Cyle Larin Enjoying Rookie Year For the Record Books
By Orlando City SC // July 30, 2015
'I’m doing well right now, I think I can do better'
ORLANDO, FLORIDA — An inaugural season is filled with plenty of firsts. In nearly every game, Orlando City sets some sort of franchise record, and in his inaugural MLS season, Cyle Larin has set quite a few records of his own.
On Sunday at Yankee Stadium, Larin became the second-youngest MLS player ever to score a hat trick when he bagged three goals in a 35-minute span in the second half. It’s a sure sign of his growth and development from the raw, 19-year-old college standout he was when he was taken with the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft in January.
“I think I’m doing well right now and I think I can do better,” he said following training on Tuesday. “I’m just going to have to go to practice and work hard to make sure I’m getting better every day.”
Playing with experienced teammates at his position (Martin Paterson, Pedro Ribeiro, and obviously Kaká) helps him take the guidance from his coaches and improve his play. Those seeds are planted in training, and the fruit is harvested in games.
“You’re never quite certain when you get a young player out of college because you’ve never worked with him. You look at the physical tools he has and it’s there for all to see. What you’re not sure is can he take on information and how quickly he does take it on,” said head coach Adrian Heath.
“It suggests to me that at the weekend, the things that we’re working on Monday to Friday are sinking in.”
His second goal on Sunday epitomizes what Heath was saying. Larin was well covered as he ran into the box until he shifted his run behind his defender and towards the far post, opening up space for the easy tap-in. It was a subtle move, but something he may not have done earlier in his career.
“For us, we take a great deal of satisfaction out of that because he’s taking on board what we’re trying to do Monday to Friday,” said Heath.
With the hat trick, Larin reached nine goals on the season, tying six others, including Kaká and other veteran players such as Kei Kamara, Chris Wondolowski, and Robbie Keane. Perhaps more impressive, though, is how he’s scored those goals.
Not only does Larin not take penalty kicks – Keane and Kaká have both scored four from the spot – but at .84 goals per 90 minutes, Larin is the most efficient goal scorer in the league.
Larin’s stellar play has vaulted him into the Rookie of the Year conversation, and maybe even to the top of it. With 13 games left to play, Larin is just two goals from tying Damani Ralph for most goals by a rookie – a record that’s stood for 11 years.
“I’m trying to think off the top of my head who’s come in and contributed as much as he has and meant so much to his team as much as he has,” said Heath.
Not a single name came to mind.
And as if to cement his status as the leading Rookie of the Year candidate, Larin was voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters after his three spectacular goals.
All this is without even mentioning the outstanding start to his career with Team Canada (ten appearances, three goals).
Needless to say, the future looks promising for Orlando City and their young star.