THE SOCCER REPORT

Soccer Recap: Flamengo champions of South America, Man City comeback vs. Chelsea

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Copa Libertadores Final

Brazilian club Flamengo defeated Argentina's River Plate to claim the 2019 Copa Libertadores, the continental championship of South America. It is the second Libertadores in the club's history and first since 1981. River Plate held a 1-0 lead for 89 minutes before Gabriel Barbosa struck twice in the 89th minute and in second half stoppage time to turn the game on its head. Flamengo will represent CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, in December's FIFA Club World Cup.

The match was the first one-game final in the tournament's history and took place in Lima, Peru - moved from its original setting of Santiago, Chile due to the ongoing protests.

AFC Champions League

Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal claimed their third AFC Champions League title with a 2-1 aggregate win over Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds. Former MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco won Man of the Match honors for Al-Hilal, who now head to December's FIFA Club World Cup.

English Premier League

Top six: 1. Liverpool (37), 2. Leicester City (29), 3. Man City (28), 4. Chelsea (26), 5. Arsenal (19), 6. Sheffield Utd (18)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. Norwich City (10), 19. Southampton (9), 20. Watford (8)

Scoring leader: 12 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

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

Spanish La Liga

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (28), 2. Real Madrid (28), 3. Sevilla (27), 4. Atletico Madrid (25), 5. Athletic Bilbao (23), 6. Real Sociedad (23)

Bottom three: 18. Celta Vigo (12), 19. Espanyol (9), 20. Leganes (6)

Scoring leader: 10 - Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Assists leader: 5 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Monchengladbach (25), 2. RB Leipzig (24), 3. Bayern Munich (24), 4. Freiburg (22), 5. Schalke 04 (22), 6. Dortmund (20)

Bottom three: 16. Fortuna (11), 17. Cologne (7), 18. Paderborn (5)

Scoring leader: 16 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 7 - Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (35), 2. Inter Milan (34), 3. Lazio (27), 4. Cagliari (25), 5. Roma (25), 6. Atalanta (22)

Bottom three: 18. Genoa (10), 19. SPAL (9), 20. Brescia (7)

Scoring leader: 15 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 9 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top four: 1. PSG (33), 2. Marseille (25), 3. Angers (24), 4. Bordeaux (22)

Bottom three: 18. Metz (14), 19. Tolouse (12), 20. Nimes (11)

Scoring leader: 10 - Moussa Dembele (Lyon)

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

Liga MX

Liga MX Femenil

TV listings (All Times CT):

Tuesday, November 26

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Bayer Leverkusen (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Galatasaray vs. Brugge (Galavision)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Real Madrid vs. PSG (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Juventus vs. Atletico Madrid (Galavision)

Wednesday, November 27

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Valencia vs. Chelsea (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

11:55 a.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Zenit vs. Lyon (Galavision)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] FC Barcelona vs. Dortmund (UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Liverpool vs. Napoli (TNT, Galavision)

On Tuesday, the Houston Dynamo announced a commitment to develop 15 mini-pitches within the next five years in the Greater Houston area. The project is being led by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, former Dynamo defender and U.S. Soccer legend DaMarcus Beasley and Dynamo co-owners Jake Silverstein and Ben Guill.

Beasley and Guill visited with ESPN 97.5 FM morning show John & Raheel with Del to elaborate on the announcement and answer a few questions on the current state of the Houston Dynamo. The following are three notable quotes from the segment:

Dynamo co-owners approached DaMarcus Beasley

"It started, the idea, with Ben and the other minority owner Jake [Silverstein]. They came to me and asked me what I thought about this idea, about creating mini-pitches around Houston and it was a no-brainer for me. A hundred percent, I'm with the youth of soccer, because that's where the future is. Its in the youth, and to be able to be a part of this program and have this project here in Houston, it means a lot. And, the fact that we have their support - from the Houston Dynamo, the Dash, and a lot of people around Houston - its a no-brainer to start these pitches."

- DaMarcus Beasley, four-time FIFA World Cup participant with USA and former Dynamo team captain


DaMarcus Beasley took part in seeing out the creation of the first futsal courts in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana last year. The U.S. Soccer Legend has publicly expressed his desire to remain in Houston and to be involved in youth development in his retirement, whether that be with the Houston Dynamo or elsewhere.

Two months removed from capping off a 20-year career, Beasley has taken on his first post-retirement project and one that shows his potential of filling the void as a much needed connection between the ownership group of the club and the Houston soccer community.

2026 FIFA World Cup "a big part of it"

"Clearly its a big part of it but - even without the World Cup coming up - Jake Silverstein, who has become very involved with U.S. Soccer in Portland and has built some of these mini-pitches, and I decided it's just the right thing to do. It's the right thing to bring the game to parts of the city that don't have the opportunity to play in a safe and fun environment. We work with U.S. Soccer and have commited a bunch of money to build 15 of these mini-pitches over the next five years. It will be important to the 2026 bid and hopefully it will be very good for the Dynamo as well."

- Ben Guill, Houston Dynamo minority owner and board member of Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee

The biggest side effect of the United States hosting the 1994 FIFA World Cup was the creation of Major League Soccer, the country's longest-running first division league that will celebrate its 25th season next year. With the USA joint-hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup with Canada and Mexico, it seems the youth game could stand next to benefit.

This initiative comes from the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee Grow the Game strategy and "is part an overall vision for Houston that seeks to create and maintain 30 mini-pitches and expand the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Soccer for Success program in the area."

It is also part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation's plans to install 1,000 pitches by 2026 as part of their national It's Everyone's Game movement "to create greater access to the sport and its benefits in underserved communities nationwide."

The Houston Dynamo and other MLS clubs have already installed several of these futsal-style "mini-pitches" as part of their charitable programs in conjunction with an MLS WORKS initiative that began at the 2015 MLS All-Star Game.

Making Dynamo, Dash more relevant in Houston

"The important thing for the Dynamo is we need to do a better job and be more a part of the Houston community. We need to fill up that stadium every game. One reason, its a lot of fun to go and we hope with that efforts like this, that Jake and I are doing, and all the efforts the team make - the Dynamo and the Dash - will just make us more and more relevant to the city."

- Ben Guill, Houston Dynamo minority owner and board member of Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee


There's no secret the Houston Dynamo, and Houston Dash, have trouble filling up BBVA Stadium on a consistent basis. The average for Dynamo matches has declined steadily since the 2015 season and reached a new club-low in 2019.

The Houston-based Guill is right about one thing: the Dynamo could potentially make up a lot of ground by extending the olive branch to the community.

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