THE SOCCER REPORT

U.S. Women win fourth World Cup title; Brazil and Mexico kings of their region

Mexico are champions of Concacaf, Brazil are kings of CONMEBOL and the United States successfully defended their FIFA Women's World Cup title to cap off the week in soccer. With the African Cup of Nations entering the quarterfinal stage, international competition is winding down as preseason intensifies with European clubs.

Locally, the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash continue to battle the rigors of their respective seasons and are currently mid-table in the standings.

FIFA Women's World Cup

USA v Netherlands - FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ - THE FINAL www.youtube.com

The United States Women's National Team successfully completed their title defense with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final on Sunday. Team USA defeated England 2-1 in the semifinal round earlier in the week. Sweden finished third with a 2-1 win over England.

USA is the most successful nation with four titles and only the second to repeat as champion since Germany at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. The team will be honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City on Wednesday.

Golden Ball - Megan Rapinoe (USA)

Golden Boot (Top Scorer) - Megan Rapinoe (USA)

Golden Glove (Top Goalkeeper) - Sari van Veenendaal (Netherlands)

FIFA Young Player Award - Giulia Gwinn (Germany)

FIFA Fair Play Award - France

Concacaf Gold Cup

90 in 90: United States vs. Mexico | 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Highlights www.youtube.com

Mexico are the champions of Concacaf after defeating the United States Men's National Team 1-0 at Soldier Field in Chicago. LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos had the game-winning goal that awarded Mexico their 8th Gold Cup trophy.

Golden Ball - Raúl Jiménez (Mexico)

Golden Boot - Jonathan David (Canada)

Golden Glove - Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)

Best Young Player - Christian Pulisic (USA)

Fair Play Award - United States

CONMEBOL Copa America

Brasil vs. Perú: 3-1 Goals & Highlights | Copa América | Telemundo Deportes www.youtube.com

Hosts Brazil completed the task expected of them and hoisted the Copa America (South American Championship) for the ninth ocassion with a 3-1 win over Peru. Argentina finished third with a 2-1 win over Chile in a rematch of the two previous Copa America finals.

Golden Ball - Dani Alves (Brazil)

Golden Boot - Everton (Brazil)

Golden Glove - Alisson (Brazil)

Fair Play Award - Brazil

AFC Africa Cup of Nations

Egypt v South Africa Highlights - Total AFCON 2019 - R3 www.youtube.com

Liverpool star Mohammed Salah and hosts Egypt were eliminated from the tournament with a 1-0 loss to South Africa in the Round of 16. Defending champions Cameroon also exited the tournament, meaning a new champion will be crowned in over a week. The quarterfinals begin on Wednesday.

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Major League Soccer

Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls | HIGHLIGHTS - July 3, 2019 www.youtube.com

The Houston Dynamo snapped a three match road losing streak with a 4-0 home win over the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday. The road woes returned, however, with a 3-2 loss at expansion team FC Cincinnati.

East top seven: 1. Philadelphia (36), 2. D.C. United (31), 3. Atlanta (30), 4. Montreal (30), 5. NYCFC (29), 6. NY Red Bulls (28), 7. Toronto (23)

West top seven: 1. LAFC (43), 2. LA Galaxy (34), 3. Seattle (32), 4. Minnesota (30), 5. Dallas (29), 6. San Jose (28), 7. Houston (27)

Scoring leader: 19 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 12 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

National Women's Soccer League

Standings: 1. Reign FC (20), 2. North Carolina Courage (19), 3. Portland Thorns (19), 4. Washington Spirit (18), 5. Utah Royals (17), 6. Chicago Red Stars (14), 7. Houston Dash (13), 8. Orlando Pride (8), 9. Sky Blue FC (5)

Scoring leader: 9 - Sam Kerr (Chicago)

Assists leader: 4 - Jaelene Hinkle (NC Courage) / Lynn Williams (NC Courage) / Yuki Nagasato (Chicago)

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Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, July 9

7:30 p.m. - [Friendly] Club America vs. Pumas UNAM (Univision Deportes)

Wednesday, July 10

11:00 a.m. - [Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals] Senegal vs. Benin (beIN SPORTS)

2:00 p.m. - [Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals] Nigeria vs. South Africa (beIN SPORTS)

Thursday, July 11

10:30 a.m. - [Friendly] - West Ham vs. Rheindorf Altach (ESPN3)

11:00 a.m. - [Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals] Ivory Coast vs. Algeria (beIN SPORTS)

