Orlando City fans saw a lot in the month of June. There were lots of goals, lots of wins, and plenty of good team play. Unfortunately, none of this was in favor of the Lions as last month saw a winless streak extend to eight matches (and still counting), plus a new coach.
Orlando did advance twice in the U.S. Open Cup, where the Lions went 1-0-1 (advancing on penalties in the second match), scored four goals, and allowed just one en route to the quarterfinals. Aside from this tournament, Orlando City went 0-5-0 in MLS play and was outscored, 17-2.
So, while the Lions have been difficult to watch, their poor run of form has made these monthly awards fairly even, with two of the three categories being voted in unanimously.
Goal of the Month: Sacha Kljestan vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The final score of this match was 5-2, as Whitecaps youngster Alphonso Davies’ speed could not be matched by any Orlando player. However, Sacha Kljestan’s 64th-minute goal tied things up at one and it looked, at the time, as if Orlando City’s losing streak would be coming to an end.
It was a clean finish from the midfielder, who found the open space and made a quick run to the ball before passing it into the back of the net. The real magic to this play happened leading up to the goal, though. Josué Colmán received the ball about 15 yards inside Vancouver’s half. He took on one player, cut around another, and perfectly timed his pass out to Tony Rocha before being taken to the ground by a third defender. This run from Colmán attracted four defenders and Rocha was left all alone to make an overlapping run down the left wing where he just needed two touches to feed Sacha.
Save of the Month: Earl Edwards vs. D.C. United
Earl Edwards had a better June than Joe Bendik, highlighted by this penalty kick save. The competition is not the same — Bendik is playing in MLS and Edwards played an NPSL team and a struggling D.C. side — but the 26-year-old was impressive in both of his outings. This save of the month showed Edwards’ quick reflexes as he dove after a Yamil Asad shot (take note, World Cup keepers) and got down fast and low to keep it out with one paw. That save eventually won the shootout for Orlando and got the Lions into the quarterfinals.
Player of the Month: Chris Mueller
The only non-unanimous pick, and wow was it close. Mueller was the winner in one of the closest votes we’ve had. After all, Orlando did end June on an eight-game losing streak; the play has not been good.
Mueller converted his spot kick in the U.S. Open Cup and got an assist to Dom Dwyer in that ugly Vancouver game. Not the best stats in the world, but hey, it’s something. He has also been one of the only players that does not stop hustling and, no matter the score, works his butt off to make something happen.
Players also in consideration were Tony Rocha and Josué Colmán. Rocha, in addition to his assist to Kljestan, has shown his versatility and did a solid job when called upon. Colmán, similarly to Mueller, is constantly hustling, and finished the month with two assists.
Well, there you have it. These are the highlights after an ugly month. Comment below on your thoughts.