Kickoff Pereyra
What you need to know

USMNT meet England at the World Cup

Black Friday brings about Group B’s marquee game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as the US men’s national team will face England in a charged, history-filled affair. You can watch at 2 pm ET on FOX and Telemundo.

Belgium spoil Canada’s World Cup return

A missed penalty and a first-half concession spoiled a statistically dominant performance by the Canadian men's national team, as _Les Rouges_ fell 1-0 to Belgium in their Group F opener on Wednesday – the country's first World Cup appearance in 36 years. Canada were all over Belgium throughout the first half, but allowed a 44th-minute goal from Michy Batshuayi and couldn’t find an equalizer the rest of the way.

Orlando City open DP spot with new Pereyra deal

Orlando City SC have re-signed Mauricio Pereyra through the 2024 MLS season, the club announced Wednesday. The Uruguayan midfielder was out of contract. The move was completed using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), opening a Designated Player spot for the Lions to use this offseason. Their remaining DPs are striker Ercan Kara and winger Facundo Torres, who is at the World Cup with Uruguay. Since signing with Orlando late in 2019, Pereyra has four goals and 33 assists in 83 matches. He’s helped them qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for three years running (2020-22).

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Orlando's big move (of several) may pay off

A short Small-Sided for you today while everyone tries to drag themselves out of a food coma or even something a little stronger than that.

Orlando’s roster flexibility remains one of the best subplots of the offseason

The Lions made a great move here. It would have been a tough blow to lose Mauricio Pereyra’s creativity in the middle of the field and an even tougher challenge to replace it. Now they get to hold onto a player who’s averaged an assist almost every two games since arriving to MLS, and they’ll be getting that kind of production from a TAM player. The list of TAM guys throughout the league with Pereyra’s chance-creation ability is very, very short.

Now Orlando have an open DP spot and a chance to either add a DP-caliber winger to join DPs Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara up top, or they could get even another creative force in midfield. They obviously have a lot of freedom here and getting this move right could reignite an Orlando attack that bludgeoned you to death with dull instruments if it got the chance this past season, far more than it carved you up.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to find out if forward Benji Michel, starting left back Joao Moutinho and starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese will return. Alexandre Pato, Junior Urso and Tesho Akindele are all gone. And it’s looking like we’re going to see a very different Orlando team in 2023. It’s scary to be out in no-man’s land like that. But, for now, the move to keep Pereyra while holding onto a DP spot is reason to think they’ll come out of a busy offseason better for it.

D.C. United get a goalkeeper

And thank goodness. Last year … things looked really, really bleak.

Among goalkeepers who played more than 1,000 minutes in a season, D.C. United’s Rafael Romo's 2022 clocked in as the single-worst shot-stopping season since 2013. And the only reason it stops there is because the statistics only go back to 2013. Frankly, the eye test backed those numbers up.

The good news is D.C. went ahead and picked up former Minnesota United FC goalkeeper and free agent Tyler Miller. Miller lost the starting job in Minnesota last year after Dayne St. Clair came in and immediately put up one of the best goalkeeping stretches in the history of the league. It happens? Ok, maybe not often, but either way Miller deserved another chance at a starting gig somewhere. And few teams were more in need.

The USMNT should try to win

Not trying to be glib here. Just understanding that there are roughly 100 different writers and articles on the site that can explain the situation better than I do. So I’ll just say that Iran beat Wales 2-0 this morning, which means that no matter what the US will have to get a result against Iran in their final Group B game. They might as well go all out here and try to put on a show against England. 

Honestly, for all the casual soccer folks tuning in, they’re just going to want to see the US go full throttle more than they’ll want to see some kind of cagey, tepid event against big, bad England. People in America love the movie “Rocky” and Rocky doesn’t even win. He gets punched in the face. A lot. But he keeps coming back to get punched in the face like a true … person just crazy enough to get punched in the face. People love it. 

Just go full Rocky today and make everyone happy, USMNT. Maybe that kind of attitude could even lead to a win. This concludes the extent of my USMNT and World Cup knowledge.

Other Things

D.C. United sign free-agent goalkeeper Miller

D.C. United have signed free-agent goalkeeper Tyler Miller, the club announced Wednesday. Miller joins the Black-and-Red on a two-year contract through 2024 after spending the last three years with Minnesota United FC. The 6-foot-4 shot-stopper was a consistent starter in 2021, most recently backing up Dayne St. Clair during the 2022 campaign.

Charlotte FC transfer Alcívar to Independiente Del Valle

Charlotte FC have sold Ecuadorian midfielder Jordy Alcívar to Independiente Del Valle on a permanent transfer. The 23-year-old returns to his native country after one season in Major League Soccer with the 2022 expansion side. Charlotte didn't disclose the fee received for the deal, but did reveal they're entitled to a percentage of any future sale of the player.

Houston Dynamo FC sign free agent goalkeeper Tarbell

Houston Dynamo FC have signed free agent goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell to a two-year contract with a club option for an additional year, the club announced Wednesday. The 29-year-old, who will likely serve as a backup to starter Steve Clark, spent the last two years in a similar role behind Brad Stuver at Austin FC.

Chicago’s Shaqiri guides Switzerland's win over Cameroon

Xherdan Shaqiri’s Switzerland kicked off Group G play at the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 win over Cameroon on Thursday. The Chicago Fire Designated Player was once again a key figure for the European side as he recorded his first assist of the tournament.

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Good luck out there. It’s okay to be struggling today.