After Kevin Molino's spectacular 20-goal season last year, there were high hopes for the 24-year-old midfielder coming into the big leagues. Molino's 2014 campaign with Orlando City saw him break numerous USL records, not only on the season, but career records as well.
Currently, he holds the fifth most career goals, most career assists, second most game-winning goals, second most overall points, and, of course, most goals in a season. These facts alone on paper warranted high expectations for Molino's first season in MLS.
However, like many of the young players on the roster, the Trinidadian is still looking to regain his form from last year. It's a different level of competition and a whole new core group of players to get used to. Three games into the season is still a small sample size, however, Molino was the go-to guy last year for goals, and with all the well-documented struggles that the forwards have been having so far, something needs to happen soon in order for Orlando to find success.
The big difference from last year to this year is Kaká, who was a pretty big deal for Orlando. Since he has arrived, Kaká has somewhat overshadowed Molino in terms of on-field presence, which is understandable. The Brazilian is a highly valued and respected player and is now looked upon as Orlando's go-to guy on the attack.
This may be affecting Molino and his ability to create for himself -- something that he was so good at last year. Instead of playing within himself, he always seems to be looking for Kaká as kind of a safety net. While this may not be a bad thing, it feels as if Molino is relying too much on Kaká creating chances, rather than creating them himself.
For the upcoming game in Montreal against the Impact, Molino will be headed back to his home of Trinidad and Tobago to play with the national team in an international friendly against Panama. Although this means he will miss the MLS match in Montreal, along with six other Orlando City players, this may be a very good thing for Kevin.
Within the national team, Molino will be the focal point of their attack. "Hot Boy," as he likes to be referred as, scored seven goals for the "Soca Warriors" last year, including a hat trick against the Dominican Republic in October.
Being so heavily relied upon for the team is akin to his situation in Orlando last year. If Molino can get on the score sheet and be a threat for Trinidad up top, he would be able to take that good form back to Orlando for the game at home against D.C. United in early April.
Often it only takes one goal to get a player on track. It's a mental block that needs to be broken. If Molino finds the back of the net come Friday, he'll be in great shape going forward into the bulk of Orlando's season.