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.

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.

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