Orlando City finally managed to end its five-game winless skid last weekend against the Philadelphia Union, picking up three points away from home for the first time since Sept. 7 at Montreal and for the third time overall on the season.
Although the playoffs have been out of reach for some time, the Lions still had plenty to play for, as Head Coach Jason Kreis declared that places in next year's team were on the line and coasting through the finish line would not be tolerated. Which of your Lions saw their stock on the rise following the 2-0 win, and which are falling despite the W?
Carlos Rivas – This one was obvious. Rivas has been a portrait of inconsistency during his two seasons at Orlando City, flashing immense potential at times, highlighted by his blazing pace, while seeming lost at others and developing a reputation for blasting shots into the stands from 30 yards. Sunday afternoon, Rivas showed the good flashes once again, registering the opening goal that turned out to be the winner, while dishing out two key passes and drawing four fouls. The Colombian seems to want a chance to shine in Kreis' two-forward setup again next season.
Joe Bendik – Although it's a bit weird to see Bendik here, since he's been the brightest star for Orlando City through much of this season, he was coming off a match in which he allowed the only shot on goal into the net in a 1-0 loss to Montreal. JB rebounded well vs. Philly, registering five stops and keeping a clean sheet against the Union. It was Bendik's fifth clean sheet, which seems too low for a guy who has performed as well as Bendik has this year, but alas.
Rafael Ramos – Admittedly, there's an argument to be made that Ramos should be in the rising category simply for being on the pitch in Philadelphia, since it was the first time he'd played since May. He looked a bit rusty, getting beat on the right side of the defense a few times and committing a pair of fouls. To be fair to Ramos, though, he had a nice long-range shot at one point and also nearly forced an own goal off a cross. Here's to hoping he can work himself back into a groove after so much time out.
Kaká – Ricky wasn't bad by any means at Philadelphia, but as one of the highest-paid players in the league, not bad isn't what we're looking for from the captain. It's now been six games since Kaká has registered a goal and seven since he notched an assist, and he hit on just 64% of his passes at Philly. He's cooled considerably since that hot stretch in late August to early September that saw him drop four goals and an assist in a two-game span. An honorable mention could go to Cyle Larin, who only recorded a single shot and has now gone four games without scoring while falling short of his rookie scoring mark. One game to get those numbers up, with perhaps more at stake.