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The Mane Land Monthly Awards: June

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With another month of the 2015 season in the books, The Mane Land staff chooses our awards for best goal, best save, and best player from the month of June.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The month of June was a good one for Orlando City.

The Lions entered the month on the momentum of a three-match unbeaten streak that began on May 17 against LA Galaxy, and managed to extend that streak to six games before finally suffering a defeat at Montreal Impact on June 20.

Overall, the Lions won five out of six games in June, including a 3-0-1 record in league play and a 2-0-0 mark in U.S. Open Cup competition. As July begins, Orlando find themselves sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference table, level on points with both Toronto FC (third place) and New York Red Bulls (fourth), and just one point behind second place New England Revolution.

The playoff race in the East is a tight one, and Orlando will now look to carry the momentum of June into the rest of the summer. Now it's time for our superlatives from the month of June, as voted on by The Mane Land staff. Be sure to voice your opinion in the poll below and in the comments section.

Goal of the Month

1. Cyle Larin vs. Chicago Fire

June may not have gotten off to the promising start it did had it not been for this brilliant strike from rookie forward Cyle Larin in Chicago. With the Lions trailing 2-1 late in the match, Larin's bit of brilliance in minute 82 sparked an Orlando rally that culminated in a 3-2 victory on the road.

After receiving the ball from Carlos Rivas, Larin did well to battle off two Chicago defenders, going to the ground and recovering to his feet in the process. After getting back up, Larin got a bit of help from Eric Avila before using his 190-pound frame well to shield the ball and rip a right-footed laser from about 23 yards out. The shot split through two defenders before curling away from Jon Busch and banging in off the left post.

Not only was it an impressive piece of work from Larin before the wonder strike, but it also came at a pivotal time in the match for OCSC and ultimately led to an important three points for the club in the Eastern Conference race.

2. Carlos Rivas vs. Columbus Crew SC

(Go to the 1:05 mark for Rivas' goal)

Larin's Chicago strike was running away with the award voting until Rivas threw a wrench into things on the final night of the month.

After tapping the ball forward to striker Pedro Ribeiro, Rivas goes out of the frame for a bit as the Brazilian tussles with multiple Columbus defenders at the top of the box. The Crew eventually win the battle, stabbing the ball away from Ribeiro, but the ball is not cleared. After a few helpless bounces, Rivas appears suddenly and capitalizes, unleashing a lightning strike with his left foot into the the top of the net from the top of the penalty arc.

It was Rivas' first goal from open play for the Lions, and the young Colombian nearly scorched the ceiling of the net while putting the match out of reach in the process.

The Mane Land Staff Pick: Cyle Larin vs. Chicago. While Rivas made things interesting with his powerful strike on June 30, Larin's finish against the Fire managed to edge it out in the voting, thanks in large part to the importance of the goal in the context of the game and Larin's use of his body to set it up.

Save of the Month

1. Earl Edwards Jr. vs. Charleston Battery

The rookie out of UCLA took advantage of his second start this year and was the Man of the Match for Orlando thanks to a heroic showing in a game that ended 4-4 and was won by OCSC with an 8-7 tally in penalty kicks. After making several impressive stops during the match, Edwards Jr. stopped three critical penalty kicks to give the Lions the win and set up its Round of 16 bout with Columbus from Tuesday.

Edwards Jr. stoned Dante Marini first, on Charleston's third penalty attempt.

His second stop came against Zach Prince on the ensuing Charleston kick.

His third and final stonewall save came on a two-handed dive against Taylor Mueller, which set up the winner for Danny Mwanga.

It was a big-time showing from the rookie in a rare opportunity to play in goal, and one that allowed the next Save of the Week nominee to happen. Note to self: If ever in a penalty kick situation against Earl Edwards Jr., don't go low and left.

2. Sean St. Ledger vs. Columbus Crew SC

Holding onto a 2-0 lead early in the second half of Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup match against Crew SC, Columbus generated its most dangerous opportunity of the night. Kristinn Steindórsson lofted a shot across the goal and over OCSC keeper Tally Hall, and it appeared that Columbus were about to pull one back and up the pressure on the Lions. That's when center back Sean St. Ledger saved the day in a moment reminiscent of Brek Shea's last-ditch save against D.C. United in week five.

The Englishman hustled back and elevated to head the ball off the goal line and preserve the two-goal advantage, which Orlando would not relinquish on its way to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup. After the match, Hall was in awe of St. Ledger's effort.

"I think Ledge had the save of the year. I don't think I'm going to be able to beat that one," said a grateful Hall after the match. "The view I had is going for the ball and I'm turning around to watch it hit the back of the net and all of the sudden he just comes flying in. It was a well-placed shot and it was a special save."

For an even sweeter angle of St. Ledger's save, see this tweet.

The Mane Land Staff Pick: Earl Edwards Jr. in Charleston. Despite Hall's proclamation that St. Ledger made the save of the season, TML believed that Edwards Jr.'s heroic showing in penalties against the Battery was the best goalkeeping feat of June.

Player of the Month

1. Luke Boden – Left Back

After stepping in at left back for Brek Shea as part of the Kevin Molino domino effect, Boden has shone at the back for Orlando. Boden has been solid in defense and is calm on the ball moving forward, helping the OCSC attack with his effective crossing and ability to hold the ball. Boden is averaging 1.7 key passes per game in his 10 matches this season, and has recorded one assist. Bodz proved even further in June that he is a quality starting caliber player at the MLS level.

2. Carlos Rivas – Midfielder

After an injury riddled start to his MLS career, Designated Player Carlos Rivas has come on in recent weeks for Orlando, and the timing couldn't be better with a groin injury currently sidelining Shea. Following a trio of penalty kick goals against Charleston, Rivas made a huge impact off the bench against Colorado, notching an assist and using his pace and dynamism to keep the Rapids defense off balance.

His aforementioned goal against Columbus is one of Orlando's finest strikes this season, and the Colombian's performance on the left wing as of late has inspired much confidence in what was believed to be one of City's best additions coming into the season.

3. Tally Hall – Goalkeeper

Hall has been a cornerstone for OCSC since his return in mid-May, solidifying the defense and owning a 6-1-2 record between the sticks this season. Hall's leadership and communication are invaluable for the Lions at the back, and his influence since his return from an ACL injury has been evident every week, highlighted by a Save of the Week nomineeagainst Montréal and breakaway stops like this one against Colorado.

The Mane Land Staff Pick: Luke Boden. The fullback has been in a stellar run of form and earned himself the most votes from TML staff.

Let us know who you believe was Orlando City's standout performer in March in the poll below, and weigh in with thoughts and opinions regarding any of the categories in the comments section.