THE SOCCER REPORT

U.S. Women sue for gender discrimination; Zidane returns to Real Madrid

Nike unveiled the new kits to be worn by the U.S. Women's National Team as they defend their title at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup this summer. Courtesy: Nike, Inc.

From the U.S. women's lawsuit dropped on International Women's Day to the return of Zinedine Zidane to the manager's seat at Real Madrid, this week left plenty of headlines in the soccer world.

The big story, domestically, is the lawsuit initiated by several stars of the U.S. women's team just a few months before their FIFA Women's World Cup defense at France 2019. One of the bigger points, highlighted in the New York Times, is the issue of equal pay. On the same day, Adidas announced that they would be matching male bonues for female athletes at this summer's Women's World Cup.


UEFA Champions League

One of the bigger headlines on the field was Manchester United winning their Champions League series against Paris Saint-Germain after dropping the first leg at home. Before that happened on Wednesday, Ajax shocked the world with a comeback of their own against Real Madrid - ending the reign of the three-peat champions.

Round of 16 - second leg results:

  • Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (3-5 agg.)
  • Dortmund 0-1 Tottenham (0-4 agg.)
  • Porto 3-1 Roma (4-3 agg.)
  • Paris 1-3 Manchester United (3-3 agg., Man Utd advance on away goals)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus look to oversee a 0-2 deficit against Atletico while Manchester City want to see out a lead against Schalke 04. Wednesday will feature the closest matches, so far, with all to play for in Barcelona vs. Lyon and Bayern vs. Liverpool.

UEFA Europa League

Arsenal suffered the biggest shock of the week in a 3-1 loss at Rennes. Spanish side Sevilla were held 2-2 at home while Valencia, Napoli and Chelsea continue looking like favorites to win.

English Premier League

Manchester City and Liverpool continue neck-and-neck for the top of the English league while Tottenham were slowed down by Southampton. Manchester United, who where on a high from advancing in the Champions League, have been jumped in the top four after a 2-0 head-to-head loss to Arsenal.

Top six: 1. Manchester City (74), 2. Liverpool (73), 3. Tottenham (61), 4. Arsenal (60), 5. Manchester United (58), 6. Chelsea (57)

Scoring leader: 18 - Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Assists leader: 11 - Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC)

Spain's La Liga

Another week, another goal and assist for Lionel Messi who helped leaders Barcelona inch closer to the title with a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano. The big news off the field came from Real Madrid who look to return to glory with the re-appointment of former manager and club legend Zinedine Zidane.
Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (63), 2. Atlético Madrid (56), 3. Real Madrid (51), 4. Getafe (45), 5. Alaves (41), 6. Sevilla (40)

Scoring leader: 26 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 11 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund - Stuttgart [3-1] | GOLES | Jornada 25 | Bundesliga www.youtube.com

Same ol' Bundesliga? Bayern Munich is back on top, at least on goal difference, and Robert Lewandowski is the top scorer. Borussia Dortmund still have something to say about that title race as U.S. star Christian Pulisic scored in their 3-1 win.

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (57), 2. Dortmund (57), 3. RB Leipzig (46), 4. Monchengladbach (46), 5. Eintracht Frankfurt (43), 6. Bayer Leverkusen (42)

Scoring leader: 17 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 10 - Jadon Sancho (Dortumund) / Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (75), 2. Napoli (57), 3. Milan (51), 4. Inter Milan (50), 5. Roma (47), 6. Torino (44)

Scoring leader: 20- Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

Assists leader: 8 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) / Suso (A.C. Milan)

French Ligue 1

Top six: 1. PSG (71), 2. Lille (57), 3. Lyon (50), 4. Marseille (47), 5. Stade Reims (43), 6. Saint-Étienne (43)

Scoring leader: 24 - Kylian Mbappé (PSG)

Assists leader: 8 - Nicolas Pepe (Lille) / Angel Di Maria (PSG) / Kenny Lala (Strasbourg)

Dutch Eredivisie

Top three: 1. PSV Eindhoven (64), 2. Ajax (59), 3. Feyenoord (47)

Belgian First Division A

Top three: 1. Genk (62), 2. Club Brugge (56), 3. Standard Liege (50)

Portuguese Primeira Liga

Top three: 1. Benfica (60), 2. Porto (60), 3. Braga (55)

Scottish Premier League

Top three: 1. Celtic (67), 2. Rangers (59), 3. Aberdeen (51)

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Concacaf Champions League

The quarter-finals of the CCL took off with three Liga MX vs. MLS ending in victories for the Mexican clubs.