1:30 p.m. - [Friendly] Tranmere Rovers vs. Liverpool FC (B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals] Madagascar vs. Tunisia (beIN SPORTS)

Friday, July 12

10:30 a.m. - [Friendly] - Dortmund vs. Schweinberg (ESPN3)

2:00 p.m. - [Friendly] - Real Betis vs. Sheffield United (ESPN3)

6:00 p.m. - [MLS] D.C. United vs. New England Revolution (ESPN)

8:00 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. LAFC (UniMás)

10:00 p.m. - [MLS] LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes (UniMás)

Saturday, July 13

11:00 a.m. - [Africa Cup of Nations semifinals] Senegal/Benin vs. Madagascar/Tunisia (beIN SPORTS)

2:00 p.m. - [Africa Cup of Nations semifinals] Ivory Coast/Algeria vs. Nigeria/South Africa (beIN SPORTS)

Sunday, July 14

2:55 p.m. - [MLS] Seattle Sounders FC vs. Atlanta United (ESPN)

5:30 p.m. - [MLS] New York Red Bulls vs. NYCFC (FS1)

Credit: Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo Senior Vice President/General Manager Matt Jordan addressed questions from fans during the first hour of Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis on Tuesday night. Among the topics of conversation were potential player signings, concerns with player development and club operations.

The following are excerpts from the Q&A with callers to the program:

Potential Transfers

On why the Dynamo has not gone after a big name player that can fill BBVA Stadium

We're very open and we have had discussion with "big name players" ... For us, it's about getting the right players and I truly believe, through my experiences, you also have stars that grow within the league. We've seen that with our team with Alberth Elis, with Mauro Manotas - from my time in Montreal, we saw that with Ignacio Piatti. These weren't "big name stars" but they became "big name stars" so we look at all of it. We look at making our own stars, we look at some players that have been on the biggest stages and maybe a bit older but, for us, it's analyzing what's the right fit.

On the suggestion of a player like Mexico National Team Captain Andres Guardado

A lot of fans will say, "bring a big name, a Messi or Ronaldo" and that's not always realistic in the world of soccer but those are the types of profiles we do continue to look at along with making our own stars as well, which I think we've done a good job of with the two players I mentioned, who are stars in the city of Houston now.

On the reports of Cruz Azul's interest in Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas

We're getting interest in a lot of our young talented players. The two players that everyone talks about is Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis, there's also a handful of other players that we get inquiries of from abroad. A lot of the teams in the Mexican league follow our teams very closely and Cruz Azul did express interest in Mauro... [a potential transfer] has to make sense for the player, it has to make sense for the club

Player Development

On the investment in the Houston Dynamo Academy

With the support of our ownership group, over the last 18 months, have made significant investments in the academy. We hired a new academy director in Paul Holocher, we brought on what I believe are some of the brightest young coaches in the Unites States. We've really worked very hard to strengthen our partnerships and our strategic alliances here within the city of Houston, which I believe has really been a downfall of ours in the past.

On the possibility of having a locally-based USL team

We have. One thing I can tell you, we have our USL players, our academy players, our U23 players in and out with the first team all the time. With the Open Cup, we brought up several of our USL players. You'll see a couple of our USL players come up for our League's Cup game as well... of course, it's more ideal to have it next to our first team field but we're very proud of the partnership in the [Rio Grande] Valley.

Club Policies

On the Dynamo's scouting system for recruiting players for the first team...

We do have a scout in Europe that's paid by us, we have a scout in South America that's paid by us and I also have a full-time scout and analyst, here, that is in Houston working with us in our recruitment department.

What we do is we go through the annual scouting calendar, we prioritize what events we need to hit. Generally speaking, I only travel when we get to the point - myself or [Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera] or both of us together, a lot of time we'll travel together in the offseason. We only really travel when we get to [final stages of a transfer].

We use our regional contacts...What I really focus on is having one key contact in each country and, a lot of times, we go after the player, it's not that the player is presented to us by the agent. [Recent signing Jose Bizama] is a prime example, we went after Bizama and we approached the club through our process. Now, there's times where a player is presented to us as well, but more often then not we utilize those regional contacts in each country. There's a lot of times, with many of our players, we've identified them or we've gone after them when they're, maybe, not for sale and that's when the grinding starts to take place for the negotiation.

On the club hosting a town hall meeting with supporters

In this moment, I can't speak for ownership but I have no problem being in any setting and fielding questions about the team for the fans.

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The entire conversation is available on the July 16, 2019 episode of the podcast, which can be heard on iTunes, Google Podcasts and www.podcastarena.com/soccermatters/

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