After a disappointing April, the Lions appear to have eventually found their stride this month, notching two wins (okay one was a friendly, but still it got us off to a good start), three draws, and one loss whilst scoring 13 goals compared to the previous month's two.
With all of that in mind, let's take a look at the candidates for best goal, save and overall player of the month and announce who were our winners. (Leave your winners in the comments below.)
1. Eric Avila vs. LA Galaxy
Nominated for Week 11's MLS Goal of the Week, this beautifully crafted team goal, ultimately scored by Eric Avila was a lesson in passing, heading and crossing and got us underway in our 4-0 demolition of the defending MLS Cup champions, the LA Galaxy. Every time you watch this goal it just gets better and better.
2. Darwin Cerén vs. LA Galaxy
After narrowly missing scoring just a few minutes earlier with a rocket that came back of the crossbar, Darwin Cerén scored the fourth goal with a beautiful shot that took a deflection to send LA GK Jaime Penedo the wrong way.
3. Cyle Larin vs. New England Revolution
After New England had taken a 2 goal lead, things were looking dead and buried in this game until a team goal came together to get us back into it. With a deft turn from Cerén, who made a pass out to Rafael Ramos (who needed to redeem himself after causing the 2nd NE goal) who then whipped in a beautiful cross for Larin to rise above USMNT player, Jermaine Jones to knock a perfect header into the goal to get us within one.
The Mane Land Staff Pick: Eric Avila vs. LA Galaxy (unanimous)
Please note that Pedro Ribeiro's cracker last night certainly deserves to be among the candidates but was not available at the voting deadline. We'll place it second. Fantastic goal, but the team effort on Avila's just edges it. Put Ribeiro as our new No. 2. Barely.
As with last month, there weren't too many great saves as our keepers weren't tested too much, however, here are our two selections for Save of the Month
1. Earl Edwards Jr. v Ponte Preta
Well done, rookie. Well done. Earl Edwards Jr. saves the penalty, and Conor Donovan clears it. Full highlights of Orlando City's 3-2 victory here: orlan.do/1R04lxxPosted by Orlando City Soccer Club on Sunday, 3 May 2015
After already being down 1-0 in our 1st friendly of the season, Earl Edwards Jr. brought down Rildo to concede a PK, however he managed to redeem himself with this big save to keep Orlando City in the match, which they ultimately went on to win 3-2.
2. Tally Hall v San Jose Earthquakes
With the Lions down to 10-men against the SJ Earthquakes whilst nursing a 1-0 lead Tally Hall came up with this big stop to deny Matias Perez Garcia the game-winning goal from his whipped shot through a melee of defenders.
The Mane Land Staff Pick: With a close vote, Earl Edwards Jr. v Ponte Preta just nicks the award.
Note: Hall had another great save on Ethan Finlay last night. Move that to No. 2. Stopping a penalty is always harder.
Player of the Month
Cyle Larin: After having a slow start to the season, the young rookie and No.1 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft finally found his favorite boots and scored four goals this month. He was instrumental in leading the Lions up front and he is slowly starting to develop a partnership with Kaká to help get more opportunities, which will no doubt lead to more goals. With two headers, a tap-in and a traditional poacher's goal against D.C. United, Larin is looking like a well-rounded goal scorer upfront and long may it continue.
Seb Hines: With Aurélien Collin going down injured against D.C. United, Hines saw a switch of partner in the center of the Orlando City defense, however that didn't show during May. He has been resolute when partnered with either Collin or Sean St. Ledger this month and has prospered with the change in goal from Donovan Ricketts to Tally Hall. Hines has quietly puttered away at the back and Orlando City have done will because of it.
Kaká: After two months of trying to be all things to everyone, this month Kaká eventually got back to the play-maker role that made him so famous. He started the move that led to Avila's goal against LA, he won and scored a PK and converted another against San Jose. For the first time this season he looked happy to be playing with his teammates and his confidence has grown with all of them, and this has allowed him to prosper under Head Coach Adrian Heath's system whilst making Orlando City play the free-flowing football that the fans and coach like to see so much.
The Mane Land Staff Pick: Cyle Larin. With a month like that under this belt, he is the deserved winner for May.
That is it for our awards for this month. Please let us know your player of the month in the poll below and give us some comments if you agree or disagree with our selections for save and goal of the month.