The Rookie Sensation
Daryl Dike found the back of the net for the sixth time this year on Wednesday against Atlanta, his second finish in as many matches for the Lions, earning him a spot on the MLS Team of the Week for Week 21. The rookie out of the University of Virginia trails only Chris Mueller on the squad in goals this season, with four assists to his credit as well, including one this past Wednesday on the Lions’ third goal of the evening.
Major League Soccer announced this past week the nominees for its 2020 End of Year Awards, seeing 11 Lions nominated across multiple categories. Highlighted amongst those include Head Coach Oscar Pareja, who has been nominated for Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year, while Nani and Mauricio Pereyra have earned nominations for the 2020 Landon Donovan MLS MVP. Daryl Dike and Andrés Perea have been nominated for the inaugural AT&T Young Player of the Year Award, while forward Tesho Akindele stands as the Club nominee for the MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and defenders Robin Jansson and Ruan have been nominated for player of the year at their respective positions, while Antonio Carlos and Júnior Urso have each been nominated for Newcomer of the Year.
Cashing In - Banger Edition
Chris Mueller extended his team lead in goals for the Lions with his ninth finish of the season on Wednesday night, a curling free kick into the left side of the net from nearly 30 yards out. Mueller leads City in total goal contributions this season with 15, seven of those serving as game-winners for the Club throughout the 2020 campaign.
The last time the Lions faced the Impact came at the Round of 16 at the MLS is Back Tournament, a match that saw City earn a 1-0 shutout victory in its run to the final of the competition. Tesho Akindele scored the eventual game-winner for the Lions in that match, while goalkeeper Pedro Gallese registered his second shutout for the Club across all competitions.
Making Their Debut
City’s two latest signings took the field on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium in forwards Matheus Aiás and Alexander Alvarado, serving as the home debut for Aiás and the Club debut for Alvarado. Aiás found the back of the net late in the match to cap off the scoring on the evening, taking a deflection off a free kick from Sebastián Méndez for the finish.
Back Like He Never Left
Lions’ forward Tesho Akindele scored his third goal of the season on Wednesday night, after hitting a pass from Daryl Dike first time into the back of the net. The match served as the first start for Akindele since Sept. 27 match against his former Club, FC Dallas. Akindele now has found the back of the net 13 times in regular-season play for the Lions since he was acquired by the Club ahead of the 2019 season.
Moving Up the Ranks
With the win on Wednesday night, Lions’ Head Coach Oscar Pareja moved up the MLS All-Time Coaching Wins list, now tied with longtime New England Revolution boss Steve Nicol at ninth on the list with 112 career victories. Pareja’s next win will move him into a tie for eighth on the list with former D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen at 113, with Pareja potentially reaching that mark in 257 games, 75 fewer than Olsen’s 334.