It is time to eat crow, and I couldn't be happier to do it. With Orlando City's 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on national television Sunday night, some players who found their stock falling for much of their time in Orlando were key components in earning a much-needed three points.
Adrian Winter - Let's start with the winger brought in to fill the gap created when Kevin Molino's knee blew up worse than Jason Pierre-Paul's hand. It's been no secret the Stock Watch hasn't favored Winter to this point, but the Swiss Savant has skyrocketed into the rising section with his brace from out of nowhere.
As if scoring a far-post header off a free kick for his first MLS goal wasn't enough, Winter would finish his run as part of the best 10 seconds of soccer we've seen since Pedro Ribeiro and Kaká burnt down the city of Montreal together in the early run of the season.
Watch Winter play what is probably the best one-two we've seen from the Lions all year, moving the defender to his right with a quick touch to Lewis Neal before blowing off the left shoulder and getting onto the beautiful feed to finish.
Quickness, hustle, and a finishing touch. It's been ages since we've seen those qualities from the right wing.
So, who else rises? There are tons of options to choose from. Stock Watch favorite Cristian Higuita put together another fantastic effort, continuing to come out of Darwin Cerén's shadow as the latter was injured on international duty. Bryan Róchez put in a fantastic effort off the bench, starting the play of Winter's second goal with a steal in the 18-yard box, and scoring a goal earlier himself, on the receiving end of a Brek Shea ball after the sort of quality run we haven't seen much of in the Citrus Bowl this season.
Servando Carrasco rises above them all, however. He's spent time in the Stock Watch's doghouse and -- triumphantly -- climbs into the good graces with a hustle effort against his former team. With six tackles and three interceptions, the man in the middle pestered Sporting's potent attack throughout the night, refusing to back down from the hype they came in with.
While you could say others had a better effort, I find it hard to believe anybody raised their stock more than Carrasco and Winter this weekend. Job well done by two of the newest Lions.
Cyle Larin - A tough night's work for the Canadian international. Busy representing for both club and country lately, Kid Fantastic didn't seem to have the gas to compete at the level he wanted to for much of the night. The attack was blatantly more dynamic when he was subbed off for Róchez.
This has been the busiest soccer year of Larin's life, going from amateur player to professional globetrotter faster than you can say "Linsanity." Look for the leading candidate for MLS Rookie of the Year to bounce back just fine.
Carlos Rivas - Pulled in the 60th, it truly couldn't have been a minute too soon. The speedy Deportivo Cali veteran seems to be tiring down the stretch -- it's been a while since he was an easy choice for the Rising section and he has as many assists (two) as yellow cards in his last 10 league games.
Lewis Neal finishing his wide open chance would have done a lot to make Rivas' game seem a better effort, but it wouldn't do much to make us forget his 56.3% passing rate.
His speed is still outrageous, and his crosses weren't awful. It'll be interesting to see if Brek Shea's health will slide Rivas back into a bench role, allowing him to capitalize on his speed when his legs are fresh.