Cyle Larin can't convert vs. Toronto, and Orlando City seeks other offense

TORONTO—During a match in which goals were expected of him, off to a red-hot start and playing in his hometown, it was a pair of saves that defined Cyle Larin's night.

The star forward went scoreless, and Orlando City SC saw their four-match winning streak end Wednesday night following a 2-1 defeat by Toronto FC at BMO Field.

TFC dominated the first half, taking a two-goal lead through Sebastian Giovinco's brace, but when Kaká blasted a goal – assisted by Larin's cushioned header of a Carlos Rivas delivery after a short-corner routine – just before halftime, it breathed fight into the side, who were in the ascendancy for much of the second stanza.

And yet twice, with the equalizer on his boot, Larin was denied at the last second by Toronto 'keeper Alex Bono

The first came in the 59th minute when Larin got just enough on a Rivas cross to direct it towards goal, only for Bono react quicker, clawing the ball away from the strikers feet just inches from the goal-line when the faintest of taps would have seen the chance through.

And again eight minutes later, when Rivas sent another dangerous ball into that corridor between the keeper and defenders. Larin sent it trickling towards goal, but Bono once more scrambled to swat it away before it could cross the line.

“I thought the first one was going in,” said a puzzled Jason Kreis post-match. “[I] was just waiting for the ref to blow the whistle because it’s in, and then somehow it’s not. And the second one, you’re seeing [the delivery] come across and you’re thinking, 'Yeah, that's definitely a goal'. Just a bit off on those finishing touches tonight for him.”

Larin explained the strange lack of finish on both occasions: “The [second] one I got my cleat on it and it was rolling in ... It was hard for me to get back on it from where I was. With the [first] I should’ve just put it in.” 

Though Larin might have been shaking his head, Toronto, which collected a third-straight home win with the victory, and Bono, in particular, would end the night smiling.

“I know Cyle well,” grinned Bono, who matched up against Larin in college. “Every time I get to play him, it’s a special experience for me and I like shutting him down, so I try and do it as often as I can.” 

It's a result that likely leaves Orlando ready to take advantage of a quick turnaround, even with another difficult road trip ahead, away to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday (8:30pm ET | MLS LIVE).

With Larin's six goals accounting for more than half of Orlando's output this season, Kreis knows that getting others up and running will be crucial.

Kaká striking his second of the season, in as many matches since returning from injury, can only be a benefit, but more contributors are needed.

“[Secondary scoring] is something we continue to think about and talk about,” admitted Kreis. “We need more guys out there that can, and are going to, score goals on a regular basis. We can't rely on Cyle to do it all for us.”