July 20, 2024
USMNT’s Weston McKennie (Leeds and Arsenal) and Christian Pulisic (AC Milan) spice up transfer rumor mill

We’ve got tons of American soccer news to talk about as the United States men’s national team take the field for the first time since the World Cup. Meanwhile, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic have seen their names bubble up in the rumor mill as we approach the final week of the transfer deadline. I’m Mike Goodman, and we’ll break it all down on Wednesday’s edition of the Golazo Starting XI.

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📺 What we’re watching this week

⚽ EFL Cup semi: Nottingham Forest vs. Man United, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
⚽ Copa del Rey: Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
⚽ Friendly: USMNT vs. Serbia, Wednesday, 10 p.m.
⚽ Copa del Rey: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid, Thursday, 3 p.m.  

📺 Full replays

⚽ Tuesday in Serie A: Lazio 4, AC Milan 0 on Paramount+
⚽ In Soccer We Trust podcast: USMNT vs. Serbia preview
⚽ Attacking Third podcast: Breaking down recent NWSL trades

⚽  The Forward Line

🍿 Is McKennie Premier League-bound?

House of Champions podcast

It’s possible that by the time you read this, Weston McKennie could join a Premier League club. Or maybe sometime next week, or in the summer, or not at all. Welcome to the wonderful, unpredictable world of the transfer market. What we do know for sure is that Leeds United are interested in McKennie. According to CBS Sports insider Fabrizio Romano, the two sides have agreed to personal terms and now it’s just up to Juventus and Leeds to work out a deal. But is the move actually a good one for McKennie or should he wait for other offers? Chuck Booth looks at whether McKennie might be better off holding out for a move to league-leading Arsenal.

  • Booth: “In regards to the other interested parties, Arsenal are the one team to watch. The Gunners could offer McKennie a shot at a Premier League title, which is nice, but he’d be in a difficult situation fighting for minutes. He’s not guaranteed a starting role due to Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey being in top form. In theory, McKennie would need to be at the top of his game in order to cause Mikel Arteta tough lineup decisions. The quality of play around him would clearly be better compared to Leeds, a team that see less of the ball but might offer more opportunity for minutes.”

It’s the kind of conundrum players of the caliber of McKennie frequently face. Do you want to be a regular starter for a less prestigious side or have to fight for minutes among the world’s elite. It’s also worth noting here that both of Arsenal’s starting midfielders are approaching — or are already on — the wrong side of 30. So it’s certainly possible that if McKennie impresses, he could be on the trajectory of a future first-choice option there. But it’s a risky decision.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

🇺🇸 USWNT lessons from New Zealand

The United States women’s national team wrapped up a two-game series at New Zealand, and now the attention turns toward the NWSL season with training camp just around the corner. Sandra Herrera takes a look at where the current team is and why these two games were such valuable experience with the World Cup less than six months away:

  • Herrera: “Opening up the year against the World Cup co-hosts offered a unique opportunity for players among the current pool to get some valuable experience. In an environment that will mirror their World Cup group stage, the team trained, traveled and played in Wellington and Auckland. For many players on the team, their first camp call-ups were made during Andonovski’s time as head coach since replacing Jill Ellis in 2019. Only 10 players on the roster have represented the team in either a World Cup or Olympics and the remaining 14 are still on the journey to make appearances at peak international tournaments.”

And now let’s get to some links:

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bets

Some intriguing matches to take a look at the next few days. All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and all times U.S./Eastern.

  • EFL Cup: Nottingham Forest vs. Man United, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Forest (+470) — Manchester United are obviously the better team, but they’ve been a little shaky in recent weeks. And even in their showdown against Arsenal, they were clearly the lesser team despite almost holding on for a point. They’re better than Forest, sure, but +470 is a really big price and the Tricky Trees could definitely catch United sleeping after that bitterly disappointing loss to Arsenal. Follow SportsLine’s best bets here.
  • Copa del Rey: Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Barcelona (-170) — La Real have been making waves recently with a nine-game win streak. But that streak has been against an extremely weak collection of competition. They’re in for a rude awakening against a Barcelona team which continues to be one of the best in Europe, despite their Champions League misfortunes. Follow SportsLine’s best bets here.