Quarterfinals - first leg results:

  • NY Red Bulls 0-2 Santos Laguna
  • Houston Dynamo 0-2 Tigres UANL
  • Independiente 2-1 Sporting KC
  • Monterrey 3-0 Atlanta United


Major League Soccer

The Houston Dynamo picked up their first league win of the season with a Mauro Manotas decider against the Montreal Impact. They will play at BBVA Compass Stadium for the third straight week after returning from Monterrey after their Concacaf Champions League bout.

Liga MX

The two Monterrey clubs tied 1-1 in their derby match, allowing Club Leon to jump to the top of the Liga MX table.

Top eight: 1. Leon (23), 2. Tigres UANL (23), 3. Monterrey (22), 4. Pachuca (17), 5. Club America (16), 6. Club Tijuana (16), 7. Necaxa (15), 8. Guadalajara (15)

Scoring leader: 9 - Angel Mena (Leon) / Brian Fernandez (Necaxa)

Assists leader: 7 - Angel Mena (Leon)

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Copa Libertadores

The group stage in the Copa Libertadores got underway with teams looking to pick up their first points of the season.


Superliga Argentina

Top four: 1. Racing Club (52), 2. Defensa y Justicia (51), 3. Boca Juniors (44), 4. River Plate (39)

Scoring leader: 16 - Lisandro Lopez (Racing)

Assists leader: 9 - Walter Montillo (Tigre)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Mar. 12

3:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Manchester City vs. Schalke 04 (B/R Live, Galavision)

3:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Juventus vs. Atletico Madrid (TNT, UniMas)

5:15 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] Boca Juniors vs. Deportivo Tolima (beIN SPORTS en Español)

8:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] New York Red Bulls at Santos Laguna (YahooSports.com)

10:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Houston Dynamo at Tigres UANL (YahooSports.com/Univision Deportes)

Wednesday, Mar. 13

3:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Barcelona vs. Lyon (B/R Live, UniMas)

3:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Bayern Munich vs. Liverpool (TNT, Galavision)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Atlanta United vs. Monterrey (YahooSports.com/Univision Deportes)

7:30 p.m. - [Copa Libertadores] River Plate vs. Palestino (beIN SPORTS en Español)

Thursday, Mar. 14

12:55 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Dynamo Kiev vs. Chelsea (B/R Live, UniMas)

12:55 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Salzburg vs. Napoli (B/R Live, Galavision)

3:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Inter vs. Frankfurt (B/R Live, UniMas)

3:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Arsenal vs. Rennes (B/R Live, Galavision)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Sporting KC vs. Independiente (YahooSports.com/Univision Deportes)

Friday, Mar. 15

2:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. SC Freiburg (FS2)

3:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Sociedad vs. Levante (beIN SPORTS)

Saturday, Mar. 16

7:15 a.m. - [FA Cup] Watford vs. Crystal Palace (ESPN+)

9:15 a.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. Celta (beIN Sports)

9:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Schalke 04 vs. RB Leipzig (FS2)

10:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Bournemouth vs. Newcastle (NBC Sports)

12:20 p.m. - [FA Cup] Swansea City vs. Manchester City (ESPN+)

12:30 p.m. - [La Liga] Athletic Bilbao vs. Atletico Madrid (beIN Sports)

12:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Hertha BSC Berlin vs. Borussia Dortmund (FS2)

2:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (KUBE57)

2:30 p.m. - [MLS] NY Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Univision)

2:55 p.m. - [FA Cup] Wolves vs. Manchester United (ESPN+)

