A Historic Milestone
On Sunday, the Lions clinched their first playoff berth in Club history following a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena and a 1-0 shutout victory by Toronto FC over Atlanta United. Former Lion Richie Laryea earned the assist on the Toronto goal that punched the Lions’ ticket to the postseason, finding the head of Pablo Piatti for the game-winner.
Our Neighbors to the South
City holds a 2-1-0 record against its intrastate foes this season, with a pair of 2-1 victories in that stretch. The Lions first defeated Inter Miami on July 8 at the MLS is Back Tournament opener, with Nani scoring the game winner in the 97th minute, before taking another victory on Sept. 12 at Exploria Stadium with Mauricio Pereyra scoring the deciding goal in that one. Their lone loss to the 2020 expansion side came in their first visit to Inter Miami CF Stadium on Aug. 22, with Daryl Dike scoring his first professional goal in that match.
El Capitán - Derby Edition
City captain Nani leads the Lions with two goals against Inter Miami in the short matchup history between the two clubs, including the late game-winner in their first fixture on July 8. Nani scored his fifth goal of the year for City last Sunday against the New York Red Bulls, converting from the penalty spot to give the Lions the lead in that match. The captain trails only forward Chris Mueller in goal contributions this season, with 10 to his credit.
Back In the Fold
Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and midfielder Sebastián Méndez are expected to be available for the Lions on Saturday after time away with their respective national teams for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. Gallese played the entirety of Peru’s two fixtures against Paraguay and Brazil, while Méndez did not appear for Ecuador. Both will have completed their respective quarantines and be available for selection come Saturday.
The Lions continued their unbeaten run on Sunday at Red Bull Arena, putting it at a Club-record 12 matches, a league best this season. Throughout this stretch, 24 different players have entered the pitch for Head Coach Oscar Pareja with 21 earning a start. Sunday marked the first time throughout this stretch that Pareja utilized the same starting XI from the previous match since the Lions’ run at the MLS is Back Tournament.
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.