CLUB: Orlando City SC
YEARS PRO: 2
The No. 1 player in the MLS's 2016 24 Under 24 rankings should come as no surprise: It's Orlando City striker Cyle Larin, who burst onto the scene with the expansion club as a rookie in 2015, scoring a rookie record 17 goals to pick up Rookie of the Year honors. There hasn't been a hint of any kind of sophomore slump, either, despite the fact that he's no longer a secret to the league's center backs. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has 14 goals so far in 2016, good for fifth-most in MLS.
What's next for Larin? He's already a fixture on the Canadian national team and a could be a target for big-name teams in Europe. Until then, fans of MLS will continue to enjoy the powerful goalscorer's work in Central Florida.
What the technical staffers say:
“The combination of speed, size, strength, the timing of his runs in the box, he’s a handful. He checks every box, and I think you’ll see him be scooped up by a team in Europe soon, just because everyone wants a striker that is built like him, has the skill set that he has, has the attributes that he has and can score goals."
“He can score goals at the highest level. Of all the strikers in our league, and I mean this, he’s the one that suits the Premier League best. He’s the one that would have the most success there, and I’m including Giovinco and those guys in that discussion, just because of the physical presence that he has. I guess that’s as high of a praise that I can give. Obviously it has to be the right team and it has to be the right setup and you have to get service, but he’s made for that league for me, and I’m sure they’re gonna come quick.”
“The one question I would ask with him is – and I’ve talked with a lot of people in and around their camp, their previous camp, and I see it on the field as well – when you watch him play, is he too nice? Is he too nice a kid? Is it a Canadian thing? I don’t know, I’ve never met a mean Canadian. They’re so friendly and nice and they’re such good people, but every great striker I’ve ever been around is a bit of an [jerk], to be honest. They have that in them, and does he have that killer instinct? I don’t know. To be determined on that part of it, but that would be the one thing. He’s a big teddy bear out there sometimes – he should be killing people.”
“I know he’s not American right, he’s Canadian, but if you were talking about strikers that have gone to Europe and had success, I think about [Brian] McBride, I think about Clint [Dempsey]. He’s kind of like both. He’s got McBride’s size and timing in the box and ability to head a ball, and he’s got Clint’s feet, where he can get out of a tight spot. For a big guy he’s got soft feet. Shoot, that’s good company.”