Sunday, Mar. 17

9:00 a.m. - [FA Cup] Millwall vs. Brighton (ESPN+)

9:15 a.m. - [Premier League] Fulham vs. Liverpool (NBC Sports)

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

12:00 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayern Munich vs. Mainz 05 (FS2)

2:00 p.m. - [MLS] NYCFC vs. LAFC (FS1)

2:45 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Betis vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports)

4:00 p.m. - [MLS] FC Cincinnati vs. Portland Timbers (FS1)

Courtesy Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo were held to a 1-1 draw by the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mauro Manotas opened the scoring for Houston in the 40th minute. Portland tied it in the 77th thanks to Liga MX's second top scorer for the Clausura 2019 season, Brian Fernandez, in his MLS debut.

Here are five observations from the win:

1) A missed opportunity

The Dynamo will lament dropping two points at home to a club that has never left Houston with a win. Add on top of that the detail that Portland has played its entire schedule, up to this point, on the road.

The Timbers should've been ripe for the pickings against a Dynamo that has been strong at home and had won every league match except one coming into this game. That non-win was a draw in the home opener against Real Salt Lake, nothing to get too worked up about as both teams were in early season form.

This draw will sting, however, because the Dynamo took the lead and had an opportunity to jump up to second place in the Western Conference standings. Clubs like D.C. United and Sporting KC, with an away game to Minnesota United sandwiched in between, are what's next on the schedule and Portland's performance will give away teams confidence to leave BBVA Compass Stadium with a positive result.

2) Beasley returns as part of lineup rotation

Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera made three changes from the starting XI at Seattle on Sunday. The lineup rotation is due to the team's schedule of three matches in a week.

The most notable of the changes was the return of DaMarcus Beasley at left back. The U.S. Men's National Team Legend and team captain had yet to play in league matches and was sidelined during the team's Concacaf Champions League elimination at Tigres UANL in March.

Aljaz "Kiki" Struna, one of the team's biggest offseason acquisitions, also returned to the starting XI being left out of the team that traveled to Seattle. Boniek Garcia also returned as a starter after featuring as a sub in the 1-0 away loss over the weekend.

3) Manotas the Timberslayer

Mauro Manotas now has seven regular season goals against Timbers FC, his highest against an MLS club. He's also enjoyed his only MLS hat-trick as well as an important playoff performance against Portland.

More to the context of this season, Manotas picked up his fifth goal to ascend as the team's top scorer. The Colombian continues his way towards another high scoring season as he complements the playmaking of Alberth Elis.

He scored with his chest which only further emphasizes his knack to find the back of the net no matter the fashion. He will be needed again on Sunday as D.C. United visit with one of the world's famed goalscorers in Wayne Rooney.

4) Dependence on Elis

As much as Manotas deserves praise for his goals with the Dynamo, it is Alberth Elis who has been the team's most valuable player. Elis has banked four goals and five assists.

Manotas himself has five goals and four assists but Elis would be missed more on the field if the team were to lose one of the two. Elis has been a player teams absolutely have to account for and, when he is contained - as we've seen in the two Dynamo losses this year and the draw on Wednesday, the team struggles to yield wins.

Nobody should be surprised that Elis has been the focal point of opposing defenses, it was expected. What is surprising is that the Dynamo have yet to respond to that strategy and punish teams for being asked to win without him - not to mention prepare in case of the Honduran's departure in the summer transfer window.

5) Big Joe with big saves

During Cabrera's tenure as the Manager of the Dynamo, the goalkeeper spot has always been up for debate and rotations at that position are not rare. Not this season.

Joe Willis has absolutely taken command of the spot both in league action and earlier in the team's Concacaf Champions League run. There is no question between his level of play and his backups.

The Dynamo would've dropped all three points at home without Willis on Wednesday. For that reason, he is the man of the match and an unspoken hero on the team sheet.

Dynamo player of the game: Joe Willis

Next up:

Saturday, April 18 vs D.C. United (7:30 p.m. CT, KUBE57) [ESPN+ for U.S. non-Houston markets]

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