In Soccer We Trust podcast

The weekend is so close, we can almost taste it. Hello, there 👋 I'm Igor Mello, filling in for Mike Goodman, bringing you the latest and greatest from a busy weekend in the world of soccer. We've got USMNT job vacancies, No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the Premier League meeting in the FA Cup, Chelsea spending big, the start of the Argentine season and much, much more. Let's dive right in!  

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📺 On Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network 

🇮🇹 Serie A action in Italy
⚽ Bologna vs. Spezia, Friday, 12:30 p.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Lecce vs. Salernitana, Friday, 2:45 p.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Empoli vs. Torino, Saturday, 9 a.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Cremonese vs. Inter Milan, Saturday. 12 p.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Atalanta vs. Sampdoria, Saturday, 2:45 p.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ AC Milan vs. Sassuolo, Sunday, 6:30 a.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Juventus vs. Monza, Sunday, 9 a.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Lazio vs. Fiorentina, Sunday, 12 p.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Napoli vs. Roma, Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Udinese vs. Verona, Monday, 2:45 p.m. (Paramount+)

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scottish football
⚽ Cove Rangers vs. Ayr United, Friday, 2:45 p.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Livingston vs. Hearts, Sunday, 8:25 a.m. (Paramount+)
⚽ Dundee United vs. Celtic, Sunday, 10:55 a.m. (Paramount+)

🇦🇷 Argentina league opener
⚽ Rosario Central vs. Angentinos Juniors, Friday, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Defensa y Justicia vs. Huracán, Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ San Lorenzo vs. Arsenal Sarandi, Saturday, 3 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Talleres Córdoba vs.Independiente, Saturday, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Estudiantes vs. Tigre, Saturday, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Central Córdoba vs. River Plate, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Platemse vs. Newell's Old Boys, Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Colón vs. Lanús, Sunday, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Instituto ACC vs. Sarmiento, Sunday, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Racing Club vs. Belgrano, Sunday, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Boca Juniors vs. Atlético Tucumán, Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Barracas Central vs. Godoy Cruz, Monday, 3 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Banfield vs. Unión, Monday, 6 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
⚽ Vélez Sarsfield vs. Gimnasia, Monday, 6 p.m. ET (Paramount+)

📺 What else we're keeping an eye on

⚽ FA Cup: Man City vs. Arsenal, Friday, 3 p.m.
⚽ Friendly: USMNT vs. Colombia, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
⚽ Bundesliga: Leverkusen vs. Dortmund, Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
⚽ FA Cup: Wrexham vs. Sheffield United, Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
⚽ Ligue 1: PSG vs. Reims, Sunday, 2:45 p.m.
⚽ LaLiga: Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad, Sunday, 3 p.m.  

⚽  The Forward Line

🇺🇸 USMNT to seek 'clean canvas' for 2026

In Soccer We Trust podcast

Soon after the United States men's national team left Qatar following a 3-1 round-of-16 elimination at the hands of the Netherlands and the Reyna family clashed with Berhalter over the lack of playing time for their son Gio Reyna, the following sequence of events took place:

The last three departures on that list were all made official on Thursday by Austin FC and USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone, who hinted that the upcoming cycle should be viewed as a "clean canvas," which could likely signal the end of the Berhalter era. It's also worth noting that as part of the Berhalter-Reyna saga, which unearthed a 1991 domestic violence incident between Gregg Berhalter and his now-wife, involved the Claudio Reyna reaching out to both Stewart and McBride during the World Cup to voice his displeasure over his son's role on the team. That said, Stewart is leaving USSF to join PSV Eindhoven as the technical director and Parlow Cone said McBride "decided to move on" from his position. Claudio Reyna, meanwhile, will stay at Austin FC as a technical adviser.

So what's next? Anthony Hudson, who coached the team in the 2-1 loss to Serbia on Wednesday night, will remain in charge beyond Saturday's friendly against Colombia to close out the January camp. Parlow Cone hinted that they hope to hire a new coach by the end of the summer, with the help of Sportsology Group, who was hired to provide consultation during the search. But does that mean USSF will plan to hire a director and a GM before they find a coach? U.S. fans should be keeping an eye on how they approach these vacancies.

