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The Mane Land Monthly Awards: September 2017

We unveil our choices for Goal, Save, and Player of the Month from September, as voted by our staff.

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

September was an even month for Orlando City results wise, with the Lions winning two, losing two, and drawing two in their six matches. Perhaps that tally (and OCSC’s playoff outlook) will change if MLS rules in City’s favor in the FC Dallas case, but who knows with MLS.

The Mane Land staff has spoken, and we’ve decided upon our monthly awards, naming an outstanding goal, save, and player from the ninth month of 2017. Without further delay, let’s get into the results.

Goal of the Month

This one wasn’t quite unanimous, but it was close.

Kaká had a fun evening on Sept. 27 (along with the rest of the team and its fan base, for that matter) in the Lions’ 6-1 rout of New England at home. Ricky nabbed a pair of goals in the runaway win, the first of which got him in the running for MLS Goal of the Week and locked up his Goal of the Month honor at TML.

Kaká was played forward by Dom Dwyer on the left side of the pitch before Dwyer made a nice shadow run in front of the captain to pull New England’s Claude Dielna away and open up a cut to the inside for his oncoming teammate. That was all Kaká needed to slice towards the middle of the pitch and unleash a stunner into the top right corner from about 20 yards out to make it 3-0. It was an absolutely beautiful effort that no goalkeeper would’ve been able to stop thanks to inch-perfect placement from the Brazilian.

Yeah, no one was beating that one out in this category. Others receiving votes included Dom Dwyer’s first home goal vs. New England, and his second goal in the 3-3 draw at Atlanta.

Save of the Month

While Kaká couldn’t quite garner a unanimous vote from our staff, Joe Bendik did just that. In the same match, Bendik made a great save even by his high standards when he made a diving stop on a Lee Nguyen free kick in the 34th minute to keep the Revs off the score sheet.

Nguyen — who would eventually score New England’s lone goal on a virtually identical free kick effort just 12 minutes later — would’ve had a brace on the evening were it not for Bendik’s heroics. Set up about 25 yards out and slightly left of the goal, Nguyen curled a beauty of a right-footed strike toward the near post. Bendik was set up slightly to Nguyen’s right side of goal and was forced to cover a lot of ground to reach his right hand out and keep the ball from pinging in at the post to make it a 2-1 game. It was an almost-perfect strike that took a high degree of difficulty to stop, but this is Joe Bendik we’re talking about after all.

Player of the Month

Dom. Dwyer.

Dwyer was a welcome addition in July, but it took a bit for the striker to integrate back into the Orlando City side. September was his breakthrough month in that regard, as the English-born forward notched four assists and three goals in the month to officially christen his return to the City Beautiful.

Dwyer recorded a brace in a wild 3-3 draw at Atlanta United on Sept. 16, and he followed that up with a powerful left-footed strike against New England to open his home account for the Lions. He developed chemistry with Cyle Larin and Giles Barnes throughout the month, playing well off both and dropping an assist against D.C. United, Atlanta, and two vs. New England — one of which is showcased above, where he not only found Kaká but also cleared space for him to work by making an intelligent run into space to open up a channel.

Dwyer settling into the squad was a welcome development for City supporters last month, and we all hope it’s a sign of things to come now that Dom is back where he belongs.

Let us know what you think in the comments, whether you agree, disagree, or have any other picks of your own.