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 star  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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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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