasia 2-0 Huracan
  • Platense 1-5 Racing Club
  • Estudiantes 3-1 Belgrano
  • SAT 1-0 El Porvenir
  • Boca Juniors 5-0 River Plate
  • Lanus 1-3 San Lorenzo
  • Urquiza 2-1 Independiente

Top four: SAT (3), Boca Juniors (3) Racing Club (3), Rosario Central (3)

TV listings (All Times CT):

Tuesday, October 1

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Real Madrid vs. Club Brugge (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

1:45 p.m. - [English Championship] Leeds vs. West Bromwich (ESPN+)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Tottenham vs. Bayern Munich (TNT, Galavision)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Juventus vs. Bayer Leverkusen (UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Galatasaray vs. PSG (B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Atletico Madrid (B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Manchester City vs. Dinamo Zagreb (B/R Live)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] River Plate vs. Boca Juniors (beIN SPORTS)

Wednesday, October 2

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Slavia Prague vs. Borussia Dortmund (TNT, Galavision)

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Genk vs. Napoli (UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] FC Barcelona vs. Inter Milan (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

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

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] RB Leipzig vs. Lyon (B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Valencia vs. Ajax (B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Lille vs. Chelsea (B/R Live)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Gremio vs. Flamengo (beIN SPORTS)

Thursday, October 3

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] AZ Alkmaar vs. Manchester United (TUDN, B/R Live)

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Feyenoord vs. Porto (Galavision, B/R Live)

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

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Besiktas vs. Wolves (UniMas, B/R Live)

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Young Boys vs. Rangers (B/R Live)

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

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Sporting CP vs. LASK (Galavision, B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Arsenal vs. Standard Liege (TUDN, B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Rosenborg vs. PSV Eindhoven (B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Celtic vs. Cluj (B/R Live)

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It more of the same from the Houston Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Sunday afternoon provided a high-res snapshot of the state of Houston sports. The Astros, already assured of the best record in the American League, played a game they didn’t need to win. The Astros won, ho-hum, their 104th win of the season.

Meanwhile, eight miles away, the Texans, mired in last place with fan support dwindling, played a game they really needed to win. The Texans lost 34-24 to the Los Angeles Chargers in front of (giggle) 69,071 fans at NRG Stadium. The Texans really ought to stop saying the stands are packed. Every time a team punts, and cameras follow the ball skyward, there are thousands of empty seats on display. I know the NFL methodology for determining attendance, (total tickets sold, no-shows don’t count) but it just looks silly when the Texans announce 69,000 fans.

The Texans came close as usual before sputtering to another defeat. The Texans now stand at 0-3-1, the only winless team in the NFL. It’s the second time in three years they’ve started a season without a victory after four games. It’s telling to note that not one of the Texans opponents has a winning record for 2022.

In other words, the Texans have played four games they shoulda/coulda won. Shouda against the Colts, Broncos and Bears, and coulda against the Chargers.

Should/coulda four wins. Instead, none.

That’s the Texans. They’re in every game but can’t close the deal. Yeah, yeah, on Monday we hear, “the Texans are playing hard for coach Lovie Smith” and “they’re competitive” and “they’re a young team.” These are NFL equivalents of a participation trophy.

Sunday’s loss to the Chargers at NRG Stadium was straight out of the Texans playbook. Fall behind, make it interesting, lose. The Texans stuck to their script, timid play calling, momentum-crushing penalties (nine for 67 yards), self-inflicted drops, lackluster quarterbacking and Rex Burkhead on the field for crunch time. After one play where a Texan player was called for holding, the announcer said, “and he did a poor job of holding.”

Statuesque quarterback David Mills keeps saying “we’re in a good spot” and “we’re improving.” Statuesque as in he doesn’t move – or barely moves to avoid sacks. Sunday saw his first touchdown pass to a wide receiver. He’s now thrown four interceptions in the past two games. Let’s go to the tote board: 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 4 fumbles, 11 sacks, qbr rating 28.5 – good for 28th in the league.

A bright spot, sort of. This was the first week the Texans didn’t cover the spread. They’re now 1-2-1 against Vegas oddsmakers, meaning you’ve won money if you took the Texans all four weeks. They head to Jacksonville next as early 6.5-point underdogs.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s brilliant quarterback Bryce Young, who will be available for the Texans when they draft first in 2023 (as Paul Heyman says, that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler), suffered a shoulder injury last Saturday. The Texans need to take out a Lloyds of London insurance policy on Young.

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