Just Two Weeks Ago
Sunday will serve as the second time in just over two weeks that the Lions will take on the Red Bulls, the last resulting in a 3-1 City victory at Exploria Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 3. Daryl Dike scored his fourth goal of the year in that match, while Júnior Urso notched his third and defender Antonio Carlos scored his first MLS goal to add the insurance in the 95th minute. Kyle Smith registered his first goal contribution in MLS on the night with the assist on Dike’s goal, while Chris Mueller, Mauricio Pereyra, Benji Michel and Nani all added assists as well.
Last Time at Red Bull Arena
In the Lions’ last visit to Harrison, N.J., City earned a 1-0 shutout victory behind a game-winning goal from former City and Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan in the 73rd minute. The clean sheet served as the first for goalkeeper Brian Rowe as a Lion, one of seven he would go on to record in the calendar year on the way to tying a Club-record for shutouts in a single-season previously set in the 2015 and 2017 seasons.
A Memorable Milestone
Goalkeeper Brian Rowe recorded his 100th MLS regular-season start in the Lions’ last match against NYCFC on Wednesday, registering a season-high seven saves for City on the night. Rowe passed teammate Pedro Gallese’s previous mark of six, also against NYCFC, which he tallied on July 14 in group play at the MLS is Back Tournament. Rowe has now totaled 34 starts since joining the Lions ahead of the 2019 campaign.
Team of the Week
The Lions saw two members of the side appear on Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week for Week 18 in goalkeeper Brian Rowe and defender Ruan. Rowe put in a seven-save shift on Wednesday to preserve the draw for the Lions, while Ruan registered the assist on Mueller’s 18th-minute finish in his return to the starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 27 at FC Dallas.
Another New Face
Midfielder Jordan Bender made his MLS debut on Wednesday night against the Pigeons, entering the game in second half stoppage time for Daryl Dike. Bender served as one of two Homegrowns to come off the bench for the Lions in the match, with David Loera coming into the game for his second MLS appearance in the 76th minute. With the appearance, Bender becomes the 24th different player to enter the pitch for Head Coach Oscar Pareja throughout the Lions’ current Club-record 11-game unbeaten run.
Forward Chris Mueller scored his eighth goal of the season for the Lions on Wednesday night, extending his team lead in goal contributions to 14 on the year. Mueller currently sits tied for third in MLS at that mark, trailing only Toronto midfielder Alejandro Pizuelo, Seattle forward Jordan Morris and Houston forward Darwin Quintero. Since being selected sixth-overall by the Lions at the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, Mueller has scored 15 goals while adding 17 assists in 78 career appearances for the Club.
Moving Up the Ranks
Lions’ Head Coach Oscar Pareja is one win away from moving up a spot in the MLS All-Time Coaching Wins list, currently sitting in 10th on the list at 111 career victories. With a win on Sunday, Pareja would tie long-time New England Revolution boss Steve Nicol (112) and move one away from tying former D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen, who sits at eighth with 113. The Lions’ currently sit tied for the third-most wins in the league this season with eight on their resume.