Weekly Recap

Weekly Soccer Recap: Arsenal-Manchester United delivers thriller, Neymar suffers first PSG loss and finals set for MLS and Liga MX

The Houston Dynamo season came to an end in Seattle as they fell to the defending MLS Cup Champions Seattle Sounders FC. Nigel Brooks

Club play is heating up all over the world as the year is winding down. The race in La Liga got a little more interesting with this weekend’s results and two finals will take place this week in North America.

Premier League

Teams in England had double duty this week and the top three clubs took advantage to extend their lead. Manchester City almost let up some points but a Raheem Sterling goal in stoppage time gave them the full three points on Wednesday, followed by a win on Sunday over West Ham. Manchester United also went two-for-two ending with what will go down as one of the memorable matches of the 2017/18 season against Arsenal. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, Paul Pogba’s showcase ended with a red card meaning he will miss the Manchester Derby.

Chelsea and Liverpool also took six points this week while Arsenal got a 5-0 win on Wednesday before Sunday’s loss vs. United. Tottenham was the big loser as they drop out of the top 5, having put pressure on City for the top spot at one point.

Top 5: Manchester City (43), Manchester United (35), Chelsea (32), Liverpool (29), Arsenal (28)

La Liga

Atlético Madrid and Sevilla were the big winners this week as both picked up three points while others in the top five slipped up. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid both drew this week, which is of bigger concern to Real as the defending champs fall to fourth place. Valencia lost this week and missed an opportunity to come within striking distance of Barcelona. It still looks like Barça’s title to lose but there’s a lot of weeks left on the calendar and the race got much closer.

The 5: Barcelona (36), Valencia (31), Atlético Madrid (30), Real Madrid (28), Sevilla (28)

Bundesliga

The Bayern Munich locomotive is picking up speed as they—after a loss last week—picked up three points to extend their lead thanks to a loss by second place Leipzig. That loss was delivered by Hoffenheim, a 4-0 home win, who are now in the top five. Mönchengladbach suffered a tough loss, 3-0 at Wolfsburg, as they miss out on a chance to move up to second. Schalke drew but stays in third while Dortmund’s loss drops them down to sixth.

Top 5: Bayern Munich (32), RB Leipzig (26), Schalke 04 (25), Mönchengladbach (24), Hoffenheim (23)

Ligue 1

PSG went down this weekend but no one was able to take advantage. The defending champions won midweek but were surprised by Strasbourg in a 2-1 away loss. The good news was that none of the other top teams took advantage of their double fixtures this week to pick up six points. Lyon, Monaco and Marseille are fighting each other for second place when one of those could’ve run away and pulled closer to PSG in case the Parisians have another slip up.

Top 5: Paris Saint-Germain (41), Lyon (32), Monaco (32), Marseille (32), Nantes (27)

Serie A

Napoli simply cannot be beat—until they were. That loss came at the hands of Juventus and as a result, Inter Milan are the new leaders in Italy. Inter picked up a 5-0 win over Chievo Verona while Roma and Lazio picked up three points themselves. Gennaro Gattuso's managerial debut for the Rossoneri began with a 2-2 draw at last place Benevento. To add insult to injury, the tying goal was scored by Benevento’s goalkeeper in stoppage time.

The top 5: Inter Milan (39), Napoli (38), Juventus (37), Roma (34), Lazio (32)

Major League Soccer

The 2017 MLS season has come to an end for Columbus Crew SC and the Houston Dynamo. The two “underdog” clubs could not find a way to prevent a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup final which is what we’ll see when Toronto hosts Seattle once more for this year’s crown.

Only one goal was the difference in the Eastern final as a play of brilliance resulted in Jozy Altidore’s goal to secure a return trip to the MLS Cup, which Toronto lost last year at home on penalties. The other series was not so close as Houston—needing at least two goals—conceded three to the defending champion Seattle Sounders FC, who will look to go back-to-back.

MLS Cup 2017:

Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounder FC

Liga MX

The semifinals in Liga MX where no contests as the two Monterrey area clubs dismantled their opposition to set up their first derby encounter in a league final. Tigres defeated Club America 4-0 on aggregate while Monterrey did one better, 5-0 on aggregate, against Monarcas Morelia. The two heated rivals will now meet for the ultimate bragging rights. Tigres will be looking for their sixth title while Monterrey fans hope their club can match their rivals five championships.

Liga MX Apertura 2017 final: Monterrey vs. Tigres

MVP of the Week - David de Gea

Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea is enjoying the best season of his career at Manchester United—one that is putting him in the discussion of best goalkeeper in the world. This weekend he was a key part of United’s 3-1 win at Arsenal, providing 14 saves to deny the likes of Sánchez and Alexandre Lacazette. If United are to challenge rivals City for the title—starting with the upcoming Manchester Derby—de Gea will likely play another big game.

Upcoming Matches (All Times CT):

Tuesday, Dec. 5:

1:30 p.m.- FC Barcelona vs. Sporting CP (FS1)

1:30 p.m.- Manchester United vs. CSKA Moscow (FS2)

1:30 p.m.- Chelsea vs. Atlético Madrid (FOX Sports Southwest)

1:30 p.m.- Bayern Munich vs. PSG (FOX Soccer Facebook)

Wednesday, Dec. 6:

1:30 p.m.- Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund (FS1)

1:30 p.m.- Liverpool vs. Spartak Moscow (FS2)

1:30 p.m.- Tottenham vs. APOEL (FOX Sports Southwest)

1:30 p.m.- Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Manchester City (FOX Soccer Facebook)

Thursday, Dec. 7:

7:30 p.m.- Tigres vs. Monterrey (Univision Deportes)

Friday, Nov. 24:

1:20 p.m.- Stuttgart vs. Bayer Leverkusen (FS2)

Saturday, Dec. 2:

6:30 a.m. - West Ham vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - Frankfurt vs. Bayern Munich (FS1)

8:30 a.m. - Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen (FS2)

9:15 a.m. - Real Madrid vs. Sevilla (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - Newcastle vs. Leicester City (NBC)

11:30 a.m. - Mönchengladbach vs. Schalke 04 (FS2)

3:00 p.m.- Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC (ESPN/UniMás)

Sunday, Nov. 26:

6:00 a.m. - Southampton vs. Arsenal (NBC Sports)

8:15 a.m. - Liverpool vs. Everton (NBC Sports)

9:15 a.m. - Real Betis vs. Atlético Madrid (beIN Sports)

10:30 a.m. - Manchester United vs. Manchester City (NBC Sports)

1:45 p.m. - Villarreal vs. Barcelona (beIN Sports)

6:00 p.m.- Monterrey vs. Tigres (Univision Deportes)

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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