THE SOCCER REPORT

Soccer Recap: Houston Dynamo send off U.S. legend Beasley with win; four unbeaten in Europe's top leagues

Houston Dynamo supporters bid farewell to DaMarcus Beasley with a tifo comemorating his career. Courtesy: Houston Dynamo

The 2019 Major League Soccer season has come to an end and will commence after the upcoming FIFA International break. In Europe, four teams in the top five leagues have reached the break with an unbeaten record in league play. Here are the top stories from the week:

Major League Soccer

All 14 playoff spots are accounted for in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs (see standings below). With every match played simultaneously on Sunday, there was also plenty of drama in the golden boot race - won by LAFC's Carlos Vela with an MLS record 34 goals.

The Houston Dynamo sent off U.S. Men's National Team Legend DaMarcus Beasley with a 4-2 win over Zlatan Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy. Beasley is the only player to have featured in four FIFA World Cup tournaments for the USA and also enjoyed time at historic European clubs like PSV, Rangers and Manchester City.

Final Standings

East: 1. y - NYCFC (64), 2. x - Atlanta (58), 3. x - Philadelphia (55), 4. x - Toronto (50), 5. x - D.C. United (50), 6. x - NY Red Bulls (48), 7. x - New England (45), 8. Chicago (42), 9. Montreal (41), 10. Columbus (38), 11. Orlando (37), 12. Cincinnati (24)

West: 1. s - LAFC (72), 2. x - Seattle (56), 3. x - Real Salt Lake (53), 4. x - Minnesota (53), 5. x - LA Galaxy (51), 6. x - Portland (49), 7. x - Dallas (48), 8. San Jose (44), 9. Colorado (42), 10. Houston (40), 11. Kansas City (38), 12. Vancouver (34)

Golden Boot: 34 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Most Assists: 20 - Maxi Morales (NYCFC)

National Women's Soccer League

Only one match took place in league play due to the FIFA International window in the women's game - the Washington Spirit won 3-0 over last place Orlando. The Houston Dash, meanwhile, took their "off" week to travel down to Monterrey, Mexico to take on Liga MX Femenil side Tigres. Kealia Ohai scored in the opening minutes but, after many Dash changes at halftime, the Mexican champions would end up winning 2-1 after two second half goals.

Standings: 1. s - North Carolina Courage (46), 2. x - Chicago Red Stars (44), 3. x - Portland Thorns (39), 4. x - Reign FC (37), 5. Washington Spirit (33), 6. Utah Royals (31), 67. Houston Dash (26), 8. Sky Blue FC (20), 9. Orlando Pride (15)

Scoring leader: 18 - Sam Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 8 - Yuki Nagasato (Chicago)

English Premier League

Matchday 8 Results

  • Brighton 3-0 Tottenham
  • Norwich 1-5 Aston Villa
  • Watford 0-0 Sheffield Utd
  • Burnley 1-0 Everton
  • Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City
  • West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace
  • Southampton 1-4 Chelsea
  • Manchester City 0-2 Wolves
  • Arsenal 1-0 Bournemouth
  • Newcastle 1-0 Manchester United

Top six: Liverpool (24), Man City (16), Arsenal (15), Leicester City (14),Chelsea (14), Crystal Palace (14)

Scoring leader: 8 - Sergio Aguero (Man City) / Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)

Assists leader: 8 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Top six: Real Madrid (18), FC Barcelona (16), Atletico Madrid (15), Granada (14), Real Sociedad (13), Sevilla (13)

Scoring leader: 6 - Gerard Moreno (Villareal) / Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) / Lorenzo Garica (Real Betis)

Assists leader: 3 - Several players tied

German Bundesliga

Top six: Monchengladbach (16), Wolfburg (15), Bayern Munich (14), Freiburg (14), RB Leipzig (14), Schalke 04 (14)

Scoring leader: 11 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 5 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund)

Italian Serie A

Top six: Juventus (19), Inter Milan (18), Atalanta (16), Napoli (13), Roma (12), Lazio (11)

Scoring leader: 7 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 5 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top six: PSG (21), Nantes (19), Angers (16), Bordeaux (15), Lille (15), Reims (14)

Scoring leader: 7 - Victor Osimhen (Lille)

Assists leader: 5 - Islam Slimani (Monaco) / Yoann Court (Brest)

Netherlands Eredivisie

Top four: Ajax (23), PSV (23), AZ Alkmaar (20), Vitesse (20)

Scoring leader: 10 - Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven)

Assists leader: 8 - Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

Mexican Liga MX

Top Eight: 1. Necaxa (24), 2. Santos Laguna (23), 3. Queretaro (21), 4. Club America (21), 5. Leon (20), 6. Tigres UANL (20), 7. Pachuca (18), 8. Pumas (18)

Scoring leader: 8 - Julio Furch (Santos) / Mauro Quiroga (Necaxa)

Assists leader: 8 - Miller Bolanos (Tijuana)

Liga MX clubs Tigres UANL and Santos will face off in a club friendly in Houston during the October FIFA International window. Tickets on sale at BBVAStadium.com

Argentina Superliga

Top four: Boca (18), San Lorenzo (16), Talleres Cordoba (16), Arsenal Sarandi (15)

Scoring leader: 4 - Bruno Pitton (San Lorenzo) / Nicolas Dominguez (Velez)

Assists leader: 3 - Mathias Abero Villan (Patronato)

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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