CLUB: Orlando City SC
YEARS PRO: 3
The No. 1 player in the 2016 MLS 24 Under 24 rankings, Larin hasn’t quite taken the leap forward many thought he would this year, his third as a pro. After recording 17 goals in his rookie season and 14 strikes in 2016, the Canadian international has 12 goals in a 2017 season that’s been hampered by injuries and a suspension following an arrest for DUI. His struggles have mirrored those of Orlando City, who, after a strong start to the season, find themselves outside the playoff picture once again.
While it’s been a bit of a trying season for Larin, there should still be plenty of big things on the horizon for the 22-year-old. Reports of European interest have followed him for the past few years, and he has the finishing ability, physical tools to be an absolute star – in MLS or abroad.
What the technical staffers say:
“I think some people think of him more as a target forward, but he can actually run the channels as well. I think this year he’s improved his hold up play a little bit, bringing other people into the game. But obviously he’s at his best when he’s just making hard runs in front of the goal or hard runs in the box to try and finish something off.”
“I think Cyle is an awesome player. I think he is a pretty good combination of athleticism and finishing ability and I think he has an ability to find good spaces. I think he’s not always an honest two-way player and that consistent effort is maybe what’s holding him back from the highest level, but I think the kid’s got no ceiling in terms of what he’s capable of. I think he’s a 15-20 goalscorer every year in MLS with potential to go abroad.”
“He’s always been a big, strong forward but with deceptive pace, in my opinion. His first three steps are very quick and that’s where I think he actually fools defenders, because he’s so strong that he can body defenders but he can also spin them very quickly. The upside for Cyle just gets bigger and bigger.”
“Much like a young Jozy Altidore, I think there are the ceiling for him has not yet been reached in terms of his improvement. He does still have two or three more steps to take before he becomes a consistently dominant striker. And that might be in MLS, it might be elsewhere, but it definitely needs to happen. He needs to take one, two, three steps more in terms of the way he dominates individual performances, not just sporadically. And that could be down to the league he plays in. I mean we saw Jozy was OK when he was young in MLS. Now he seems to be quite comfortable scoring every damn week. I think there’s still a long way for Cyle to grow and that’s terrifying for every other team in MLS.”
“Orlando as a club has struggled, and the roster has struggled more than Cyle, I think. Every striker to a certain extent is a byproduct of the people around him, and I just don’t think they ever found a groove this year that allowed Cyle or any of their players to really excel beyond the mean.”
“I think he’s struggled because they didn’t transfer him. I have no idea if there’s any truth to the rumors at all, but I think that Cyle may have been reading the papers and I think he may have been believing some of the things that he read, believing that there was a different opportunity out there.”