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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Houston looked much more like themselves

Astros return to form in win over Angels at home

Cristian Javier was impressive Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Hoping to avoid spiraling further out of control, the Astros turned the page from their disappointing road trip and the recent stretch of games. They hoped to start this new homestand on a good note, welcoming in the Angels for four games of this eight-game stint at Minute Maid Park.

Houston would get the much-needed win, with their offense coming alive early in the game to put up big innings, which they rode to the victory thanks in part to a great start by Cristian Javier.

Final Score: Astros 8, Angels 2

Astros' Record: 8-10, fifth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Alex Cobb (1-1)

Astros' offense starts clicking early

Houston would grab the early momentum, despite leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. They would get a leadoff double by Aledmys Diaz in the bottom of the second, followed by an RBI triple by Myles Straw to jump in front 1-0. They made it a three-run inning, with an RBI by Carlos Correa then a bases-loaded RBI-walk by Yuli Gurriel, though for consecutive innings would leave three runners stranded on base.

Correa drove in another in the bottom of the next inning, getting an RBI single to push the lead to four runs, then would come in on a two-run single by Alex Bregman, who made it 6-0. That set things up nicely for Cristian Javier, who was on the mound trying to take advantage of the opportunity for another start.

Javier has an electric start



Javier was electric over the first three innings, including getting eight of the first nine outs by strikeout while allowing only a walk and double during that span. He would have longer innings in the next two, but in both cases would keep the Angels off the board, finishing in line for the win. His final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 98 P.

Houston gets the much-needed win

Meanwhile, Houston's offense kept scoring. They pushed the lead two runs further over the fourth and fifth, getting a run in each with another RBI each for Straw and Bregman. With Javier's night done, Bryan Abreu was first out of the Astros bullpen, and despite allowing a controversial two-run home run to Albert Pujols, of all people, that looked to be a foul ball, got through the inning.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the seventh but would get just one out while hitting a batter and allowing a single before Dusty Baker brought in Brooks Raley to face the heavy left-handed part of the Angels lineup. Raley would get through it, sending things to the seventh-inning stretch with the six-run lead intact.

Raley would get another out before Joe Smith would finish that inning in the top of the eighth. Ryan Pressly, who has been starved for work lately with no save opportunities, would close things out in the ninth as Houston would start this series off with a win.

Up Next: Game two of this four-game set will be another 7:10 PM start on Friday night. Andrew Heaney (1-1, 5.65 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels, while Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.81 ERA) will look to repeat the success of his last start; an eight-inning shutout performance for the Astros.

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