Returning home and badly in need of a win, Orlando City made a statement on Saturday night, scoring on the Columbus Crew five times en route to a 5-2 victory over their Eastern Conference rivals in front of 26,586 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
Cyle Larin added to his case for Rookie for Year with a brace, following up his hat trick against New York City FC last week, and the club snapped a four-game losing streak across all competitions, after a winless month in July.
Our five takeaways from the match...
Adrian Heath made a very noticeable lineup change on Saturday night, shifting to a 4-3-3 with Corey Ashe starting at left back and Luke Boden up on the left wing, while Carlos Rivas sat out with a groin injury. Ashe was one of the most active players on the field for Orlando City, moving forward and getting back -- he contributed a pair of assists. And you can't forget Boden, who was perfect with his passing in the first half. Boden playing well is not uncommon, and it's only going to make things more interesting when Brek Shea finally gets healthy.
That Cyle Larin, So Hot Right Now
Five goals in his last 90 minutes of play, Larin is arguably the hottest player in the league right now. His second goal of the night tied him with Damani Ralph, who set the Major League Soccer rookie scoring record by putting 11 goals in the back of the net with the Chicago Fire in 2003. With 12 games left this season, it'd be pretty hard to bet against Larin breaking -- shattering, even -- the record. By the way, he'll have a chance to do it this Wednesday in his home town of Toronto when the Lions travel north of the border to take on Toronto FC.
BFFs In The Midfield
Speaking of great partnerships, Darwin Ceren and Cristian Higuita formed a solid combination in the middle of the 4-3-3. The defensive duo each scored a goal -- Ceren in the first half, and Higuita in the second -- to help Orlando City to the 5-2 victory. Defensively, Ceren was one of the best players on the pitch, continuing to act as the anchor of Orlando City's midfield this season.
You're Alright, August
There's no way of getting around the fact that July was just flat out the worst month in the history of mankind. Orlando City was awful. The USMNT was awful. And Miguel Herrera -- my favorite person in soccer -- was sacked as Mexico's head coach. But it's safe to say that August is off to a better start, with the Lions scoring five goals in a win at home on Saturday night. Not only that, but NYCFC also lost at home to Montreal -- hooray! Who knows, maybe Orlando City will sign a big DP this week and make it the best month ever.
Making Alex Morgan Proud
For those of you that weren't aware: Orlando City's most recent pickup, Servando Carrasco, is married to USWNT star Alex Morgan. Morgan was in attendance on Saturday night to watch her husband quietly play a good game against Columbus. Carrasco didn't look great on Federico Higuain's opening goal, but his passing chart was very good -- he was hitting just about all of his passes -- and had a good game defensively, for the most part. He also helped set up a goal with his cross to Ashe, which turned into a Larin tally.