Even though Cyle Larin is scoring goals, it hasn’t felt the same as last year’s incredible Rookie of the Year winning season, that saw him net 17 goals. So let’s take a look at the numbers.
In 2015, Larin scored 17 goals, in 27 games, and 24 starts. That means he scored in 63% of the games he played. He played a total of 1,906 minutes, which is good for one goal every 112 minutes.
Compare that to 2016, where so far he has nine goals in 18 games, and 16 starts. Which means he has scored in 50% of the games played. So far, he has played 1,329 minutes, which is good for one goal every 148 minutes.
With 16 games remaining, if he keeps his current pace, he would score eight more goals for a total of 17. That would match last year’s total goals, though certainly not as efficiently. If he were to match his 63% pace of 2015 in the final 16 games, he’d score 10 more goals, for a total of 19. There would certainly be nothing wrong with that.
So why isn’t he scoring at the same pace as last season?
Many players who have incredible rookie seasons will then have a less-than-stellar second season. Despite his numbers being down in comparison to 2015, I don’t think we can actually chalk it up to a sophomore slump. Larin has been scoring goals, and other teammates are contributing more.
Larin has dealt with a hamstring injury, a hand injury, and illness this season. No matter how young you are, these things will have a toll, and not just on a body, but on minutes played, and effectiveness once on the field. However, Larin is actually playing 73 minutes per game versus 71 per game last season. That means that the injuries aren’t affecting his total playing time.
I don’t mean the teams that Orlando City is playing. This year, teams are well aware of what Cyle did in 2015, and as we saw on Saturday night, he has been marked whenever he is on the field, often by multiple defenders. That type of attention could certainly impact a striker's ability to score goals. I do think that this may be one of the reasons that Larin is not scoring at the same pace, but we should factor in his development as well. Larin isn’t the same player as a year ago. He has been working on his game, knowing that he would be the recipient of the added attention.
It’s that last point that is important. Despite all of the above, he is still potentially on pace to match or beat his goal total of last season. Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but it will have an impact on both his personal season, and Orlando City’s ability to make the playoffs.
Let me what know your impressions of Larin’s season have been so far in the comment section below.