Oh, how sweet the taste of victory is. Orlando City tangled with Eastern Conference foe Chicago Fire in a match between playoff hopefuls Saturday night, and the boys from the City Beautiful earned an important three points to keep their unbeaten streak going at four games.
It isn't often that a game in June has playoff implications, but a look at the league table shows just how big these three points are, as our Lions have climbed back into the top six of the conference and are three points clear of the Fire.
Cyle Larin - After a disappointing showing at home against Columbus, the number one pick of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft found his form in Bridgeview, coming on late in the game to absolutely smack a goal past Jon Busch to equalize in the 82nd minute.
May's MLS Rookie of the Month had the Chicago defense looking to physically impose their will on him, eventually leading to dispossession as Larin lost his footing while trying to hold play up.
It was at that moment that Larin transformed into Kid Fantastic in his best Hulk impersonation, springing back to his feet to collect the loose ball and blasting a curving laser into the back of the net.
Busch never had a chance.
Aurelien Collin - We heard all week long about how dangerous David Accam is, about how much trouble he would give our defense, and about how he had taken over games on his own throughout the season.
Enter Aurelien Collin.
Bringing his trademark aggression and nose for the ball to Chicago, Collin was Accam's worst nightmare throughout the match, especially in the 36th minute when Accam was challenging for another score.
There seemed to be miscommunication with Sean St. Ledger on the back line, but make no mistake -- the Pitbull was masterful as he continues to prove that he's one of Major League Soccer's best.
Sean St. Ledger - While it's true that St. Ledger's head was responsible for leading to the first goal for City, there was little else of note from the center back, especially defensively.
Miscues were aplenty as St. Ledger wasn't playing next to Seb Hines for the first time in weeks, and he looked as lost as someone looking for the Chicago Fire in the city of Chicago, especially when the Fire put in the first goal of the game at Bridgeview's Toyota Park.
There's also the embarrassing whiff that resulted in a yellow card for hand ball from our sterling MLS officials.
Rafael Ramos - When you're missing Brek Shea (USMNT) and Kevin Molino (exploded knee), you know the offense will need some help creating. Rafa has the pace and quality to be a factor on the attack, but was simply off for much of the night.
I love seeing him vamos up the wing, but if the result is simply a turnover, he isn't helping the cause.
While the young starlet from Portugal gets some early leeway as he grows into his role more and more as the season goes on, performances like this will be harder and harder to accept.
It's hard to critique after a big win on the road, and it should be noted everyone on the field worked hard, playing controlled, methodical soccer against a Fire team known for a strong defense and a lethal counter attack.
While we wait for the next match against D.C. United on national TV, I invite you to listen to the disappointment in this Chicagoland broadcaster's voice as he announces the win for City at the final whistle.