Orlando's Cyle Larin shrugs off illness, stays hot in NYCFC win

NEW YORK – In the span of one minute, Orlando City SC’s dream start against New York City FC turned into a nightmare.

Or so it seemed.

Cyle Larin was forced to end his night early, coming off early in the second half after he bagged what was the eventual game-winning goal in the seventh minute in Orlando’s 1-0 victory Friday night at Yankee Stadium. His departure followed that of Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino in the 54th.

The loss of both players left Orlando to scramble on offense for the remaining 35 minutes of the second half. More importantly, however, it caused the potential for big-time injury concern for a team that has already been without superstar Kaka for its first three games of the season.

Fortunately for them, Orlando dodged a bullet.

"Cyle wasn't well all day," Orlando boss Adrian Heath said in his postgame comments. "We went with him and thought he might do well, but he was sick again at halftime. We put him out there, but obviously you could tell he wasn't 100 percent. Nocerino was a bit of a cramp; we don't think it's a hamstring. Kaka will be back again for Portland [on April 3]. 

"Hopefully we will have a full compliment of players."

Nocerino, a highly touted Designated Player and arguably the Lions' biggest offseason pickup, has not completed a full 90-minute performance in his first two matches with the club.

Health concerns aside, Larin’s scorching start to the season has certainly been the biggest plus for Orlando so far this month. The young Canadian has bagged three of the team's four goals in three games this season. And Heath once again told the media that he believes Larin will reach 20 goals on the season, the target the young striker also shares.

"I was feeling sick during the whole game,” he said. “My stomach wasn't feeling right. I came on at the half, got hit in the hips and ... I don't know. I wasn't feeling good.”

Despite his illness, he once again found his tonic going up again NYCFC. After scoring five of his 17 goals against NYCFC last season, he added yet another to his account with a header just seven minutes into the match – enough to make anyone feel a little better.

"In these games, I get a lot of chances," he said. "That's the most important thing. I just need to finish them. If I finish them, hopefully I should get to 20. Games like this, we got a lot of chances. I came off, but if I were in there, I could have got a few more. I think I can get there. Everyone believes I can get there. Hopefully I can."