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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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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