The Return for Profe
Sunday night in Frisco will mark the first time Head Coach Oscar Pareja makes his return to the club in which he spent a combined 16 years as a player and coach, namely at the helm from 2014-18. Pareja totaled 170 appearances for FC Dallas, formerly the Dallas Burn, from 1998-2005 before serving as an assistant coach at the club from 2005-11. After two seasons as the head coach at the Colorado Rapids, Pareja would return to Dallas where he would go on to compile a 78-49-43 record as a head coach, featuring a 2016 season that included a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title, the MLS Supporters’ Shield and MLS Coach of the Year honors.
Old Stomping Grounds
The weekend will also see Lions forward Tesho Akindele play in his first match at Toyota Stadium since he was traded from Dallas to Orlando on December 9, 2018. Akindele was selected sixth overall at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft by Pareja and his staff out of Colorado School of Mines and would go on to earn MLS Rookie of the Year honors that very campaign. In five seasons at FC Dallas, Akindele appeared in 142 matches, scoring 27 goals and adding eight assists across all competitions.
A Team of the Week Performance
City captain Nani continued his contributions on Wednesday night at Sporting Kansas City, namely earning the assist on Benji Michel’s eventual game-winner in the 38th minute of play. With the assist, Nani tied former Lion Yoshi Yotún for third in Club history with his 14th assist since joining the Club ahead of the 2019 season. After his performance, the captain also earned MLS Team of the Week honors, marking back-to-back weeks of league recognition after he was named to the Team of the Week Bench a week ago.
Last Go Around
The last time the Lions faced off against Sunday’s opposition came in a 2-0 shutout victory at Exploria Stadium on Aug. 3, 2019. Former Toro Tesho Akindele scored the first goal in the match before former Lion Carlos Ascues would add the insurance in second half stoppage time. The clean sheet served as one of seven on the year for goalkeeper Brian Rowe, tying a Club record previously set in the 2015 and 2017 seasons.
Ride the Wave
Wednesday’s win at Sporting Kansas City extended the Lions’ current unbeaten run to seven matches, breaking the previous Club record of six set in the early part of the 2018 season. City has won three-consecutive matches against Inter Miami, Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City, their record throughout the last seven matches sitting at 5-0-2 with 21 different players having taken the pitch for Pareja in this span.
Mr. “We Got a Dub”
The subject of the Club’s favorite GIF in forward Benji Michel has played a pivotal role for the Lions throughout their current seven-game unbeaten run, scoring in four out of the last five matches and registering a goal contribution in five out of the last six. Since signing a Homegrown contract ahead of the 2019 season, Michel has scored nine goals for the Lions in regular season action while registering two assists in 30 appearances.
- Nani (14) is one assist shy of taking sole possession of third in Club history to pass former Lion Yoshi Yotún.
- Daryl Dike is one goal shy of passing teammate Chris Mueller (3) for second in Club history in goals scored by a Lions’ MLS SuperDraft selection in their debut season.
- Chris Mueller is one appearance away from 75 for the Lions and two starts away from 50 in his young MLS career.
- Tesho Akindele is one appearance away from 40 for the Lions.