On Saturday against Columbus, Benji Michel scored his first career MLS goal, a finish that served as the game-winner for the Lions in their 1-0 victory over the Crew. With the goal, Michel became the first Homegrown player to score a goal in league play for the First Team in Club history. Earlier this season, Michel became the first Homegrown talent to score a goal for the First Team across all competitions when he scored his first professional goal against the New England Revolution in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. With Michel’s finish on Saturday, an Orlando product has now found the back of the net in two consecutive league matches, with Orlando native Santiago Patiño having scored in Philadelphia in the Lions’ previous MLS match. Patiño was selected third overall by the Lions in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft out of Florida International University.
Keep It Clean
The Lions recorded their fifth shutout of the season against Columbus on Saturday, with Brian Rowe earning the clean sheet. Rowe has been in goal for each of the Lions’ shutouts this season, now holding his highest clean sheet total since 2016 while a member of the LA Galaxy. With their five shutouts this season, the City defense is two shy of tying the Club record for clean sheets in a year, set in both 2015 and 2017.
Facing the Opposition
The Lions hold a 3-1-0 record against Portland throughout Club history, with a +3 goal differential in their four matches played. In 2018, City overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat the Timbers 3-2 at then-named Orlando City Stadium, scoring three goals in the final ten minutes of the match in the 80th, 82nd and 87th minutes respectively to take the victory. Chris Mueller scored his first professional goal in that match with his finish in the 80th minute.
Chasing the Cup
The Lions and Timbers make up half of the four remaining teams in pursuit of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy, both to appear in the Semifinal round next month. City will host Atlanta United FC at Exploria Stadium on August 6, while Portland will travel to face Minnesota United at Allianz Field the following day. Should the Timbers beat the Loons and the Lions take down Atlanta, City would host Portland in the U.S. Open Cup Final on either August 27 or 28.
On the Road Again
The Lions have earned results in their last two road contests, battling to a 2-2 draw in Philadelphia on July 6 and defeating the Columbus Crew at MAPFRE Stadium 2-0 on June 29. Over their last four road matches in league play, the Lions hold 2-1-1 record, with two shutouts in that span, boasting a +4 goal differential.
Contributing to the Attack
Two defenders earned an assist on Benji Michel’s game-winner against Columbus this past Saturday in Ruan and Lamine Sané. The assist served as Ruan’s third such mark of 2019, now tied with João Moutinho for the most assists by a defender for the Lions this season. Sané earned the secondary assist for his ball in behind to Ruan, his first since joining the Lions in 2018.