Former Lions Cyle Larin and Richie Layrea help Canada to World Cup Qualification
Sunday was a historic moment in the history of Canadian soccer. And two former Orlando City draft picks played a key role in that watershed day north of the border.
The Canadian Mens National Team clinched its first World Cup since 1986 and second World Cup ever with a 4-0 demolition of Jamaica in front of an unbelievably passionate BMO Field. The win capped off a dream-like qualifying cycle for the Canadians that currently sees them top of the Concacaf octagonal.
Playing a key part in this meteoric rise has been a pair of former Orlando City Lions, striker Cyle Larin and fullback Richie Laryea.
The pair started against Jamaica and have played a key role for Canada throughout qualifying. Larin leads Canada and all of Concacaf in scoring this cycle with 13 goals in 15 games. Layrea has 16 appearances this cycle, locking down the right back or right wingback role.
Canada is one of the most improved national teams in the entire world. Since the appointment of John Herdman in 2018, the Canadian men's national team program has risen at an unbelievable rate. That growth has come thanks in large to a golden generation of Canadian players, including both Larin and Laryea, but also FC Bayern's world-class left back Alphonso Davies and American-born Lille striker Jonathan David, one of the best young forwards in the entire world.
Herdman has taken this group of extremely talented youngsters, added MLS veterans and promising dual-nationals, and put them together in a hard-working, tactically sound team that has taken over Concacaf. Canada leads the octagonal and went undefeated against both Mexico and the United States, including wins at home against both.
Even with injuries to Davies and other key starters, this Canadian team never looked perturbed and continued to dominate qualifying, culminating in Sunday's euphoric home win against Jamaica. Canada's headed to Qatar, and they have the horses and structure to do some damage this winter. And a pair of early days Orlando City draft picks will be along for the ride the whole time.