NEW YORK—From The Bronx to the New Jersey suburbs, Cyle Larin owns New York.
After Sunday's brace in Orlando City SC's 2-1 victory over New York City FC at Yankee Stadium, the Lions' young Canadian star is the most productive visiting scorer at New York metro-area venues in MLS history. He and former D.C. United star Jaime Moreno share the top spot in that category with 10 goals each -- but where it took Moreno 17 matches to amass that total, it has taken Larin only seven.
He has six goals in four games at Yankee Stadium, and four more in three matches at Red Bull Arena.
Orlando City coach Jason Kreis doesn't know why Larin has had so much success at Yankee Stadium -- but Kreis, who was NYCFC's first head coach, knows he’s glad he’s not on the other side of the Canadian’s scoring prowess anymore.
“I remember him having success a few years back and I didn’t like it when I was on the receiving end,” Kreis said after Sunday's match. “I’m really happy, but I don’t know what it is necessarily. Maybe it has something to do with the size of the field that it's easier for him to get in front of goal.”
Larin now has nine goals in seven all-time appearances against NYCFC and 13 of his 37 career goals, home and away, have come against New York’s two sides – NYCFC and the Red Bulls.
Is it the water? The bagels? The hotel? Larin has previously talked about how much he loved playing in the Big Apple, but he was humble in the visitors’ locker room on Sunday.
“I’ve just got to keep scoring. It is nice to keep scoring against them and it is nice we got the win,” Larin said. “We have to keep playing well and I have to keep scoring for my team. And if I do we’ll win the game.”
NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira warned his team to mark Larin tightly in the box, especially when the Lions work the ball wide. But Larin found himself between defenders when he latched onto Scott Sutter's cross and slid in to finish at the edge of the six in the 31st minute.
It was the last in a nine-pass sequence.
“We said the first game we have to take care of the ball more,” Larin said. “When we keep the ball we get goals, and that is what happened today. It’s getting better each game.”
“I think you give him a lot of credit because he was at the right place at the right time and the way he finished his chances was really good,” Vieira said. “I’m not surprised at all because we knew that if he had the chance and he’s inside the box, he’s a good finisher and he showed it today.”
Larin also did the unselfish work in his own defensive third late to see out the first road win of the year, which is something Kreis credited him with after the match.
“Hats off to him, a monster performance. It wasn’t just the goals, by the way,” Kreis said. “He put in a really solid effort for us defensively as well.”