THE SOCCER REPORT

UEFA Champions League Final caps off European soccer season

Courtesy Adidas

The 2018-19 season has reached the end of the schedule before a busy summer of international competition kicks off. The Premier League will be on display in all-English European finals with the Europa League crowning its champion on Wednesday followed by the Champions League final on Saturday.

UEFA Champions League

Liverpool F.C. and Tottenham Hotspur will have the face off in the UEFA Champions League final - soccer's equivalent to the Super Bowl - in the neutral site of Madrid on Saturday to crown a new champion in European football. Liverpool, the winningest English club in European competition, are looking for their sixth UCL trophy while Tottenham aim to lift it for the first time in their 136-year history.

  • Saturday, June 1 - 2 p.m. CT [TNT, Univision]

UEFA Europa League

London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea will face off in the final of Europe's secondary competition (equivalent to the NIT in college basketball) with a trophy on the line and, for Arsenal, a spot in next year's Champions League. Chelsea have already qualified for Europe's top tournament via league play but a trophy and denying their crosstown neighbors that honor would taste like sweet victory. For Arsenal, it's a must win to play in the UCL and a win over Chelsea would just be the cherry on top.

  • Wednesday, May 29 - 2 p.m. CT [TNT, UniMas]

English Premier League

While the Premier League concluded a few weeks ago, one spot was still up for grabs for next season. That spot would be reserved for the return of a famed English club to the top flight as Aston Villa, a two-time European champion, defeated Derby County in the promotion play-off final at Wembley.

Up the road in Manchester, United fans were treated to a rematch of the famed 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich that saw the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson back on the sidelines and legends like Peter Schmeichel, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and David Beckham back on the field in a 5-0 win over Bayer legends led by Lothar Matthaus.

Spain's La Liga

Valencia capped off an impressive season by defeating FC Barcelona 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final. The domestic cup win denied the league champions Barcelona from completing the domestic double and gave Valencia fans their first taste of silverware since the 2007-08 season.

German Bundesliga

Over in Germany, Bayern Munich competed the domestic double by defeating RB Leipzig 3-0 in the DFB Pokal final.

The Bundesliga champions, who will be visiting Houston in July, were not the only ones to celebrate as Union Berlin fans stormed the field after seeing their team gain promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in club history. Union and Stuttgard tied 2-2 in the relegation playoffs but the former won the series thanks to the away goals tiebreaker.

Italian Serie A

Atalanta and Inter Milan secured their spots in next year's Champions League by finishing third and fourth in the league standings while A.C. Milan and Roma are forced to settle for Europa League. Fabio Quagliarella finishes the season as the golden boot champion.

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Major League Soccer

East top seven: 1.D.C. United (25), 2. Philadelphia (24), 3. NY Red Bulls (21), 4. Montreal (21), 5. Atlanta (20), 6. NYCFC (19), 7. Toronto (17)

West top seven: 1. LAFC (34), 2. Seattle (26), 3. LA Galaxy (25), 4. Houston (23), 5. Minnesota (21), 6. Real Salt Lake (19), 7. FC Dallas (18)

Scoring leader: 15- Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Assists leader: 9 - Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Liga MX

Tigres UANL end the season at the pinnacle of Mexican soccer by outlasting Leon 1-0 in the two-match final series to determine the Clausura 2019 champion. Tigres collects it's fifth league title this decade and fifth under Manager Ricardo Ferretti, who ties Ignacio Trelles as the manager with most Mexican league titles (7).

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U.S. Women's National Team

The U.S. Women finished their domestic preparation ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup with a 3-0 win over Mexico at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. Team USA now sets their sights on defending their World title as they look to win their fourth World Cup.

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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