We have witnessed some frustrating performances in Orlando City's first season in Major League Soccer, but we've also seen some great ones peppered in, and against some of the league's best teams to boot. Friday's 5-2 win at New York Red Bulls falls in with May's blowout win over LA Galaxy and the August beat-down of Columbus Crew SC as one of the more impressive showings from the Lions this season, and stocks are rising accordingly.
Cyle Larin - After an eight-match goal drought, Kid Fantastic got back on the score sheet in a big way at Red Bull Arena, bagging his second hat trick of the season to claim the MLS rookie goal scoring record. The beneficiary of some great service from Kaká and Carlos Rivas, Larin made the most of his opportunities with some precise, impressive finishes past NYRB 'keeper Luis Robles.
Larin has been on pace to win MLS Rookie of the Year honors for some time now, but after looking tired in recent weeks, this was one hell of a performance from the Canadian striker, who notched his hatty on only three shot attempts while turning in a pair of key passes as well. It was his third multi-goal outing of the year and with 14 goals he's now level with the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips and Obafemi Martins for the season.
Kaká - Another star choice, but there was no way Ricky was being left out this week. It seems like it has been a while since we've seen a vintage Kaká performance, but we were treated to one on Friday as the Brazilian provided a pair of assists, one on Larin's record-breaking opener and the other to put the icing on the cake after a nice one-two with Bryan Rochez (who continues to impress as well).
The captain was in fine form, completing 94% of his passes while turning in five key passes. While it had been impressive to see the Lions win without him as he recovered from an injury suffered with the Brazilian national side, it was more fun to see the legendary midfielder back in action pulling strings in the win.
Carlos Rivas - The Colombian has been the subject of some deserved criticism, but his night on Friday puts him squarely in the rising category. Rivas used his trademark pace and was precise in setting up two of Larin's goals with a pair of assists.
When he's not blasting shots into the stands, the explosive winger can be a joy to watch, as he was especially on his bursting run to set up his first assist, displaying his speed while playing a give and go with Kaká before finding Larin for the finish.
Lewis Neal - I'm not sure if Neal's stock is truly falling or if it is just remaining steadfast, but either way it's pretty low this week. Neal was easily the worst of Orlando's starting XI, failing to really contribute on either end of the pitch. He touched the ball 28 times, completing just 68% of his passes without recording a shot or a key pass.
Adrian Winter - It wasn't a terrible night for Winter by any means, but his 25-minute shift was not particularly noteworthy as he registered just 11 touches and sent his only shot attempt sailing over the goal. Winter's stock didn't plummet, but in such a good team outing someone has to occupy the falling category. Sorry, Adrian.
When you really don't have anything to harp on in the falling section of the Stock Watch, you know that it was a pretty good week.