It’s simple for the Lions, win and they will punch their ticket to the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday. City is currently on the outside looking in, sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 45 points. The Lions’ Decision Day opponent, the Columbus Crew, is right above them in seventh with 46 points. A win will shoot City past the Crew and into the playoffs. The berth would serve as the Club’s third-consecutive appearance in the postseason, all of which have come under Head Coach Oscar Pareja.
Last Time Against the Crew
City last took on Columbus on Saturday, April 16, traveling to Lower.com Field and coming away with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Crew. Defender Rodrigo Schlegel scored his first MLS goal in the match, while Ercan Kara added the insurance to secure the win on the road for the Lions.
In Downtown Orlando
The Lions will look to continue a four-game win streak against Sunday’s opposition at Exploria Stadium, dating back to the 2018 season. City capped off its home campaign that year with a 2-1 victory over the Crew and followed that up with a 1-0 shutout win the year before thanks to a late game-winner from Benji Michel’s first MLS goal. The Lions would then take a 2-1 victory to clinch a home playoff match in 2020 behind yet another Michel game-winner. The Crew’s most recent visit to The City Beautiful resulted in a 3-2 victory for the Lions in September of last year, thanks to a deciding finish from Júnior Urso.
Forward Facundo Torres set the Club-record for single-season goal contributions at 24 after picking up an assist in the team’s last match against Inter Miami CF on Wednesday. Torres has a team-high 12 assists on the year and is tied for the team high in goals with 12 across all competitions. The single-season record was previously set by former Lions captain Nani, who earned 23 goal contributions with 12 goals and 11 assists during the 2019 season.
Defender Rodrigo Schlegel earned his 50th start as a Lion in the match against Miami, with the start also serving as his 70th appearance with the Club. Schlegel joined the side back in 2020 and has started in 27 games this season, the most starts he has had in a single season as a Lion. He was also able to find the back of the net for the first time, scoring twice this season, with one coming in league play on April 16 against Sunday’s opponent the Columbus Crew and the other in the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals against Nashville SC.
- Forward Ercan Kara is one start away from his 25th in purple.
- Júnior Urso is two appearances away from 100 donning the City kit.
- Midfielder Mauricio Pereyra is four appearances away from 100 as a Lion.
- Benji Michel is one goal away from his 20th for Orlando.