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Should Orlando City Be Getting Cyle Larin More Touches?

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The Canadian is once again among the league's top scorers, but how much more could the second-year striker be doing for the Lions with more touches?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City's offense has not been the root of its issues in 2016.

The Lions have been held scoreless in four matches this season, yes, but two of those matches came without Kaká and the 48 goals Orlando has netted this year ranks in the top five in MLS, in the same neighborhood as the New York clubs, LA, and Dallas, all of which are riding high. The 53 goals the Lions have conceded, however, is the worst number in the league, bolstered by back-to-back four-goal outputs from the Galaxy and Columbus Crew.

But while the attack has been the team's strength, it's still fair to ask whether it could be better.

The focal point of that attack is second-year forward Cyle Larin who leads Orlando in scoring again this season, currently sitting on 14 goals. The Canadian has converted 21.9% of his shots into goals, which is third only to Frank Lampard's 36.3% conversion rate and Jozy Altidore's 24.2% clip among the league's top 25 scorers. Despite this production, Larin has had a relatively low amount of touches on his way to 14 goals and three assists, leaving one to wonder why he hasn't been more involved than he already is.

Of the seven forwards to score 14 goals or more this season, Larin and Gio dos Santos are the only two that don't rank in the top 10 in MLS in terms of shot total. While Larin has fired 64 shots this season, other top scorers like Bradley Wright-Phillips (92), David Villa (144), Sebastian Giovinco (162), Fanendo Adi (79), and Dom Dwyer (106) have all registered significantly more attempts at goal.

These numbers could be due to a few different factors, whether it be Larin being too hesitant to pull the trigger or his teammates not providing great service to set him up. But as a natural goal-scorer and someone capable of sniping goals like the one he did on Saturday, Larin being gun-shy doesn't seem like the most likely explanation.

A quick look at Larin's touches shows that he's not as involved as some of the league's other top scorers.

Wright-Phillips, currently setting the pace with 20 goals in 2016, averages a shade below 32 touches per game for NYRB, per WhoScored.com. The league's second-leading scorer, NYCFC's David Villa, is much more heavily involved than even BWP, averaging a whopping 46 touches across his 30 appearances this year. Larin, on the other hand, is only seeing 28 touches per appearance.

A look at recent games for some of the more notable strikers in MLS shows more of the same. Over their past five league appearances, Adi (42), Dwyer (31.4), Ola Kamara (28.4), and Didier Drogba (42.6) are all averaging well above the 23.6 touches Larin has seen over that span.

These numbers show that relative to his striking competitors, Larin isn't getting as many opportunities to create for himself and/or his teammates. It goes to show how efficient Larin is in his production, having been involved in 17 goals this season after scoring 17 last year, making the most of his limited shooting opportunities with his high conversion rate.

However, it also tells us that Larin should probably be more involved in Orlando City's offense. It's hard to just say "Get him the ball," as a solution, but when your best goal-scorer two years running isn't getting as many touches as he should be, something has got to change in terms of the service he's receiving in dangerous areas.

When you have a striker that finishes one out of every five shot opportunities, the more shots you can get him, the better.