storylines7252021

Breaking the Deadlock

In the last three matchups between the Lions and Pigeons across all competitions, the two sides have finished regulation at a 1-1 deadlock on each occasion. Nani has been responsible for two of the Lions’ three finishes in that stretch, including on Nov. 21, 2020 in the first round of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. That fixture served as the only in the last three contests between the two where a winner was decided, with the Lions prevailing in a penalty-kick shootout thanks to a save from defender-turned-goalkeeper Rodrigo Schlegel and a deciding strike from forward Benji Michel. 

Home Grown

Benji Michel found the back of the net for the third time this season for the Lions on Thursday against the Union, slotting a ball from Mauricio Pereyra into the back of the net. Michel now has 15 finishes across all competitions for the Club through 60 such appearances, the most of any Homegrown to have signed with the First Team. 

Making Club History

With the start on Thursday night against Philadelphia, Chris Mueller made Club history, surpassing former Lions’ midfielder Cristian Higuita with his 109th appearance for City. Mueller also sits tied for the Club record in assists with current teammate Nani and former Lions’ captain Kaká, with 21 finishes to add. Through 14 appearances this season, Mueller has found the back of the net twice with four assists to his credit. 

Another for Perea

Andrés Perea scored his second goal as a Lion on Thursday, both of which have come in the Club’s last three matches with the latter serving as his first deciding finish with City to earn a spot on MLS Team of the Week. Since joining the Lions ahead of the 2020 MLS season, Perea has appeared in every single regular-season match for the Lions, as well as the Club’s two playoff fixtures a year ago. In addition to his two finishes, Perea has also tallied three assists for the Club. 

Captain Contributions

Luis Nani tallied his 22nd assist across all competitions as a Lion on Thursday night, tying Chris Mueller and former Lions’ captain Kaká. The contribution served as the captain’s 11th this season to lead the side, now having gone back-to-back matches with a tally after converting a penalty kick in Toronto a week ago to give the Lions a point on the road.

Club & Country

Following City’s match in the Bronx on Sunday, Lions’ forward Daryl Dike and the USMNT will take on Jamaica in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Quarterfinals. Dike appeared in all three group stage matches for the USMNT, starting the last two and finding the back of the net twice in that stretch while also forcing an own goal in the side’s 6-1 victory over Martinique. 

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.
  • Uri Rosell sits one appearance away from 100 in MLS.
  • 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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