Captaining the Form
Lions’ captain Nani has found the back of the net three times this season, all of which have come in as many matches for the side, earning him three-consecutive spots on the MLS Team of the Week Bench. Currently with 23 finishes across all competitions for the Lions, Nani is two goals away from tying former Club captain Kaká for second in Club history in goals scored. The Portuguese international’s next finish will tie him with former Orlando City forward Dom Dwyer, who netted 24 goals in over three seasons as a Lion in all competitions.
The 100 Club
With an appearance on Sunday in the nation’s capital, Lions forward Chris Mueller will record his 100th appearance in an Orlando City uniform across all competitions. An alum of the University of Wisconsin, Mueller was drafted sixth-overall by the Lions at the 2018 MLS SuperDraft and has since tallied 38 goal contributions, 17 of which came a year ago to lead the side to its first ever appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Mueller will become the second player in Club history to reach such a mark, with former Lions midfielder Cristian Higuita being the only other to record 100 appearances in an Orlando City kit.
Against the Nation’s Capital
Prior to the Lions’ matchup against D.C. United on Sunday, the Orlando Pride will also face off against a side based in Washington D.C., taking on the Washington Spirit at Exploria Stadium in what will serve as the side’s 2021 NWSL regular-season opener. The Pride will kick off at 6 p.m. ET, wrapping up play right before the Lions are set to start against D.C.
This past Saturday against New York City FC marked the first time Head Coach Oscar Pareja utilized the same starting lineup in back-to-back matches, not making any changes from the side who started the match against FC Cincinnati the week prior. Pareja has not made more than two changes to his XI week to week this season, with nine members of the side each having started the Lions’ first four matches of the year.
A Potential Club Best
A result on Sunday would mark the first time the Lions would start a MLS campaign with five matches unbeaten, besting the previous mark of four set in 2016. That Orlando City side went 2-0-2 to start the year, with a pair of wins against NYCFC and the Portland Timbers to follow draws against Real Salt Lake and Chicago Fire FC before falling to Philadelphia Union in its fifth fixture of the Club’s second MLS season.
The No. 10
The Lions’ leading assist-man from a year ago in midfielder Mauricio Pereyra registered his first such mark of the season last Saturday against New York City FC, tallying the assist on Nani’s finish in the 52nd minute. Pereyra totaled eight assists a year ago to lead the side in that category, with 11 in total since joining the Lions midway through the 2019 season.