Plenty has already been said about what Larin did after the last time he played for Canada, when he was arrested for DUI in Orlando last month. While there are still matters on that front to worry about, he’s itching to make up for lost time after being left off Canada’s roster for the first three games at the 2017 Gold Cup.
“I’m excited to be back with the team and get back onto the field again for Canada and take the team somewhere. Hopefully we go out tomorrow and win the game,” Larin said after Canada wrapped up training at the University of Phoenix Stadium ahead of their quarterfinal against Jamaica on Thursday (7:30 pm ET | TSN2, RDS in Canada, FS1, UniMás, UDN).
“I watched all the games and I wanted to be here. I’m happy to be here now and those games I watched and I’m happy to be here now. I want to get going and playing again on the field for the national team.”
Canada has impressed with their up-tempo style under head coach Octavio Zambrano. They've shown flashes of a dangerous team on the counterattack and gotten solid output from their speedy wingers, especially youngster Alphonso Davies.
Bringing Larin into the fold adds another weapon to an increasingly solid young core of Canadians. With opponents focusing on Larin or Davies, space could open more for the likes of Junior Hoilett or Scott Arfield.
“Cyle is power forward. He’s a presence. He’s a guy that in the 18-yard-box, he’s someone that attracts a lot of attention and he can finish as well,” said Zambrano. “He’s had a couple of seasons where his numbers as a striker speak for themselves. I think that he adds a little bit more power to our offense.”
Two years ago, Larin made the gaffe of the Gold Cup when he stunningly missed an open net against El Salvador. Canada crashed out of that tournament without scoring a goal. Needless to say, Larin is eager to make amends this time around. Should he get the start on Thursday, he'll be assisted by some players who have had very good Gold Cups.
“I think I fit well. I’m playing with Alphonso and Junior and Scott Arfield and a lot more players that can score,” said Larin. “The coach loves to play attacking football and play it into the box. It helps me out and occupy defenders more.”
Jamaica only conceded one goal in the group stage, so it’s quite possible that chances will be at a premium on Thursday. But Canada, for the first time in years, can score from plenty of different areas. With Larin thrown into the squad, an already dangerous team just got that much more difficult for Jamaica to contain.