storylines7292021

Facing the Five Stripes

The Lions will look for their sixth-consecutive result against the Five Stripes on Friday night at Exploria Stadium, holding a 2-0-3 record in the last five fixtures dating back to Aug. 2020. The two sides played to a scoreless draw in their respective season openers, with the Lions holding a +3 goal-differential in the Five Stripes’ last three visits to downtown Orlando. 

El Pulpo

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese tallied a season-high nine saves on Sunday in New York City, his most in a single match since joining the Lions ahead of the 2020 MLS season. Gallese has now tallied 89 saves in regular-season action for City, sitting at third in Club history behind former Lions Brian Rowe (125) and Joe Bendik (316).

Mauro’s Return

The Lions’ No. 10 Mauricio Pereyra will be available for selection on Friday night after missing Sunday’s fixture due to suspension for yellow-card accumulation. Pereyra enters the match after a multi-assist performance in his last outing against the Union, with the helper on Benji Michel’s 10th-minute finish and the secondary on Andrés Perea’s eventual game-winner to tally the second multi-assist performance by a Lion on the year, the first of which came from Nani against San Jose on June 22. 

Minutes for Mas

City’s latest acquisition, defender Emmanuel Mas, made his Club debut on Sunday in the Big Apple, starting the match at left back. Mas logged 57 minutes before being subbed out for João Moutinho after joining the Lions just two weeks ago as a free agent. The 32-year-old has won numerous trophies across his club career, including the 2013/2013 Copa Libertadores during his time with Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro and two Argentinian Championships with Boca Juniors in 2018 and 2020.

Into the Mix

Midfielder David Loera made his 2021 debut on Sunday night, entering the match in the 69th minute for Uri Rosell. Loera has tallied three appearances since signing ahead of the 2020 MLS regular season, becoming the third Homegrown to appear for the Lions this year along with forward Benji Michel and defender Michael Halliday. 

Club & Country

Two Lions’ have advanced to the Semifinals of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup with forward Daryl Dike and the USMNT defeating Jamaica 1-0 this past Sunday and Tesho Akindele and Canada advancing after a 2-0 win over Costa Rica. Dike recorded the start for the U.S. for the third-consecutive match, logging 63 minutes on the night, while Akindele was subbed on in the 70th minute for Canada. Dike and the U.S. are slated to face Qatar in the Semifinals on Thursday, with Akindele and Canada following right after against Mexico. 

Milestone Tracker

  • The next assist for Nani or Chris Mueller would give either the Club record for assists in all competitions (23), passing Kaká.
  • Pedro Gallese’s next clean sheet will be his ninth in all competitions, which would see him pass Brian Rowe for second in club history. Joe Bendik has the record with 13 clean sheets.
  • Oscar Pareja is two wins away from tying Jason Kreis for the all-time coaching wins record in Club history (22, all competitions). Kreis managed 65 total matches in his Orlando City tenure, while Pareja has managed just 43.

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