First of the Year
Defender Antonio Carlos accounted for the Lions’ lone finish against Inter Miami on Wednesday night, scoring his first goal of the year with the header off a corner kick from Nani. The finish served as the Brazilian center back’s second in his MLS career and the second goal by an Orlando City defender in as many weeks, with Kyle Smith getting his head on a corner from Nani as well last Friday against Atlanta United.
Nani extended his team lead in goal contributions this season on Wednesday night, tallying his sixth assist of the year to add to his team-high eight goals in 2021. The Lions’ captain now has tallied a goal and two assists in the Club’s last two matches, having his hand in over half of City’s 27 goals this season.
Hey Now, You’re an All-Star
On Wednesday it was announced that a pair of Lions would represent The City Beautiful at the 2021 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, with City captain Nani and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese selected to the roster. The selection marks the second for Nani since joining the Club ahead of the 2019 campaign, having competed in the 2019 MLS All-Star Game at Exploria Stadium, while Pedro Gallese makes his first appearance on the roster in his MLS career.
Last Time Around
The Lions last faced Saturday’s opposition on May 1 at Exploria Stadium, earning a 3-0 shutout victory in that contest. Tesho Akindele needed just 31 seconds to net the game-winner in that match, setting a new Club-record for the fastest goal in City history. Nani and Júnior Urso accounted for the other two finishes for the side as the Lions maintained their unbeaten record over the 2019 expansion side, entering the weekend with a 2-0-1 record through three previous matches.
Kyle Smith came up big for the Lions once more on Wednesday night, preserving the side’s one-goal lead at the time with a header off the line to keep Inter Miami scoreless in the 52nd minute. El Soldado remains as the only member of the side to start every match this season, leading the team with 1,478 minutes played.
- Head Coach Oscar Pareja is one win 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 45.
- Nani’s next goal will be his 30th in all competitions for Orlando City, making him the second player in club history to reach that mark (Cyle Larin).
- Nani is two goals away from 10 for the 2021 season, which would make him the second player in club history after Larin to record multiple double-digit goal seasons for the club in the MLS era.
- Tesho Akindele is two goals away from 20 in his Orlando City career.
- Akindele’s next assist will set a new career high of 5 in a single season.
- Pedro Gallese’s next clean sheet will be his 9th in all competitions, which would see him pass Brian Rowe for second in club history. Joe Bendik has the record with 13 clean sheets.
- Ruan’s next assist will be the 10th of his Orlando City career.