Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Hey there! Between cup action in England and major moves in the U.S., the soccer world is showing no signs of slowing down — even if the holiday season is upon us. I’m Pardeep Cattry with the latest.

Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Wednesday, Dec. 20
La Liga: Barcelona vs. Almeria, 1 p.m. ESPN+
Bundesliga: Wolfsburg vs. Bayern, 2:30 p.m. ESPN+
EFL Cup: Liverpool vs. West Ham, 3 p.m. ESPN+
Coppa Italia: Inter vs. Bologna, 3 p.m. CBS Sports Network, Paramount+

Thursday, Dec. 21
UWCL: Brann vs. Lyon, 12:45 p.m. DAZN
La Liga: Alaves vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m. ESPN+
EPL: Crystal Palace vs. Brighton, 3 p.m. USA Network

Chelsea eke out cup win


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This season has hardly gone according to plan for Chelsea, but the Blues are off to the EFL Cup semifinals after beating Newcastle on penalties following a 1-1 draw yesterday. It was hardly smooth sailing for the Londoners, though — they went down in the 15th minute and only found their equalizer in the 92nd minute after Kieran Trippier’s misjudged header gave Mykhailo Mudryk the opening to score.

Chelsea then won 4-2 on penalties, but a semifinal berth provides a genuine bright spot as Mauricio Pochettino’s squad continues to gel together. James Benge reports from Stamford Bridge that the imperfect display provides plenty of lessons for a Chelsea side in the early stages of a rebuild — and time to actually see the plan out to fruition.

Benge: “Winning a trophy he so derided when at Tottenham would buy Pochettino time, something he evidently needs to stitch something coherent out of the smorgasbord of attacking talent available to him. At their pinnacle this season Chelsea have proven that they can pose a real test for defenses. Their expected goals tally is the third best in the Premier League this season. There is something to work with and an attack that is making but not converting chances should only get more efficient with [Christoper] Nkunku in it.”

The shootout at the Bridge was not the only round of spotkicks in England yesterday, either. Fulham edged out Everton 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 game, while Middlesborough made easy work of Port Vale and beat them 3-0. Liverpool and West Ham will compete later on Wednesday for the final semifinal berth.

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NWSL free agency shopping spree


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Christmas may still be a few days away, but fans of NJ/NY Gotham FC are receiving their gifts early this year. The reigning NWSL champions are reportedly set to land three of the most coveted free agents on the market — U.S. women’s national team trio Rose Lavelle, Tierna Davidson, and Emily Sonnett.

The Women’s World Cup winners are all in advanced talks to join Gotham, a club in position for a radical transformation following their surprise championship triumph. Gotham have spent most of their NWSL existence on the outside looking in at the playoffs and finished the 2022 season dead last, but can truly level up on the pitch with three high-profile and elite players. All three also answer pressing needs for the team, too.

Davidson will likely be a replacement for Ali Krieger, the 2015 World Cup winner with the USWNT who retired this year, but offers a strong passing ability that could allow head coach Juan Carlos Amoros a chance to build out of the back with like-minded center back Maitane Lopez. Sonnett, meanwhile, is finally hitting her stride as a defensive midfielder after years playing along the back line, while Lavelle provides a creativity that was lacking at times for a Gotham team that struggled for goals last season. They had just 25 goals in 22 regular season games, 10th in the 12 team league.

The moves are also a vote of confidence in Amoros after leading Gotham to the championship in his first season in charge, and a clear sign that the side will do whatever it can to defend their title successfully. Long story short, they are exhibiting a win-now approach that could keep them competitive for the next few years in the NWSL.

  Top Stories

MLS rejected: U.S. Soccer rejected MLS’ request to allow MLS Next PRO teams to compete in next season’s U.S. Open Cup, which Jimmy Conrad describes as “a good first step” while continuing to criticize MLS’ approach.

Trophy hunt: It was not a good outing for Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier in the EFL Cup, but Fulham’s Marco Silva proved he might be one of the Premier League’s underrated managers. Plus, a preview of Manchester City’s Club World Cup final against Fluminense.

Neymar out: Neymar will miss the 2024 Copa America as he continues to recover from the ACL tear he sustained in October, per Brazil’s team doctor.

Transfer preview: The January transfer window is right around the corner, which means it’s time to take a look at 10 moves that are likely to happen this winter.

NWSL check-in: The latest NWSL vibe check dropped after an underwhelming and increasingly unpopular expansion draft. Plus, the Houston Dash’s Maria Sanchez became the league’s highest paid player and Barcelona coach Jonathan Girardez is being linked to the Washington Spirit.

Highs and lows: Toronto picked Tyrese Spicer as the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft, and the LA Galaxy’s stock is sliding quickly as they sit in the shadow of rivals LAFC.

Forfeit in Turkey: A Turkish Super Lig game was abandoned after the Istanbulspor president pulled his team off the pitch when the referee opted not to award them a penalty.

UCL changes: While the Champions League takes a break, catch yourself up on the new format that will debut next season that will include more games and more teams.

Alves trial: Ex-Brazil player Dani Alves will stand trial in February for sexual assault after being arrested in relation to the allegations.

Best bets

La Liga: Barcelona vs. Almeria, Wednesday, 1 p.m.
THE PICK: More than 3.75 goals scored (+103) — Following the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Valencia, the reigning champions are the oddsmakers’ favorite to return to winning ways and could run up the scoreline in accordance. That said, Barcelona have also conceded in seven of their last eight games so don’t count out Almeria’s goalscoring chances.
EFL Cup: Liverpool vs. West Ham, Wednesday, 3 p.m.

THE PICK: Both teams will not score (+120) — Liverpool may have shown an uncharacteristic inability to score in their 0-0 draw with Manchester United over the weekend, butt with a spot in the semifinals on the line, expect them to get the job done and keep a clean sheet.

What’s on CBS Sports Golazo Network

 Morning Footy (Weekdays 8-10 a.m.): Hosts Susannah Collins, Charlie Davies, Nico Cantor and Alexis Guerreros help fans get their day started on the network’s flagship morning show with highlights, interviews and the biggest soccer storylines. Morning Footy is also available in podcast form, so you’ll never have to miss an episode.

 Box 2 Box (Weekday afternoons): The news-driven show quickly recaps all the latest headlines from around the world with panelists previewing the top matchups of the day. Catch Box 2 Box on CBS Sports Golazo Network on the CBS Sports app, PlutoTV and Paramount+. 

3⃣ Attacking Third (Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening): The leading women’s soccer podcast and social brand is now a live studio show. Just because the NWSL season is over doesn’t mean that our coverage of the women’s game is going anywhere. Our analysts will be breaking down the USWNT. NWSL offseason and European domestic season all winter long.

 Kickin’ It (Tuesday, 7 p.m.): CBS Sports Golazo Network’s new unfiltered interview show returns Tuesday Hosted by Kate Abdo, Clint Dempsey, Mo Edu and Charlie Davies, the group chat candidly with the biggest names from the Beautiful Game and share their stories from on and off the pitch. 

Call it What You Want (Monday night): A weekly podcast where Jimmy Conrad, Jesse Marsch and Charlie Davies cover all things USMNT and the state of the beautiful game in the United States.

 Scoreline (Daily): Scoreline is the newest place for fans to catch up on all the biggest news and results impacting global football, match highlights from the top soccer competitions and all the can’t-miss goals from the day’s action, starting Thursday and airing seven days a week.

 How to watch: CBS Sports Golazo Network is a free 24/7 channel exclusively dedicated to offering unparalleled coverage of all the top soccer competitions worldwide. You can stream for free on the CBS Sports appPluto TV and Paramount+.

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