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The Champions League marches on with two of the four semifinalists set. Real Madrid and AC Milan are through. Chelsea and Napoli are left to pack their bags and go home. We'll see who else joins them on Wednesday.

I'm Mike Goodman and this is the Golazo Starting XI newsletter. As if UCL action wasn't enough on our plates, we have the United States men's national team in a rivalry match against Mexico tonight, plus the NWSL Challenge Cup kicks off. Let's jump right in!

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📺 Champions League on Paramount+

All times U.S./Eastern.

Wednesday, April 19
⚽ Bayern Munich vs. Man City, 3 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
⚽ Inter vs. Benfica, 3 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

🎥 CBS Sports Golazo Network will offer a live second-screen tactical cam for City-Bayern.

📺 Elsewhere on Wednesday ...

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Women's Super League: Man United vs. Arsenal, 2:15 ➡️ Paramount+
🇺🇸 Challenge Cup: Pride vs. Courage, 7 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇺🇸 Challenge Cup: Gotham vs. Spirit, 7:30 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇺🇸 Challenge Cup: Dash vs. Current, 7:30 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇺🇸 Challenge Cup: Angel City vs. OL Reign, 10 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇺🇸 Challenge Cup: Wave vs. Thorns, 10 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🌎 Friendly: USMNT vs. Mexico, 10 p.m. ➡️ TBS

⚽  The Forward Line

Where will Chelsea go from here?

There will be plenty of time to talk about the teams still in the tournament. And Napoli's impending Scudetto triumph means they're going to be on everybody's radar for the foreseeable future. But Chelsea? Their season is over. Like, OVER over. 

So, now what? They've got seven matches left in the Premier League (with 17 points away from fourth place) and lots of unanswered questions. Don't take my word for it, though. In a very insightful interview into what's going wrong with Chelsea after the match, Thiago Silva highlighted the need for the club as a whole to get its act together.

His points weren't exactly revelatory. Chelsea have a lot of players now and on a given day, nobody knows who is playing or why. It's hard to be good in those circumstances.

  • Silva: "We had to increase the size of the changing room because it didn't fit the squad. A positive point is that there are amazing players in the squad, but on the other hand, there are always players that are going to be unhappy. There is always somebody who is going to be upset because not everybody can play. The manager can only pick 11. From 30-something. That's tough. Some can't make the squad. We signed eight in January. We need to stop and put a strategy in place, otherwise next season we could make the same mistakes."
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Listen, I understand that Thiago Silva is no James Corden, but perhaps the Chelsea brass might consider what it is he has to say. After all, they're spending enough time in the dressing room talking to the players. But what's clear from the outside -- and now apparently on the inside -- is that Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali's plan, whatever it is, sure doesn't seem to be working.

With the season just about done and dusted, the main task now has to be figuring out who stays and who goes. As James Benge writes, it shouldn't be too hard to tailor this giant squad to suit whatever comes next.

  • Benge: "Get a manager lined up quickly and many of these questions answer themselves. If there is an advantage to having such a bloated squad, it is that you can trim it into the style you want. Is Chelsea 23-24 going to be built to exploit the skills of Reece James, so exceptional against Madrid, and Ben Chilwell out wide? Then the squad will need midfielders and wide forwards who crash the box. The hierarchy could just as easily conclude that they want a more cautious, possession-heavy approach based around the qualities of Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic in midfield. The ingredients are there for that too."

The trick is that any such approach requires good planning. It requires a cohesiveness of purpose from owner to front office staff and down to the manager and players on the field. So far, during Boehly and Eghbali's reign at Chelsea, they've managed to be the absolute opposite of that. The approach seems to have changed and purchases were made in scattershot fashion. They claimed they were spending money building for the future, then they were dropping too much cash on a squad that couldn't muster results. It's been a hot mess.

Could Chelsea use these next seven games to get right? They could. Frank Lampard, who's the most extreme example of an interim coach we've seen in a while, could prioritize figuring out which young players are worth keeping over trying to win games before he's out the door. The front office could settle on a manager and make plans to keep the players that suit his style and sell or loan the rest. They could put themselves in a position to get right back to contending near the top of the Premier League table next season. Will they? Well, given their track record, Thiago Silva might be right to feel worried.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

USMNT vs. Mexico: What to expect

We're not in an international break, but we do have some international soccer. The USMNT will host Mexico in a friendly tonight in Glendale, Arizona. It's the 75th time these two bitter rivals square off. The American side is made up almost completely of MLS players ... and Sergino Dest, who finds himself out of favor with AC Milan. But that doesn't mean that there aren't still things we can learn in this match. Specifically, Chuck Booth asks, can a red-hot Jordan Morris make himself into an option at striker for this team?

  • Booth: "Few players in MLS have had a bigger impact on their team's attack than Jordan Morris this season. Featuring as a nine or a winger for the Sounders, his eight goals are more than any other player in the league so far this season. Finally healthy, his burst on the pitch is clear to see and there is a route back to the regular national team rotation for Morris, especially given the lack of scoring among the other forwards. While Morris has mostly been a winger for the national team, this could be a chance to play him through the middle and see if he can lead the line offering a different option."

And now let's get to some links:

🔗 Check out all of Booth's USMNT questions ahead of tonight's match.
🔗 Booth also has your takeaways from Real Madrid dispatching Chelsea with ease.
🔗 AC Milan are also into the semifinals, and Francesco Porzio looks at how they upset Napoli.
🔗 Wrexham are now one win away from securing promotion to League 2.
🔗 NWSL Challenge Cup kicks off today, and Sandra Herrera has everything you need to know.
🔗 Which soccer player is your favorite shoe? Morning Footy tackles a question you never knew you needed to know.
🔗 Fikayo Tomori idolized Thierry Henry, and then he got to be interviewed by him on the Champions League Post-Match show.
🔗 Anthony Hudson joined Box 2 Box to talk about the Continental Clasico, and adopting dogs.
🔗 In Soccer We Trust: Can't miss a good USMNT vs. Mexico preview.
🔗 House of Champions: It's a Champions League recap show.
🔗 Attacking Third: Sandra and Lisa break down Julie Ertz's surprise return to the NWSL
🔗 And remember, all of your soccer needs -- from NWSL to Champions League to Serie A and so much more -- are available on Paramount+. 📺 You can try one month free by using the code: NWSL2023.

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bets

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and all times U.S./Eastern. SportsLine has you covered with this weekend's best bets.

  • UCL: Bayern vs. Man City, Wednesday, 3 p.m. 
    💰 THE PICK: Under 3.5 (-170) -- Pep Guardiola's preferred tactical approach includes playing four center backs. Now look, there's obviously some fancy stuff going on with John Stones stepping into midfield and the like, but at the end of the day Guardiola is going to be sending out his big beefy boys to defend a three-goal lead, on the road against Bayern Munich. Expect them to be exceedingly focused on controlling the game and keeping scoring opportunities down.
  • UCL: Inter vs. Benfica, Wednesday, 3 p.m. 
    💰 THE PICK: Benfica (+240) -- Inter will still go through, but Benfica are better than they showed in the opening leg. If the home team thinks that they can ride out a two goal lead and coast into the semifinals that's going to be a recipe for some nervy final minutes in this one. They'll likely hold on, but Benfica can give them a run for their money if they get the chance.