Vancouver Whitecaps v Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy back for another CONCACAF Champions League effort

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It was not so long ago that the Houston Dynamo and LA Galxy were front and center in discussions of the 2013 CONCACAF Champions League contenders.

Dominic Kinnear’s Dynamo had a 1-0 lead in the March two-legged quarterfinal series against Mexico’s Santos, still with plenty of work ahead but needing only a draw to advance.

Things fell apart down in Torreon, Mexico, however, as they have done so many times for MLS sides. Santos prevailed, 3-0, and the men in  Dynamo orange were left to absorb the sting (and hopefully the lessons) of opportunity lost.

L.A. went even further in the annual, regional club competition, reaching a semifinal series against Monterrey. Bruce Arena’s team stacked a lot of emotional eggs into that CCL basket but still fell by a 3-1 aggregate result to the eventual champs.

The Dynamo and Galaxy hope to put those teachings to good use tonight as they join Champions League play.

Houston meets W Connection from Trinidad and Tobago’s TT Pro League. The match kicks off at 9 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1.

Bruce Arena’s Galaxy host Costa Rican club Cartaginés at the StubHub Center. Kickoff for that one, on Fox Sports Plus, is set for 10 p.m. ET.

Houston and L.A. are the fourth and fifth MLS teams to begin their part of Champions League play, joining Sporting Kansas City, San Jose and Montreal, all of whom launched their accounts last week.

I’ve been touting the Dynamo’s midfield depth all year; it will get a test now, having played in the Houston heat on Saturday and with a match coming up in Canada this weekend against Montreal. That’s three matches in three countries over eight days, if you’re counting.

Calen Carr and Andrew Driver (pictured) are nearing full fitness, so that will surely help. Dynamo veteran Brian Ching, for one, certainly sounds confident.

Depending on the lineup Arena chooses, his team should handle Cartagines, a team without many trophies in the case.

Zlatan becomes PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 21:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic #10 of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates his goal in the second half against AFC Fiorentina during the International Champions Cup at Red Bull Arena on July 21, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.Paris Saint-Germain defeated ACF Fiorentina 4-2.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, and he is already the club’s all-time leading scorer.

After scoring both of PSG’s goals in a 2-1 win over Marseille today, Zlatan’s tally is up to 110 goals for the club, eclipsing Pauleta’s mark of 109. However, Pauleta needed 79 more matches to reach that number.

Zlatan has scored at a blistering pace since moving to Paris, having seasons of 35, 41, and 30 goals in his first three years at the club. Early into his fourth season with PSG, he has four goals through seven matches.

Not only has Zlatan achieved great success individually during his time at Parc des Princes, the club has dominated French football during his tenure.

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Since Zlatan moved to Paris in 2012, the club has won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, two League Cups, and one French Cup. During that time, Zlatan was twice named Ligue 1 Player of the Year and won two Golden Boots as the league’s top scorer.

Zlatan’s contract with PSG is up at the end of this season, and it has been long suspected that he will move on and join a new club next summer. Despite turning 34 earlier this month, Zlatan has proven his is still one of the world’s elite goalscorers, and will have his choice of clubs should he leave PSG.

Atletico and Real draw 1-1 in Madrid derby

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF wins the header after Gabi Fernandez of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.

Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.

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Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.

Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.

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With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.

The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.