April was the cruelest month for Orlando City. Two goals, one win and three losses isn't what anyone imagined for the club's second month in Major League Soccer.
I'm not sure how to explain the 5-to-1 goal deficit at home, or the fact that Orlando City has one home point heading into May. But May is a new month and maybe the ship will right itself.
It's time to get past this month of awfulness and look ahead. But before we do that, let's take a look back at the month of April's best player, goal and save.
So, they scored goals, right? Yeah, two, and it's not hard to imagine which one came in first.
1. Cyle Larin vs. Portland Timbers
"A goal scorer's goal," to quote Taylor Twellman (still don't know what that means but I can't stop saying it). Just a beautiful sequence of build-up play to lead to Larin's first MLS goal and the club's only open-play goal of the month. It's everything we've expected from the OCSC attack. Kaká bringing the ball forward. Kevin Molino making a daring run down the right and winging the ball into the 18-yard box. Larin getting in the right place at the right time and driving the ball home. Next step: Do it in Florida.
2. Kaká vs. Portland Timbers
Yeah, the only other goal in April. Kaká missed from the spot on his first try, but officials gave him another try after Diego Chara got antsy and rushed the follow-up. Big mistake. The former Ballon d'Or winner banked the second one and gave Orlando City its second -- and final -- goal of the match and month.
The Mane Land staff pick: Cyle Larin's goal vs. Portland, unanimously (of course).
1. Brek Shea vs. DC
This save came against D.C. United at home and helped Shea win the MLS Save of the Week for Week 5. Donovan Ricketts made a good stop right before Shea made his lighting quick stop. Of course, it didn't keep D.C. from winning late in the match.
2. Donovan Ricketts vs. Portland
Ricketts had to make a difficult adjustment on this one to keep Portland off the board. He was moving to his left and quickly dove to the right to get a hand on the ball and knock it away. Ricketts earned a Week 6 MLS Save of the Week nomination for this one. Good times in Oregon. Good times.
3. Ricketts vs. Toronto FC
Here is Ricketts keeping Jackson out from long range, diving to the left this time and getting both hands on it. Toronto still scored twice in this game, but it was a great save and earned Ricketts another MLS Save of the Week nomination.
The Mane Land staff pick: Brek Shea's goal-line save against D.C. United.
Player of the Month
1. Aurélien Collin: Now, you're probably wondering how a center back on a back line that's allowed five goals in the last two matches is up for our player of the month pick. Collin's been one of the best on-field performers for Orlando City this season, and WhoScored.com backs those claims. Who Scored rated Collin as OCSC's best player for all matches this month (he actually tied with Eric Avila in the Toronto match with a 6.6), including an 8.21 rating against Portland. Goal scoring is the problem, not the back four.
2. Brek Shea: Shea has been one of the players worth mentioning for OCSC this month. The newly transplanted left back has been a tireless weapon for the club, contributing heavily on the attack and doing his due diligence tracking back on defense. His save (see above) was award-winning and shows that even when he makes a mistake (he did on that play), he'll put in the work to cover himself.
3. Kaká: He's always the most valuable player on this team and he did score one of the club's two goals this month. He also contributed in the build-up play of the other goal. The Brazilian superstar has been the consummate professional and if/when the goals start falling, you know he'll have something to do with it.
The Mane Land staff pick: Aurélien Collin, by a vote over Brek Shea.