You’ll Never Forget Your First
Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar made his long-awaited debut for the Lions on Friday night against Atlanta United, tallying one save in his first MLS match. Stajduhar became the fourth Homegrown to appear for the Lions this season, a member of the City roster for 2,090 days before making his debut in between the sticks.
Facing The Herons
The Lions will look for their second victory of the season over The Herons on Wednesday night, defeating the side earlier in the year in a 2-1 come-from-behind victory at DRV Pink Stadium. Nani tallied both a goal and an assist in the match, serving up the cross for Chris Mueller to level the two sides before scoring the eventual game-winner to seal all three points for the visitors.
The Tax Man
Defender Kyle Smith made his presence felt on both ends of the pitch on Friday night, scoring his first goal as a Lion to level the two sides ahead of the halftime break. Smith leads all defenders this season in goal contributions, now with a finish and two assists to his credit this year. El Soldado also holds the team-high in tackles won with 32, tied atop MLS with New York Red Bulls defender Kyle Duncan.
The Lions’ newest signing is a familiar face around The City Beautiful, with goalkeeper Adam Grinwis inking a deal with the side for the remainder of the 2021 MLS season to mark his second stint with the Club. Grinwis, 29, returns after two seasons with the Club from 2018-19, highlighted by the Lions’ 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory over expansion rivals New York City FC, in which Grinwis made the game-winning save from the penalty spot, a denial of NYCFC’s Maxime Chanot that sent City into the last four of the competition for the first time in its history.
Club & Country
Lions’ forward Daryl Dike and the USMNT lifted the hardware on Sunday night, defeating Mexico in the Concacaf Gold Cup Final thanks to a late extra-time finish from defender Miles Robinson. Dike finished the tournament with five appearances for the United States, tallying four starts and two finishes in that span.
Dike’s City teammate forward Tesho Akindele also appeared for his home nation of Canada in the tournament, starting the side’s Semifinal fixture against Mexico. Akindele logged 70 minutes of play on the night before returning to Orlando following the loss, proceeding to come off the bench the next evening in the Lions’ matchup against Atlanta United FC.
Nani found the back of the net for the eighth time this season on Friday night against Atlanta, deciding a fixture for the Lions for a team-high third time this year. The Lions’ captain also tallied the assist on Kyle Smith’s 43rd-minute finish, lofting in the corner that eventually found the head of the defender. With the assist, Nani took possession of that record in Club history to pass teammate Chris Mueller (22) and former Club captain Káka (22) with his 23rd as a Lion.
Making an Impact
Forward Silvester van der Water made an immediate impact for the Lions’ in their come-from-behind victory over The Five Stripes on Saturday, netting the late equalizer in the 80th minute just six minutes after coming into the match. Van der Water would then go on to serve up the game-winner for the Lions, lofting a ball into the box and finding the head of Nani to seal the victory. The Dutch winger now has two goals and three assists to his credit since joining the Club ahead of the 2021 campaign.
- 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.
- Nani’s next appearance will be his 70th in all competitions for the Club.
- 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.