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The Mane Land Monthly Awards: July

The Mane Land staff chooses our awards for best goal, save, and player from the month of July.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The month of July was one to forget for Orlando City.

Coming off the month of June, during which the team only lost once, Orlando was only able to get one point out of a possible twelve, losing every game except the first game of the month on July 4 against Real Salt Lake.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Open Cup, the Lions crashed out of the tournament with a performance that led Head Coach Adrian Heath to say he was "embarrassed to say that was a team of mine."

The only good thing to come out of this month was the 3-1 win in a friendly over English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion, a game which saw all three of the team's Designated Players score.

As the month comes to a close, Orlando will have to rebound from a poor month to make it back into the playoff picture. Although this was a negative month, there were still plenty of bright spots, so we present to you the "best of" from this month, 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. Carlos Rivas vs. West Bromwich Albion

The Lions' friendly game against West Brom was the lone win for Orlando in the month of July, and it created some great highlight material for the team. Carlos Rivas continued to find his form with the team going into this match and the Colombian Designated Player scored a beauty of a free kick to really show what he's capable of.

After Bryan Róchez earned a foul 30 yards away from goal in the second half of the game, Rivas stepped up to take the free kick. Everyone lined up, Rivas surveyed the scene and shot a rocket into the top right corner of the goal. Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill had no chance of stopping the shot, which gave the Lions a 2-1 lead in the game.

This goal showed fans what kind of left foot Rivas has when he gets his shots on target. And boy what a cannon he has.

2. Kaká vs. West Bromwich Albion

This goal, from earlier in the same game, was reminiscent of the Orlando captain's days in Milan, where he scored similar goals in his heyday. At this point in the game, the Lions were down 1-0 with only a few seconds left before the half ended.

After receiving the ball from Carlos Rivas, Kaká took the ball from the midfield line and started running. After running into acres of space, the Brazilian sprinted past one defender and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the net, tying the game.

Not only was it an impressive run from Kaká, but some credit to make the goal happen should go to Róchez, whose run away from the ball opened up the space needed for Kaká to get into the box and score.

The Mane Land Staff Pick: Carlos Rivas vs. West Brom. While Cyle Larin's third goal against NYCFC was an impressive late addition, Rivas' finish against the Baggies was a clear winner after the power and curve the Colombian put on the ball.

Save of the Month

Tally Hall vs. Real Salt Lake

This save by Hall was the clear winner for this month. Only a few minutes into the match, Orlando's goalkeeper was tested by a scrum in the box in which Javier Morales got the ball to Olmes Garcia, who originally tried to back-heel the ball into goal. The ball was deflected back out to him and Garcia took a shot towards the lower left corner of the goal. The ball looked to be destined to find the back of the net, but in stepped Hall to get a glove on the ball, saving a nightmare start to the game for Orlando.

Our own resident goalkeeper Brent Petkus said it best when describing Hall's save.

The most important thing that a young goalkeeper can learn from this is that every time there is a shot, Hall has his feet set for the save. He is not guessing which way the ball is going, which you see some keepers do at short range. He comes across and he robs Garcia of an easy goal. There's nothing that a keeper loves seeing more than a striker at a loss of words after being stonewalled. Goalkeepers have to steal games to win championships and Tally Hall stole a point in Salt Lake on the Fourth of July.

The Mane Land Staff Pick: Tally Hall vs RSL. Although there were some good saves from Hall this month, this one stood out above all the rest.

Player of the Month

1. Darwin Cerén – Midfielder

Cerén has arguably become one of Orlando's most important players on the team, other than Kaká. His emergence in the defensive midfield has been a revelation for the team and during his absence due to the Gold Cup earlier this month, his presence was thoroughly missed. He's been the best passer for Orlando, completing almost 90% of his passes and ranks fourth in all of MLS in completed passes. His play with Cristian Higuita is crucial to turning this bad month on its head.

2. Carlos Rivas – Midfielder

Since taking over the starting left wing role from an injured Brek Shea, Rivas has begun to show his true ability on the field. His speed and powerful left foot can make him dangerous on the pitch and he has made huge strides in his growth since the beginning of the season. If he can continue to learn throughout the season, Rivas could live up to the lofty expectations that were set when he signed with the team.

The Mane Land Staff Pick: Darwin Cerén. The defensive mid has been the linchpin for Orlando's midfield and has earned being our player of the month.

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