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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McCullers Jr. had nine strikeouts over four

McCullers Jr. looks sharp in tune-up before Rangers overpower Houston's bullpen

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite watching their chance to clinch their playoff spot on the field slip away in the walk-off loss on Friday, the Astros benefited from a loss by the Angels later in the night, securing their playoff berth. That meant they could play conservatively in the final two games of the season against the Rangers in Arlington. Here's a quick rundown of Saturday's matchup:

Final Score: Rangers 6, Astros 1.

Record: 29-30, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jimmy Herget (1-0, 3.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-3, 6.75 ERA).

McCullers Jr. looks playoff-ready 

With nothing substantial to play for, the Astros did not expect to ask Lance McCullers Jr. to go deep into Saturday's game, instead giving him a few innings for a tune-up before assuming whatever role he would play in the post-season. He looked impressive, a promising sign after his injury stint and struggles on the road at points this season.

He finished four innings, during which he racked up a season-high nine strikeouts while giving up no runs on just two hits, both singles, and two walks. His final line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 61 P.

Both teams trade runs as  they go to their bullpens

Meanwhile, neither team was getting much going at the plate in the early goings, keeping it a scoreless game through the first five. Brandon Bielak took over for McCullers Jr. starting in the fifth but would allow the first run of the night in the bottom of the sixth as the Rangers would get three singles to take a 1-0 lead.

After Kyle Gibson held the Astros at bay for six innings, Houston would get on the board against Texas' bullpen, getting a leadoff double by Aledmyz Diaz in the top of the seventh. Diaz moved to third on a sac bunt, then scored on a sac fly by Jack Mayfield, making it 1-1.

Rangers blow it open in the seventh

The tie didn't last long, as Bielak would put two on base in the bottom of the seventh before giving up a three-run homer to make it a 4-1 Rangers lead. Andre Scrubb was next out of Houston's bullpen and allowed a solo home run on his first pitch. Scrubb would complete the inning, but not before allowing another run on three singles to push Texas' lead to 6-1.

Cy Sneed was next out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame with two strikeouts. Houston would not make the unlikely comeback in the top of the ninth, with the Rangers taking the game 6-1.

Up Next: The last game of the Astros' 2020 regular season will be Sunday at 2:05 PM Central, as are most other games on the MLB slate on the league's final regular-season day. Houston's starter is TBD as they will continue to preserve their arms for the best-of-three first round that starts on Tuesday, while Texas will send Jordan Lyles (1-6, 7.08 ERA) to the mound.

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