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USATSI

Welcome to the weekend! Another big few days of soccer are coming up with W Gold Cup and the Manchester Derby among other items on the menu from Friday through Sunday. Jonathan Johnson here to get you ready for it all.

📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Friday, Mar. 1
🇮🇹 Serie A: Lazio vs. Milan, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇫🇷 Ligue 1: Monaco vs. PSG, 3 p.m. ➡️ beIN Sports USA

Saturday, Mar. 2
🇪🇸 La Liga: Valencia vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+
🏆 W Gold Cup: Canada vs. Costa Rica, 7 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🏆 W Gold Cup: Brazil vs. Argentina, 10:15 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

Sunday, Mar. 3
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Manchester City vs. Manchester United, 10:30 a.m. ➡️ Peacock
🇮🇹 Serie A: Napoli vs. Juventus, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🏆 W Gold Cup: Mexico vs. Paraguay, 5 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🏆 W Gold Cup: USWNT vs. Colombia, 8:15 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

⚽ The Forward Line

🇺🇸 W Gold Cup heads to the quarter finals

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Getty Images

Draw drama

By Pardeep Cattry

The U.S. women's national team will play Colombia in the quarterfinals of the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup on Sunday, making up one of the most enticing matchups in a knockout phase that required a draw of lots to determine the last eight teams standing. Eight teams from the 12-team group stage advanced to the knockouts, but all qualifying teams were ranked in a single table based on the amounts of points they picked up during the group stage. Their rankings in that table would then determine where they landed in the knockout round bracket. 

The USWNT ranked fourth after their 2-0 loss to Mexico on Monday while Canada, Brazil and Mexico took up the top three spots, respectively. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, though, were locked in a battle for the final quarterfinal berth. The teams were tied on points and on each of the tournament's tiebreakers -- goal difference, goals scored and yellow cards. It required CONCACAF to draw lots to determine who would go through, with Costa Rica securing passageway to the quarterfinals in the most unlikely of ways.

USWNT need Colombia win

By Pardeep Cattry

Monday's 2-0 loss to Mexico makes Sunday's quarterfinal against Colombia (8:15 p.m. ET on Paramount+) a must-win for a lot of reasons, including the fact that the USWNT are slowly but surely running out of time to answer a very important question -- what is actually the team's best starting lineup? The USWNT have played only five matches since announcing Hayes would be the team's next coach, and if the game against Mexico felt like a regurgitation of old ideas, they have only truly experimented during four games. 

It's a very small sample size to determine what the best version of this team is, but the fact that players with less experience have yet to build a real body of work is an argument in their favor in some ways. The loss against Mexico almost speeds up the need to give players like Jaedyn Shaw and Olivia Moultire, among others, an increased role but it's not as if they haven't done the work. To Kilgore's credit, she has given several players opportunities to showcase if they can rise up the USWNT's depth chart, and it feels like some of them are ready to do so.  

It's now up to Kilgore and company to actually do so while there's still time on the clock before the Olympics. That is not to say that the team should be entirely devoid of veterans. For starters, younger players like Smith and Naomi Girma already have a World Cup under their belts, while Crystal Dunn is arguably still the best fit in her position. A mix of experience and youth is not just the most practical strategy for any team in a rebuild but is perhaps the best way for the USWNT to line up in the immediate future.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

😤 Manchester derby time

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The Manchester derby is rarely a dull affair and this Sunday's instalment promises to be another unmissable occasion as City host United in the Premier League with plenty on the line on either side for Pep Guardiola and Erik ten Hag. The defending champions are second in the table and one point behind leaders Liverpool who have been decimated further after an EFL Cup final win over Chelsea which added further injuries to an already stricken roster for Jurgen Klopp. The Red Devils are sixth and three points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fifth who have a game in hand with no guarantee that it will even be enough to secure UEFA Champions League qualification at the end of the season. 

There is no doubt about the fact that United face a massively uphill task here in trying to beat City at Etihad Stadium, especially given the two sides' respective positions in the table and general form overall. The hosts are unbeaten in 18 across all competitions with 16 wins and two draws in that time. Villa back in early December were the last team to inflict defeat upon City and United have beaten the Villans home and away since then so perhaps there is hope. City are not the only ones in improved form with United's 2024 having gone well, at least by the shockingly low standards set in the first half of the campaign. Just one loss from nine games across all competitions and seven wins in that spell is reasonably good going for the Red Devils and part of the reason that they re-entered the discussion regarding Champions League qualification recently. 

Don't miss CBS Sports Golazo Network's Morning Footy, now in podcast form! Our crew brings you all the news, views, highlights and laughs you need to follow the Beautiful Game in every corner of the globe, every Monday-Friday all year long.

With five goals scored in midweek as Luton Town were well and truly destroyed 6-2 in the FA Cup, Erling Haaland is back on the field and in the goals. With 27 to his name plus four assists across all competitions, despite having missed a chunk of game time through injury, the Norwegian could be primed for another mammoth outing against United. Last time these two met back in October, Haaland scored twice and provided an assist in a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford which Guardiola must be relishing the prospect of given Ten Hag's habit of digging out unexpected points of late.

🔗  Top Stories

😰 UCL panic rankings: Arsenal should stay calm vs. Porto but Bayern Munich are in crisis and Atletico Madrid could be in real trouble in the second legs.

📈 USMNT stock: Crystal Palace's Chris Richards is getting valuable game time but Gio Reyna is glued to the bench with Nottingham Forest ahead of March's Nations League semifinals with the USMNT.

😬 La Liga Chief wants Mason Greenwood stay: Javier Tebas hopes that the Manchester United man remains in Spain after Getafe loan spell despite previous rape allegations against ex-England man.

🤓 Fitting Kylian Mbappe in: How the French superstar could feature in Real Madrid's all-star starting XI alongside the likes of Vini Jr. and Jude Bellingham at Santiago Bernabeu.

🚫 Paul Pogba's four-year ban: Juventus' French World Cup winner is appealing after he was suspended for four years this week after testing positive for doping last year.

🤔 Lionel Messi and Inter Miami in CCC: Why the legendary Argentina international and his Herons side are yet to feature in the CONCACAF Champions Cup despite the Major League Soccer season starting.

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bet

  • Ligue 1: Monaco vs. PSG, Friday, 3 p.m.
    💰THE PICK: PSG win and both to score (+230) 
    -- Monaco welcome PSG to Stade Louis II on Friday searching for a first home victory of 2024 across all competitions. Adi Hutter's men are back in UEFA Champions League qualification contention after a 3-2 win away at RC Lens last week while Luis Enrique's side remains 11 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit and 13 points ahead of Les Monegasques. Monaco remain prolific in front of goal and are Le Championnat's second highest scorers behind Paris. Unfortunately, their defense leaks goals with their backline only two goals away from potentially being one of the worst in the French topflight. PSG's rearguard ranks as one of the top three in Ligue 1 and Monaco have won their last three consecutive home games vs. PSG, but the visitors are now unbeaten in 18 league games. Expect the visitors to edge this by a goal in what is likely to be Kylian Mbappe's final visit to his formative club as a Parisien player.

📺 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+. 

3️⃣ 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+.