Liverpool gain nine-point lead over City

Soccer Recap: Seattle wins MLS Cup, Liverpool top Man City, Bayern Munich stomp Dortmund

Credit: Major League Soccer

Seattle Sounders FC return to the pinnacle of American soccer after defeating Toronto FC 3-1 in front of 69,274 spectators on Sunday - a new record for a sporting event at CenturyLink Field. Across the Atlantic, Liverpool widened the gap between themselves and defending champions Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Among the other top stories this week:

  • USWNT picked up 3-2 win vs. Sweden, 6-0 win over Costa Rica in Andonovski's debut as Head Coach
  • Judge grants class action status to USWNT in gender discrimination lawsuit
  • Ecuador's Independiente del Valle wins 2019 Copa Sudamericana
  • Barcelona / Real Madrid tied atop La Liga
  • Bayern Munich rout rivals Dortmund

Major League Soccer

The 2019 MLS season concluded with the MLS Cup championship game on Sunday. Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC met in the final for the third time in the last four years. Seattle defeated Toronto by a 3-1 scoreline to collect their second MLS Cup - joining the Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City with two league titles (only LA Galaxy and D.C. United have more with five and four, respectively).

2019 Major League Soccer Awards

  • MLS Cup Champion: Seattle Sounders FC
  • MLS Supporters Shield Champion: Los Angeles FC
  • Most Valuable Player: Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC)
  • Defender of the Year: Ike Opara (Minnesota United FC)
  • Goalkeeper of the Year: Vito Mannone (Minnesota United FC)
  • Coach of the Year: Bob Bradley (Los Angeles FC)
  • Rookie of the Year: Andre Shinyashiki (Colorado Rapids)
  • Newcomer of the Year: Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Golden Boot: Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC) with 34 goals [MLS record]
  • Humanitarian of the Year: Matt Lampson (LA Galaxy)
  • Referee of the Year: Allen Chapman
  • Assistant Referee of the Year: Brian Dunn
  • Goal of the Year: Josef Martínez (Atlanta United FC)
  • Save of the Year: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
2019 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper - Vito Mannone (Minnesota United FC) / Defenders - Ike Opara (Minnesota United FC), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC) / Midfielders - Eduard Atuesta (LAFC), Carles Gil (New England Revolution), Maxi Moralez (New York City FC), Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC) / Forwards - Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United FC), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

The offseason is officially underway with a temporary trade window until Wednesday, followed by a series of offseason drafts. It is important to note that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire and will be an additional story to follow.

English Premier League

Most of the focus in the Premier League was on the battle of the top two teams from last season. Liverpool expanded the gap in the title race to a nine-point lead over Manchester City after a 3-1 win at home.

Top six: Liverpool (34), Leicester City (26), Chelsea (26), Man City (25), Sheffield Utd (17), Arsenal (17)

Scoring leader: 11 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Assists leader: 9 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Lionel Messi scored three in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Celta Vigo. Real Madrid collected a 4-0 win at Eibar. The two Spanish giants share the top of the table on points and are on a collision course towards their December 18th meeting.

Top six: FC Barcelona (25), Real Madrid (25), Atletico Madrid (24), Sevilla (24), Real Sociedad (23), Athletic Bilbao (20)

Scoring leader: 9 - Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Assists leader: 4 - Several players tied

German Bundesliga

Bayern Munich looks to be back on the right course, responding to the dismissal of their Head Coach Niko Kovac with a 4-0 win over rivals Borussia Dortmund. Borussia Monchengladbach lead the Bundesliga standings at the moment.

Top six: Monchengladbach (25), RB Leipzig (21), Bayern Munich (21), Freiburg (21), Hoffenheim (20), Dortmund (19)

Scoring leader: 16 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 6 - Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund)

Italian Serie A

Top six: Juventus (32), Inter Milan (31), Lazio (24), Cagliari (24), Atalanta (22), Roma (22)

Scoring leader: 14 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 8 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top six: PSG (30), Marseille (22), Angers (21), St-Etiene (21), Lille (19), Montpellier (19)

Scoring leader: 9 - Moussa Dembele (Lyon), Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)

Assists leader: 7 - Islam Slimani (Monaco) / Yoann Court (Brest)

U.S. Women begin new era

Newly appointed U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski got his first wins in a pair of friendlies after a 3-2 win over Sweden and a 6-0 rout of Costa Rica.

Copa Sudamericana

Ecuador's Independiente del Valle defeated Argentine side Club Atlético Colón with a 3-1 result at the Estadio General Pablo Rojas in Asunción, Paraguay on Saturday. This marked the first time the tournament was decided by a one match final in a neutral location. It is also Independiente del Valle's first international title. The Copa Sudamericana is South America's secondary international tournament, similar to the UEFA Europa League.

TV listings (All Times CT):

Tuesday, November 12

1:00 p.m. - [International Friendly] Netherlands vs. Slovenia (GolTV)

Wednesday, November 13

10:00 a.m. - [AFCON qualifying] Cameroon vs. Cape Verde (beIN SPORTS)

Thursday, November 14

10:00 a.m. - [AFCON qualifying] Egypt vs. Kenya (beIN SPORTS)

11:00 a.m. - [EURO qualifying] Turkey vs. Iceland (ESPN2, TUDN)

1:00 p.m. - [AFCON qualifying] Ghana vs. South Africa (beIN SPORTS)

1:45 p.m. - [EURO qualifying] Czech Republic vs. Kosovo (ESPNEWS)

1:45 p.m. - [EURO qualifying] France vs. Moldova (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [EURO qualifying] France vs. Moldova (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [EURO qualifying] Portugal vs. Lithuania (TUDN)

Friday, November 15

6:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Nations League] France vs. Moldova (ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN)

8:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Nations League] Portugal vs. Lithuania (Univision, TUDN)

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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