A Club First
Thursday’s match will serve as the Club’s first action in international competition, as the Lions serve as one of four Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs taking part in the 2021 Leagues Cup. City earned its place in this week’s Quarterfinal by finishing the 2020 MLS regular season with an average of 1.78 points per game, setting records on both sides of the ball with an average of 1.74 goals scored per match, while conceding just 1.09. The Lions join Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City and New York City FC in this year’s competition.
Nani continued his form as of late on Sunday in Cincinnati, finding the back of the net to extend his team lead to nine goals this season. The match served as the third-consecutive for the Lions’ captain with a goal contribution, now with a goal or an assist in five of the side’s last six matches. With the performance, Nani earned Team of the Week Bench honors, the third week in a row that he has earned an MLS accolade.
Mason Stajduhar was the hero for the Lions on Saturday in Cincinnati, coming off his line to deny a breakaway effort from the Orange & Blue’s Isaac Atanga in the fourth minute of stoppage time to preserve the result for City. Stajduhar has started the last three matches for the Club, having to make just a pair of saves in that stretch as the Lions sit currently at three-consecutive matches unbeaten.
Playing for Hardware
City has set new Club-records in each of its previous two showings in ancillary competitions, reaching the last four of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in its history in the 2019 campaign, serving as the furthest the side had ever reached in a cup competition in the MLS era. The following year, the Lions broke that very record once more, making a run to the final of the MLS is Back Tournament upon return to action following the league’s suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 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 47.
- Nani’s next goal will be his 10th for the 2021 season, which would make him the second player in Club history along with former forward Cyle 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.