The In Soccer We Trust podcast covered what these moves could mean for the future of Berhalter. 🍿 Stay tuned.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

🔵 Chelsea's new spin on long-term deals

There's still a few days left in the winter transfer window and Chelsea have spent over $600 million (including transfer fees and add-ons) dating back to Todd Boehly's arrival as owner of the West London club. That's more than some of the top leagues in Europe in total! 

Boehly is spinning a ton of plates as a part owner of the Dodgers, the Lakers and the Sparks all in Los Angeles, but he's the main man here at Chelsea and he's applying some of his expertise in those American leagues into the Premier League by locking up the following new signings to long-term contracts.

  • Mykhailo Mudryk, 22, winger: Signed for 8.5 years
  • Benoit Badiashile, 21, center back: Signed for 7.5 years
  • Noni Madueke, 20, winger: Signed for 7.5 years
  • Wesley Fofana, 21, center back: Signed for 7 years
  • David Datro Fofana, 20, center forward: Signed for 6.5 years
  • Marc Cucurella, 24, left back: Signed for 6 years
  • Armando Broja, 20, center forward: Signed for 6 years
  • Carney Chukwuemeka, 18, center midfielder: Signed for 6 years
  • Gabriel Slonina, 18, goalkeeper: Signed for 6 years
  • Andrey Santos, 18, center midfielder: Signed for 5.5 years
  • Raheem Sterling, 28, winger: Signed for 5 years

So what is the end game here for Chelsea? Did Boehly find a loophole on Financial Fair Play before it's soon closed by UEFA? Are they going to get to keep and get the most out of these young players? There's a chance some of these deals work out magnificently for the club and others just crash and burn. Are we heading for another loan army or how about a multi-club setup under the Chelsea portfolio?

James Benge sat down with ex-Miami Marlins president David Samson, host of the CBS Sports podcast Nothing Personal with David Samson, to discuss how Chelsea's new spin on long-term contracts aligns with Boehly's approach as Dodgers minority owner:

  • Samson, to Benge: "The interesting thing about Chelsea is, with their level of success, you want to always surpass the previous owners. You want to be at the top of the table and get there as quickly as possible, applying the lessons you've learned in American sports in the U.K. That's why you're seeing the contracts the way they are. What Boehly learned in baseball is when you sign players to long deals, you get to spread out the money over a longer period of time. That helps your bottom line, your income and cash flow, and, in theory, Financial Fair Play (FFP)."

You can catch the full conversation with Samson below on the House of Champions YouTube page.

House of Champions podcast

And now let's get to some links:

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bets

We're looking for some juice for the weekend. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and all times U.S./Eastern.

  • FA Cup: Man City vs. Arsenal, Friday, 3 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Both Teams To Score and Man City to win (+250) -- Pep Guardiola seems to have Mike Arteta's number whenever these two go head to head. He talked last week about his Man City players not having that fire in their belly and being a "happy flowers team." He said that for a reason -- to get his players up for this kind of matchup, one where Premier League leaders Arsenal may save some of their best players. Follow SportsLine's best bets on this FA Cup showdown here.
  • Friendly: USA vs. Colombia, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Draw (+215) -- It's hard to have any faith in the United States, even at home and even after losing to Serbia in the first friendly of this January camp. This is an interim coach who is experimenting new players and will be without the services of Alejandro Zendejas, who is expected back at for Club America's Liga MX game on Saturday. Follow SportsLine's best bets for the here.
  • Argentina: Two-leg parlay.
    💰 THE PICK: Boca Juniors and River Plate to win (+211) -- We're looking for value everywhere we can here in the Golazo Starting XI newsletter. What better way to kick up some interest in the Argentine league than to build a parlay off the two most storied clubs. River don't have Marcelo Gallardo anymore and are on the road, but there's no way I'm betting against the big dogs. Follow SportsLine's best bets here.