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Hey there! It's been a week full of major implications in the world of women's soccer, and it's only Wednesday. I'm Pardeep Cattry with a midweek check-in.

📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Wednesday, Feb. 28
🇪🇺 UEFA Women's Nations League: Spain vs. France, 1 p.m. ➡️ CBS Sports Network
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 FA Cup: Chelsea vs. Leeds, 2:30 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+ 
🇮🇹 Serie A: Inter vs. Atalanta, 2:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🌍 Concacaf Champions Cup: Nashville vs. Moca, 9:15 p.m. ➡️ FS2

Thursday, Feb. 29
🌍 Concacaf Champions Cup: New England Revolution vs. Independiente, 8:15 p.m. ➡️ FS2

⚽ The Forward Line

🇺🇸 USWNT go back to the drawing board

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A Concacaf W Gold Cup campaign that was once smooth sailing for the U.S. women's national team hit a major roadblock on Monday night when they lost 2-0 to Mexico. It was a statement-making win for La Tri and as Darian Jenkins notes, the result revealed just as much about Mexico's successes as it did about the USWNT's failures.

  • Jenkins: "You look at Mexico and the way they were executing [in] the match and playing the game, pressing relentlessly. They were suffocating the U.S., they weren't able to get enough on the ball and play out of their pressure. Mexico preyed on it and that's what got them the win. Also, the U.S.' tactics didn't help them at all, trying to play really narrow and inverted on the pitch. Mexico was utilizing the width and then they were high-pressing so the U.S. wasn't allowed any sort of time on the ball."

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore has treated the Gold Cup as a chance to experiment with the wider player pool, but she relied on a series of veterans against Mexico who were unable to rise to the occasion. Center backs Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper had a particularly poor outing, while substitute Alex Morgan was unable to add much to a dismal USWNT attack. Promising talents like Jaedyn Shaw and Olivia Moultire received little to no playing time, while relative newcomer Sam Coffey was unable to impress.

The USWNT will have almost a week to rethink their approach ahead of the quarterfinals this weekend, but Kilgore and company will be under pressure to find a winning strategy in response to Monday's loss. That will no doubt include reconsidering the tactical strategy -- especially as Kilgore's attempts to solve problems through substitutions did not pan out at all -- as well as personnel changes. Naomi Girma, the already undisputed first choice center back, will likely re-enter the lineup and could line up alongside Tierna Davidson.

The rest of the lineup, though, is full of question marks. The USWNT's era of experimentation now enters a new phase in which Kilgore is under pressure to not just explore the team's options, but actually find the solutions to some of the Americans' on-field problems. Many will argue that Monday's result is an indication that a youthful version of the team should be ushered in as soon as this weekend, even if the stakes are high. Whether Kilgore and company agree is the big question.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

🥇 WoSo Olympics watch

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The USWNT are not the only ones making headlines this week in women's soccer. Qualification for the Olympics will be near completion Wednesday, with all but the two representatives from Africa to be confirmed. Australia, sans Sam Kerr, and Japan punched their tickets to Paris with wins in Asia's qualification competition, and today's UEFA Women's Nations League third place match between the Netherlands and Germany will decide which one of the two heavyweights will play at the Olympics -- and which one will watch from home.

The Germans are coming off a competitive 2-1 loss to France on Friday in which they dominated in possession and shots, but failed to take advantage of their opportunities. Germany had 14 shots and put just two on target and though they benefited from an 82nd minute penalty scored by Giulia Gwinn, they also conceded one to ensure France would enter the halftime break with a 2-0 lead. Being more clinical in front of goal is a must for Germany, for whom missing out on the Olympics would mark another low point after they failed to get out of the group stage of last year's Women's World Cup.

That said, Germany's semifinal went much better than the Netherlands', who were completely outperformed by reigning World Cup winners Spain in a 3-0 defeat. The Dutch had 42% of the ball and attempted nearly 500 passes but did little with the opportunity, posting just seven shots on target while conceding 22 shots to the Spaniards. It was a stark contrast from the teams' quarterfinal matchup at the World Cup, when the Netherlands withstood Spain's constant attacks but lost 2-1 in extra time.

The Olympics field is already short of some top-tier talents after Great Britain and Sweden missed out on qualification, in large part due to the nature of the tournament fielding just 12 teams while the World Cup hosts 32. The smaller field could make it easier for those who are participating, like the USWNT, to rise to the top, but considering the level of talent the qualified teams bring, it is poised to be a competitive tournament regardless.

🔗  Top Stories

🇺🇸 USWNT panic meter: From the center back situation to the team's ability to respond to adversity and an unresolved midfield, here's how much you should panic about the USWNT's loss to Mexico.

🤝 Davies to Real Madrid: Alphonso Davies has reportedly reached a verbal agreement with Real Madrid, and could leave Bayern Munich either this summer or in 2025 when his contract expires.

🔜 Adams nears comeback: USMNT midfielder Tyler Adams is close to making his on-field return after dealing with a hamstring injury for nearly a year, which could be good news for the national team ahead of the Copa America -- and potentially their upcoming friendly against Brazil.

🇪🇸 Bonmati demands change: Women's World Cup winner Aitana Bonmati said the triumph was "for nothing" since the perception of women's soccer has not changed enough in Spain.

🏆 FA Cup latest: Erling Haaland made FA Cup history Tuesday in Manchester City's win over Luton, while Chelsea are stuck with an expensive -- but perhaps ineffective -- squad ahead of their FA Cup tie with Leeds.

🇮🇹 Dispatches from Italy: Here's a look at the Serie A's top four race, an assessment of Daniele De Rossi's strong start as Roma's interim manager and the latest on the stadium situation in Milan as both AC Milan and Inter could leave the San Siro.

👕 NWSL kit drop: The kits for all 14 NWSL clubs were revealed yesterday, with Racing Louisville and the San Diego Wave debuting fun new looks and expansion side Bay FC failing to impress.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Bellingham vs. Saka: Strong seasons for England midfielders Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka force the question: Which one of them is the bigger star?

🗣️ Moning Footy interviews: Charlotte FC coach Dean Smith argues MLS atmospheres can give the Premier League a run for their money, while Arsenal's Kim Little talks about playing in front of a sold-out crowd at the Emirates.

📺 Jermaine Jones on Kickin' It: Retired USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones talks his choice to represent the U.S., feeling underappreciated by the American soccer community, his coaching career so far and the time he offered to buy his New England Revolution teammates breakfast.

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bets

  • UEFA Women's Nations League: Spain vs. France, Wednesday, 1 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Spain to win 1-0 (+600)
    -- The final could be a closely contested matchup but after Spain decisively beat the Netherlands 3-0 in Friday's semifinal, they are the team to beat. It helps that the reigning Women's World Cup winners have more than enough firepower in attack to get the job done -- Aitana Bonmati was among the goalscorers on Friday, while young forward Salma Paralluelo also put in a strong showing.
  • FA Cup: Chelsea vs. Leeds United, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
  • 💰 THE PICK: Cole Palmer to score (+150) -- Chelsea have the chance to rebound from their disappointing loss in the EFL Cup final by facing Leeds in the FA Cup, a match in which they are very much favored. With 12 goals in 29 games, Cole Palmer is poised to continue a strong start to life in London with another impactful performance today.

📺 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 (Tuesdays): CBS Sports Golazo Network's unfiltered interview show releases 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+.