THE SOCCER REPORT

U.S. Women begin World Cup title defense, Ronaldo's Portugal wins Nations League

The U.S. Women's National Team look to defend their FIFA Women's World Cup title and become back-to-back champs.

The Summer of Soccer is underway with the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, UEFA Nations League and international friendlies all part of the schedule this past weekend. The action is about to kick into another gear with the start of the Concacaf Gold Cup and South America's Copa America this week. Here is the week in soccer:

FIFA Women's World Cup

The premier women's international soccer competition kicked off in France with a 4-0 win by the hosts last Friday to open the competition. France is one of the favorites, and pressured to win, due to their role as the home team. The French women are also looking to match their male counterparts that became World Cup champions last summer at Russia 2018.

Germany, another of the favorites, opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over China while 2011 Champions and 2015 Runners-up Japan were held to a scoreless draw against what could be a Cinderella team in Argentina. England and Scotland faced off for the first time at the World Cup, men or women's, with the Lionesses winning 2-1 while potential dark horse Canada picked up a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

The defending champion United States joins the fray on Tuesday (2:00 p.m. CT, FOX) in what will likely be a multiple goal clinic against Thailand. For all the basics on the Women's World Cup, check out this article.

UEFA Nations League

The first ever Nations League, an attempt to get rid of "meaningless" international friendlies, looks to have been a rousing success and it could not have finished in a better way in terms of garnering media attention. European football's golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal, the current European champions, to a second European title in three years with a 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

Concacaf Gold Cup

The biannual tournament to determine the champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean - the region governed by Concacaf - kicks off on Saturday. The United States enter as the defending champions but it is Mexico, the nation with the most titles in the competition, who enter as the favorites to win it all.

Mexico fared well with a 3-1 friendly win over Venezuela in Atlanta on Wednesday followed by a 3-2 win over Ecuador on Sunday up in Arlington, TX. The United States enter with doubts after a 0-1 loss to Jamaica in Washington D.C. and a 0-3 loss to Venezuela in Cincinnati.

CONMEBOL Copa America

South America also has a tournament kicking off this weekend in the revered Copa America. Hosts Brazil are always in the spotlight because of their star-studded squad and will be expected to win despite losing Neymar to injury this past week. Of course, as it has been for several editions now, the main storyline will be if Lionel Messi can finally lift a trophy with Argentina. With what many consider as the best in the world (and best all-time by others) in his prime, the time seems now or never for Messi to conquer the quadrennial tournament as well of the hearts of his country - and what a story it would be to do it on rival turf.

Real Madrid visited Houston last July as part of the 2019 International Champions Cup. Manuel Gonzalez / DTUSA

The 2020 MLS SuperDraft brought a few more additions to the Houston Dynamo, bringing the number of players under contract to 25 as of Tuesday morning. South of the border, the Clausura 2020 season got underway in Liga MX and cup action dominates the talk over in Europe.

Here are the top stories of the weekend:

Houston Dynamo add Croatian GK, select four MLS SuperDraft

The Dynamo officially announced the signing of GK Marko Marić from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Monday. The Austrian born player who has played internationally for Croatia is expected to be the starting man in goal this season. The signing was first reported by KXLN's Lester Gretsch back in December.

The club also selected four players in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, two in Rounds 1 & 2 on Thursday followed by the other two in Round 3 & 4 on Monday. The selections, which still have to come to terms on a contract, are as follows:

  • Rd 1, #8 overall - F Garrett McLaughlin (SMU)
  • Rd 2, #34 overall - M Luka Prpa (Marquette)
  • Rd 3, #70 overall - GK Duncan Turnball (Notre Dame)
  • Rd 4, #86 overall - F Kyle Edwards (UTRGV)

For a full list of Matt Jordan's selections in the SuperDraft during his Dynamo tenure click here. Also, check out the top five draft picks in club history.


English Premier League

Top six: 1. Liverpool (61), 2. Man City (47), 3. Leicester City (45), 4. Chelsea (39), 5. Man Utd (34), 6. Sheffield (32)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. Aston Villa (21), 19. Bournemouth (20), 20. Norwich City (14)

Scoring leader: 17 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Assists leader: 14 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Real Madrid win Spanish Super Cup

FC Barcelona sack Manager Ernesto Valverde

Mexican star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez linked to LA Galaxy

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (48), 2. Inter Milan (46), 3. Lazio (42), 4. Atalanta (35), 5. Roma (34), 6. Cagliari (29)

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

Scoring leader: 20 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 11 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

Liga MX Clausura 2020 kicks off

The second half of the Liga MX calendar year kicked off over the weekend with only four teams not participating in the first week, Apertura 2019 finalists Monterrey and Club America among them. The teams that took three points in their first outing of the year were Leon, Chivas Guadalajara, Atlas, Pumas UNAM, Xolos of Tijuana and Toluca.

TV listings (All Times CT):

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

Tuesday, January 14

8:00 a.m. - [Coppa Italia] Napoli vs. Perugia (ESPN+)

11:00 a.m. - [Coppa Italia] Lazio vs. Cremonese (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [Coppa Italia] Inter vs. Cagliari (ESPN+)

2:00 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Tottenham vs. Middlesbrough (ESPN+)

Wednesday, January 15

11:00 a.m. - [Coppa Italia] Milan vs. SPAL (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [Coppa Italia] Juventus vs. Udinese (ESPN+)

1:45 p.m. - [English FA Cup] Manchester United vs. Wolves (ESPN+)

2:00 p.m. - [Ligue 1] Monaco vs. PSG (beINSports)

Thursday, January 16

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

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] FC Juarez vs. Pumas UNAM (TUDN)

Friday, January 17

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Schalke 04 vs. Borussia Monchengladbach (FS2, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Leganes vs. Getafe (beIN Sports)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Atlas vs. Puebla (TUDN)

Saturday, January 18

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Watford vs. Tottenham (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Augsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund (FS1, FOX Deportes)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Hoffenheim vs. Frankfurt (FS2, TUDN)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Arsenal vs. Sheffield United (NBC Sports)

9:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. Sevilla (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Newcastle vs. Chelsea (NBC)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] RB Leipzig vs. FC Union Berlin (FS2, FOX Deportes)

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

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Eibar vs. Atletico Madrid (beIN Sports)

5:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Monterrey vs. Monarcas Morelia (FOX Deportes)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Pachuca vs. C.D. Guadalajara (Univision, TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club America vs. Tigres (Univision, TUDN)

Sunday, January 19

5:30 a.m. - [Serie A] A.C. Milan vs. Udinese (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)

8:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Lecce vs. Inter (ESPN+)

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Burnley vs. Leicester City (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich (FS1, TUDN)

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Liverpool vs. Manchester United (NBC Sports)

11:00 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Paderborn vs. Bayer Leverkusen (FS2, FOX Deportes)

11:00 a.m. - [Serie A] Genoa vs. AS Roma (ESPN+)

11:30 a.m. - [Liga MX] Toluca vs. Necaxa (Univision, TUDN)

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

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] FC Barcelona vs. Granada (beIN Sports)

3:30 p.m. - [Liga MX] Queretaro vs. Tijuana (TUDN)

6:45 p.m. - [Liga MX] Santos Laguna vs. Leon (FOX Deportes)

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