The First for the Duck
Alexandre Pato found the back of the net for the first time in purple on Sunday afternoon, opening the scoring for the Lions against CF Montréal in the side’s season opener. In what served as his second start for the Club after missing a large chunk of 2021 due to injury, the Brazilian international was able to get on the end of a cross from Ruan to slot the ball into the back of the net.
On the Board
Forward Benji Michel notched his first finish of the year in the side’s season opener this past weekend, running onto a ball from Mauricio Pereyra for the first-time finish. Michel has now found the back of the net 17 times in purple, one goal shy of the all-time lead by an active member of the roster (Tesho Akindele, 18).
Mauricio Pereyra found himself involved in each of the Lions’ finishes in their 2-0 shutout victory this past Sunday, slotting in a ball behind the Montréal defense for Ruan that led to Pato’s 49th minute finish before setting up Benji Michel for the insurance 10 minutes later. Officially credited with the assist on the latter, Pereyra now sits tied with former Lions forward Chris Mueller for second in franchise history at 24 helpers for City and two shy of former Orlando captain Nani (26) for the Club-record in that same category.
Three in a Row
With the clean sheet on Sunday, the Lions have now opened an MLS campaign with a shutout each of the last three years, with goalkeeper Pedro Gallese occupying the sticks for all three. Tallying a pair of saves to keep Montréal scoreless on the afternoon, Gallese is now one shutout away from matching former Lions goalkeeper Joe Bendik for the Club-record in clean sheets through all competitions at 13.
Last Go Around
The Lions last took on the Fire on Aug. 21 of last year, a match that resulted in a 1-0 victory for the side at Exploria Stadium. Benji Michel scored the eventual game-winner in the 51st minute thanks to a ball from Tesho Akindele, with goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar recording his first professional clean sheet on the day, totaling five saves on the night to keep the visitors scoreless.
First in Purple
A trio of Lions recorded their Club debuts this past weekend with midfielder César Araújo and forward Facundo Torres making their first MLS starts on Sunday, while forward Ercan Kara made his Orlando City debut entering the match in the 69th minute for Benji Michel. Araújo logged a full 90 for the side, while Torres totaled 83 minutes of play before being subbed off for Rodrigo Schelgel late in the match.