Orlando City may have turned in their worst defensive performance of the season on Sunday at New York City FC, but there was one very shiny silver lining for the Lions in their 5-3 defeat at Yankee Stadium as rookie striker Cyle Larin notched his first career hat trick. The performance landed him on the MLS Team of the Week on Monday, and the honors continued to roll in on Tuesday as he was named MLS Player of the Week.
Larin is the first Orlando City player to receive the league's Player of the Week award, which is voted on by a panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR).
Larin, who was selected first overall by the club in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, registered three goals in a 43-minute span in the second half on Sunday to keep the Lions in the match before an NYCFC stoppage time goal eventually slammed the door. The Canadian rookie now has nine goals on the season, putting him just two goals shy of tying the MLS record for goals by a rookie, which is currently held by Damani Ralphi who scored 11 for the Chicago Fire in 2003.
Larin opened the scoring for Orlando in the 50th minute, using a beautiful bit of work with his head to control the ball, keep it away from a defender and then bring it down to the ground where he slotted it into the bottom right corner with his left foot. Larin struck again in minute 61 after a perfectly weighted through ball from Darwin Cerén found Carlos Rivas on the left wing, where he played a low ball in front of goal for Larin to tap home.
Larin's third goal earned a nomination for MLS Goal of the week (vote here). In the 84th minute, Larin corralled a pass from Kaká with a fine first touch before lofting a perfect strike into the upper right side of the net past NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
With 13 league matches remaining, Larin is now well within striking distance of the rookie scoring record and one of the finest seasons MLS has seen from a young forward.