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Lion Links: 11/26/21

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Orlando City SC celebrates Thanksgiving, USWNT takes on Australia tonight, Europa League action continues, and more.

Iceland v Japan -International Friendly Women Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Hopefully you all had a great Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and food. I have enough leftovers to last the next few days, which should help save some money as I finish up my holiday shopping. Now, let’s get to today’s links from around the soccer world!

Orlando City SC Celebrates Thanksgiving

Orlando City players Daryl Dike, Tesho Akindele, Silvester van der Water, Joey DeZart, Derek Dodson, and Raul Aguilera all came together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. It’s always nice to see the Lions link up off the field and I love the dad energy radiating off of Akindele with his kid and some of Orlando’s youngsters.

The Orlando City Foundation also held its annual turkey giveaway at Exploria Stadium to provide the local community with turkeys and groceries for the holiday.

Portland Timbers Advance on Thanksgiving

In the first MLS game ever played on Thanksgiving, the Portland Timbers went on the road and beat the Colorado Rapids 1-0 to book their ticket to the Western Conference final. Portland defender Larrys Mabiala found the back of the net in the 90th minute, following a corner kick, to eliminate the Rapids from the playoffs. However, the win came with some costs for the Timbers as Sebastian Blanco left the game due to an injury in the first half and Dairon Asprilla was shown a red card in stoppage time. The Timbers will take on the winner of Sunday’s game between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake. Sunday’s action will also include an Eastern Conference showdown between the Philadelphia Union and Nashville SC, while the New England Revolution’s playoff campaign won’t begin until Tuesday against New York City FC.

USWNT Plays Against Australia Tonight

In the first of two friendlies, the United States Women’s National Team will take on Australia late tonight at 11 p.m. in Sydney. The two sides met twice earlier this year in the Tokyo Olympics, playing to a scoreless draw in the group stage before the USWNT beat Australia 4-3 to claim the bronze medal. The USWNT’s roster for this pair of friendlies in Australia includes just 10 players from that Olympic squad as Vlatko Andonovski opted for a younger team. While no Orlando Pride players will be in action for the USWNT, midfielder Emily van Egmond should play for the Matildas. Van Egmond and other notable players, such as Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord, should test a USWNT defense that didn’t concede any goals in friendlies against Paraguay and South Korea since the Olympics. The two will play again at 4 a.m. on Tuesday in the final game of 2021 for the USWNT.

Ralf Rangnick Reportedly Set Join Manchester United

Manchester United will reportedly name Lokomotiv Moscow Head of Soccer and Development Ralf Rangnick as its interim manager for the next six months while the club continues its search for a permanent manager. The 63-year-old has decades of experience managing German clubs such as RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim, and Hannover. Rangnick will also reportedly be a consultant for United for two years following the six-month contract at the helm. Michael Carrick will still be at the helm for United’s English Premier League clash with Chelsea on Sunday.

Europa League Action Heats Up

West Ham traveled to Austria and clinched its spot in the Europa League’s round of 16 after a 2-0 win against Rapid Vienna. Fellow EPL club Leicester City also came up with a win after a 3-1 result against Legia Warsaw. Leicester now sits atop its group ahead of its match with Napoli, which lost 2-1 to Spartak Moscow FC. There were a number of Americans in action as Timothy Chandler had an assist for Eintracht Frankfurt in a 2-2 draw with Sam Vines and Royal Antwerp. Deandre Yedlin and Galatasaray won 4-2 to eliminate Konrad de la Fuente and Marseille. Cameron Carter-Vickers’ Celtic lost 3-2 to Bayer Leverkusen and will drop down to the Europa Conference League’s preliminary stage.

In the Europa Conference League, Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 to Slovenian club NS Mura. After a red card reduced Tottenham to 10 men in the first half, Harry Kane scored an equalizer but Mura found a winner in stoppage time. Meanwhile, AS Roma cruised to an important 4-0 win against FC Zorya Luhansk as Tammy Abraham completed his brace in style.

Free Kicks
  • Pride midfielder Gunnhildur “Gunny” Jonsdottir started in Iceland’s impressive 2-0 win over Japan in a friendly.
  • MLSsoccer.com‘s Sam Jones had a lighthearted take on what each MLS club would bring to Thanksgiving. It was determined that Orlando City would bring a Publix sub, but make sure to check out the full article as there are some friendly jabs at Orlando’s rivals and other MLS teams.
  • The United States Men’s National Team’s World Cup qualifying match against Canada on Jan. 30 will be played in Hamilton, Ontario.
  • Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest, and Weston McKennie are just a few of the Americans to keep an eye out for during this weekend’s action across Europe.
  • The temporary rule that allows teams to use five substitutions in a match is expected to become permanent in the International Football Association Board’s annual meeting in March.

That’s going to be all for today. I wish you the best of luck during your Black Friday shopping, but don’t forget about your favorite local shops and during this weekend. Have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend!