Starting Out Strong
A win on Saturday against New York City FC would match the Lions’ best start in Club history after going four fixtures unbeaten to start the 2016 MLS campaign with a 2-0-2 record. The Lions battled to draws against Real Salt Lake and the Chicago Fire before taking victories over Saturday’s opposition and the Portland Timbers to begin their second season in Major League Soccer just five years ago.
Creating a Combo
Chris Mueller and Nani combined for the second time in as many matches last Saturday, with the former earning the assist on a goal for the latter. Mueller found the Lions’ captain in the box at Sporting Kansas City two weeks ago before feeding him at the edge of the area on Saturday against FC Cincinnati. Nani leads the Club with his two finishes this year, while Mueller’s two assists are also good for a team-high.
The Fastest Ever
Tesho Akindele broke a Club record on Saturday, netting the fastest goal in City’s history just 31 seconds into the match in what served as his 100th start in MLS regular-season action. Akindele bested teammate Chris Mueller’s previous record of 63 seconds, scored on April 21, 2018 against the San Jose Earthquakes. The finish served as his first of the campaign and his 15th across all competitions since joining the Lions ahead of the 2019 MLS regular season. Akindele is now two finishes away from 40 in MLS regular-season action throughout his career.
Júnior Urso tallied the Lions’ third finish of the evening on Saturday against FC Cincinnati, his fifth across all competitions in purple. Since joining the Club over a year ago, Urso is one of two members of the side to have appeared in every single regular-season match for the Lions, alongside teammate Andrés Perea, both of which also featured in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs for the Club.
Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese did not have to register a save for the Lions en route to his second shutout through the Club’s three matches to start the year. Gallese has totaled five clean sheets in regular-season action as a Lion and sits just three saves away from 80 across all competitions in purple.
Against the Pigeons
Saturday will mark the first time the two sides will face off since City’s historic playoff victory over the Pigeons less than a year ago, when defender turned goalkeeper Rodrigo Schlegel denied a strike from Gudmundur Thórarinsson after having to step into net after goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was sent off. A game-winning conversion from Homegrown Benji Michel sealed the win for the Club in front of a home crowd at Exploria Stadium. In regular-season play, the Lions’ six victories over New York City FC serves as their most against any franchise in Major League Soccer, holding the slight advantage at 6-5-5 all-time against the Pigeons.