Your Weekly Daryl Dike Storyline
Daryl Dike found the back of the net for the Lions yet again on Sunday, slotting home a beautifully threaded ball from Mauricio Pereyra for the eventual game-winner for the road side. The finish marked the second time the fifth-overall selection at the 2020 MLS SuperDraft has scored the deciding goal for City in the calendar year and the seventh time he’s put the ball into the back of the net. The Virginia-product has registered four assists to add to his seven finishes this season, putting his total goal contributions at 11 on the year behind only Chris Mueller.
The Lions’ No. 10 Mauricio Pereyra made his return to the lineup on Sunday evening, earning the start and wearing the armband in his first appearance since Oct. 3 against the New York Red Bulls. Pereyra made his presence felt in the match earning a spot on the MLS Team of the Week, as well as the assist on Daryl Dike’s first-half finish. The Uruguayan now sits tied for the team high in assists for the Lions with Chris Mueller, both with six in the calendar year.
Clean as a Whistle
City registered its fourth clean sheet of the year on Sunday against the Impact and its first in the form of a victory in regular-season action. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese earned the shutout for the Lions in the match, his third of the year, after registering five saves on the night to preserve the victory for the road side and earn himself a spot on the MLS Team of the Week Bench. This marked the second time the Lions have held the Impact scoreless on the year across all competitions, after doing the same in the Round of 16 at the MLS is Back Tournament.
Wednesday’s match will see the Lions square off with the side just above them in the table in Columbus Crew SC, who are currently sitting at third at 11-5-5 with 1.81 PPG. The Crew hold the total wins tiebreaker over the Lions as of now, with Wednesday’s match offering the opportunity for City to earn a six-point swing in the table and clinch a top-four finish to host its first playoff match in Club history.
Against the Crew
The Lions are currently riding a three-game unbeaten streak against Sunday’s opposition, including two shutout victories a year ago. City took a 2-0 win at MAPFRE Stadium on June 29, 2019, behind goals from Chris Mueller and Tesho Akindele and three saves from goalkeeper Brian Rowe to keep the clean sheet. The Lions would then turn around just two weeks later to earn a 1-0 victory over the visiting Crew at Exploria Stadium, with Benji Michel scoring his first professional goal in the 84th minute for the game-winner.
Defending the Fortress
City is just one of three teams with an unbeaten record at home this season, along with the Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas. Through nine matches, the Lions hold a 6-0-3 record in The City Beautiful, now with a +12 goal differential after defeating neighbors to the north Atlanta United 4-1 in their last home match. Eight different members of the side have found the back of the net at Exploria Stadium in the calendar year, with newcomer Matheus Aiás the latest to do so in second half stoppage time against the Five Stripes just a week ago.
History for Oscar
With the victory over Montreal on Sunday, Head Coach Oscar Pareja moved up the MLS coaching ranks once more, tying for eighth in MLS all-time coaching wins with former D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen at 113. Pareja reached that mark in 75 fewer matches at 259 compared to Olsen’s 334. The man at the helm for the Lions holds a career winning percentage of 0.560, putting him at sixth all-time in that category with a minimum of 100 games coached and ranks fourth amongst active coaches.