The Soccer Report

UEFA & Concacaf Champions League highlight midweek TV schedule; Houston Dynamo draw in Arizona friendly

FIFA World Cup Winner Kylian Mbappé and PSG will be expected to advance past Dortmund. Photo: Nike, Inc.

International club football returns to our TV sets in February with the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg matches kicking off on Tuesday. In Concacaf, their version of the Champions League kicks off with the marquee match of the opening stage pitting Liga MX's Club Leon vs. MLS' LAFC.

A recap of the week that was followed by the upcoming TV schedule:

English Premier League

Top six: 1. Liverpool (76), 2. Man City (51), 3. Leicester City (50), 4. Chelsea (41), 5. Tottenham (40), 6. Sheffield (39)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. West Ham (24), 19. Watford (24), 20. Norwich City (18)

Scoring leader: 17 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Assists leader: 15 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Top six: 1. Real Madrid (53), 2. FC Barcelona (52), 3. Getafe (42), 4. Atletico Madrid (40), 5. Sevilla (40), 6. Villarreal (38)

Bottom three: 18. Mallorca (21), 19. Leganes (19), 20. Espanyol (19)

Scoring leader: 14 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 12 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (46), 2. RB Leipzig (45), 3. Dortmund (42), 4. Monchengladbach (42), 5. Bayer Leverkusen (40), 6. Schalke 04 (36)

Bottom three: 16. Fortuna (17), 17. Werder Bremen (17), 18. Paderborn (16)

Scoring leader: 23 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 14 - Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (57), 2. Lazio (56), 3. Inter Milan (54), 4. Atalanta (45), 5. Roma (39), 6. Hellas Verona (35)

Bottom three: 18. Genoa (22), 19. Brescia (16), 20. SPAL (15)

Scoring leader: 26 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 11 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top four: 1. PSG (62), 2. Marseille (52), 3. Rennes (41), 4. Lille (40)

Bottom three: 18. Dijon (26), 19. Amiens (21), 20. Toulouse (13)

Scoring leader: 16 - Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)

Assists leader: 12 - Angel Di Maria (PSG)

MLS preseason

The influx of Mexican stars to Major League Soccer continues. Rodolfo Pizarro is the latest name to cross the border as the former Chivas and Monterrey star will now feature for David Beckham's Inter Miami CF. The move, which has been its own transfer saga, finally became official on Monday.

Of local interest, the Houston Dynamo played New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw in Tucson, Arizona as part of their "spring training" before the season kicks off on February 29th at BBVA Stadium. The Dynamo have two friendlies this week to wrap up preseason.

Liga MX

Clausura 2020

Top eight: 1. Pumas (14), 2. Club America (13), 3. Leon (12), 4. Queretaro (12), 5. Juarez (11), 6. Cruz Azul (10), 7. Atletico San Luis (9), 8. Necaxa (8)

Scoring leader: 5 - Angel Mena (Leon) / Ariel Nahuelpan (Queretaro) / Jonathan Rodriguez (Cruz Azul)

Assists leader: 4 - Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul) / Pablo Barrera (Pumas)

TV listings (All Times CT):

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

Tuesday, February 18

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Dortmund vs. PSG (Galavision, B/R Live)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Club Leon vs. LAFC (FS2)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Motagua vs. Atlanta United (FOX Soccer Plus)

Wednesday, February 19

1:30 p.m. - [Premier League] Man City vs. West Ham (NBC Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Tottenham vs. RB Leipzig (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Atalanta vs. Valencia (Galavision, B/R Live)

5:00 p.m. - [MLS preseason] Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake (HoustonDynamo.com/Live)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Saprissa vs. Montreal Impact (FS2)

Thursday, February 20

12:00 p.m. / 2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Round of 32 first leg matches (B/R Live)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] San Carlos vs. New York City FC (FS2)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Olimpia vs. Seattle Sounders FC (FS2)

Friday, February 21

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Bayern Munich vs. Paderborn (FOX Soccer Plus)

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

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Atlas vs. Pachuca (TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club Tijuana vs. Chivas (FOX Deportes)

Saturday, February 22

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

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Werder Bremen vs. Dortmund (FS1)

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

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

9:00 a.m. - [La Liga] FC Barcelona vs. Eibar (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Leicester City vs. Man City (NBC)

11:00 a.m. - [Serie A] SPAL vs. Juventus (ESPN+)

11:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Schalke 04 vs. RB Leipzig (FS2, TUDN)

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

5:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club Leon vs. Necaxa (TUDN, ESPN Deportes)

6:00 p.m. - [MLS preseason] Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew SC (HoustonDynamo.com/Live)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Cruz Azul vs. Tigres (Univision, TUDN, ESPN Deportes)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Monterrey vs. America (FOX Deportes)

Sunday, February 23

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Man United vs. Watford (NBC Sports)

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Wolves vs. Norwich (CNBC)

10:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Arsenal vs. Everton (NBC Sports)

Monday, February 24

3:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Liverpool vs. West Ham (NBC Sports)

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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