Major League Soccer announced the finalists for it's 2015 end-of-season awards and, surprise, surprise, Orlando City striker Cyle Larin is up for the league's AT&T Rookie of the Year award. Up for the award, too -- which will be announced exactly one week from today, on Tuesday, Nov. 10 -- are San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Fatai Alashe and Chicago Fire midfielder Matt Polster.
This should come as a shock to nobody who's even peeked at the team's performance this season, as Larin is expected to be the runaway winner of the award after netting 17 goals in 27 appearances for the Lions this season.
The No. 1 overall pick in this season's MLS SuperDraft, Larin burst onto the MLS scene with a goal in his first career start, a game-winner at the Portland Timbers on April 12. From there, the starting job was his for essentially the rest of the season, as he would start all but one of his next 23 games, with four goals in his first eight starts.
On Sept. 25, riding a seven-match scoreless streak, Larin set the MLS rookie record for goals in a season, passing the 11-goal mark set by Damani Ralph in 2003 with the Chicago Fire. He accomplished this feat with a hat trick at New York Red Bulls, becoming the first MLS rookie to record multiple hat tricks in one season. His first came at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC on July 26.
Larin finished in a tie for fifth among all MLS goal scorers, behind only Sebastian Giovinco, Kei Kamara, Robbie Keane and David Villa, and even with Bradley Wright-Phillips. That's some lofty company.
Among the other notable awards to be handed out by the league over the league month: Sebastian Giovinco, Kei Kamara and Benny Feilhaber are the three finalists for the Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award, to be handed out on Dec. 2; Jesse Marsch (New York Red Bulls), Oscar Pareja (FC Dallas) and Carl Robinson (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) are finalists for the MLS Coach of the Year award; Bill Hamid (DC United), David Ousted (Vancouver), and Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls) are up for Goalkeeper of the Year; and lastly, your Defender of the Year candidates are Laurent Ciman (Montreal), Matt Hedges (Dallas), and Kendall Waston (Vancouver).
We look forward to Cyle's official coronation next week.