CYLE LARINForward, Canada
Orlando City’s second year forward, Cyle Larin, has shown Lion faithful that there will be no hint of a “sophomore slump” for him this season. The Canadian striker has combined well with Kaka, Kevin Molino, and Adrian Winter to score a team high 7 goals and assist on another 3 goals for the Lions.
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Cyle is one of Orlando’s most reliable players, he’s tied for first on the team with 12 appearances in the teams’s 13 matches.
Early in the season, when Kaka was out injured, the offense ran through Larin and he carried the Lion’s to one win and two draws to start the season off on a positive run of form, despite the captain’s absence. In those 3 matches Orlando City only managed to score 4 goals, of which, Larin scored 3 and assisted on the other one.
The 21-year-old has been instrumental to Orlando City’s success and his creativity in the box has helped the team earn some points that they probably shouldn’t have earned.
Most Forgettable Performance:
Larin seldom has a game where I think he played bad necessarily, but he does have a tendency to disappear from games at times.
One example of these occurrences was the 2-2 draw against the New England Revolution on April 30th. A game Carlos Rivas stole a point from in second half stoppage time.
In this match in particular Larin, who played the full 90 minutes, only had 26 touches on the ball, the lowest of any Lion starter. To put that in perspective, the Orlando City goal-keeper, Joe Bendik, had 52 touches of the ball, exactly double the amount of Larin. Cyle only completed 7 passes in the whole match and of those 7 passes, only 1 was in the attacking third.
As a testament to Larin’s never say die attitude however, he kept chugging along trying to get involved in the match and, in the 90th minute, when Julio Baptista flicked the ball over the Revolution defense releasing him down the right flank, Larin finally had the chance to be a difference maker.
He latched onto the ball, picked his head up, waited for Rivas to make a sharp diagonal run, and sent a low cross to the near post where the speedy Colombian beat his defender to toe poke home his first MLS goal. For some reason, Larin was never given credit for his assist, which I don’t understand to this day. You be the judge:
Most Memorable Performance:
This was a tricky decision because Cyle’s had some great moments for the Lion’s this season, but since we’re talking about the most memorable performance, I had to go with Larin’s showing in the opening match of the season, when Orlando City fans #filledthebowlagain to see the Lions lose 2-0 to Real Salt Lake… or so we thought.
Despite going down a man early, Salt Lake was leading 2-0 late at the blistering Citrus Bowl, thanks in equal parts to, a converted Joao Plata penalty kick, a questionable 47th minute challenge that saw Orlando City captain, Darwin Ceren, sent off, and a brilliant individual play from Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez to set up Plata’s second goal.
There were 4 minutes of added time and after sweating all day, getting sunburn, and watching my favorite player sent off, I was ready to head for the tunnel and try to beat the traffic, but, thankfully, I stayed in my seat in section 208 because I had brought a group of friends and didn’t want to seem like a fair weather fan.
In the 94th minute when Larin creatively stuck a whipping cross from Brek Shea into the top corner of Nick Rimando’s goal, I was pleased to grab some consolation and have something positive to take from the match, I never could have dreamed what happened next.
With the minimum amount of stoppage time already played and due to the fact that Larin didn’t waste any time celebrating his goal, I figured that the referee would blow his full time whistle right after Salt Lake restarted play, but when the ball trickled back to Servando Carrasco, it was clear that the referee was going to give us one “Hail Mary” attempt before he called the game.
Carrasco launched the ball from just outside Orlando City’s penalty box, all the way to the edge of Salt Lake’s, where Larin out-ran and out-muscled veteran MLS defender Jamison Olave to get a decisive touch on the ball with his thigh, sending the ball into the path of second half substitute, Adrian Winter. Winter then sent the Citrus Bowl into delirium as he smashed a half volley into the roof of the net.
Relive that incredible moment and watch the thrilling comeback here, I try to watch it once a week, when I need a little pick me up:
All statistics quoted are taken from https://www.whoscored.com/