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Lion Links: 11/24/22

Mauricio Pereyra re-signs with Orlando City, Exploria Stadium will host a friendly, Japan beats Germany, and much more.

SOCCER: JUL 27 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal - New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving, Mane Landers! My family usually works during Thanksgiving, but after some job changes and retirements over this past year, we will be able to meet up for food and fun. I’m looking forward to it, even if I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving food. I’m coming around to most of it though, so put down the pitchfork. By the way, today marks the eighth anniversary of The Mane Land’s move from independent Wordpress site to SBNation, so that’s something we’re thankful for around these parts.

Before we work up an appetite, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Mauricio Pereyra Re-Signs With Orlando City

The Lions re-signed Uruguayan midfielder Mauricio Pereyra to a two-year contract that will keep the captain in Orlando through 2024. Because this is a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) contract, Pereyra will no longer occupy an important Designated Player slot, opening the door for the club to potentially bring in a new player this winter. Pereyra led the Lions with 11 assists this past season and it will be interesting to see how deep he will play in the midfield next season. The 32-year-old is a leader both on and off the field for Orlando, so it’s nice that he will be back for the next couple of years.

Exploria Stadium Will Host Friendly in January

On Jan. 17, Brazilian club Vasco da Gama and Argentine club River Plate will play at Exploria Stadium for a friendly. This won’t be the first time the two popular South American clubs have faced off in Orlando, as Vasco da Gama beat River Plate in the 2017 Florida Cup. River Plate has also played in Exploria Stadium before, playing a friendly against Orlando City in 2017 and another against Colombia’s Independiente Medellín in 2018. This match could also feature Junior Urso, who left Orlando City for personal reasons this off-season and was reportedly close to signing with Vasco da Gama.

“We’re excited to host these two internationally recognized clubs at Exploria Stadium as they prepare for their respective upcoming seasons,” said Orlando City President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon. “This is a wonderful opportunity to give our fans some early soccer at the start of the new year as we lead into our Orlando City, Orlando Pride and OCB seasons. We look forward to a great night and a great game.”

Analyzing England Ahead of USMNT Clash

The United States Men’s National Team will take on England tomorrow at 2 p.m. in an important World Cup group stage match. While the USMNT had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Wales, England ran rampant in a 6-2 win over Iran. That result showcased a lethal England attack that features players such as Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, and Jack Grealish. England’s back line can be exploited by counter attacks, but the Americans will have to find a way to beat Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. It’s a tall task for the USMNT, but this tournament has offered some surprises and a loss wouldn’t outright eliminate the Yanks. After tomorrow’s match, the USMNT will play Iran on Tuesday.

Japan Shocks Germany at the World Cup

A penalty kick from Ilkay Gündogan gave Germany the lead in the first half, but Japan mounted a comeback in the second half to win 2-1. Both of Japan’s scorers were substitutes, as Ritsu Doan equalized in the 75th minute and Takuma Asano beat Manuel Neuer from a tight angle for the winner in the 83rd. Doan and Asano both play in Germany at the club level. On Sunday, Japan will next face Costa Rica, which was put to the sword in a 7-0 loss to Spain. If Japan gets a result in that match, Germany would be eliminated if it loses to Spain later that day.

Despite a decent showing, Canada wound up empty handed after a 1-0 loss to Belgium. Thibaut Courtois saved a penalty kick from Alphonso Davies and Michy Batshuayi scored the game’s only goal late in the first half. Former Lion Cyle Larin had a chance to equalize after coming on in the second half, but his header was stopped by Courtois. Canada’s chances at getting out of the group stage are far from over though, as Croatia and Morocco battled to a scoreless draw.

Free Kicks

That’s going to be all from me today. Enjoy all of the sports, food, and family fun today as we give thanks.