CH14 doubles Zlatan's sales

Soccer: Chicharito's MLS impact, USWNT perfect in Olympic Qualifying, Houston in talks to host Concacaf Nations League

Photo: LA Galaxy

Liverpool continue to run rampant in England, Real Madrid have taken a solid hold of the top spot in Spain and transfer talk continues in Major League Soccer with less than a month left from the beginning of the 2020 season.

Houston Dynamo announce Liga MX friendly; GK Marko Maric arrives

It looks like Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas are here to stay after another transfer window has passed and both went unsold to European suitors. The Dynamo will need every bit of firepower they can get as they kick off the season on Feb. 29 against the LA Galaxy.

Offseason signing Marko Maric has arrived to the club and is expected to be the starting goalkeeper this season. You can learn more about the Croatian international in his interview on Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis.

Houston Dash continue offseason roster turnover

The Houston Dash have traded away fan favorites Amber Brooks and Sofia Huerta, both starters in 2019, to add to the offseason turnover that saw Kealia Ohai also traded earlier this offseason. What looks like a fresh start for all involved is shaping up to be James Clarkson's most challenging season yet in only his second year in the women's game.

USWNT open 2020 with sweep in Olympic Qualifying group matches in Houston

As expected, the United States Women's National Team went three for three at BBVA Stadium to start their Olympic Qualifying campaign. They await either Canada or Mexico in the semifinals for a spot at Tokyo 2020.

Results:

  • January 28 - USA 4-0 Haiti
  • January 31 - USA 8-0 Panama
  • February 3 - USA 6-0 Costa Rica
Upcoming Matches:
  • February 7 - USA vs. Canada/Mexico [win punches ticket to Tokyo Olympics]
  • February 9 - Olympic Qualifying Tournament Final

USMNT open 2020 with 1-0 win over Costa Rica

Eighteen-year-old Ulysses Llanez scored his first international goal in the U.S. Men's 1-0 win over a "B-team" Costa Rica in a non-FIFA date friendly at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California over the weekend. It was the first friendly of the year for the USMNT who culminate their annual January Camp with a W.

Impact of Chicharito arrival, another Mexican starĀ  could be heading to MLS

The Mexican star and the national team's all-time goalscorer has been the talk of the MLS offseason with his arrival to the Los Angeles Galaxy. The former Chivas of Guadalajara, Manchester United and Real Madrid striker is slated to be the highest-paid player in league history and has already had "double" the impact on season ticket sales than when Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined the Galaxy. LA open the season on the road in Houston on Feb. 29.

Hernandez might not be the last Mexican star joining the league this winter as David Beckham's Inter Miami CF is about to sign Monterrey's Rodolfo Pizarro, according to reports including The Athletic's Paul Tenorio. MLS also signed reigning Liga MX joint goalscorer Alan Pulido this offseason, joining Sporting Kansas City.

Houston to host Concacaf Nations League semis in June

The Men's national teams of USA, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica are heading to Houston this summer for the semifinals of the Concacaf Nations League, as first reported out of Honduras. The latest report locally (from Glenn Davis) is that the matches could be hosted in two separate venues on the same night - as opposed to the usual doubleheaders at NRG for Concacaf Gold Cup action.

The Dynamo's BBVA Stadium would host USA vs. Honduras while Mexico vs. Costa Rica would take place at the Texans' NRG Stadium. The final would be at the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Negotiations are still taking place but an official announcement could come as early as this coming week, according to reports.

English Premier League

Top six: 1. Liverpool (73), 2. Man City (51), 3. Leicester City (49), 4. Chelsea (41), 5. Tottenham (37), 6. Sheffield (36)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. West Ham (24), 19. Watford (23), 20. Norwich City (18)

Scoring leader: 17 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Assists leader: 15 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Top six: 1. Real Madrid (49), 2. FC Barcelona (46), 3. Getafe (39), 4. Sevilla (39), 5. Valencia (37), 6. Atletico Madrid (36)

Bottom three: 18. Leganes (18), 19. Celta Vigo (17), 20. Espanyol (15)

