Cyle Larin is following up his record-breaking rookie season in MLS with a very solid sophomore campaign, as the Canadian striker finds himself fifth on the league scoring leaderboard with eight games remaining in the 2016 season. With 13 goals, Larin finds himself trailing only Sebastian Giovinco, Bradley Wright-Phillips, David Villa and Ignacio Piatti league-wide, with only three goals separating him from Gio and BWP atop the list.
Orlando City once again finds itself in a playoff battle as it heads down the final stretch of the season, so Larin goals will be at a premium from here on out. Will the second-year forward be able to lift the Lions above the red line while breaking his 17-goal scoring mark from a season ago?
Through 25 appearances this season, Larin's 13 goals put him at 0.52 goals per game. If he maintains this pace through the end of the regular season, Larin would see himself finish right where he did last year at 17 goals. In order to break that mark and reach 18 goals, Larin would need about 24 more shots over the course of those eight games (three per match) at his current finishing rate of 21%. Cyle has converted 46% of the shots he's managed to put on target this season, so -- assuming again that he maintains that rate -- he'd need about 11 shots on frame over the eight contests to net five times.
Given Larin's efficiency in front of goal, these numbers are very reasonable and he still has a very good chance to best his rookie goal-scoring total. We've seen him go on tears before as well, which makes 18 all the more attainable -- an 11-game stretch in 2015 in which he scored 10 goals comes to mind.
Larin will face some stout defenses down the stretch, however. In Toronto (28 goals allowed) and D.C. United (33), Orlando City will see the Eastern Conference's two best defenses in terms of goals conceded, while Montreal (38) is top four in the East. LA, which City will face on Sept. 11, is second in the West in terms of goals allowed, having only conceded 26 to this point in the year.
Larin's best goal-scoring opportunities will come against Columbus and Philadelphia, whom the Lions will face one time apiece before season's end. Larin has notched one goal against both clubs this season, but he's actually found success against some of the more reputable defenses listed above, with a brace against Montreal and a score against Toronto also on his 2016 résumé.
The table is set for Larin to eclipse his rookie scoring mark and potentially make a run at the golden boot. Eight games will determine whether or not he set the bar too high for himself in Year 1.