The First for Profe
Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja earned his first win at the helm for the Lions on Wednesday against Inter Miami CF in the Club’s long-awaited return to play after over four months. The win marked the first in league play for the 2016 MLS Coach of the Year since October 6, 2018, a 2-0 victory for his FC Dallas side over his current club at Toyota Stadium.
The Running of the Wall
The last time the Lions took on NYCFC came just over one year ago on July 10, 2019 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals. Arguably one of the most memorable matches in Club history, City defeated its 2015 expansion rivals in a penalty-kick shootout to advance to the Semifinals of the competition for the first time. That match included the famous Running of the Wall, as well as a game-winning save from former City goalkeeper Adam Grinwis on Maxime Chanot’s penalty attempt to seal the victory for the Lions.
Let’s Break the Deadlock
Since the start of 2019, each of City’s MLS matches against the Pigeons has resulted in a draw, including a 2-2 result on the opening day of the 2019 MLS regular season and a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium on April 27. In the former, the Lions overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit with goals from forwards Chris Mueller and Tesho Akindele to earn a result at then-named Orlando City Stadium. Over a month later, Nani scored for the Lions to earn a result for his side on the road. All-time, the two clubs have played to an even split 5-5-4 record since joining MLS in 2015.
A Milestone for Cash
With his finish on Wednesday against Inter Miami, Chris Mueller scored his 10th goal in MLS play and his second in as many matches for the Lions. Mueller leads the Lions with two goals, seven shots and four on frame throughout 2020 thus far, having appeared in each of the Lions’ three contests this year.
El Capitán Returns
Luis Nani made his 2020 MLS debut on Wednesday night after serving a two-game suspension to start the Lions’ season. Nani wasted no time getting going, scoring the game-winner and assisting on Mueller’s 70th-minute finish in the match. The deciding goal served as his fifth game-winner since joining the Club ahead of the 2019 season, now with 13 goals and 11 assists to his credit in 31 matches played for the Lions.
An Extension for Tesho
The Lions announced this week that forward Tesho Akindele has signed a contract extension, agreeing to terms on a deal with options through the 2023 Major League Soccer season. After joining City ahead of the 2019 campaign, Akindele had a career year, scoring a personal best 10 goals while adding two assists in 28 matches of play. Akindele has appeared in each of the Lions’ three matches thus far in 2020.
What Matters Most
Throughout the MLS is Back Tournament, Major League Soccer has announced that club captains will wear a black armband with a graphic in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. Orlando City captain Nani will wear a Club-designed armband that pays tribute to the historic black neighborhood of Parramore where Exploria Stadium is located. The armband features the different streets and landmarks of Parramore.
- Chris Mueller is one appearance away from 65 for City in MLS play.
- João Moutinho is one appearance away from 20 for the Lions.
- Tesho Akindele is one start away from 25 for City.