Scoring leader: 14 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 8 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (42), 2. RB Leipzig (41), 3. Dortmund (39), 4. Monchengladbach (39), 5. Bayer Leverkusen (34), 6. Schalke 04 (24)

Bottom three: 16. Werder Bremen (17), 17. Fortuna (16), 18. Paderborn (15)

Scoring leader: 22 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 12 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (54), 2. Inter Milan (51), 3. Lazio (49), 4. Atalanta (39), 5. Roma (39), 6. Cagliari (32)

Bottom three: 18. Genoa (16), 19. Brescia (15), 20. SPAL (15)

Scoring leader: 25 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 11 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top four: 1. PSG (55), 2. Marseille (43), 3. Rennes (40), 4. Lille (34)

Bottom three: 18. Amiens (19), 19. Nimes (18), 20. Toulouse (13)

Scoring leader: 15 - Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)

Assists leader: 8 - Angel Di Maria (PSG)

Liga MX

Clausura 2020

Top eight: 1. Leon (9), 2. Queretaro (9), 3. Pumas (8), 4. Juarez (7), 5. Necaxa (7), 6. Guadalajara (6), 7. Atletico San Luis (6), 8. Atlas (6)

Scoring leader: 5 - Angel Mena (Leon)

Assists leader: 3 - Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul)

Throwback moment: First MLS Jersey Unveiling

Ahead of this week's jersey unveiling in New York City for MLS' 25th season, here's a look back at the first ever jersey announcement. Current Houston Dynamo Head Coach Tab Ramos was the model for the NY/NJ MetroStars.

TV news: FOX Sports locks down Concacaf broadcasting rights

TV listings (All Times CT):

For full info on soccer TV listings and streaming services in the United States, visit worldsoccertalk.com

Tuesday, February 4

11:30 a.m. - [German Cup] Frankfurt vs. RB Leipzig (ESPN3, ESPN Deportes)

1:30 p.m. - [German Cup] Werder Bremen vs. Dortmund (ESPN3)

2:00 p.m. - [Ligue 1] Nantes vs. PSG (beIN Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Oxford United vs. Newcastle (ESPN+)

2:00 p.m. - [Copa del Rey] Granada vs. Valencia (ESPN+)

Wednesday, February 5

11:30 a.m. - [German Cup] Bayer Leverkusen vs. Stuttgart (ESPN3)

1:45 p.m. - [German Cup] Bayern Munich vs. Hoffenheim (ESPN3)

1:45 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Tottenham vs. Southampton (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [Serie A] Lazio vs. Hellas Verona (ESPN+)

Thursday, February 6

12:00 p.m. - [Copa del Rey] Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad (ESPN+)

2:00 p.m. - [Copa del Rey] Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona (ESPN+)

Friday, February 7

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Frankfurt vs. Augsburg (FS2, TUDN)

1:45 p.m. - [Serie A] Roma vs. Bologna (ESPN+)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Puebla vs. Santos Laguna (TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Tijuana vs. Toluca (FS2)

Saturday, February 8

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Everton vs. Crystal Palace (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Wolfsburg vs. Dusseldorf (FS1)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Schalke 04 vs. Paderborn (TUDN)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Brighton vs. Watford (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayer Leverkusen vs. Dortmund (FS2, UniMas, TUDN)

1:45 p.m. - [Serie A] Hellas Verona vs. Juventus (ESPN+)

5:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Cruz Azul vs. Pachuca (UniMas, TUDN, ESPN Deportes)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Tigres vs. Chivas (Univision, TUDN, ESPN Deportes)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Leon vs. Monterrey (Univision, TUDN)

Sunday, February 9

8:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Napoli vs. Lecce (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Sheffield United vs. Bournemouth (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Cologne (FS1)

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Manchester City vs. West Ham (NBC Sports)

11:00 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig (FS2)

12:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Pumas UNAM vs. Club Atletico de San Luis (Univision, TUDN)

1:45 p.m. - [Serie A] Inter vs. AC Milan (ESPN+)

6:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Queretaro vs. Club America (TUDN)

8:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] FC Juarez vs. Necaxa (TUDN)

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

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