Storylines: City vs. Nashville SC
A Record Year
Chris Mueller scored his sixth goal of the season on Saturday against Atlanta, setting a new single-season personal best in finishes in MLS regular season play and putting him at second in the league trailing only LAFC forward Diego Rossi. The 2018 MLS SuperDraft pick also added his third assist of the year in the match, moving him into a tie for second in Club history with former Lion Yoshi YotÃºn with the 14th assist of his City tenure. Since being selected sixth-overall by the Lions in 2018, Mueller has totaled 28 goal contributions with 14 finishes and 14 assists to his credit.
Bear Witness To
JÃºnior Urso, otherwise known as "The Bear", had a standout performance on Saturday, netting the first finish of his Orlando City career while adding his second assist of the regular season. Urso got things going in the 13th minute for the Lions, his powerful header too much for Brad Guzan to handle before the ball crossed the line for the finish. The Brazilian midfielder would then go on to pick the pocket of Pity MartÃnez to put the Lions on the break for their third goal of the day, laying off the pass to Nani for the easy finish.
Three members of the Orlando City roster, averaging 22 years of age, combined for the Lions' second goal of the afternoon on Saturday in Daryl Dike, Benji Michel and Chris Mueller. Dike found space to thread a ball in behind the Atlanta defense for a running Michel, who took his space before playing the unselfish pass across the goal to Mueller for the tap-in finish. All three joined the Club out of collegiate play, Dike and Mueller both as SuperDraft picks while Michel was signed to a Homegrown contract in 2019.
In their last two matches, the Lions have conceded just two finishes while the side boasts a +4 goal differential with 3-1 victories in back-to-back contests. Across the back four, six different players have started in those roles in that span in João Moutinho, Antonio Carlos, Rodrigo Schlegel, Robin Jansson, Ruan and Kyle Smith. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has totaled six saves in the Lions' last two matches, including a punching stop in the eighth minute to keep Atlanta scoreless early in Saturday's match.
Different Lineup, Same Success
Head Coach Oscar Pareja made five changes to his starting XI on Saturday against Atlanta in an effort to rotate his squad after just two days rest from their previous match. Of those changes included Kyle Smith and Andrés Perea making just their second starts of the year, while Benji Michel went the full 90 in his third start of 2020. Brazilian internationals Antonio Carlos and JÃºnior Urso also re-entered the mix after not starting the previous match, both playing a pivotal role in earning three points.
Against the Opposition
Wednesday will serve as the Lions' first trip to the Music City and their second against the 2020 expansion side, the first of which took place a week ago at Exploria Stadium in a 3-1 victory by the Lions. Daryl Dike netted the first professional brace of his young MLS career in that match, including the game-winner in the 52nd minute, with Chris Mueller adding the other finish for the Lions to open things up in the 21st minute.
Nani (12) is one assist shy of tying former Lion Carlos Rivas for third in Club history.
Daryl Dike is one goal shy of passing teammate Chris Mueller (3) for second in Club history in goals scored by a Lions' MLS SuperDraft selection in their debut season.
Ruan is one start away from his 30th for City.
Chris Mueller is one appearance away from 70 in MLS regular-season play.
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Major League Soccer Stories from September 1, 2020
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- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
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