News that kicked off 2020

Soccer Report: Dynamo sign Academy prodigy, Dash trade Ohai, Ronaldo scores hat-trick

Credit: Houston Dynamo

"The Beautiful Game" never sleeps and that was the case to kick off the new year. The Premier League took the spotlight with New Year's Day action followed by the return of La Liga and Serie A from the holiday break.

Domestically, transfer news continue to dominate the radar in Major League Soccer and the National Women's Soccer League. The 2020 MLS SuperDraft (college draft) will take place on Thursday.

Here are the top stories of the weekend:

Houston Dynamo sign Homegrown Marcelo Palomino

Reported first by Glenn Davis, the Dynamo made the signing of Academy product Marcelo Palomino official on Monday. The midfielder joined the club's youth system as an 11-year-old in 2012 and was part of the U.S. Youth National Team pool from Under-14 to Under-19, crossing paths with current Dynamo Head Coach Tab Ramos.

The three-time Dynamo Academy Player of the Year left the club over a year ago, despite having a contract offer from the Dynamo, and went on to trials in Portugal and Germany. Most recently, he was playing in Houston with the USL2 side Albion Hurricanes FC who are coached by former MLS midfielder Josh Gardner.

Signing Palomino is a win for a club that has a reputation of not producing enough professional players in a city fervent with a soccer culture. It would appear, at least on the surface, that the hiring of Ramos was the ultimate convincing factor for the player to put pen to paper.

Liga MX GK William Yarbrough no longer a target for Dynamo

The Dynamo are no longer interested in acquiring two-time Liga MX champion and former U.S. Men's National Team goalkeeper William Yarbrough, as reported by KXLN's Lester Gretsch. After failing to agree on a transfer fee for the Mexican-born keeper, the Dynamo went on to sign the Austrian-Croatian Marko Maric. The Dynamo will reportedly sign a goalkeeper in the coming weeks, according to The Athletic.

Houston Dash trade Kealia Ohai to Chicago Red Stars for defender Katie Naughton

Kealia Ohai will depart after six seasons with the Houston Dash, reportedly requesting a trade. Ohai was the club's first ever draft pick and went on to score 28 goals in 114 appearances.

"My goal is to become the very best player I could possibly be and I feel like, in order for that to happen, I need a new environment," said Ohai via her social media accounts.

Chicago Red Stars made the NWSL Playoffs for the fifth consecutive season and finished 2019 as the runners-up. The Houston Dash have never made the playoffs in their six seasons.

Dash re-sign goalscorer, FIFA Women's World Cup participant Rachel Daly

Some good news for Dash fans is the re-signing of FIFA Women's World Cup veteran Rachel Daly. Since arriving in 2016, Daly has scored 24 goals in 80 matches. The Englishwoman represented her home country at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, where the Lionesses finished as semifinalists.

The news was announced by Head Coach James Clarkson last Thursday during a fan event hosted by Keeper Notes at Pitch 25. An official announcement from the club is imminent.

Premier League

The congested scheduling continues in the Premier League as teams opened 2020 with New Year's Day action. While the league took a break over the weekend, English clubs took were active in FA Cup action.

Top six: 1. Liverpool (58), 2. Leicester City (45), 3. Man City (44), 4. Chelsea (36), 5. Man Utd (31), 6. Tottenham (30)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. Bournemouth (20), 19. Watford (19), 20. Norwich City (14)

Scoring leader: 17 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Assists leader: 12 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

La Liga

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are once again tied at the top after RCD Espanyol took a 2-2 result in the Barcelona derby.

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (40), 2. Real Madrid (40), 3. Atletico Madrid (35), 4. Sevilla (35), 5. Real Sociedad (31), 6. Valencia (31)

Bottom three: 18. Mallorca (15), 19. Leganes (14), 20. Espanyol (11)

Scoring leader: 13 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 7 - Luis Suarez (FC Barcelona)

Italian Serie A

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to lead defending champions Juventus to a 4-0 win against Cagliari. Inter Milan, who picked up a 3-1 win at Napoli, remain at the top of the standings due to goal difference.

Top six: 1. Inter Milan (45), 2. Juventus (45), 3. Lazio (39), 4. Roma (35), 5. Atalanta (34), 6. Cagliari (29)

Bottom three: 18. Brescia (14), 19. Genoa (14), 20. SPAL (12)

Scoring leader: 19 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 11 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

Zlatan debuts in A.C. Milan return

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was back on the pitch for the first time since his final appearance with LA Galaxy in Houston last October. The Swede came on as a substitute but could not help Milan to a win in his debut. Milan and Sampdoria played to a scoreless draw at the San Siro.

2006 FIFA World Cup Winner Daniele De Rossi retires

Roma Legend De Rossi has called time on his career after a short stint in Argentina with Boca Juniors. The Italian midfielder hangs up his boots at the age of 36 with a decorated career that includes winning the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

2010 FIFA World Cup Winner David Villa retires

Spanish Legend David Villa, arguably the greatest striker produced by his country, also played has called time on his career. El Guaje left in style by picking up his 15th professional trophy after winning the Emperor's Cup with Japan's Vissel Kobe. Villa won the FIFA World Cup and EURO 2008 with Spain. At the club level, he won three La Liga titles, three Copa Del Rey titles and one UEFA Champions League.

Throwback moment: Dynamo Head Coach Tab Ramos reflects on being first MLS signing

January 3rd marked 25 years since Houston Dynamo Manager Tab Ramos became the first ever signing in Major League Soccer history. Attached is a clip of his thoughts on the matter, the full interview with Glenn Davis can be seen here.

Ratings bit: Liga MX final draws top spot

TV listings (All Times CT):

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

Tuesday, January 7

2:00 p.m. - [English League Cup] Manchester United vs. Manchester City (ESPN+)

Wednesday, January 8

1:00 p.m. - [Spanish Supercopa] Real Madrid vs. Valencia (ESPN Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [English League Cup] Leicester City vs. Aston Villa (ESPN+)

2:00 p.m. - [Coupe de la Ligue] PSG vs. St-Etienne (beINSports)

Thursday, January 9

11:00 a.m. - 2020 MLS SuperDraft (Twitter)

1:00 p.m. - [Spanish Supercopa] FC Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid (ESPN Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [Coppa Italia] Torino vs. Genoa (ESPN+)

Friday, January 10

1:45 p.m. - [Ligue 1] Rennes vs. Marseille (beIN Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Sheffield United vs. West Ham (NBC Sports)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Monarcas Morelia vs. Toluca (TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Tijuana vs. Santos Laguna (FOX Deportes)

Saturday, January 11

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

8:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Cagliari vs. AC Milan (ESPN+)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Chelsea vs. Burnley (NBC Sports)

11:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Lazio vs. Napoli (ESPN+)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Tottenham vs. Liverpool (NBC)

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

5:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Cruz Azul vs. Atlas (TUDN)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Guadalajara vs. FC Juarez (TUDN)

Sunday, January 12

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

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Aston Villa vs. Man City (NBC Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Spanish Supercopa] Real Madrid vs. Valencia vs. FC Barcelona/Atletico Madrid (ESPN Deportes)

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

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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