Soccer recap

Soccer week in review: Dynamo draw in first game of series

The Houston Dynamo battled to a scoreless draw with Portland on Monday night. The two will finish the series on Sunday. Victor Araiza

League action heats up in Europe as the MLS Cup Playoffs began stateside. The Houston Dynamo were one of the teams that was victorious in the MLS postseason and are one of eight  left in the run for the MLS Cup. 

Premier League

Manchester City continues to hold its place at the top of the table with a 3-2 win at West Brom. Second place Manchester United built some distance with a 1-0 home win over third place Tottenham, while Chelsea and Arsenal kept pace with wins of their own. Everton, with a 2-0 loss at Leicester City, has fallen to the relegation zone for the moment.

Top 5: Manchester City (28), Manchester United (23), Tottenham (20), Chelsea (19), Arsenal (19)

La Liga

Barcelona and Valencia obtained wins, which keep them at the top of Spain’s top flight. While that sounds like clockwork, a win was hard to come by for Atletico Madrid (draw at Villarreal) and Real Madrid, who was upset at Girona. Sevilla, meanwhile, jumped into the top five.

The 5: Barcelona (28), Valencia (24), Real Madrid (20), Atlético Madrid (20) and Sevilla (19).

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich has taken over the top of the table by way of two important results. A 2-0 win over Leipzig would’ve been a big win on it’s own, but Dortmund continues to struggle and this weekend fell 4-2 at Hannover 96. Looking back, this may be the week that decided the league during the 2017 season. Dortmund will have something to say about that this week when they host Bayern.

Top 5: Bayern Munich (23), Dortmund (20), RB Leipzig (19), Hannover 96 (18), Schalke 04 (17).

Ligue 1

Edinson Cavani scored twice to lift PSG 3-0 over Nice. Neymar did not play as he served his suspension from a red card in the previous game. Monaco continue to string wins together again and follow behind PSG, and Lyon are on their tail as they won 2-0 over Metz. Marseille follow close behind in fourth with a win at Lille, Nantes dropped points at Dijon.

Top 5: Paris Saint-Germain (29), Monaco (25), Lyon (22), Marseille (21), Nantes (20).

Serie A

The stellar match of the weekend was between Italian giants AC Milan and Juventus, as Juve picked up a 2-0 win in Milan. Roma picked up a 1-0 win over Bologna as they prepare to face Chelsea in the Champions League. Napoli also has an important UCL match coming up midweek but took care of business against Sassuolo to stay at the top in Italy.

The top 5: Napoli (31), Inter Milan (29), Juventus (28), Lazio (28), Roma (24)

Major League Soccer

The MLS Cup Playoffs got underway midweek with the elimination of four teams: Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquakes, Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City. That set up the conference semis to be Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls, New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew, Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps.

Only Toronto - the favorite to win it all - was able to take a result from the first leg over the weekend, leaving much to play for on Thursday and Sunday. Locally, the Houston Dynamo’s 0-0 draw with the Timbers mean a Dynamo goal would force Porland into a win, while any tie that isn’t scoreless will also see them through to the next round.

MVP of the Week - Vicente Sánchez

The ageless wonder Vicente Sánchez has been a savior for the Houston Dynamo. The oldest guy on the team at 37 years old, Sánchez is no longer the breakout star he was when he was scoring goals by the bucket in Mexico. Even with limited minutes, Sánchez has been a difference maker for the Dynamo with his ability, leadership and experience. Without him, the Dynamo don’t finish the push for a playoff spot and his nifty footwork was the difference in creating the goal that won the game against Sporting Kansas City to help the Dynamo advance to the conference semis.

Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Oct. 31:

2:30 p.m.- Manchester United vs. Benfica (FS1)

2:30 p.m.- Roma vs. Chelsea (FS2/FOX Deportes Facebook)

2:30 p.m.- FC Barcelona vs Olympiacos FC (FOX Sports Facebook)

Wednesday, Nov. 1:

2:30 p.m.- Tottenham vs. Real Madrid (FS1)

2:30 p.m.- Napoli vs. Manchester City (FS2)

2:30 p.m.- FC Porto vs. RB Leipzig (FOX Sports Facebook)

2:30 p.m. - Liverpool FC vs. NK Maribor (FOX Deportes Facebook)

Thursday, Nov. 2:

1 p.m. - Lyon vs. Everton (FS2)

3 p.m. - Arsenal vs. Red Star Belgrade (FS1)

3 p.m. - Lazio vs. Nice (FS2)

9:30 p.m. - Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (FS1)

Saturday, Nov. 4:

10:15 a.m. - Deportivo La Coruña vs. Atlético Madrid (BeIN Sports)

12:30 p.m. - West Ham vs. Liverpool (NBC)

12:30 p.m. - Dortmund vs. FC Bayern Munich

2:45 p.m. - FC Barcelona vs. Sevilla (BeIN Sports)

Sunday, Nov. 5:

8:15 a.m. - Manchester City vs. Arsenal (NBC Sports/Telemundo)

10:30 a.m. - Chelsea vs. Manchester United (NBC Sports/Telemundo)

1:45 p.m. - Real Madrid vs. Las Palmas (BeIN Sports)

3:05 p.m. - River Plate vs. Boca Juniors

4 p.m. - MLS Cup Playoffs [NYC vs. Columbus or Portland vs. Houston] (ESPN)

6:30 p.m. - MLS Cup Playoffs [NYC vs. Columbus or Portland vs. Houston] (FS1)

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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