Storylines | City vs. Toronto FC
The first for Mauro
Mauricio Pereyra’s first goal of the 2021 campaign was the winner of the game for the Lions last Saturday at Audi Field, his fourth in all competitions in purple and the second to decide a game for the club. In total, Pereyra has contributed 16 finishes since joining the Club with the Lions holding a 10-1-6 in the regular season since the start of the 2020 season with their No.10 in the starting lineup as opposed to a 3- 3-5 record when it’s not.
Continue the sequence
With Saturday night’s win over DC United, the Lions set a new Club record for consecutive results to start an MLS campaign, now sitting five games unbeaten in 2021, beating the previous mark of four set in 2016. City remains one of three teams in the league have yet to lose a result this season with Nashville SC and the Seattle Sounders.
Share a house
Saturday’s game will feature two teams making their home at Exploria Stadium to start the 2021 MLS regular season, with Toronto FC using the venue for their home games due to local guidelines in Canada. Neither team lost at the Lions downtown stadium in the calendar year, with City currently holding a 1-0-2 record in The City Beautiful this season, while Toronto won in both a win and a draw at Exploria in two matches.
The Front Man
Forward Tesho Akindele recorded his second goal contribution of the campaign on Saturday night, earning his first assist of the year when Mauricio Pereyra arrived in the seventh minute. Akindele was involved in both winners of the game for the Lions this year, with his goal against FC Cincinnati just 31 seconds into the game, serving as the final decider for the May 1 game at Exploria Stadium.
A defensive fortress
The Lions defense put in another impressive performance on Saturday night in DC, with Pedro Gallese having to record just one save to earn his third clean sheet of the year to tie his 2020 regular season total. Antonio Carlos has won MLS Team of the Week honors, his first since joining the league, totaling 13 clearances, three interceptions and two blocks. The 13 clearances have been the most scored by an Orlando City player in any game so far this season. At right-back, Kyle Smith led the team with seven tackles, 12 ball recoveries, 12 duels won (of a total of 18 played), 79 touches and two successful crosses.
Toronto are the third Eastern Conference team that the Lions have not faced throughout the MLS 2020 campaign, with FC Cincinnati and DC United making up the other two. City’s two wins this season have come against these two teams, with a +4 goal differential in two competitions. The last time the Lions faced the Reds, they drew 1-1 at BMO Field with Benji Michel counting towards the end of City’s game.
- Nani’s next goal will put him on a par with Kaká for second place in club history in all competitions (25).
- Pedro Gallese’s next clean sheet will be his 8th, which would tie him to Brian Rowe for second place in club history.
- Chris Mueller’s next goal will be his 20th for Orlando City in all competitions and his 19th in the MLS regular season.
- Tesho Akindele is two goals from 40 in the MLS regular season. He scored 14 goals for Orlando City and 24 for FC Dallas.
- Kyle Smith’s next appearance will be his 45th for Orlando City in the regular season. It will be his 30th start if he starts the match.