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By The Numbers | The Lions Fight The Fire

5 – Benji Bangers

Homegrown forward Benji Michel has enjoyed a productive rookie season in 2019. Michel scored his first professional goal against New England in the U.S. Open Cup on June 19; since scoring that goal, Michel is tied with Tesho Akindele for the team lead in goals in all competitions with five. What’s more, all five of Michel’s goals have either tied or won a game for Orlando. His most recent bit of heroism came on Sunday in Cincinnati, when he knocked home City’s second stoppage-time goal of 2019 (and the first to change a result).


10/10 – Nani Double Digits

Nani provided the secondary assist on Michel’s stoppage-time equalizer, helping him to rewrite yet another piece of the Orlando City record books. Nani is the first City player to notch at least 10 goals and 10 assists in a single season. Nani’s 22 goal contributions are also a team record, and he’s paced to become the first Lion to lead the side in goals and assists in the same season.


75 – New goals conceded record

Orlando City’s defense is almost certain to set a new club record for fewest goals conceded in a single season, as the team sits at 47 goals shipped with one match to play (the previous record of 56 was set in 2015). But they’ve also wiped out a bit of infamy in the process—with Michel’s goal on Sunday, FC Cincinnati has overtaken the 2018 Orlando team for most goals conceded in an MLS season, at 75. Orlando’s current 27-goal improvement from last year is just four shy of the MLS record.


12 – Gaitan helpers

Nani has been a top-tier player this season, but Orlando aren’t the only team taking the field on Sunday with a dynamic playmaker—the Chicago Fire have one of their own in Nico Gaitan. The Argentine, signed from China with TAM in mid-March, has contributed 12 assists in 26 games for the Fire, just two off the Chicago club record held jointly by Jerzy Podbronzy (1998) and Peter Nowak (2000). Gaitan and Nani also spent time together in the Portuguese top flight, while Gaitan was with Benfica and Nani was at Sporting CP during the 2014/15 season.
 

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