The start of 2018 has been up and down for Orlando City, to say the least. Injures galore halted the introduction of some of the new Lions. Dom Dwyer got injured, Sacha Kljestan was suspended, Josué Colmán is just getting his fitness level up, Jonathan Spector is in concussion protocol, and who knows when Oriol Rosell will be match ready? Orlando has been able to get four points through the first four games, and while it has not been perfect by any means, there have been flashes of brilliance along the way.
This will be an exciting team when all the pieces are in place. The Lions currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but this is irrelevant so early on in the season.
Since the first month is now in the books, here are The Mane Land’s picks for the best goal, save, and player of March.
Goal of the Month: Dom Dwyer vs. New York Red Bulls
The Designated Player had a brace this past weekend, but it’s his second goal that is getting all the positive attention. In a seven-goal thriller, this goal right after halftime brought some momentum to Orlando. But Dwyer saw this goal the entire way. Look at how he and Mohamed El-Munir make eye contact, Dwyer points where he wants the ball, and then finishes it in typical Dwyer fashion. Even more impressive might just be how much and how well he turned his hips to make it almost an impossible save for Luis Robles.
Honorable mention goes out to Stefano Pinho for his opening day, game-tying goal. It was a perfect pass from Justin Meram and a terrific run from Spector that gave Pinho the opportunity. The Brazilian converted it with a calm composure in front of goal that made Orlando City so high on him in the first place.
Save of the Month: Joe Bendik vs. D.C. United
This one was pretty clear cut. Any save from the spot will be up for Save of the Month. A penalty kick save from an almost perfectly placed, powerful kick that hit off two posts to keep the game goalless is even more impressive.
Player of the Month: Amro Tarek
Only two players received votes from The Mane Land staff for player of the month: Tarek and Will Johnson. Both played in all four games of the season and both have been crucial. Tarek gets the ever-so-slight edge for his consistency, having more interceptions and clearances. and securing the back line. Johnson was more effective in the attacking end of the field but, as Tarek is a center back, this is not surprising. Tarek also has just two fewer total passes than Johnson and has shown he is comfortable on the ball. One thing is certain with Tarek — he’s allowing Spector to take his time in getting healthy.
Orlando plays four matches in April — one each weekend — and is home for half of them. In another week or two, barring anything unexpected, the full squad should be available for selection and MLS will finally get to see what the Orlando City fan base has been so hyped for this preseason.
Agree or disagree with any of our picks? Be sure to comment below!